Chaos Attraction

Noises Off and Other Events

2007-12-03, 11:01 p.m.

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(These are going to be a day behind for a bit, since I doubt I'll have much that's interesting to say on weeknights right now and I need to string it out a little!)

I had a serger workshop on Saturday. One of the many benefits to my volunteer job is getting to take early versions of classes before they get offered in the catalog. At the last minute, they squeezed in a workshop on how to use a serger, as the CC has now gotten two of them. They plan on offering a class on it in the spring, so this was trial run #1 of 2.

For those who do not sew, let's just say that a serger is a uh, more sophisticated sewing machine, VERY complicated to operate (seriously, sometimes I wonder, who thought of this?!), but sews stuff like stretchy or thick or sheer material really well. Hardly anyone knows how to use one, really. Heck, there was an episode of Project Runway where they all had to make skating costumes and use sergers and the pros don't even know how to use one. Back in design school, I remember running some test fabric through one ONCE, so that's all I knew. Of the other folks in the class, two of them were sewing instructors, and only one of them knew how to use one herself! first the instructor had said to "bring a project to work on," which made me panic because there is no way in hell I am making it to a fabric store this month. (It is incredibly annoying to have no yarn or fabric stores any closer than Sac.) Then she said, "Or just bring samples of different fabrics you don't mind shredding to work on." I ended up digging through my pile of random fabric scrounged from the scrap bin last summer when it was overflowing and stuffing my backpack with stuff for class.

And in the end? We never actually got to do any fabric stuff. She brought samples for us to sew on (good), but it took so long just to explain stuff like how to thread the suckers and how they operate that, well, that was the entire class. I'm not really complaining about that, I figure I'll take the class someday and get it down by hand when I've got a machine to myself for a few hours anyway. But I did suggest that when they do serger workshop #2, it should be at least 2 days long. (The class itself will be 4.)

After that, I went to the gym, which I have sorely neglected going to during November. Oh, funny moment about that: one of the aforementioned sewing teachers was one I don't think I'd seen in...oh, a year or two or something like that (I gather her year has had more family drama than mine), and she was all, "You have lost a TON of WEIGHT."

This boggles me, because um...I lost about ten pounds since starting to go to the gym. Two years ago. Occasionally some pounds come back off and on, but I have pretty much managed to stay out of the "oh crap, now I have fat pants" since going to the gym, so it's all good. I am surprisingly back at "goal weight" as of Thanksgiving (to me it's more of a reasonable amount than aiming for anorexia, plus I don't have to buy new pants) despite eating out a lot and sitting on my arse noveling for the month, but...I really don't look THAT DRASTICALLY DIFFERENT. It wasn't a hundred pounds I knocked off. So I don't know what to make of that.

Anyway, it was weird. I took it as a compliment, albeit a weird one.

Then I went to Robotmedia, which is this student film showcase thing they do a few times a quarter. I gather the previous participants graduated, but someone's trying to start it up again, and he was showing old movies. Mostly he was showing ones I hadn't seen before, which was exciting. I only wish I could have stuck around longer, but I had to leave early to go see Noises Off, which I'd finally gotten around to getting a ticket to. (You do not know how much trouble I was having finding a free day to go to this on before it closed.)

I've never seen a SOLD OUT SHOW here before, but clearly this one was. I left Robotmedia at 7:45 and could barely scrounge a seat getting into the theater at that time. Whoa. I highly recommend checking out the movie sometime, since you can't see this show, because it's freaking genius. I think I actually liked a lot of the actors here even better than in the movie. The girl playing Vicki almost always was facing the audience regardless of what she was doing, and grooming herself, and doing random ballet when bored, and it was a hoot. The guy playing Freddy was incredibly orange and had this Neanderthal brow and played amiably dumb to the hilt even more than Christopher Reeve did, and I much preferred the arrogant actor here that played Lloyd more than I did Michael Caine. I found myself developing crushes on half of the male actors while watching it. I was also quite flabbergasted at watching one guy (this was his first show EVER, mind you!) fall down the stairs, and I mean, sliding face first (I was in something like row 5, so it was pretty close to me). Holy COW.

Anyhoo, since you can't see the show, I shall share with you some tidbits from the program bios- by which I mean, the program bios in the program written for the characters in the play. These really should go online, they're pretty priceless.

"Dolly Otley (Mrs. Clackett) makes a welcome return to the stage to create the role of Mrs. Clackett after playing Mrs. Hackett, Britain's most famous lollipop lady ("Oh, I can't 'ardly 'old me lolly up!") in over 320 episodes of TV's "On the Zebras." Her many stage appearances include her critically acclaimed portrayal of Fru Sackett, the comic character in Strindberg's Scenes from the Charnelhouse. Her first appearance ever? In a school production of Henry IV Part 1- as the old bag-lady, Mrs. Duckett."

"Garry Lejeune (Roger Tramplemain) while still at drama school won the coveted Laetitia Daintyman Medal for Violence." (In the play, you certainly understand why!) "His television work includes "Police!" "Crime Squad," "Swat," "Forensic" and "The Nick," but he is probably best known as "Cornetto," the ice-cream salesman who stirs the hearts of all the lollipop ladies on "On the Zebra." (For those who don't know, he's Dolly's boyfriend.)

Selsdon Mowbray (Burglar) first 'trod the boards' at the age of 12- playing Lucius in a touring production of Julius Caesar, with his father, the great Chelmsford Mowbray, in the lead. Since then he has served in various local reps, and claims to have appeared with every company to have toured Shakespeare in the past half-century, working his way up through the Mustardseeds and the various Boys and Sons of, to the Balthazars, Benvolios and Le Beaus; then the Slenders, Lennoxes, Trinculos, Snouts and Froths; and graduating to the Scroops, Poloniuses and Aguecheeks. His most recent film appearance was as Outraged Pensioner in Green Willies."

Brooke Ashton (Vicki) is probably best known as the girl wearing nothing but "good, honest, natural froth" in the Hauptbahnhofbrau lager commercial. Her television appearances range from Girl at Infants School in "On the Zebras" to Girl in Massage Parlour in "On Probation." Cinemagoers saw her in The Girl In Room 14, where she played the Girl in Room 312.

Frederick Fellowes (Philip Brent) has appeared in many popular television series, including "Calling Casualty," "Cardiac Arrest!," "Out-Patients" and "In-Patients." On stage he was most recently seen in the controversial all-male cast of The Trojan Women. He is happily married" (uh, until the play starts, anyway!) "and lives near Crawley, where his wife breeds pedigree dogs. "If she ever leaves me," he says, "it will probably be for an Irish wolfhound!"

And just for kicks, though he's not a character in the play, they throw in a bio for the playwright!

"Robin Housemonger (Author) was born in Worcester Park, Surrey, into a family "unremarkable in every way except for an aunt with red hair who used to sing all the high twiddly bits from The Merry Widow over the tea-table." He claims to have been the world's most unsuccessful gents hosiery wholesaler, and began writing "to fill the long hours between one hosiery order and the next." He turned this experience into his very first play, Socks Before Marriage, which ran in the West End for nine years. Two of his subsequent plays, Briefs Encounter and Hankey Panky, broke box office records in Perth, Western Australia. Nothing On is his 17th play."

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