My Farewell Tour

Years ago, sitting in class, didn't you wonder why you had to learn where Mesopotamia was? Why learn about the places so far away? What was the point of knowing about some huge desert in a place it was unlikely I would ever visit. Well, now I know why. One never knows in life what sort of interesting things will come about. And my life has certainly been interesting. But, now it's time to learn about another part of the world and depart from my safe haven of New Hampshire and head out to parts unknown in a place called Abu Dhabi.
I am calling this part of my journey, before I leave, my "Farewell Tour" because haven't you ever noticed that when a cool rock band is going to change members or break up, they have a Farewell Tour that lasts about a year? Well, I began my "Farewell Tour" at the Thanksgiving dinner table last November as I sat and looked around at my family, my cousins, aunts and uncles and I asked my mother what she would think if I decided to teach overseas. My mother responded favorably and I thought, well, then, this is it. This could be my last Thanksgiving dinner with the family in New England, for a couple of years. I mentally looked around at the family as if to impress their faces and that moment on my mind. At that point, my mother was the only one who knew that I was planning such a crazy, wild journey of my heart. I applaud her for being open to such an idea. Now that I am further along in my journey, she is still so very supportive. What more can one ask from her parents?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stumbling Onto the Mattress and Into the Barbershop

Hello my blog readers. I know it has been quite a while since you have heard from me. Somewhere between Thanksgiving and June, things got very hectic here and I was going through what we all refer to as "adjustment issues."
Let me start by saying that I have had a very full and rich winter and spring. I became involved in two performing groups and have been so busy going to rehearsals that my time was literally eaten up. Add to that the occasional Saturday working day and life just got very busy.
Now that my musical, Once Upon a Mattress is over and the barbershop chorus that I direct has had its day on the stage, I think I have a few things to write about.

Working backwards, I want to comment on the Queen's Jubilee, 60 years of Queen Elizabeth on the throne. I work with many expats from the UK and we shared our collected knowledge about the Queen's big day. At the end of the day, I found myself driving downtown and remembered that there was going to be a celebration at St. Andrew's church, where I attend services. I checked in with my friend, another American and we met at church for what was a delightful and meaningful service. The music was spectacular, with horns and Handel's Zadok the Priest, the well known coronation anthem. Other music choices followed with a sincere and heartfelt rendering of God Save the Queen.  An American doesn't get too many opportunities to belt out the alternative words to My Country Tis of Thee and I enjoyed every minute of it. Most importantly, one of the Sheikh's attended the service. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan is known to us as the "Education Sheikh" and His Highness. Now it is interesting that I have attended two different events where His Highness walked amongst the people. Although there is security for these events, it is not to the point of the security that we would experience seeing a high ranking Vice President or presidential candidate in the US. When His Highness drove into the church compound, I was at the curb waiting to cross to enter the church and I recognized the education Sheikh from my previous encounter with him at a large educational event. I admit, I was a little excited to see this gentleman up close. Although he is part of the royal family, he is not in line to the throne.

Last weekend, I performed in the Broadway musical Once Upon a Mattress. It was a spectacular performance, even if I do say so myself (to use an overused cliche.) I was cast as a woman courtier, but when it was apparent that not enough men were in the cast, I offered to switch roles to a male courtier. I wasn't too sure how this would all pan out, but let me say that when I put on my costume, got my head into my role and then covered my head with a gob of hair gel and makeup, I was quite believeable as a man. So believeable, in fact that after the show I shocked several theater goers who had no clue! Even my good friends had trouble finding me and I felt quite successful in my role. My lovely partner, Shabri played her part well, keeping me in character as a man. The other men in the play did think I played my part well. So that was high praise coming from the acting bunch. That is me at the far left in the photo above...the short, scruffy, bald man. That photo was taken in dress rehearsal and I subsequently shortened the tunic so it fell in length with Julian, at far right. As costume designer, Julian created the elaborate designs and we purchased all the fabric and notions, together, then sent them to the tailor who made them, then sent them back to us, and I altered, let in, let out, restitched for hours upon hours until we were ready.
The weekend previous to the show, my barbershop chorus performed in the "Just Voices" show. Three different choral groups worked to present a wonderful evening of a cappella music. I was asked to direct this group, back in January, so we had been quite busy getting ready for two different concerts. It went well, save for a "costume malfunction" on the second night of the concert, when my beautiful fuschia gown got caught under my music stand. A long pull and the skirt bounced back into place. The audience actually loved that moment. (maybe I will include a costume malfunction in every show.)

So, that is the culmination of many weeks of hard work and artistic endeavor. The musical and performing artist ex-pats over here are limited in number, so they tend to perform in more than one group. It's a supportive group with a great deal of talent. I'm glad I stumbled into the Barbershop and onto the Mattress with them!

1 comment:

  1. Before I begin to read your new blog entry, I wanted to let you know how delighted I am that you've written as I've been missing your always interesting updates.