Saturday, 17 October 2009

There Were Three in the Bed.......

After a somewhat gruelling sleep - Sammy decided at goodness only what knows what o' clock that Teddy and Duck and Peter Sam the train MUST come into bed with him and, after finally plucking up the courage to go and get them from the darkened living room himself he proceeded to toss and turn commenting loudly on the fact, in a delirious stream of consciousness. None of us got back to sleep for what felt like the best part of an hour. On retrospect I have a sneaky suspicion that it might have been 7 o clock or there about but incredibly dark. I never get up when it is dark unless I am paid to do so or pretending to have the discipline of a Tibetan monk, the latter of which is the rarer I am thankful to add. But hey, when we did finally arise at a civilised hour I was glad to see that stocks have not run out at Milley's. Apparently Clevelanders aren't ravenous for the rasher stuffed chocolate. Either that, or someone has a mate at the airfield who threw them a good deal. After doing a bit of gerbaling on the tread mill, and, with the help of Sting amongst others (don't curl up your lips, whatever it takes) I managed to get up to 25 minutes before trying my hand at a few weights. I was pretending to work but actually I was watching the guy next to me, who in between reps strutted some moves alla hip hop (ipods make people do strange things) despite being a white man of a certain age. Wandering around back stage just a few hours ago I saw same said man strut by me again, but this time he was dressed in a Young Frankenstein toweling dressing gown with another of the male ensemble following closely behind draped casually in the same garb (blue of course with the big yellow font thing going on). I did a double take, I suddenly thought I had entered an all male spa (no not that sort, though come to think of it...). Turns out hip hop weight lifter is in the show, and a great performer at that. All is forgiven. So after the sweaty stuff I joined the troupe for some freezy stuff. Baseball in Cleveland in October. Not your usual autumnal set up. Biting winds were braved, almost three year olds were wrapped up and the wiffle ball was out. No its not an american pseudonym for gas. To you and me, this is a plastic baseball bat and ball, that is surprisingly playable even for adults. I guess a baseball is too lethal for performers contracted to a show and windows and children and so on. We set up field in a tennis court that had its net taken off and replaced with hazardous puddles. One of the swings (talented performer who covers 8 or more roles. Not the car key sort. As far as I know) became intimately acquainted with one before I arrived in what sounded like a woundless fall of quite some distinction. Sammy took a swing in each "inning" with everyone pausing to chant "exhibition" each time and giving raucous applause and cheers when he managed to make connection and run (or sometimes gallop - that's what you get for going to dance class too often) to first base. Each time this was followed by a pretend fall from the tyke (thats the biggest thing that he is taking away from watching sports on tv) and job was done. In between turns he played with the other tour kids. Jasper, something close to a dalmation but smaller and more bull terrierish and Lila who is a miniture pincher. Both adorable canines and all three played nicely together. Sam was licked clean by the end of the game. Bathtime sorted. After almost building up heat we headed to the West Side Market with Austin the lovely retro-loving pink conversed bequiffed props guy. He is half Lituanian and half Mexican and I will be holding him to his promise of teaching me to cook enchiladas the proper way. Arriving at another of Cleveland's photogenic historic buildings filled this time not with musical theatre but food. Perfect combination. Inside the stalls were illuminated with chrome signs under the cover of the cavernous vaulted ceilings. A vegetarian's hell. All around us were stacks of fresh meat and lively sellers each ready to haggle. My kind of market. The ones where people look you in the eye, try and sell you things, tell a quick joke, move with gusto, make you feel like buying and cooking and laughing. You know the sort. As usual I quickly spent my alloted budget on the heaviest fruit and veg I came across including succulent artichokes, fresh corn, pineapple and grapes. Turns out those "grape" flavour sweets we used to eat as kids actually do taste of grapes. Just not the european ones. No, grape flavour tastes like these perfectly round dark purple berries of deliciousness, known here as concord or table grapes. I wouldn't call them table grapes, they lasted approximately two minutes on ours before Cory and I scoffed the lot. Sam was nonplussed. He knows what real grapes taste like. His expression told me they tasted like artificially flavoured gum. We had the foresight to eat at a mexican place across the street before we shopped (hungry shopper = broke shopper) but on our way out we found an in house cafe, all chrome tables and 50s chairs, white tiles, atmosphere. We walked in and gawked at the cosiness from the doorway.
"Can I help you?" says the manager.
"Should have eaten here." says a shop-wearied husband weighed down to the spot by heavy bags.
"How can I help you?" manager repeats after a beat. "You look confused."
(we did)
"I mean your yankee fans I can see why" he adds.
Apparently my husband and son have the sole responsibility on behalf of the nation for wearing merchandised yankee clothing. Whilst hanging out with a leopard skin coat of course. Anyhows after our cab ride back (where are the buses people?!) I attacked the bimbo with vigour and in under half an hour had rustled a turkey bolognese and a side of garlicky artichokes a la west side market. Some home cooking was definately in store you see in preparation for today's onslaught. I found out that the restaurant across from the theatre thinks that 1 litre's worth of cocktail is an acceptable amount for brunchers when we met up with Cory's old drum teacher from high school and his daughter and her family. Cory led us all on a tour of backstage (this time Sam strutted about like he owned the place) and then we watched the show. It was a dramatic start, a frenetic front of house manager was screaming people into their seats. All fool me for queuing patiently at the box office when I should have gone to the Will Call of course (I've worked in the theatre for over 10 years and have never heard the term. We may both speak english, but we do not speak the same language). When we did eventually find the will place (we call them solicitors I believe) tickets could not be found and so headless chicken man shunted two tickets from his back pocket into my hand and pushed me past the flock of elderly ladies who volunteer their services as very well manicured ushers (red jackets, beehives, MAKE UP) and Sam and I sprinted up into the mezzanine to take our seats. Although we could see the wings from up there we also got to enjoy the luxury of these little table wotsits next to us with low watt shades above them acting as both a store for your bits and pieces and a ledge to rest your refreshments on, which by the way, could be ordered from your seat. Original features. We like. Sam sat bolt upright throughout the show, studying most particularly the bits where Beth appears all glimmering in red and gold and all things shimmery and smiling proudly when his Dad manages to get his nickname into the show. You may think that Samalamadingdong would not be so easy to squeeze in at an opportune time but Mel Brook's gag filled show allows manouvre for randomness and Cory manages it with some artful shutzpah even if I do say so myself. When all the audience have almost left and Sam has told every usher that the monster has run away and that he is only an actor (still working through the fear then) we find Cory's teacher Mr Jerry McClure and his wife Evelyn waiting for us at the sound desk. Marcus, the sound guy comes by with his leather jacket and asks Sam when he is going to make the thunder. His reply is that he does not work in the orchestra. Marcus tries to explain that he makes it with buttons but Sam appears to disbelieve the sincerity of his invitation (when do adults ever really let you touch LOTS of buttons?) and is somewhat poker faced. Not so when his dad rolls up the aisle (unorthodox for an actor and to the old school superstitious actors treading through the house is quite simply gross faux pas daaaaahling) which sees him running into his arms telling him how he enjoyed the show. On a loop. I stopped counting at ten hoping the record might unstick. He did the same to me after a performance of The Odyssey where I played Penelope and Circe. And a pig. No prizes for guessing which part he enjoyed the most. Fair enough. I was a brilliant pig. Trained long and hard for that bit. No seriously I did. We had to do a term on animal work at drama school. Should have seen my ostrich. Unforgettable. Most likely for the wrong reasons. But I digress. Back to the sound desk where Mr Mc Clure handed Cory a present of a T-Shirt with "Keep truckin. You're the Best Cory. Jer" stamped across it after wiping away a few sneaky tears of pride at having watched his little pip squeek student blossom into a fully fledged humped and humourous song and dance man. Most touching was the way his teacher tried to undercut the obvious time and thoughtfulness it had taken to make the shirt, dismissing it as a "rehearsal shirt". My almost hidden tears lost on our little fella. What a liability to be moved by other's touching moments. It was as if I was the conduit for the two men's nostlagia. No matter. I only ever wear waterproof mascara. We saw them off and then walked up to Tower City Centre, once home to the Higabee's store. Think Selfridges but more gold bits and you're half way there. Least thats what it would have looked like in its hey day. Parts of it remain in its grandeur and the Ritz Carlton hotel is housed there alongside the similarly upmarket Renaissance but adjoined is a tasteful mall extension with affordable shops and food. On our way to Shanghai Joe's (you know good old Joe from Shanghai don't you?) we past a fountain, a grabber toy thing, you know like the ones at fairgrounds labelled BIG STUFF (you won basketballs and sinks instead of ducks and squidgy toys. Ok the sinks was a slight exaggeration) and a Truth Booth. The latter being a 4-D ultra sound walk-in service for pregnant women to check what they will be giving birth to in glorious technicolour. I am still a bit confused on the 4 in 4-D in regards to a sonographer. I thought the fourth dimension had something to do with quantum and universe and stuff that makes the dusty back bit of your brain ache a little. Hey ho. What does my little actress brain know? Other than my meeting on the top floor at the spa with the inspiring Antoinette, a beautiful black woman with six children and faith, who performs a few patches of waxing with great care (I inherited my grandma's moustache) and makes me feel like I also need five more kids if its as easy as she makes it seem, has left me with a spring in my step. Nice to have some interaction with local people other than market pleasantries and so on. Now the night lights of Cleveland dot the streets into the near distance like little runways and my bed calls. I look at it not without some trepidation; I have told Teddy that under no circumstance will I be sharing my side of the bed with him. He knows its not personal. A woman just needs her space.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog! Thanks for the link. All my best to your crew. XXOO