Because of people having crazy lives this summer, we couldn't find a good weekend for all of us to go to the festival until September, which meant that we hit the fall season instead of the summer one. Except it turns out that I don't love the fall season as much. School is back in session, and things scale down quite a bit. There's no Green Show, no costumed wenches selling tarts out of baskets, no outdoor performances in the Adams theatre. The big gift shop gets closed down and turned back into a place-where-people-do-vocal-exercises or something, and they don't hold any of the seminars in the places where you are used to going which means you will wander around lost and be late to things. Also if you are clueless like us you will schedule your visit during homecoming weekend, which means that it will be hard to find a hotel room, students will leave trash everywhere after concerts in the quad, and you may have to cross the street during the homecoming parade to get where you need to be. Things to think about.
However. Cedar City is lovely in September. The weather was perfect, and the plays were great. So I guess the ideal thing to do would be to go twice--once during the summer season and once during the fall, so you can experience the best of both worlds and get to see all the plays you want. Totally doable for most of us, right?
The gorgeous fall colors in Sardine Canyon
Passing a Target in Orem as we stopped to get gas, at which point we all thought of things we accidentally left at home that we needed to run in and get. (Desmama: sunglasses. Emily: road trip snack food. Me: road trip snack food, my favorite hand soaps, a scarf, and a set of pillowcases.) That Target trip set the tone for the entire delightful trip, I think, and even the news that they've discontinued their Archer Farms Italian Soda (seriously, Target???) couldn't derail us for long.
Salads and sandwiches at The Pastry Pub
Carb overload at The Pizza Factory--we didn't even have room for tarts that night
Pumpkin tarts--just another reason to come back in the fall
Wearing red lipstick, and having long conversations about such. I loved all the long conversations about things where you could just, like, keep talking without having to stop to address the needs and/or demands of small children. Or guys.
Knitting in the car and during downtime. Desmama and I both had projects to work on, so we looked like a pair of hot grandmas, I'm sure. Emily just looked hot. This is what I made, as a thank-you/early birthday gift for a sister-in-law.
|GAP-tastic cowl pattern by Jen Geigley|
Also there were some plays starring these guys:
|David Ivers and Brian Vaughn 2010|
We saw Les Miserables the first night and they really did a great job. This was the first time I've seen the show where the actor playing Marius made him so cute and likeable that I didn't want him to die on the barricade. So well done you, Mr. Cody Craven!
As has happened many, many times over the last 22 months since the Tiny Dark Lord was born, I got especially weepy during the Fantine/Cosette stuff. It used to just be really sad, now it's, "But that's her bayyyy-ay-ay-ay-beeeeeeeeeeee SOB." You should have seen me during Kung Fu Panda 2 last year. Thought I was going to need a sedative when that mama panda had to put little baby Po in a box and then lure the bad guys away during the attack on the village and you know what? I can't even talk about it, let's just change the subject.
During intermission we talked about how good we hope the new film version of the musical starring Hugh Jackman is going to be this Christmas. Oh . . . Hugh Jackman. Is there anything you cannot do? I just read that they recorded the singing live during the filming, rather than having all the cast record the soundtrack before and then just lip sync it three months later when it's time to film. So during filming, the actors can speed up or slow down or react in different ways because they aren't bound by the version that they recorded months ago, which sounds like it could be pretty cool. Anyway. Just a side note. Back to the play.
|image from Utah Shakespeare Festival|
It seems to me that Les Mis could be subtitled Guys Making Dumb Choices. Jean Valjean makes loads of them, including brain-washing poor Cosette and turning her into some weird amnesiac shut-in. You've got these idealistic young students who are all, "Wouldn't a revolution be awesome? Let's go start one!" And then, when they realize that nobody is actually revolting behind them and that it's just them against the entire French army, they are like, "Well, no way are we going to just go home. Let's all die right here together! That'll really show 'em!" Um, no. No it won't, boys. Also, YOU WILL BE DEAD. You don't usually see plays where women make choices like that, because we seem to maybe think ahead a little better. ("Hmm. I have a family who needs me. Maybe I shouldn't die just to prove a point.")
I get that in order for much-needed revolutions to happen, you do have to have people who have a bit of this spirit. It's just so sad when it doesn't go the way they think it will, you know?
The next morning the actors who played Enjolras and Marius did the Actors Seminar and were both kind of charming and adorable. Joey DeBenedetto talked about how usually the audience helps contribute to the energy of the show and it's great, but recently he had an experience that was the opposite of that. During little Gavroche's death scene, as the final shot rang he heard a woman in the audience cackle, "Got 'im!" He said it was very hard not to break character and ask that woman what was even wrong with her.
Other tidbits from the seminar:
The actor who plays Hamlet broke his hand during a performance and bought everyone in the cast Gatorade to apologize and they're all hoping he can still go on because otherwise it's going to start this massive domino effect of understudies where suddenly all the roles are being played by people who have rehearsed them, like, once.
The little guy who plays Gavroche uses a thick Cockney accent because he learned his lines listening to the original London Cast soundtrack, and by the time he showed up for rehearsals it was so cemented in his brain that way that the director didn't want to cause damage by trying to undo it, so they just got him a dialect coach to try to make it understandable. And some nights, according to Marius and Enjolras, there isn't an accent at all. You just don't know what's going to happen. Also the little boy knows all the words to Javert's "Stars" song and does an interpretive dance backstage when Brian Vaughn is out there singing it. I bet backstage is fun.
And of course, there was Stones in His Pockets, which was as good and maybe even funnier than I remember it being when I saw these guys in 2005. They are taking it to Chicago this spring, and I hope it does well.
There's not a whole lot to say about it, except that it's amazing how quickly you get used to recognizing all the different characters just as soon as Vaughn and Ivers slip into their different personas. Sometimes there are lighting effects that help take you into a flashback, etc., but really it's just them, doing this kind of phenomenal thing with their posture, voice, accent, and mannerisms.
|image from Utah Shakespeare Festival|
And then, much too soon, the lovely trip was over. Did anybody else make it down there this year? If so, what were your highlights?