Sunday Lowdown #6
This Week at the Theatre Job
We finally opened our first musical of 2019, Caroline or Change! It’s been a hectic, stressful process, but on opening night the audience sure looked like they were having a good time. Set in the early 1960s, the musical is about a maid who works in a basement doing laundry in Louisiana. There is nothing underground in Louisiana, the theme repeats; you’re just drowning. Caroline’s employers are a white Jewish family with a young son whose mother died from cancer after smoking her whole life. His step-mother tries to teach him a lesson about fiscal responsibility when she says Caroline can keep any change that remains in the boy’s pockets come laundry time.
The music is beautiful, especially a high soprano character called The Moon. Many of the characters in the script are representations of objects: the radio becomes three Diana Ross-type women, the dryer is a lusty James Brown sort of character (who almost stole the show!), and the bus for which our Caroline waits after work each evening is a man with a deep, soulful sound who delivers the news that Kennedy was assassinated.
In a previous Sunday Lowdown, I shared a picture of one set piece in process, Caroline’s busted-up old house. I love how they made these wooden steps look like poured concrete. Here is the comparison:
We also had to use several corrugated solutions, including the washer and dryer (finding real appliances from the 1960s proved fruitless) and the Louisiana trees:
This Week in Reading: Finished Books
Magic’s Promise by Mercedes Lackey: the best book in the #ReadingValdemar challenge so far, we get more action, some mystery, new characters, and the growth of old characters. I’m getting sad that Vanyel’s story will end soon.
The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories by Alisa Surkis and Monica Nolan: short stories that were largely a miss for me, with the exception of one in which we have a lesbian who wears boys clothes to get an economic advantage.
Roots by Alex Haley: We did it! Shell @ Books by the Cup and I finished our Roots read-along! We’ve agreed that we’re going to read more books together in the future, though I think I’m going to lay off the door stoppers for a while, especially sagas.
The Complete Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar: A must-have collection to get the full range of PLD’s talents. You get love poems and seasons, music and slave life. You get dialect and standard English. You get funny and sad. It took me ages to get through the whole book because I would take breaks, not because this isn’t a highly-readable work. To get a free copy, click the hyperlinked title above.
This Week in Reading: Books in Progress
Magic’s Price by Mercedes Lackey: the third book in Vanyel’s trilogy, one that will end sadly. It has to; he’s the LAST herald-mage. One thing I hadn’t thought of the first time I read this trilogy back in 2001 is Vanyel’s genes being passed down, and what that means for future novels.
Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith: this is the novel I’m currently reading aloud to my husband before bed. He doesn’t seem to like it so far, mostly due to the pacing. But now Miriam is dead (no surprise) and Bruno is trying to get a hold of Guy. . .and Guy starts lying to everyone! #Guilty. Highsmith is ramping up the tension, I would say.
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood: I’m reaching the last chapters of the novel. Grace has told her whole story to Dr. Jordan, but she can’t remember the parts everyone wants to know — when the murders are committed. Some things she thinks suggests she’s making the story more “colorful” because that’s what she believes Dr. Jordan likes. The more I read, the more I realize the Netflix show is so masterfully done that I could have skipped the book.
Next Week in Reading:
I’ll finish Alias Grace early in the week, enjoy Magic’s Price, and begin Fahrenheit 451 and a new book I just got from the library called On Edge: A Journey through Anxiety by Andera Petersen. I did have more Dunbar on the schedule (his plays and short stories), but I’m going to hold off. What are you reading this coming week?