Monthly Archives: January 2017

Stage life in an off, off, OFF Broadway Production 

One of my favorite activities in the world is putting on productions with my students. I love to write, so I compose a play and my students are so good as to go along with me. Once a year we enter a competition wherein we put on one of my plays.

Except for the agonized screaming and fist-pounding on walls while I’m writing, the creative part goes fairly smoothly. I cast the students and we begin work on the play. Breaking them of using scripts is a little like taking a pacifier away from a toddler, but eventually, they are pottering around the stage, determining that they need a towel for this activity or the third cowboy is standing right in front of the saloon girl and we are almost ready.

What I would really like to share with you, however, is the frantic ten minutes that occurs just before we take the stage at competition. Everything seems to go well until we reach the day of the competition, and then the closer it gets to performance time, the sketchier it can get; that’s why I’ve decided to break it down for you a minute at a time.

Ten minutes to showtime: My saloon janitor informed me that he has forgotten to bring his mop. Keep in mind that the saloon janitor spends most of his time on stage mopping and you can see that this is a minor disaster. After ten minutes of frantic searching, we find a real janitor at the stage and the best she can do is produce a push broom. We accept, and the stage janitor disappears, practicing how he will now talk about his broom and not his mop.

Nine minutes to showtime: I cannot find one of my saloon girls. After a hectic search, I find her in the bathroom, trying to put a pin in the back of her dress, which she has discovered gaps in the front in a most distressing way. I helped with the pin and was proud that I didn’t jab her with it.

Eight minutes to showtime: My sheriff cannot locate his badge. We search and run every direction, searching for something shiny, glittering on the floor. After five minutes, we found the sheriff’s badge clipped to the lining of the picnic basket. We don’t know how it got there and don’t have time to care.

Seven minutes to showtime: In setting up the poker table, the poker chips spill out and all over the floor. We have three saloon girls, a few cowboys and even a preacher all crawling around collecting them as they rolled tipsy-turvy across the stage.

Six minutes to showtime: One of my townspeople decides that it will not be possible to breathe and remember her lines all at once. We practice a little controlled breathing and she eventually declares herself in recollection of her lines, even though she’s a little light-headed from the breathing exercises. I move on to the next issue, wishing someone could control my breathing.

Five minutes to showtime: Two cowboys are arguing about which one had the black cowboy hat with the red braid and which one had the one with the mud on the brim. I rushed by, deciding that if they got excited while settling that, it might give them more energy on stage.

Four minutes to showtime: I give instructions as to where to set the standing door which is to represent the sheriff’s office. When I got out into the audience, I discovered that my instructions had caused the students to have to enter and exit the door in exactly the opposite direction as we had practiced. They compensated, I cursed under my breath.

Three minutes to showtime: I find two girls with their heads together, talking. Thinking they were running lines, I snapped, “You should know your lines by now!” Then I realized they were praying.

Two minutes to showtime: I hand out the toy guns with instructions that the students not mess with them. There is an immediate whirring noise all around me as they pressed the noise-makers on the guns.

One minute to showtime: I give the light crew the signal that means that they should let me get to my seat in the theater and then they should hit blackout before we start. They hit blackout immediately, leaving me in the middle of the stage with no way to see. I only fell four times before I made it to my seat.

And so, another night on Broadway carried forth!


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Entertainment is a relative thing…

The Rifleman is about to come on television, so I’m going to have to keep this blog short. Now please don’t tell me that you don’t know about The Rifleman because everyone should be exposed to Lucus McCain and his trick rifle…this is something everyone agrees on…except my daughter.

“Don’t go letting my boys watch  The Rifleman this summer when they are with you,” she cautioned as she dropped the boys for a week’s visit.

“But the Rifleman is so wholesome. Chuck Conners plays Lucas McCain and uses that rifle effortlessly to take care of the bad guys. And all without blood and gore,” I was truly distraught. The Rifleman is my favorite.

“Alright, but not a steady diet of it, okay? I don’t want the boys to start playing at shooting,” she conceded reluctantly as she drove away.

I don’t understand it. People say they want to be entertained and then they overlook the best entertainment. I don’t need vampires or singing idols or romantic couples (of 30 or more) to keep me entertained. I object to demons which scare me to death and I also don’t get a thrill out of shows where people try to survive in the wilderness or argue with each other for fun.

I do like shows where the good guy comes out on top (with some shooting and body count, I admit.) I like shows with a mystery and I absolutely adore old movies (talkies, only please). Most of the programming  I want to watch is blood free (well, except for Code Black, which is kind of medically loaded), and as I said, the good guys may not be wearing the white hats, but they do finish first.

If I’m going to sit through a movie, it needs to be a little supernatural without being “gargoyles stepping off the buildings to eat us” scary. I’ve discovered that the higher a woman’s heel in a movie or television show, the more likely she is to be a person who will go for the jugular, and I’m definitely a low-heeled sort of person. I also have learned that while mini-series can be interesting, they frequently stretch out and last too long. I want to know why that dome fell right now or why those animals suddenly attacked without too many episodes. I don’t have the patience to wait too long!

That brings us back to television when my grandsons are here. I know they like to watch Modern Marvels and Paw Patrol, but I didn’t think they really paid much attention to my programming, so I could watch The Rifleman, right? That is, I didn’t think it mattered  until their mother came to pick them up.

“As you can see, I took good care of them,” I bragged as I was packing up clothes and toys. “I didn’t expose them to anything bad and I flatter myself I may have introduced them to some new pieces of fine entertainment.”

At that exact moment, the older boy stepped out of the bathroom, where he had been brushing his teeth. Dropping the toothbrush to his right hip in an exact replica of Lucas McCain with his rifle, he fired several shots (complete with sound effects) directly at his brother.maxresdefault

My daughter turned to me  and said, “Lucas McCain is out.” And she  just gave me that look which told me that any further watching of The Rifleman when her boys are there will be at midnight, deep in a closet! It’s not too bad, though, I still have plenty of good television to watch when they are there…Paw Patrol, Curious George, Dinosaur Train and on really good days, even a little bit of Sid the Science Kid! Entertainment is all relative, right?

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Preparing for hell week

Well, hell week has arrived. So named because it is the week of the year that I hate the most. It is the week when Roy is on the road and I am in charge of the house…and the yard…and the vehicles…and yes, even the dog.

I never realize just how much Roy takes care of without so much as my noticing it…at least, until hell week gets here. Then I know that he maintains a lot of things without my help. The house know this too, and so does the weather and so does the dog. Because hell week is named for the fact that everything that week goes straight to…well, you get the picture.

I try to prepare. I make sure the vehicles are filled up and the furnace tank is adequate. I make sure the electric bill is paid and that all the groceries I need are bought. But it never helps, hell week hits every single year on the week Roy is out of town.

The weather usually begins it. The great blizzard of the 90s hit during hell week, forcing me to try to use the wood stove. My Boy Scout training never took and my ability to make a fire in the stove involves two hours of smoke, ashes and serious tears before I get it going. I have checked the weather for this hell week and they are predicting snow or extreme cold for every day. Roy insists this is not his fault, but I believe it is.

If it snows, that presents several problems…mainly that I depend on Roy to get me out of trouble if I land in a snowbank while driving. Since Roy must take the car that handles well in snow, I am left with the rear-wheel drive car which doesn’t do well in snow or the pickup, whose four-wheel drive uses are a mystery to me. There’s also the issue of shoveling snow. A little snow can be swept, but a lot requires shoveling which is above my paygrade, or even worse, using the snow blower. I know the basic principle, but the snow blower is gender prejudiced and basically evil. The deeper the snow, the more likely it is to fail.

The dog is particularly depressed about hell week, because that means her whole schedule is messed up. I never can remember if she has a cup and a half of the dry food, or some sort of chewy stick and when those things happen. Walks are much shorter than Roy’s because I am a weenie in the cold, and she has to wait longer for me to get home and let her out. She blames Roy for hell week as well and it may be the only thing we agree on.

The crick I develop in my neck is also a result of Roy being gone. I hate to go to bed in the big, empty bed when Roy is gone, so frequently, I fall asleep in the chair in the living room. This results in a terrible kink in my neck which lasts all week. Roy insists that this is definitely not his fault, but I say if he really cared, he’d put something in the bed so it wouldn’t look so empty. I’d most like to find Harrison Ford in there, but I’d settle for a big, comfortable body pillow!

So, you can see why this week is hell week at my house. I burn my food because Roy is not there to gently clear his throat and inquire how the meal is coming. I panic every time the furnace shuts down, fearing it won’t return. And worst of all, there is no one to take care of the light bulbs that burn out or the clocks that need batteries.

Roy protects himself during hell week too. I think he purposely doesn’t call very often that week (he says he puts in long hours so he can get home sooner, but I think he’s just avoiding the daily disaster bulletin.) When he does call, he usually starts the conversation with, “Hi, it’s Roy; what did I do today?”

So if you see me this week, I’m likely to do a lot of whining about hell week…unless, of course, I find Harrison Ford in the bedroom. What do you think my chances are?



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The annual resolution

It’s New Year’s and so everyone is taking down their Christmas decorations and sweating through the first big decision of the year: to resolve or not to resolve.
I have personally been a patsy for the New Year’s resolution only too many time. Most New Year’s Resolutions all into a few categories: weight loss and exercise, eating habits, personal improvement, improved relationships. I’ve resolved something in everyone one of these categories and I managed to break them all before January had disappeared from the calendar.

So this year, I’ve decided to make resolutions to be held only or one month. For instance, January’s resolution is to shovel less and sleep more. If I don’t shovel as much snow, I’m more likely to find the time to sleep.

In February, I resolve to tell people I love them more often and eat less chocolate…or is that the other way around? I don’t believe I can give up chocolate, but maybe for February I can cut back (it’s the shortest month of the year, after all.)

In March I resolve to have fewer snowstorms and have more rainstorms in April instead. Yes, I know I can’t resolve to do these things, but I’m likely to be just as successful with these as with other resolutions, so why not?

I could go on, but I’m sure you get it. I will resolve to do things all year long, but for only a month. For instance, I’ll stop biting my nails all through May, and do a month’s worth of yoga for June. I thought about making a resolution for July that I not be overheated, but that might just be a waste of time…July is just an overheated month.

If I’m only making the resolutions for a month, they won’t be too difficult to keep and I have the opportunity to make quite a few. However, it probably means I won’t lose any weight, or improve my eating habits or exercise more, but I’ll be a lot happier.

Actually, I’m as likely as anyone to make New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I think they would include less of what makes me sad and more of what makes me happy. I should resolve to talk less about the current events in the world and do more to improve things.

Less criticism and more acceptance, less self-center and more self-motivated, those are the resolutions I should make and then I have to hope that I can resolve them for more than a month, because they are the keys to improving the world.

I hope you find just the right resolutions or your new year and whatever they are, I hope you have success in 2017 in making them realities. Happy New Year to you all

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