Monday, October 28, 2013

Crimes of the Heart

I just wrapped up a production of Crimes of the Heart at Central High School.  Once again, I served as the Tech Director and Set Designer.  For this play I mentored my daughter, Hannah, as a Lighting Designer as well (I even had her draw her first light plot and learn some lighting theory for this job).

I started with a model...
 I drew out plans on graft paper including a basic floor plan...
 ... back elevations...
 ... and platform maps.

I taped the floor for the first few weeks of rehearsal.  There were many functions scheduled for the stage, so we only had 10 days to put the set up, paint it, decorate it and light it.  Crimes of the Heart is the first production that Central High School has put the audience on the stage with the set.  I designed it to be a thrust stage (although the director choose to not put the chairs fully on all three sides).
 On our first work day we were able to get all the platforms legged and placed.  We were able to start the back stairways as well.
 I had to send a couple kids under the set in order to tie the platforms together.
 We also got the beginning wall structure up and primmed.  We had to build a few small flats.
 However, over the week, one got stepped on and we had to repair it. lesson learned: don't leave flats on the floor.  Kids don't pay attention to what is around them.Our second work day we repaired the flat, finished a few odd shaped flats...
 ... painted the floor with primmer... finished the back escape stairs... finished the window... collected all the props and painted the stage floor for a band concert.
 While kids were working on the stage, Scot, my shop foreman, build kitchen cabinets and a screen door for me in the shop.
 It is hard to keep 30 kids and 3 adults busy and useful.  I have to be extra organised.  I have to plan in advance all kinds of jobs that can include kids with a variety of skills.  The play only had 6 cast members, but I had 20 something kids show up on work days to help out.  Now that is cool.  I'm starting to help kids think that learning tech theater is fun!
 Because I wanted to hang kitchen cabinets on the walls, I used two platforms for walls... I wanted the ability to screw the cabinets into the wall.  I also saved money by using recycled cabinets that weren't originally meant to make a counter.  We used 3/4 plywood and made the counter.  We used cardboard to make a template and then cut the counter top.  We painted it and then used silver duct tape as the edge.  We were able to set a kitchen sink into the counter... have one working cupboard door under the sink, and 4 working drawers.  Not bad.  We framed a window and used 1x2 to make the window panes.

 I was luck enough to borrow a small refrigerator and a small stove from a local community theater.  My husband was awesome and worked on getting running water for the kitchen sink.  He used a 5 gallon bucket and connected it to the kitchen sink with a garden hose.  He put the bucket at the highest part of the set with a pulley and rope so that it could be easily filled each night.  He used regular drain plumbing pipes and a bucket as a drain.  The actors were then able to get water for "coffee" or to wash dishes.  In' many ways the running water became the highlight of the set.  We got so many comments about that silly running water.  LOL

 On our third work day we started our serious painting.  It is my goal to teach as many skills as possible to these kids.  On this set I used a feather duster to create texture on the "hallway" walls and on the kitchen floor.  The result was great!  The floor actually looked like 1960's linoleum flooring!  I had the kids strip the walls and then stencil a leaf pattern before adding tiny flowers to create a "wallpaper" look in the kitchen.  I tried to choose colors that reflected the '50's and early '60's.  Oh... and we had a little bit of carpet that had been donated so we carpeted the lowest level of the stage.
Finally, on our fourth work day, we were ready to decorate the set.  We made curtains... we got knick-knacks... we hung pictures... and looked for tons of cookie jars.  Set dressing is not my favorite part of the set design process.  This is where my friend Jeff, the director, shines!  He loves to go shopping for little things.  Anyway, we make a great team.  if I were to do this more professionally, I'd want to hire him to help me with the finishing details.
 We started out with a green table with chairs that we painted white from our friends at Pentacle Theatre.  Then, one of our actors' mom came in and offered her family table and chairs.  They were perfect!I was so impressed with how well it tied all the colors together and made the set look complete.

Our last part of the process was to focus the lights and set the 11 light cues.  My Hannah did a good job with her design.  In all, Crimes of the Heart has moved up as one of my favorite creations.  It was such a cute little kitchen!
 In addition to set design and construction, I also got to help with directing this show.  I sure love directing.  Once again, it works because my friend Jeff and I make a great team.  We compliment each others strengths and weakness well.  I came into rehearsal when he wanted me to and helped with character development and a little with blocking.  It is amazing what a little understand of a back story can do for a character.  Anyway, I had a great time with this show and look forward to further adventures at Central with my friend Jeff.
 See!  Isn't it cute!
 Funny how all that work comes down so quickly...  Next show... Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Weekly Report of the Boyack House

 Things are moving along here at the Boyack house.  One of my favorite times of day is teaching Seminary.  This past week I taught about the "awful monster" mentioned in 2 Nephi.  I drew this on the board.  I think it's pretty good for a stick-figure picture.  LOL.  I had the kids draw there own monsters too.  One kids drew a snake.  I agree.  One kid drew a guy stabbing a dragon.  Pretty impressive.  But, Hannah's picture made me laugh.  She drew a spider.  LOL.  Lillian would have to agree.  We are moving a little slowly.  I'm going to have to pick it a bit.  I am still in 2 Nephi.  It's hard to move forward when there is so much to teach and so little time to teach it.  Oh well... the main goal is to teach study stills.  They will need to be able to find these truths on there own soon enough.

Hannah and I spent our evening at the high school for the Fall play.  I was the Tech Director/Set Designer and went to support the director and solve problems.  Hannah was the lighting designer.  Originally, she was going to run lights too.  However, a nice boy sort of took over.  She only ran one night.  She still went "just in case."  The show went well enough.  For a high school production, they did alright.  I did think that this turned out to be one of my favorite sets.  The show only ran for 4 nights... then we ripped it all down.  There are concerts and auditions for the winter play scheduled for this week.  No time to dream about more performances. Moving on to the next thing in the auditorium.

I wish the school district cared more about the facility.  I was going to add an area mic so that the kids in the tech booth could hear the play, but I couldn't.  The 4 NEW area mics are missing.  They are not where I left them last.  We searched the entire auditorium, ASBEC room, choir room and cafeteria stage.  Nothing.  Not only does equipment go missing, but I often go in to help and end up spending hours repairing equipment that has been treated poorly and now can't be used.  They are loosing so much money and opportunity because they don't invest in protecting their investment.  My friend (who runs all the drama stuff) was told that he just needs to learn to run everything and run all the extra events.  Really?  The poor guy never goes home as it is.  He is the choir teacher, Student actives Director and the Drama Director for the school.  Not only is he responsible for teaching choir, drama, student government class, he is responsible for choir competitions and concerts, drama productions and competitions, students activities and assemblies, student dances, and link crew.  See why he never goes home?  He is doing the jobs or three people... without the pay of three people. (this is why I volunteer to do tech.  At least I can relieve some of his over-worked schedule).  Oh well... their lose in so many ways.

 I think the main problem is in priorities.  Our school district seems to think that the greatest achievements are those of student athletes.  Although, I admit, they are accomplishing great things as they keep up with sports and school, they are not they only successful jugglers in the school.  Many kids are balancing school work with  music, drama, student body activities, and even jobs.  Yet, I don't see the administration giving equal credit to all parties.  Some how, sports (football in particular) greats more attention and money than any other school activity.  Sadly, I think it must be the true for most schools.  It just makes me maddest at this school.

On Friday I went to an assembly honoring kids that earned a good GPA.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I think we should honor kids that put their all into their studies.  That is not my problem.  My problem is that their "efforts" to make school cool are back firing.  I have not met one kid that thinks those assemblies are a good thing.  Even the kids getting the awards think the assembly is dumb.  However, my main problem with the event wasn't all that... it was that the Superintendent made it very clear that the real honor goes to athletes.  As the students names were called, they were to walk up and shake the hand of the Superintendent and  the principle. It was all very formal... with the exception of the athletes.  The football players were grabbed by the administration and hugged with far more energy than the rest. It was very clear that these kids were considered"more special" than the other kids.  I do agree that it is amazing that they can keep their grades above a 3.0 while doing a sport with all the practices and games.  However, it is no more admirable than the kids that do the same thing while attending play rehearsal and performance.  The time commitment is the same people! In addition, the crowd was ask to refrain from clapping until all the names were read.  They were reminded every time someone whooped or clapped for someone they knew... except if that person was a football player.  Really!?!  The real accomplishment here is that these kids love to learn.  They have parents that make education a priority.  They are learning to be organized and to mange their time wisely.  They are holding themselves to a higher standard.  Football has nothing to do with it.  I'm tired of seeing this town make some school activities more important than others.  Their meager messages are back firing and most of the kids could care less about what they learn and how much they learn.

Oh well.  I am pleased with Hannah and her efforts to balance plays, concerts, and outside interests with her academic school work.  She drives herself to getting good grades. There is no need for us to bark at her to get homework done.  She has learned to love learning.  This is all her reward!

I should get off my soap box now.

 Saturday John got some pumpkins and helped Lillian and two friends make some jack-o-lanterns.  Poor Lillian.  John and I are getting old and are old fuddy-duddies.  We weren't too interested in going to a pumpkin patch.  We didn't ever really want to carve pumpkins.  Guilt got the better of us.  Thus, while Hannah and I went to the high school for the final performance, John and Lilli messed up the kitchen.  Lilli was happy.  We now have a rotting pumpkin on the porch.
Sunday I had a weird missionary experience.  I was sitting on the bench and noticed a girl in jeans come into the chapel and sit by herself at the end of the bench in front of me.  The little voice in my head said, "go ask her to sit by you."  I was in a good mood so I hopped up and and said she looked lonely and invited her to move back with me.  She did.  We chatted before the meeting and I learned that she was a student at Western learning sign language.  She was from a little town near Rainier, Washington n had recently moved to Monmouth. I asked her about her church experiences.  I asked what brought her to church and she said she followed the signs... they were all over town.  I giggled to myself.  She was really heading to the church next door.  But she stayed.  I whispered and explained what was happening at the beginning of the meeting.  During the Sacrament I felt impressed that I needed to give her a Book of Mormon and have her read 3 Nephi.  I whispered to John, who whispered to the guy passing the bread to us, who went and got a Book of Mormon from the missionaries.  I turned to 3 Nephi 11.  She read until the speaker got up to speak again.  She stayed until John and I left the bench to sing in the choir.  It was a bummer.

But I learned a couple things: A successful missionary is one that follow the promptings of the Spirit, not necessarily baptizing every person they talk to. A successful missionary is one that is friendly and is willing to share.  This girl may not have stayed at church.  She might not have wanted to talk to the missionaries.  She didn't keep the Book of Mormon I gave her.  However, I learned that my actions were actions of a good member missionary.  I was successful because I followed the Spirit.  I was successful because I was friendly.  I was successful because I was willing to share.  I learned that being a member missionary isn't really that hard.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Boyack Update

I guess I was waiting for something exciting to happen and maybe a picture or two before I posted an update.  Sadly, it's been two weeks and nothing super exciting has happened... I haven't taken any more pictures... but if I get out of the habit of posting some kind of update I may never get back to it.  Let's face it.  That would not be good for posterity.  How else would they know we live a mundane life.  LOL.

Let's see... what has happened around here?

Hannah goes to school.  I don't like it much.  She is never home.  When she could be home, she asks to go to her friends' houses.  She's been getting to be more teenage-like.  You know... snippy... not asking but telling... avoiding helping around the house... teasing Lilli.  I miss the sweet helpful Hannah.  Darn School.  At least she is getting good grades.  She is liked be many people.  She is designing lights for the fall play.  She is a "super fan" at the football games.

Lillian is busy with school.  She is doing better this year with home school... much better focus.  She lines up her cat and her puppy and they all sit in her room and she works away.  She is motivated by her little job at the Dance Studio.  I told her if her school work wasn't done she couldn't go to dance or to work.  She gets to it.  As an added bonus she is getting the hang of math... she doesn't hate it to much.  She is also getting to be a good writer.  She wrote a great talk for the Primary program that she delivered today in Sacrament Meeting.

Chad drives to Chemeketa everyday... although Tuesdays and Thursdays are his long days.  He seems to be doing well in class (although he asks John and I to help with his homework all the time and even got a couple friends to help when we didn't know how to best help him).  He is "cutting" right now.  He wants to loose 5 more pounds before he starts to "bulk" again.  He lifts everyday.  He is getting very strong.  He has posted a couple videos of his progress on his Facebook page.  I think someday we will be cheering for him at some body building competition.

Chad has been dragging John to workouts.  John is dead for a couple of days after that.  John has also been working long hours at work... good for paying down the bills.  He has been great about giving up some time on weekends to help with a set at Central.  He just helped me get running water for Crimes of the Heart.  It's pretty cool.  He is a great chicken farmer.  He now gets 10 eggs a day.  Sadly, one of his "girls" was found dead today.  It looks to me that she stuck her head through the fence and her neck broke.  Poor chicken.

As for me... my days are still the same... home school... seminary... set building... a couple lessons... Case... just a normal, uneventful couple of weeks.

Next report could be more exciting.  Maybe I'll get pictures, after all, Crimes of the Heart opens on Tuesday... Halloween is coming (although I am thinking about boycotting that)... and someone is bound to do something exciting.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Favorite Conference thoughts - October 2013

I love Conference!  We are so lucky to have such great instruction, inspiration, and spirit twice a year.  I wish it were longer... or more often.  I could use the pick me up on some days.

The following are the impressions I had as I listened to this semi-annual General Conference:

Saturday Morning

  • What?!  No new temple announced... that's new...
  • Christ has commanded us to share the gospel.  I'm not good at that.  I try, but I really don't know who else to talk to.  I guess I will have to settle for doing my best to live what I believe and talk to whoever will listen... so more.
  • I can help by making a contribution to the missionary fund.  I need to look at the budget.
  • Elder Hales reminded me to do more about what I learn in Conference... I guess making this list is a start.
  • I did well at STARTING a Conference Study thing last conference, but I lost steam.  I should start that again... even if no one ever "studies" with me.  I will start this week with the first talk.
  • Elder Hales taught I should study what the kids are learning too so that we can have meaningful conversations... sigh... I am running out of time.  Between study for seminary (my calling) study for Sunday School, study what the kids are learning, study RS lessons, do Family History, and real life, there isn't enough time to do it all.  It's overwhelming.  There isn't time to leave my house and look for people that haven't already turned me down or to serve in my community with all this to do.  Hope God shows me how.
  • Parents are to take the lead in teaching the gospel to their kids.  Be proactive.
  • Do more on Family History
  • Continue to ask the kids, "What did you learn at church today?" during Sunday dinners.
  • Living in the Spirit reflects righteousness
  • take up my cross daily
  • look for gentle reminders that He is there
  • It is possible to change
  • The Sacrament renews ALL covenants
  • God is generous with His power
  • We need each other and our different roles and gifts.  No need to be jealous of gifts or responsibilities of others... including cross gender.
  • God will keep His promises when we honor Him
  • Never look back... look what there is still left to do
  • Faith is always looking ahead
  • When we live the law of tithing we are blessed in ordinary, yet unexpected ways... significant yet subtle
  • Do more with less
  • study the list with the Son's of Helaman
  • I've seen that... retrospective and hindsight
  • set some money aside for emergency and work hard to get out of debt
  • we honor personal agency
  • god is perfect... He can fix this...
  • If we could see heart we would see that we are all struggling have more in common than we don't have in common
  • We are all Hippocrates... the point is to desire to be better today than I was yesterday
  • transform faith into action
Saturday afternoon

  • Happiness depends on living Christ's standards
  • find help in the scriptures
  • I am late but I am clean
  • Scriptures are the key to our protection
  • The best place to influence the world is from the home
  • Teach my kids to act responsible... get an education
  • be a woman who is kind, faithful, good, virtuous, pure...and many more I could write fast enough
  • be a member missionary
  • pray for the local missionaries by name
  • serve with enthusiasm
  • concentrate on small and simple things
  • God can heal all things
  • life is meant to be hard... it is to strengthen us
  • forgive... freely
  • show compassion for those who have mental illness or problems I don't understand
  • hope is never lost
  • watch for stress indicators and stop doing that stressful thing
  • fatigue is a common enemy
  • take time to be well
  • fix what you can and stop worrying about the rest
  • be a missionary
  • ask God to help you be a missionary
  • just talk to people
Sunday Morning

  • Choices lead to happiness...
  • accept and magnify all callings
  • pray for the angels to help wayward family members
  • "I gave Him to you because I knew you could love him..."
  • Let him see what I believe and feel through the choices I make... through my life
  • put God first
  • Family is the center of the PLAN
  • love ALL respect ALL
  • Man cannot change God's laws
  • Hold on... don't cave
  • pray for understanding and what to do about the people in my life
  • work towards true conversion
  • I am responsible for my own testimony.... so is everyone else.  I can't have a testimony for my kids
  • look for peace in my challenges
  • a testimony, like a body needs to be "in shape" look at it
  • Get into Shape!
  • Recognize the power of the Atonement
  • braking a covenant is never justified
  • love the lessons of the Stripling Warriors and their fathers!  Great insight!
  • Repentance is not a punishment... it is hope
  • give time and attention to my family freely
  • everyone has hard times... be patient
  • be grateful for blessing
  • be better today than I was yesterday
  • pray and LISTEN everyday
Sunday Afternoon

  • bondage is spiritual and physical
  • bondage happens when we get stuck on the philosophies of men
  • Christ is the liberator!
  • power in the priesthood is for everyone
  • teach by the Spirit
  • my own person prep is the key
  • search the scriptures more
  • Listen!  To the Spirit and to the students
  • be willing to let go
  • Stand as a witness
  • hang on tight!  It's getting dicey!
  • church meeting teach us to serve as well as give us opportunity to learn doctrine
  • Be ready to celebrate the home coming!
  • Look up!
  • God wants me to develop more faith and trust in him
  • aging is a gift
  • work harder on caring for the temple of my spirit
  • fast for help
  • I am so impressed with President Monson attitude of gratitude... oh to be like him
So there are my thoughts.  I will try harder this time to study the talks before the next conference.

What did you learn?

and here are some of my favorite posters I found on the internet: