Sunday, August 19, 2007

Catching Up, Running In Dennis, and My New Niece!

Catch-up day today, it'll probably be a Part I because I'm still playing life catch-up.

First, and most importantly, WE HAVE MORE HONOR ROLL MEMBERS!!!
Let's welcome
HELEN QUINN & JOHN PERNICK (not to mention their lovely children Natalie and George)


Total to date:


Now that CORPSE! is behind me, I'm coming back with a vengeance, trying to reach my $5000 goal for Fred's Team. If you would like to become a member of the world's finest honor roll, support the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital in NYC, and sponsor my 2007 NYC Marathon effort all at the same time, please click here. Your donation is tax-deductible and securely registered on the site, not to mention appreciated, applauded and desperately needed. Thank you all so much, for reading my blog and for supporting such a worthy cause.

As I mentioned before, we've changed up our workouts to now include the step/hill combo in Riverside Park on far W. 72nd. St. If you thought the Belvedere steps were nutty, check these bad boys out:

The hill that's attached to it is to the left, at the top of the stairs. I tried to get pictures of us in action running down the hill, but was fairly unsuccessful, as you can see if you view the entire photo album of this particular workout (minus the unattractive butt shots) by clicking on my Koday Gallery link, which I believe is this. These are just a few of the better shots, taken both by me and by Coach Annie.

This is a view from the bottom of the steps towards the river. You can see the mini-track where we did our parachute workout.

Action shots!

I took this one on the run -- we do combos like "run up the steps, down the hill, across the path by the river, and back up to the foot of the steps." This is the view of the Hudson.
What I wish I had gotten pictures of was Coach Jeff hand-feeding a squirrel as we were waiting for everyone to arrive for the workout. It was both cute and squirm-inducing, because squirrels are basically rats in fuzzier wrapping. But awww, he was hanging onto Jeff's hand and taking the bread. It reminded me of one summer, when I was working for the Ogunquit Playhouse up in southern Maine. Someone thought it would be funny to feed one of the chipmunks that hung around the building, and for some reason named this chipmunk Phil. Next thing we know, Phil started wandering into the building looking for food. Was this the same chipmunk, who knows, but at the time we were doing a show that featured a lot of food props -- since they weren't eaten and only needed to stay good for two weeks, the propsmaster simply shellacked the real things -- and they were being eaten. The next step was a backstage visit from Phil and his buddies during a show, and as the grand finale, Phil made his onstage debut during a production of A MAJORITY OF ONE, a play about the relationship between the Japanese and the Jews after the war, starring Phyllis Newman and Randall Duk Kim. It's towards the end of the play, Phyllis is downstage giving an impassioned speech, and from behind the couch -- here comes Phil. He wandered around by the couch for a minute or two, then left the way he came. Fortunately for everyone, Phyllis never turned around, because they'd still be scraping her off the ceiling. This used to happen in Vermont, too, at the Dorset Theatre Festival, when the lovely Jill Charles was artistic director. She had outdoor cats that would occassionally wreak minor havoc on the performance. One (I forget which) would get lonely and start scratching at the door to the theater, yowling and crying to be let in. Speedy had a better idea -- don;t ask me how he did it, but if there was a fireplace on your set, at some point during the run of your show Speedy would pop out of it at an inopportune moment. Lends credence to the saying that just because there's a roof and four walls around you, doesn't mean you're indoors.
But I digress.
Even though the Riverside step workouts are more exhausting than the Belvedere steps I like them better. For one, the view is better. Having the hill component and the mini-track is also great, there's more variety in the exercises Jeff has us do. And even though there are some people who seem to be consciously oblivious (I just coined that phrase!) to the fact that 20 sweaty runners are charging at them and refuse to carry on their conversations, say, up six stairs and maybe a foot to the left, there are a lot less here than at the Belvedere steps.

The other thing I like is that the exercises tend to be a little longer, because you're going up, then down, then around, then back up -- like that. I'm not much of a sprinter, I'm in it for the long haul. So the longer stuff appeals to me, even though we're talking the difference between a 16 second exercise and a 60 second exercise.
One highlight, if it can be called that, of last Thursday's workout -- Jeff gave an exercise, something like, "Up the steps two at a time, charge down the hill, at the trashcan down at the bottom of the hill slow it down, continue around..." etc. So we charge up the steps, charge down the hill, get to the trashcan, and -- the back half of a large RAT was sticking out of the trashcan (it was an openweave can.) EWW! So we're all "eewww" ing and pointing as we pass. Jeff thought it was dead, but I wasn't the only one who thought I saw some wiggling. SICK! Reminded me of the "good old days" of NYC. Did NOT get a picture of that. Even I have limits.
Couldn't run with the group on Saturday because I was taking my show, CORPSE! up to the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, MA, the mid-point of Cape Cod. Yes, I do get to work at a lot of nifty vacation spots during the summer, but let me tell you, were it not for running, the only part of Dennis I would be familiar with is the one-mile stretch of 6A between the motel and the theater, because that's all I do when I'm there, work and sleep.

The Playhouse is one of the last -- no, I take that back, THE last, theater on the old straw hat circuit. Back in the day, there used to be around 50 or so one-week stock theaters on this circuit. When you were employed as an actor on a show for this circuit, you had work for a year, you'd be in New England for the summer and start moving down south and west for the fall and winter. Each theater had its own stage manager, and each show had its own SM. All the shows (probably about 20 or so) would rehearse, then fan out to the first batch of theaters. They'd be teched in, then open. The day after the show opened, the show's SM (aka the advance) would take a copy of the calling script (which had all the technical cues in it) and all the information on how to run the show, and go to the next stop for the show. These shows only traveled with the actors, the costumes, and maybe a couple of specialty props that would be difficult to replicate. Everything else was provided from scratch by each theater, working off of the design blueprint from the originating theater. So the advance would be there to give the information about what the specific needs for the show were, from which way the doors needed to hinge to how many pieces of toast needed to be made for the prop. They'd also be teaching the resident SM what each cue did and how to call the show. All the shows closed on Saturday night. Actors packed up, and headed for their new theater on Sunday. Crews worked through the night on Saturday loading out the old show, spent Sunday loading in the new show, added the technical cues Sunday night, Monday afternoon the actors would tech through the show in its new space, and it opened Monday night. The advance leaves Tuesday for the next theater. Repeat every week for one year.
There is no more circuit, but there are still a few theaters that operate under this contract (now a two-week contract,) the Cape being one of them. The shows rehearse in NYC (or elsewhere,) with an advance SM, come to the Cape and tech the show in with the resident SM Sunday night and Monday, the show opens Monday night and the advance, instead of going to the next theater, simply goes home, unemployed. Sigh. Anyway, this past Saturday was our tech weekend, so instead of doing the long training run, we had our final run-through in the space, packed up the car with our costumes, some of the props we were using in rehearsal that would be used in the show, and left for the Cape. And let me tell you, it was a perfect day for a long run -- cool and overcast. I was sad to have missed it -- it was one of the NYRR sponsored long runs, which meant there'd be food, water and gels available, plus pace groups and support. But I was looking forward to my Sunday long run in Dennis.
The car ride took about 5 hours (it was me, the director and the costume designer -- the cast traveled separately the next day) and after I dropped them off at the theater, I went down to the Stop and Shop to buy the Sunday crew breakfast. The advance traditionally does this as a thank-you to the kids who've been working all night, and will be working fairly non-stop for the next two days, to get your show up and running. Plus, a NYer going to a mega-food store is really like porn, such a cheap thrill. I resisted going out with the Cape staff and outgoing cast after the show, since I had to be up and out early the next day.
Off and running at 6am. I really wanted to bring a camera with me, but didn't want to have to deal with it. So here's a site where you can see pictures of some of the beaches at the Cape. My route, for those of you familiar with the Cape, or Dennis, or whatever: start at the Briarcliffe Motel, go up Rte 6a to Setucket Road (the only road in Dennis with a sidewalk, because it's a bike path) go down Setucket just past Rte 134 to where the bike path ends, turn around and come back to 134, down 134 to 6A, stop at Scargo Beach and see how beautiful it is (no path around it, but you can run down to the parking lot and look at it) continue up 6A past the Playhouse to the center of town, down around Chapin Beach, back up and around to Resident Beach, then back up to 6A and up to the Briarcliffe. 16 beautiful miles. If there is a heaven, it looks like Chapin Beach at 7am.
Having found out the hard way last year that there's no water available en route, and Grumpy's breakfast place got its name for a reason (but boy are the omelettes good) I had an off-brand Camelbak with water. I mention that it was an off-brand because when I first saw it online (on ebay) I thought, what's the difference between Camelbak and some no-name brand? Well, the Hydr8 had no instructions. And believe it or not, you need instructions to figure out how to best position the hose and how to get water OUT, both by drinking it and by emptying it out at the end of the run. I practiced with it a few times beforehand, to get used to it, and let me tell you, I almost had an aneurysm trying to suck water out of the damn thing. I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. It took a while to figure out how to adapt the hose and mouthpiece to actually get water from it. Also, because it's a single piece (the Camelbak has an insertable bladder inside a pack) you can hear it sloshing amusingly as you run. Not the best soundtrack for someone who can pee 6 times in an hour, on a course with no bathrooms. Nevertheless, between the faux-Camelbak, the Fuel Belt with Gatorade and my iPod tuned to Phedippidations -- a great running podcast, check it out here -- it was a comfortable, perfect run; cool, clear and sunny, low traffic, gorgeous scenery.
Good lordy, I'm barely past Sunday. More anon, then we'll be caught up for sure. Coming up: teching a crazy show in 5 hours, Thursday's step workout, and this past Saturday's 16-miler.
We'll end with the latest edition to my family. Meet Tzipporah Chaya Raizel, born August 14 to my brother and sister-in-law:

And here's Tante Marci with Tzippoleh and my oldest niece, 3-year-old Kayla Malka:

More very soon!!

No comments: