Scene4 Magazine: Claudine Jones |

Claudine Jones

It's All Theater

I loved Birdman. If I'm going to see a film I take Sean Penn's advice & inform myself as little as possible, so I went into it cold. I loved the cinematography, the claustrophobia  & the underwear (O the time I lost a crucial part of my costume which was in the trunk of the piccolo player's car out in the parking lot & she was in the pit, but managed to sneak out & retrieve it just in time for my entrance & this entire scenario played itself out in the confines of a pit with 10 players in a space for 5, & 25 actors in a backstage hallway—including costume rack.)


My chorus is doing Carmina Burana with a local ballet company next month, & we're planning on being as much off-book as we can—people are talking 'e-readers' like this is the norm, & while I like a gadget as much as the next Amazonian, I've personally formatted all my lyrics onto half-sheets that will fit in a mini-binder, one sheet to a movement—because the extra personnel joining us puts our numbers in the 200 range. We'll wear black from head to toe & disappear back of the dancers, but we'll still be elbow-to-elbow up there.  As I once heard Lukas Foss say at our Carnegie Hall dress of Missa Solemnis 'if you feel like you’re gonna faint, just sit down.'


My other chorus is also problematic, but in a different way: we're remaking ourselves to promote ‘Excellence in Choral Performance', yet we're heading into Hell Week & there are people just now showing up, saying things like 'this piece is missing the last page' (fixed that six weeks ago).  We've got gospel & classical & folk, plus a guy who plays harmonica, & a guitarist, too. I'm a ham, so I've volunteered myself to do a solo set, as have two other sopranos. Our conductor is also a composer, so he's madly putting together the personnel required for one of his oeuvre. It's lookin' dicey, but as they say, next week it'll all be over but the cryin'.  This is a benefit concert, in a 300 seat hall; the fun part projected for two months from now (for which I may or may not be available due to the other chorus) is Beethoven & Brahms, no less, requiring a 50 piece orchestra on stage with the singers.


O the more I go in little circles, ear-buds humming away—slash-slash/triangle-slash-slash/triangle-slash-slash/triangle-slash-slash/triangle—time slips along. Stopping to eat, or read, or collect eggs out in the backyard, or go coax Belina out of the neighbors' yard with a few raisins brok-brok-brok-brok, Monday rehearsal arrives & then Tuesday, then concentrated back & forth between sets of repertoire, details to be highlighted & so forth.  Major headache of trying to get everyone who might want to come to either of these presentations—well-meaning but potentially...not mediocre, but...way less important than they seem when you're rehearsing the crap of them. Tickets to sell, basically, & everybody has something to sell.





May 2015

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles,
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©2015 Claudine Jones
©2015 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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