Sunday, May 16, 2010

And it is over

The last two Xerxes performances were uneventful. Which is I guess what we all want. No split pants, no missed cues (on anyone’s part), the audience applauded, make-up stayed on and in place, no one twisted an ankle or broke a leg, snacks were comfortably eaten, jackets had buttons, no backs were wretched out of place, vests were laced, wigs stayed in place, voices were in excellent shape – it was a smooth and happy time. During the thunderstorms Friday night, Susan came out of her dressing room wearing her Act II costume and her reader glasses and did a Ben Franklin impression where she was looking for lightening with a kite. Reminding me why she is so funny, and has such a creative, infectious look at life as we live it.

Susan’s boyfriend was here, so there was less time on the iPhone since he was (happily for her) in H-town. Her brother and very funny sister-in-law were also here, which is always nice. When you have dressed the same person for years, you get to know many of their family members, as well as managers, and longtime friends. Betty (Susan’s mom) didn’t make it to Houston this year, but I did get updates on her and Leon. I also miss that Libby is no longer perched on a chair in the dressing room, Susan’s delightful poodle that has gone off to doggy heaven.

The costume, wig, props, etc. crates are ready to be packed. After the closing night show, all the dressers participate in “packing out” the show. Most costumes get dry-cleaned, shoes get restored to stock, socks, spanx (or other hosiery), binding, cravats, suspenders, and assorted other accessories go back into Houston Grand Opera inventory. After cleaning, they either go to be stored (if HGO owns the show) or to be returned to where it was rented from, or if a co-production, it may go to whoever gets it next, or who built it originally and will be keeping it warehoused. A variety of options can happen with the costumes. Houston Grand Opera has a long history of new productions, or co-productions with other companies, with the original costumes being built (made) in Houston. HGO has really great technical shops where costumes, wigs, props and other stage paraphernalia is artistically created.

I assume Susan and the boyfriend made their early morning flight. While I am not jealous of the difficult life of being on the road most of the year, I know she has some time at her home in Santa Fe coming up, and I am very jealous of that. Susan will be back next season, so this blog about her may have a repeat performance a year from now.

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