Scene4-Internal Magazine of Arts and Culture
Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Back in the Saddle

It's insulting.

I'm coming up on my 68th birthday next week—there! I said it!—& I'm working on the vanity thing.

Actually some guy on FB posted a before & after view of an older woman & was all o, whoever did this make-up/ hair design worked a miracle; they usually look so tarted up & she looks graceful & natural.

I jumped on that wagon: yeah, well not when her roots start showing, & btw, that shit ain't cheap.

Last year I will admit that I had a severe reaction to the failure of my body to be physically present when all the rehearsing over a three month period came to fruition in Hollywood. I admit that.

Nobody did anything wrong. It was simply very hard to get over the disappointment.  My antidote was to start exercising vigorously; work that stuff outta my system. Now I'm finding that my relationship with food changed, too. I notice when I'm at a buffet I don't even feel like getting my money's worth. The idea of a plate piled high is slightly nauseating.

So here I am, still working with the same folks; there's still a great deal of camaraderie & terrific music. We just did Beethoven's Choral Symphony—in our socks so we wouldn't make noise coming on to the risers cause there were 200 of us—& it turned out great. Minimal music to maximum joy. 

Our director is an gig-magnet, though. New Year was a few seconds in & suddenly we're talking Norway in May. Boom. Like gotta start thinking what to wear in Trondheim & should I hit Oslo on the way back?

300 bucks buys you a week to start figuring out your airfares. 
I opted out.

Meanwhile, the old theater bug hits us. Hard. A local equity199-seat venue in downtown San Francisco launches a production that needs...a choir. Hooboy. Running late January through mid March, the idea is to group ~16 singers upstage on benches behind 0317-crthe 'action'; we rock our 4 churchy numbers in the first hour, exit, take off our choir robes.  Although the show's not over, it's okay to stay backstage if you are meeting an audience member after the performance, provided you are silent as a church mouse. Mostly we git the hell out of the theater via two flights down nasty metal stairs & through a restaurant kitchen alley out onto the sidewalk.

Being the theater-slut that I am, I go to the doodle poll & present myself as basically available for every performance in the run, plus previews. My reptilian brain repeats hey, they're offering a stipend. If you become a frequent flyer, you get paid.   Potentially I could beat my own record for performances in the length of a run.

The music is dead-easy. Choir members are vetted by the play's director to the extent that they are a) coherent & b) reliable.

While this is happening, we count down to the new semester which is a doozy: five directors, doing guest sets of their own favorite pieces. Five guys, eighteen selections ranging from doo-wop to Monteverdi.


The directors are wildly different—all male—& have very limited windows in which they can whip us into shape. One guy assumes that we're, I dunno, Mormon Tabernacle, & has an annoying habit of going straight for a downbeat before anybody even knows what page we're on. Another guy is hilarious, but some of the music he chose is kinda meh. Another two are former choir-members; one has written his own stuff & that's cool, but he's struggling to actually conduct us. Jury's out, but I think we'll be best memorizing his pieces; just my opinion. The other is—no snickering allowed here!—a psychiatrist in real life & the first time he had us, I thought he was going to have a melt-down; he didn't, but whoo...sure felt like it. He's clearly in love with the music he picked and the arrangements, so when he mutters to himself I know this so well, I can hear it in my head you wanna say o honey, we're gonna do right by you, don't worry...The last guy is our usually somewhat grim assistant director & for some reason—perhaps a new person in his life?—he has been positively chirpy.

Back at the theater, I've learned not to challenge the AD over her bizarre layout of the night's seat assignments. The first time I looked at it I turned to the nearest person & said what?


















I look at this & I see DS above the basses,  myself as second row, third from SL. That way I don't frickin have to read my name upside down. 

AD isn't having it, however; she patiently indicates that [pointing off SR] is Stage Right & that [pointing SL] is Stage LeftThis means you are front row, third from SR. It is all I can do to keep from whispering Bitch, I was probably aware of this before your MOTHER was born.

It's all good, though.  I'm done being insulted.

She's going to put me front & center on my birthday.

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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, check the Archives.

©2017 Claudine Jones
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine




March 2017

Volume 17 Issue 10

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