Chorus member Terry Winslow e-mailed this photograph of a tarasque to the chorus this week:
Here’s proof that the tarasque is a real live piece of Provence’s folk history: a carving on a column at the church of Saint-Trophime in Arles. If I understand the construction history correctly, the oldest parts of the complex date back to the 12th century. This column is part of the cloister next to the church. Explore the church on this nifty website.
Terry’s wife, Diane, was the one who had the idea to knit tiny tarasques, and she pointed out how much this carved tarasque looks like my design. My brilliant team of tarasque knitters used my pattern to produce 10 of the little guys to be sold at the merchandise table the second weekend of The Christmas Revels.
If you’re a knitter, the tarasque has its own pattern page on Ravelry, although I haven’t uploaded the pattern yet.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few days helping to finish the Christmas Revels program. Our program is really elaborate. It has about eight articles, some about Revels activities and some about aspects of this year’s show. There’s a section of program notes that list every song, poem, and dance in the show, with a ton of information contributed by a lot of different people. It’s quite a job to make the notes both accurate and concise. Not to mention that things change, so we have to make sure the items are in the right order and list the right performers. The final product is beautiful. (And, I hope, interesting.)
Yesterday I had some expert assistance on the final proofread.
That’s a teeny knitted tarasque, the mythical beast that will appear on stage. We plan to sell these little guys at Lisner, so start saving your pennies. Not this one, though – I don’t think I can part with him.
We saw the full-sized tarasque in action yesterday. WOW. Seriously. I had no idea. It’s so…lively. And I heard the tarasque puppeteers are scheduled for a special rehearsal tonight to make it even cooler.
By the way, if anyone wants to pitch in and knit some tarasques for the merchandise table, I’ll e-mail you the pattern. It takes about three hours for me to knit one. There’s no crochet pattern, but anyone is welcome to design one and share it.
As the fall goes on, rehearsal starts taking up more time and more space. This weekend we have two all-day rehearsals at a school in Bethesda. Saturday there were props. Today there will be costumes. There are musicians wielding brass instruments. There are musicians wielding every other kind of instrument, too. And apparently we’re going to perform this show in two weeks in front of a paying audience, so Saturday seemed like a good time for the directors tell us where to stand for the second half of the show.
So we spent all day Saturday under fluorescent lights in a gym, walking through the second part of the show. Lines on the floor corresponded to the borders of the Lisner Auditorium stage. We got a bit of music practice with the brass quintet and Trio Sefardi. I used to find these all-day blocking rehearsals exhausting, but I’ve learned over the years when I need to pay attention and when I can zone out. I impressed one of the new people with my ability to knit whenever there was a break in the action.
One of the teenagers got excited this morning when she heard I was writing a blog and said I should do it Gossip Girl-style. Me: “I heard a rumor that someone hasn’t memorized all her lyrics yet.” Her: “Is it…95 percent of the chorus?”
I think most of us know most of the lyrics already, and I know I’ll have it all down by the time the show opens (hopefully earlier). But the lyrics don’t really get solidified in my head until I put my notebook down, walk around, and sing the songs as if we were on stage. With more than 40 hours of rehearsal in the next two weeks, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to do that.
Today we’re back for another six hours in the gym. It’ll be our first time running the whole show, our first time rehearsing in costume–and our first rehearsal “off book.” That means the notebook, with my script and music, stays in my backpack. Yikes. I’ll be spending the morning transferring all of my blocking notes onto a piece of paper and copying the lyrics I’m not totally sure about onto index cards. Then I just have to confront the reality of a day where I’m reliant on pieces of paper and wearing lovely white robes…with no pockets.
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