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From Emma – So This is Christmas

December 18, 2015

I started writing my blog post about three weeks ago. It wasn’t this. Guess the time got away from me.

Follies has a way of twisting and distorting time. It feels like we start Christmas celebrations at the end of September/beginning of October, hit a peak at beginning of December, and then work like crazy to keep that seasonal high lasting through three weekends of performance.

It’s easy to complain about how early the Christmas decorations go up in stores. I get that. Sometimes I agree. But there’s definitely something energizing about rocking out to Christmas music (or rocking out to not-traditionally-Christmas-music-but-I’m-wearing-an-elf-suit-so-it-must-be-Christmasy music), especially with a fun, talented group of people that you love.

Follies is a joy this year. I mean, it’s a joy every year. Still, it’s a challenge to sustain that seasonal joy over thirteen shows. Part of the process for original work (and Follies in particular) is the fact that it’s created anew and often still evolving; you create the show, you trust the director, but it’s not until there’s an audience in the room that you know how the thing moves and breathes. Still, deviate too much and it ceases to be the same show. You want to be practiced, precise, but adaptable – while simultaneously projecting seasonal joy, love, ridiculousness, and energy. It’s a lot to track in your head.

After being a part of the process for eight years, and having been raised Jewish, I find myself wondering lately what Christmas is like for “normal people.”

For me?

Christmas is Bill in a wedding dress, singing “O Holy Night” in falsetto.

Christmas is a battle royale of yellow post-it notes on the rehearsal room wall: 120+ scene ideas walk in, 24 walk out.

Christmas is clown noses and shopping carts and high heels and a full-head fish mask and a panda.

Christmas is costumes draped out across every seat in the theatre while Lisa dresses us up, scene by scene.

Christmas is me trying to capture backstage moments on camera, despite the dim lighting playing havoc with the auto-focus.

Christmas is sold out houses on closing weekend, full of families who waited until all the kids were home for the holidays to come and see the show.

It’s closing weekend, so pretty soon, Christmas will be shifting to things like travel, spending time with family, catching our collective breath, and eating too much food (or drinking too much boilo…). But looking back at the past two months of merriment and insanity, it really is such a privilege to be a part of Christmas for so many people every year.

And look, I know it’s like, ten months away, but we’ve already started kicking ideas around for next year’s Follies

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill permalink
    December 18, 2015 5:23 pm

    OH, Emma, so love this post. Me too. Me too.

  2. December 18, 2015 6:16 pm

    It is always worth the effort from my tiny little seat in the darkness. Such joy.

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