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Monday, April 10, 2006

Palm Sunday

On Sunday, Mass at Christendom was pretty normal, with the exception that today was Palm Sunday, and thus it was normal for Palm Sunday. The schola dressed up in cassocks and surplices (too bad they weren't choir surplices) and went outside for the blessing of the Palms. We sang a couple chants outside and then processed inside.

The only other difference was that I got to sing the Gradual verse by myself. That was scary. I kept expecting my voice to crack, but it didn't...

Dr. Poterack, Dr. Davidson, and Father Heisler chanted the Passion, and instead of having the chorus line for the second half of the Gospel, a select group of the choir sang the responses in polyphony. It was truly an amazing feeling. Chant and polyphony bouncing off each other like that...

After Mass and brunch, I got ready to go to Old St. Mary's. I didn't leave immediately, because I had some time, so I went over to the girl's side and chatted with Emma for a while. I asked if she was going to the play. She said that she wanted to, work permitting. I offered to pick her up, depending upon how long it took me to get out of D.C. It wasn't really out of the way, because the only way that I knew to get to the Theatre was to go through Front Royal. I had taken another way before, but that was with directions...

Mass at Old St. Mary's was actually really nice. Three schola members sang the Passion. It was really moving -- and really long. I wouldn't be complaining if I hadn't been so tired, but after a long Mass in the morning, a long drive to D.C., and the promise of a long way to go before the day was over, it was very tiring. When the schola sang out the responses, I was very tempted to sing out the bass line of the polyphony from the morning. I had to really look at the music to remember how it went. It was a stark contrast to the Passion of the morning. Where the Passion this morning resonated with beautiful polyphonic tones (they were potentially beautiful -- I don't know if we helped or hindered that beauty from coming out), these chant verses were deliberately sung with a sense of sneering, to add to the cruelty of the Passion. It only helped me see it all in my head as the Latin was being chanted...

After Mass, as I approached Constitution, I called Emma, and told her that I would be late, but I could still come pick her up. A surprise was waiting for me: Constitution had an accident on it, and it was backed up for blocks. I should have turned off, but I didn't...

After exiting D.C., I burned rubber back to Christendom. I picked up Emma, and tore off to Little Washington. I saw most of the play. I think the actors all knew when I showed up. I could not stop laughing practically throughout the entire performance.

Being the final performance, the actors almost always do something funny to spice up the play. The best line was when Sam P. quoted Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind (the only good line in the entire movie), "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." It took several seconds for the place to die down from the cheers and the laughter that erupted from the audience after delivering that line. It was so perfect. He even had the look of Rhett Butler with the small mustache, and he sounded a lot like him too...

There were two other spots where I caught the actors adding lines. One was immediately after Sam's line. John J. yelled a line directed at Christina M., the same line he used on her in Hamlet: "Get thee to a nunnery!" The second was Julian A.'s all-famous Darth Vader impersonation. After Oberon realizes that Puck enchanted the wrong man and broke up a couple who were actually in love, Julian (Oberon) got the look in his eyes, raised his right hand, and made a force-like motion towards Josepha B. (Puck), and said the immortal line in the immortal voice, "You've failed me for the last time." Josepha played along perfectly, grabbing at her throat, choking, and when Julian "let her go", she dropped to the ground, and took a few deeps breaths. It was great. :)

Peter S. (Peach) was great as Bottom. He held the audience in the palm of his hand. If he wanted them to laugh, they would do so. Fortunately, that's all he had to do was get them to laugh. After he changed and grew the head of a donkey, it was all over for any sense of sanity that I had left. I could not stop laughing. It was so perfect. He played the role of the ass remarkably well. No offense, buddy... :-D

And Greg M., a HUGE freshman, played the part of the guy who has to act to be a girl for Bottom's troupe. It was simply amazing. He also played the audience very well. When he hit the "wall" (played by Grant, another freshman) in frustration, he broke Grant's "wall" costume in half. Fortunately, he warned Grant ahead of schedule that he was going to hit him as hard as he could, so Grant took it really well. The impact of the blow resonated all over the theatre, and the board Grant was wearing snapped in half. Both Peach and Grant looked absolutely stunned as they picked up the board from the ground. Needless to say, the strength and the deep bass voice of Greg really helped enhance the needed effect, namely that the actor in the play did not want to play the role of the woman, and is only doing so rather grudgingly, after Bottom took all the other roles.

Anyway, after the play was over, I had to go congratulate everyone on a magnificent job. Mad props to the director, too! Poor Donna S. looked so frazzled...

*Side Note*
Donna, if you're reading this, I don't think that I ever told you what an honor it was working with you in Hamlet. I hope that if you continue directing, you'll let me know?
*End Side Note*

After all the congratulations had been given, we left and I got Emma back to campus before midnight. I got back home at 1:00 AM.
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