Ah, just look at that magnificent banner up there, that glorious explosion of color and shape and contrast and typeface, curvy and graceful and oh so unique. Ric Tresa, you are a champion among us.
And replacing my old background image got me to thinking. About how I generally interact with color and shape and contrast and pattern. At least in my wardrobe, which stands in stark contrast to my mother's. If you cracked open both of our closets, you would find:
- a) A collection of tailored, classic solids, arranged in the order of the spectrum (white to black, with an alarming amount of black) punctuated by three or four black-and-0ne-other-color spangly paisley toppy things thrown in (to mix with one of the pairs of black pants, or a black skirt, for the holidays).
- b) An explosion of prints and stripes and florals and paisleys in all the colors of the rainbow. Several small flocks of tropical birds could camouflage themselves in this closet. A male peacock, facing this closet, might well feel for the first time in his life inadequate.
(Think you've figured out which of us wears what? I'll let you know. Later.)
Back in the Pleistocene Era (i.e., SHS '82-'86), just after I'd stumbled across my first real extracurricular love (theatre) I joined the contest play troupe. Mercifully, I remember very little of the experience, but I was dating the guy who played opposite me in a piece of abject period melodramatic claptrap. I think maybe it dealt with suicide and/or death or something. You know, gripping, dramatic material that surely every 15-year-old can get a deep, Method-y grasp of.
(Some other day I'll blog about how, thanks to Speech Team, I need never, ever again hear certain dialogues from 'Night, Mother and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?')
I remember almost nothing about the Contest Play except that it was called Patterns. And it required me to wander around the more or less bare stage wearing a ridiculously heavy velvet-and-brocade gown spun in multiple jewel tones, sweating like the barnyard animals of yore, while sputtering lines that made me want to gag.
We were not a particularly competitive school in Forensics, and although we did regularly travel to Speech meets in a 3-hour radius around the state, "play practice" was mostly an excuse to hang out with the rest of the theatre geeks, moon over my co-star, be harangued by his best friend, and just generally goof off. Aurora East (just outside of Chicago) was the acknowledged powerhouse of the area; we felt lucky to take a third in some obscure event now and then, while they battled it out with Naperville. We were just in it for fun. As a result, rehearsals for the Contest Play were practically nonexistent.
Unlike other events that are repeated week after week (Dramatic Duet Acting, Humorous Duet Acting, Impromptu, Extemporanous Speaking, etc.), Contest Play was a once-a-year sort of thing. Or at least that's what our advisor told us. Perhaps for good reason.
The morning of the Contest Play meet dawned in the dead of the Northern Illinois Winter. It was below zero and 5:00 am. We, eight or ten of us, between 14 and 18, bundled into one of the high school vans and got on the road. Our advisor was driving and announced, much to our horror a few minutes outside of town, that the heat appeared not to be working. The meet was more than two hours away. It didn't really ever warm up much. By the time we got to whichever rural high school was hosting, I couldn't feel my feet. Some of us had minor cases of frostbite.
The drive up? Best part of the day.
The contest play was an unmitigated disaster. My boyfriend, I, my freinds--the whole stinking unrehearsed lot of us--forgot so many lines, dropped so many cues, that the whole thing, which was supposed to run 35-40 minutes, lasted no more than 12. I tried improvising, wandering around the stage hoping to look contemplative and dreamy (about death-n-stuff don'tchaknow), blabbering about Patterns. Hoping desperately that somebody (anybody!) would remember what in the hell we were really supposed to be saying and doing.
It didn't happen. By the time we slunk offstage, I pretty much knew that humiliated vomiting was on my next-ten-minutes agenda.
I think I remember my best friend and I, begging our advisor to just let us all go home early, before the awards started. (I've asked her to verify this recollection and will correct if I am mistaken). We stayed, and during those, I was even more humiliated, because the judges (what the fuck were they smoking?!) voted me into the "All Conference Cast," whatever in the hell that was.
That was the one and only year I did Contest Play.
Back to Right Now
This entire vivid memory came rushing back to me when I opened the email from Rick Tresa and discovered the glorious, gorgeous, colorful, swirly, heady banner he'd made for my blog. Because ...it's a Pattern.
And I don't do Patterns. (Well, I do, psychologically speaking. But not in aesthetics.)
Mine is the closet full of solids. I've always been told I should dress in demure solids that minimize generous hourglass proportions that yo-yo between "very nice" and "damn, girl, you've put on some weight"....
But damn, slipping Ric's beautiful banner banner onto this blog?