do you hear the people sing? | my les misérables experience

 

hey, guys!

at the end of february, my school put on a production of the classic musical les misérables. that’s a pretty challenging choice for a bunch of high schoolers, but i think we pulled it off pretty well.

i spent most of my time last month working on this show, so i thought i’d write about what that experience was like! i hope you enjoy this peek into a high school theatre department. :)


originally, i had auditioned to be part of ensemble. i sang left behind from spring awakening and it actually went a lot better than i had expected it to. but i ended up not getting cast (the directors made the cast super small this year, which doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, but oh well), so i decided to work backstage instead. my main job was doing props with one other girl, but i also helped my mom with fixing costumes when i got the chance, because props is kind of boring.

my proudest moment was when i got to carry a potted plant on stage at the beginning of in my life/a heart full of love. that was my one second in the spotlight and i only messed up half of the time!

the theatre tech class made hundreds of these for the show

personally, i didn’t enjoy backstage very much. our crew was entirely girls, and they were all a big group of friends. i only knew two of them from marching band, although i wasn’t very close with them anyway. so i felt out of the loop and a little excluded from crew stuff during the musical. like, they got a professional picture of the backstage girls that i wasn’t in, they bought pizzas during rehearsal without telling me, etc.

crew was seriously unappreciated. we were going over bows at one rehearsal, and when all of the actors had gotten their turn, someone asked our theatre director when crew was supposed to bow. she replied that we weren’t going to because she’d never been in a show where backstage bowed. everyone in crew was outraged, and it made some of the cast upset, too. i understand that in a professional show, crew probably wouldn’t get a bow, but this was just a high school production. crew had been at all the long rehearsals, we’d put in just as much effort as everyone else, and we felt like we deserved one moment of recognition. eventually, our director agreed to let us bow, but i think most of us were still bitter about it for the rest of the shows.

but i’m going to be honest: crew has more fun. while the actors were running back and forth between the wings, fussing with mics and costume changes, we got headsets and sang backstage and danced little jigs during master of the house and the wedding scene.

part of crew @ the barricade. look at our gorgeous, hand-painted background!

since i wasn’t close with any of the crew, i spent a lot of time reading by the props table or distracting my actor friends. actually, i ended up making one friend miss a few of her scenes because we were hanging out in a dressing room listening to bob marley. :)

i also talked with my friends in the pit a lot before shows and during intermission. my favorite section leader was playing oboe, and the marching band’s tenor player was doing percussion. i would sit by the stage and chat with them while charging strips of glow in the dark tape with my phone. the bits of tape were all over the stage, and they let crew know where to put big set pieces.

my brother was also in les mis! he played the innkeeper, monsieur thénardier, and he was absolutely incredible. i was so so proud of him. he was an excellent drunkard and he really commanded the stage during his solos. i also really enjoyed seeing madame thénardier get in his face and push him around during master of the house. anyway, it was a huge leap for him to get such an important role after being in ensemble during last year’s show (the sound of music), and since he did such an amazing job, i have hope that he’ll get the lead in our next one.

speaking of my brother, he got a very sweet candygram from this girl from a neighboring school. they talked for awhile after the show, kept in touch, and then they went on a “casual” date yesterday! she helped direct her school’s production of the little mermaid, my brother was one of the leads in les mis . . . theatre couple?? yes please.

i feel like i’ve explained candygrams before, but in case anyone doesn’t know, they’re these little paper cutouts with candy and handwritten notes on them. so in the lobby, musical parents were selling roses and candygrams for the cast and crew. the cast and directors used those fancy plastic dividers that you hang on doors as mailboxes for their candygrams — crew and pit shared an itty bitty bucket the size of a water glass. i got a few notes from my mom, my friend hannah (who played a lovely lady), and also one from my brother’s ex’s mom?

b&w view of the barricade

for the most part, the cast was phenomenal, but a few choices made me rather upset. first of all, a friend auditioned with me, and he got in but i didn’t. and that’s not really the part that makes me mad. it’s the fact that his audition was literally the worst one. he sang something from phantom, but he’s a terrible singer, didn’t know the words, and stood still while he performed. he’d never done theatre before and didn’t even want to be in the musical. also, his acting was terrible and he spoke his lines instead of singing them. it just makes me so angry that despite being so undeserving of a role, he got in simply because he’s a boy and the directors wanted more soldiers. there were so many better choices at the auditions: people who were passionate and talented and devoted. but they picked him instead because of his gender. it wasn’t fair at all, and i know it’s been months since auditions, but i’m still upset about it.

i don’t know what musical we’re doing next year, but i’ve heard that the directors are considering newsies or beauty and the beast. between those two, i’m hoping for newsies, because i love that show very much. also, i don’t think anyone at my school wants to do a disney musical.

even though i wasn’t cast in les mis, i’m planning on auditioning again next year, because i do love theatre and want to be in a few more shows before i graduate. but if i don’t get a role, i’m not going to help backstage again. it just wasn’t my thing. i didn’t have any friends in crew, i had to go to long rehearsals where crew wasn’t needed, and it was too much work without any appreciation from the directors. without us, the show would have fallen apart, and the theatre director didn’t seem to be aware of that.

to sum things up: i’m so proud of my friends for putting on a stunning rendition of les misérables. the whole experience was emotionally draining and made me lose some of my passion for theatre. but listening to the abc men belt do you hear the people sing? and our insanely talented marius perform empty chairs at empty tables planted this burning, hopeful, defiant feeling in my chest that has not gone away.

red, i feel my soul on fire! black, my world when she’s not there! (abc café/red and black)

xo apollo

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monarchs + life, i guess (3)

i haven’t posted in over a month and a bunch of stuff has happened since then. so today i’m going to be ranting about my life!

also, i have some pictures of monarch butterflies and mexican sunflowers to share. :)

– this is my first year going to public school, and it’s been really stressful so far. i’ve already missed a lot of school because some days i’ll wake up and just be way too overwhelmed to go to class. i think the hardest part is being around people for so long, especially since up until last week, i was staying at school until around 6:30 everyday because of marching band. but the season’s over now so i’ll have free time again.

but, uh, if anyone has tips for dealing with public school, they would be greatly appreciated.

– it’s only the third month of school and i know of seven or eight people who like/liked me. one asked me to homecoming in august, and two (maybe three) others were planning on doing the same, but didn’t once i said i was going with my best friend kelsie. two are 8th graders in the band who will probably lose feelings for me now that we won’t see each other very often, one is my best friend at school, and the other is a girl who’s friends with my brother. i’m flattered that people like me so much, but it’s kind of a lot to deal with. and i feel really bad about myself because i know i’ve hurt some of them and might screw up our friendships. romance is so messy and i’m not any good at it.

 

– marching band was the only thing i liked about school, and our final competition was last saturday. the season started off pretty well and then gradually went downhill. the most disappointing part was when we got second place percussion in our class, and then found out that the announcer had made a mistake and we’d actually gotten fourth. (to put it in perspective, there were five bands in our class and one of them didn’t show up.)

i only have classes with one of my band friends, and i’m going to miss everyone a lot. we still have a banquet, a few playoff games, and pep band before the season is completely over, but it’s not the same as practicing outside in the rain before the sun’s risen, spending all day with my friends, and then sleeping in a pile on the bus on the way back home. i can’t wait until next year when i get to join drumline. :)

– musical auditions happened recently. my school’s doing les misérables this year. i sang left behind from spring awakening, and i was so insanely nervous. my brother told me that my face was twitching. everyone said that if you audition for a supporting role and don’t get it, then you’re automatically placed in ensemble, which is what i wanted anyway. but i guess they did something different this time and only a dozen people got ensemble, and i’m not one of them. but my friend who only auditioned because of me got in. i’m totally not mad though. :)

idk, no one is very happy with the cast list, not even the people who got good roles. the only person who’s really ok with it is my brother, who got cast as the innkeeper. i’m honestly really disappointed because the musical was one of the reasons i decided to go to public school, and now i don’t get to be in it. i’ll probably help backstage but it’s really not the same.

– my friend n told me years ago that he was going to write a song for me, and he finally did. i listened to it during lunch yesterday and i just sat there and cried. it’s called i guess i lied and it’s my favorite song right now. it’s about me and our history together and it kind of means the world to me. he’s so talented and i’m really proud of him. :’)

this was a messy post but i really needed to rant. life is too much to handle sometimes.

i’m thinking of posting more poetry soon, if you guys are cool with that. i was very caffeinated last night and ended up staying awake until 3:30. during that time, i cleaned my whole room, did two projects for school, and wrote a couple of poems that i’m actually rather proud of. so just a heads up that you’ll be seeing more poetry soon even though the last post i made was about my poetry, too.

have a good day, everyone. i’m so glad that autumn is here.

xo apollo

your father | poem

i had to write a poem in my english class, and i liked it enough to post it here. it’s sort of an expansion of this piece of prose, salvador, late or early by sandra cisneros. it’s a pretty powerful short story with some really beautiful lines like “where homes are the color of bad weather” and “its geography of scars, its history of hurt.” i’d really recommend looking it up sometime.

yeah, so, the poem. i hope you guys like it. :)

| your father |

your father sits slumped in the dank den
hunched over in the cracked leather chair like a gnarled tree
the rancid beer bottles rattle together on the crumb-infested carpet
as he rocks sluggishly back and forth
your father hasn’t gone to work in four years

your mother creeps into the den, a wary ghost
she hovers by your father’s side
the bills, she starts hesitantly, wringing her trembling hands
your father bares his yellowed teeth
takes another swig of beer
his eyes never leave the television that drones on about car insurance
your mother apologizes as she trips over herself on her way out of the den

you wake up every morning to see your mother going to bed
she spends all night by the colicky baby’s side
nursing it
lulling it to sleep
telling it i love you so many times that she almost starts to believe it
the baby was an accident
your family can’t afford a fourth child
your mother does all the work for the baby by herself
because your lethargic father refuses to put down his beer bottles
and take care of it long enough for her to take a nap

your father sits slumped in the dank den
he will stay there, oblivious to the state of his family
as your mother wilts away
and the baby grows into a sullen toddler
and your younger brothers repeat a grade
because no one at home helps them with their schoolwork
and you faint everyday and your hair begins to fall out
because you make sure everyone in your family eats before you do
and there’s not enough food left for you

your father opens another bottle of beer

xo apollo

life, i guess (2)

a bunch of exciting stuff has been going on in my life recently, and i thought i’d share everything with you guys by dumping it into one post.

our cabin

– my best friend izzy and i spent the first weekend of june being counselors at camp victory. every year, our church takes their after school program up to the camp to have fun and learn more about God. we were put in a cabin with the elementary school girls, but we were primarily assisting the younger ones. izzy’s family has been helping for years, but this was my first time. i sort of hated it, but i know i’ll go again next year if i get the chance.

izzy!

highlights:

– i carried so many girls on my back that i have bruises on my hips from their legs.
– it rained pretty much nonstop. there were about two hours on saturday when it wasn’t raining and we got to play games outside, but it was pouring the rest of the time.
– one of those games involved running around with a dead octopus. izzy got a bit too into it and ripped off a tentacle.
– they made us do zumba every morning. that was . . . something.
– i got into the pool with izzy when i was fully clothed. it was fun and all, but i didn’t bring enough dry clothes, and the t-shirt i was wearing at the time was white and kind of thin. still, i’m glad she convinced me to do it.
– the girls in our cabin decided that our group would be named the “glitter star bears.” we had to do a cheer about it at every meal and it was sort of awful.
– we had a movie night on saturday, and someone told me we were watching shrek, so i was naturally very excited. they lied, though, and we were really watching monsters university. don’t get me wrong, i love that movie, but i had my heart set on shrek.
– i slept in the leaders’ cabin the last night because our girls were so loud and stayed up really late. sadly, i didn’t sleep any better up there, and i ended up getting about four hours of sleep over the whole weekend. also, there were roaches in the cabin and a snake in the bathroom. :)

– my brother was at a karate tournament the same weekend i was at camp. he did a roundoff backflip during his first kata, landed wrong, and ended up breaking his foot and injuring his knee. but he got back up, completed the kata, and got second place. his foot was broken in three places, i think, and he had surgery on monday to fix it.

– i found out last week that i’m old enough to work at my summer camp as a counselor in training! since i’m a girl and it’s a boy scout camp, i didn’t think it was likely that i would be accepted, but somehow i was. i’m ridiculously excited for this, because i’ve wanted to work at camp since i first went there in 2016.

getting ready for camp has taken a lot of work. i had to complete three online courses, do a bunch of paperwork, and buy a venture scouts uniform (unfortunately, the guy that ordered it got the wrong size). on top of all that, i’m leaving today for a training session at the camp and i won’t be back until friday night.

– a few months ago, my math teacher saw me drawing in class and asked me to make a new mathematics-themed poster for him. i sort of forgot about it until the last two weeks of school, so i had to rush to get it done. i worked on it for nine hours (most of which was probably organizing art supplies on the table), but i finished it in time. my favorite part is the blue jay, i think i did a good job coloring it in.

– this is maybe less important than the others, but i’ve heard that love, simon is being put on netflix this month, and i am so excited to watch it again. i love the soundtrack, i love the book it’s based on, and i am so ready to cry at the ending again. happy pride month, by the way! 🌈

– a few people have been asking if i’m going to do cwwc again this year. i’m sorry to say it, but i won’t be. i just have too much planned this summer, so i think it’s unlikely that i’ll have an entire month that i can dedicate to it. sorry!

have a good day! :)

xo apollo

gem museum

hey, guys! i hope your day is going well.

for science class, my friend izzy and i visited a local mineral museum. it’s part of a college, so it’s not very big, but i was still quite impressed. i took a few pictures of the gems and wanted to share them with you.

here’s the museum itself.

i’ve always had a thing for gems and smooth stones. not as much the stylized ones that are used in jewelry, but raw ones, or polished ones that fit perfectly in the dip of your palm. it amazes me that such complex shapes and gorgeous colors are being created under our feet.

i’ve found quartz in my garden, and it always excites me that they were growing in the dirt along with my plants.

stone roses.

these look like dragon eggs or jawbreakers. i know that they’re rocks and that they’ll shatter my teeth if i try to eat them, but i kind of want to try one anyway.

they’re just so pretty?? help.

this one looks like someone painted it with watercolors.

there was a display under ultraviolet lights, so the rocks, which looked normal in regular lighting, glowed neon colors. :D

i saw some really awful geology jokes on the internet, and i thought you guys should suffer with me, so here you go.

q: what do you get when you mix sulfur, tungsten, and silver?
a: SWAG

q: anyone know a joke about sodium?
a: na

q: what do you do with a dead chemical?
a: you barium
(and then cry because this reminds you of my chemical romance.)

i feel like such a nerd.

have a good day, my friends! you look great and you are loved.

xo apollo

public school from a homeschooler’s pov

bus and school image
i spent the night with my friend b recently, and since my screwed up schedule allowed it, i went with her to her high school the next day. my mom was surprised that the principal even allowed me to go with b. i wasn’t surprised, though. i’m irresistible.
.
so to any homeschoolers who are curious about the public school scene, wonder no more. and to public schoolers, you can read about a clueless homeschooler thrust into your daily life. it’ll be fun.

 .the night before

i got barely any sleep that night. it was a sleepover, so of course we stayed up until 2 a.m. and once b and i finally settled down and went to bed, one of her kittens fell asleep on my arm. which sounds adorable and just what you need to fall asleep, blah blah blah. but the thing is, this cat kept farting on me, and it smelled so bad that i woke up every time he did it. so i ended up only getting about an hour and half of sleep. dangit, midnight the cat.

my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. i picked sci-fi as my alarm (don’t ask me why), and the sound was turned all the way up, so it sounded like a freaking alien invasion was happening in b’s basement. i was so thankful when that alarm went off, because that meant i could get up and away from that cat.

the morning of

b’s mom made us breakfast. it was ripped up bread covered in something called egg gravy. i think eggs are one of the grossest things on the planet, so i didn’t have any. the entire family joined us for breakfast, which i thought was kind of strange, because why get up that early if you don’t have to go to school?

her grandfather drives one of the buses. we climbed aboard an hour later, waved goodbye to her sweet dog molly, and off we went. we had to stop every two minutes to let another kid on the bus. there were a few kids that got on who couldn’t have been more than five.

the bus ride wasn’t that awful, although it was bumpy and i felt a little sick and b tells me that it’s usually freezing. but i can’t imagine doing that everyday.

when we got to the school, we had to wait on the bus for awhile before we were allowed to enter the building. the guy sitting behind me had his earbuds in and was crying, i think. i was going to give him a tissue, but we had to go inside before i could get them out of my backpack. i feel bad about that.

i followed b around the commons area while she searched for her group of friends. they were squeezed into a table in the corner. one of them was eating from a giant bag of candy corn. that girl knew the right way to start your day.

n goes to school with b. i was really, really, really excited to see him, because i hadn’t seen him in over a week, and that’s way too long to go without seeing your best friend. but n took a really long time to show up, so i stood beside b being quiet and awkward while i waited. a girl who was in my co-op class a few years ago said hi, which was neat, because i didn’t even knew she went to that school.

n finally showed up, just a few minutes before the bell rang. good job, pal.

math

8 a.m. is too early in the morning to do math. but apparently public schools don’t know that.

n happened to be in b’s math class, which made it bearable. the teacher was pretty chill, and he didn’t seem to care that i was drawing instead of doing math. i think i only did one math problem the entire time, and i got it wrong. oh well.

that math class was way more relaxed than the ones at my school. the teacher let us use the desks as dry erase boards (it blew my mind that the markers wiped off the desktops so easily), talk to each other and listen to music.

i sat behind n, so i got to annoy him for an hour and a half. >:) i was telling him about all these dumb things i made my brother believe (you can’t pee when your pregnant, kidneys are in your knees, geography is the study of the human body, etc.). i wonder why n even talks to me.

he looks disappointed because i was trying to spell “boobs” on a calculator. (people still do that, right?) i’m really not the most mature person in the world. example: b and i were singing the veggie tales theme song that morning before breakfast. it was fun.

earth science

i honestly can’t remember much of what happened during that class.i think they were learning about moon phases.

the teacher let us hang out and listen to music for a long time. i was head banging to show tunes from dear evan hansen and be more chill. (micHAEL IN THE BATHROOOOM.)

lunch

that was probably the most boring twenty minutes of my life.

one girl was singing car radio // twenty one pilots in the lunch line and she was adding hand motions and everything. the meatballs in the spaghetti still looked frozen. the people at our table swore every other word. the chairs in the cafeteria all had one leg bolted to the floor.

p.e.

i loved p.e. when i was in co-op, mostly because our teacher was kind of a pushover and let us play soccer every week. but apparently public school has a horror version of p.e. they have this wonderful thing called “family life,” aka everything you never wanted to know about the ancient question “where do babies come from?” i think i got off lucky, because all they talked about that day was what guys vs girls look for in a relationship. we were supposed to split up and guess what the other gender would look for. the guys were really dumb and suggested “blue eyes, beard, country, tall.” i think that’s because b’s school is in what we call “redneck country.”

after that was over, we played a game called castle dodgeball for an hour. i probably would have liked it, but i have a hard time playing games with strangers. if i’m in a dodgeball match against my friends, i can hit them in the face and we’ll just laugh it off. but with people i don’t know, i feel the need to apologize for hitting them. so b and i hung out in the back with this kid who was really into protecting the castle. he was the hero of the game, honestly.

guitar

b can play a couple instruments and writes her own songs, so it’s not that surprising that she picked guitar as her elective. unfortunately, i cannot play guitar, which meant i just sat next to my friend for that class while trying not to fall asleep. my mom had suggested that i bring my ukulele. i probably should have listened to her.

a fire drill saved me from listening to everyone pluck out a song in their own time with only three notes. the alarm was freaking loud. i wonder how public schoolers haven’t all gone deaf from hearing that so many times.

the teacher didn’t do much teaching that day. she told us that we could play whatever we wanted or just hang out. b played one of her original songs for the teacher and they recommended singers to each other. some kids were daring each other to backflip off the stairs. someone wanted b to kick them in the face just to prove that she couldn’t get her leg that high. the same guy found a textbook for a completely different class and threw it at me. i was supposed to catch it, apparently. i did not catch it. the book had a love note inside it. but it wasn’t that great and i can’t remember it.

the ride home

some guy sitting in front of us tried to say hello to me, but i thought he must have been talking to someone behind me, so i didn’t react at all. i just glared at my shoes. those dumb converse are so beat up. they really need to be replaced.

so that guy figured out quite quickly that i’m angry at literally everything and left me alone. :)


observations:

1) high schoolers like swearing. i muttered “language” to my friend at least fifty times that day and she probably wanted to smack me.

2) it was much, much, much better than middle school. don’t be too afraid of high school, young ones. you will be going to a better place.

3) everyone complained about the family life class, but they didn’t seem to mind so much once it got started.

4) you can find very interesting people there, sometimes even weirder than the kids at homeschool co-ops. for instance, there was one guy who looked like a walking hot topic advertisement. he even had super dramatic eye makeup.

x

it wasn’t as awful as i thought it would be, but it was exhausting, and i can’t imagine having to do it everyday. i feel kind of bad for the people who have gone to public school their entire lives. do you guys even know what sleeping in is??

i am not looking forward to going to school full-time next year. :’)

xo apollo