Friday, May 10, 2013

Dress Rehearsal

Last night the girls had a dress rehearsal at the Carolina Theater, which they were very excited for. The strangest part was that we just dropped them off and then had nothing to do. It was the weirdest feeling because the past few months have been such a frenzy of costume-making. We'd walk into the theater and be bombarded with yarn and fabric and scissors and glue. Even just on Thursday night we were all slaving away, trying to finish the Nana costume.

But last night we just dropped them off. We were instructed to be back to pick them up by 7:30, when hopefully they'd be finished. So we left.

We stood outside on the sidewalk puzzling over what to do with two hours free from children (except Benjamin, who was strapped to always).

"We could go on a date," I suggested.

"I'm hungry," Andrew said. "Let's go out for dinner."

"Where should we go?" I asked.

We stood on the sidewalk and puzzled over that some more. The theater is right downtown. There are dozens of upscale (when compared to McDonald's) restaurants to try but we didn't even know where to begin, nor how much we wanted to spend. We don't have an eating-out category in our budget because we don't usually do it. After walking around downtown hand in hand (because we weren't wrangling children) and surveying a few menus, we settled on around $20 and found a cute pizza place called Pop's Trattoria. We're suckers for Italian food (especially Andrew).

They open at 5:30 and we arrived at 5:40, walked right in, and asked for a table for two.

"Do you have reservations?" the hostess asked.

"Do we need one?" Andrew asked.

"No," she said, looking through her book. "Do you want a window seat or would you rather sit in the dining room."

We opted for a window seat, even though the tables were abnormally high for dining.

"It's okay," the hostess assured us. "I can just stack a couple of high chairs for him to sit on. You can pick any table you'd like!"

We found our table and sat down to look at the menus. Their wood oven-fired pizzas are $10 a piece so we thought we'd each get one. That's how we survived our honeymoon—we'd find the cheapest pizza joint we could and then we'd each order a margherita pizza since that's typically the cheapest thing on the menu. It's somewhat normal to eat a whole pizza in Italy, according to Andrew (and my observations). Andrew asked the waiter for two pizzas, but then I went and asked how big the pizzas were.

"They're pretty big," he said. "There's no way each of you are going to eat a whole one. But half of one might not be quite enough. I'd recommend getting a pizza to split and then a salad or something as well."

So that's what we did. And it was good, though I'm pretty positive we each could have eaten a whole pizza.

We had bread while we waited, which was good. They gave us a dish of olive oil...but no vinegar. Sad day. Andrew still did a lot of dipping, but I didn't.

We also had a nice view of the bar but only realized that we were sitting in the bar when one of the owners/managers stopped by to ask Benjamin how he was enjoying sitting at the bar.

Then we realized why the waiter looked at us a little funny when we didn't order a drink—they gave us three pages of alcohol to choose from but didn't seem to have anything else beverage-wise on their menu so we stuck with water. Even Benjamin was offered a cup of water—with a straw. He mangled the straw horribly and though he got so close so many times he never quite managed to suck any water up. He enjoyed snacking on Cheerios (and little bites from our dinner). He also enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with the kitchen staff.

The pizza itself was delicious—this critique coming from someone who has eaten a lot of pizza (Andrew).

Our waiter offered us the dessert menu but we declined since it 7:00 was approaching and I was hoping to get to the theater in time to see the girls dance. We left so that we'd have time to walk back but walking back took far less time than getting there since we'd wandered ourselves in a bit of a loop and were closer to the theater than we thought we were.

The Carolina Theatre is a pretty amazing venue, I have to admit, even if they are charging us $10,000 to rent it (which is why the tickets were prohibitively expensive (in my opinion)).

It's swanky inside and out.

It was built in 1926 for theatrical productions but just three years later was turned into Durham's first cinema. They hadn't expected Vaudeville to phase out so quickly, I guess, and had to make room for motion pictures. Fortunately, the need for a performing arts center was recognized in the late 1980s and stage performances were brought back, with a separate theater for movies.

We made it back in plenty of time to watch the girls perform because at 7:00 PM they were just running Act 1, Scene 1. Considering they asked the dancers to be there at 5:15, this was not what we were expecting. So we sat through the entire first half of the ballet, with all the starts and stops, which involved a whole lot of baby wrangling. He loved the music and lights and dancing. He didn't love the lectures and staging and technical difficulties.

Here's a little glimpse of the Nana costume. It's a suit, latch-hooked from head to toe with curly yarn. It took forever. I had nightmares about this costume (which isn't surprising because I have nightmares about nearly everything). We were working on it on Wednesday night (the last night we were working on costumes before moving everything from the dance studio to the Carolina Theater) and just when we'd finished, we picked it up, turned it over, and the other side was completely unfinished! It was such a depressing dream (not really a nightmare, I suppose). Fortunately, the costume is finished. And it looks great.

We got a few pictures of the girls but I'm saving them for later. I feel like if I blog about it now it will be like blogging about it before it happens. Besides we had our pick of seats yesterday and we won't when we watch the show later so we might not have good pictures of when they are actually performing. j

They loved getting into their costume and make up, though. Of the rehearsal  Miriam said, "I love dancing on stage! It's so amazing because I've never danced before on a real stage. But now I have and I love it!"

We let Rachel sleep in for as long as she could this morning, so she was late for school. Being part of the ballet company, her teacher was very understanding.

"Did you get yourself some sleep?" she asked when I dropped Rachel off.

"I did—I had a super sleep-in!" Rachel told her.

"I can't believe how late they kept them out last night! When it got to be 7:00 and they hadn't even started running the show I started to get a little worried for my kindergarten babies! What time did they let go?"

Truth be told, we got out at around 8:45, which isn't terribly late. But then we had to drive home, eat, shower, and finish homework. It was a late night!

Tonight should be better; they just perform and then come home. I suppose tonight's technically still a "rehearsal" since it isn't open to the public. They're doing a special-needs performance/rehearsal tonight and have two performances tomorrow. They're excited to be finished with rehearsals but are also so excited to be performing!


  1. Break a leg little Ballerinas! xoxo
    And Nancy! That wouldn't even be allowed up here! A Baby in the bar!!!!! You would have been made to sit in the restaurant :)

  2. I've worked hundreds of dance shows, and never have rehearsals started on time, ballet being the worst offender after the Chinese ballet ( which often comes with an awesome language barrier and dead chickens, I wish I was joking)
    The best part (and often for us techs the only good part) is hanging with the babies back stage, I love baby ballerinas!
    I hope your girls have a great time! They're so cute!
    Break a leg!

  3. A date night - how fun! :) That color looks good on you, by the way. I'm glad you found some good pizza.