FRIDAYS ARE recovery days. A recovery is in order form the rigors of teaching tap dancing to more than 50 students in three classes at George Washington University, plus a group of ushers and other personnel at the Kennedy Center. Four classes in less than five hours certainly encourages me to seek recovery. Not today, however.
To the office at 7:15 a.m. to answer business correspondence and follow-up booking inquireis for our touring pantomime show, the Wonder Company. Phone calls to a few shopping centers in the Midwest bring a show of real interest but no commitment. I offer to send our "complete press packet" in the mail and wait for their response.
The mornings skips by, leaving me slightly unnerved by lunchtime with the realization that tonight my production of "The Deputy" will be staged at the synagogue. Lunchtime is spent with sandwich in right hand, phone in left, tying up lose ends for this production. Final costume decisions are made, the program is proofed and I go home for a short visit with my family before leaving for the afternoon meeting I have with the organizers of the International Festival of Mime.
The meeting is being held in the boardroom of the Washington office of Atlantic Richfield Oil Co. As I ascend in the elevator, I remark to myself how ironic it is that I am meeting with representatives from embassies, government, Atlantic Richfield Oil executives and a local rep for Rolls-Royce. Me, a poor schlepper who struggles each day to stay solvent while pursuing a good life for our family and a career in the arts.
I am asked to present a report detailing how the festival can effectively reach the Washington community through an outreach program. As I list the numerous activities the festival should become involved in to best serve the audience and the artist, my suggestions are met with enthusiastic nods.
More irony: From here I journey to the synagogue to produce a play that deals with the Holocaust and specifically with man's refusal to acknowledge the existence of this horrible occurrence.
I arrive at the synagogue and find that the actors are shocked to discover that I want them to wear makeup on the pulpit. Eventually they all consent and I set about transforming their faces into the hard masks of German SS doctors and leaders of the Catholic church. "The Deputy" play progresses without problem until the cardinal starts to make an exit through the audience and runs into a late-arriving congregant. She sees him decked out in his scarlet robes and chasuble and almost faints in the middle of the aisle. Eventually she recognizes his face and sinks into her seat. "Thank God," I whisper, as I watch from the balcony.
A discussion was planned after the play, but the audience and cast are speechless and I am thankful that instead of more talk we can all retire to our homes with the message of the play intact. As I lay in bed, my thoughts turn to Isadora Duncan. We have an appointment tomorrow morning. Saturday
I am serving as master teacher in a program that is entitled "The George Washington University Reading Center After-School Program for Gifted and Talented Children."
This morning, I meet our students at the Corcoran Gallery for an event I have designed and labeled "Meet Isadora Duncan." The children will first see a short filmstrip about Duncan's life and then step into the gallery where a modern dancer friend of mine will portray the legendary dancer. The plan is for her to perform a short dance and then inspire the children to dance with her.
Only one problem. I had contacted eight modern dancers in the last week and had no luck in finding "Isadora." Late Friday, the contact was finally made and a charming and mystical creature named Sandra enthusiastically agreed to portray Ms. Duncan.
She arrives a few minutes late and during those minutes I ponder how a few minutes' tardiness can send one into fits of paranoia, especially since the children have already begun to arrive and are asking for "Isadora."
As the children step into the gallery, I explain to them in jest that Isadora obviously has not returned from the other world. I remark, "She's not here." A moment later, Sandy, the dancer, steps from behind a collumn dressed in flowing robes, and calling to mind the essence of Isadora, she whispers, "I'm here." The children gasp, confirming her presence.
She dances beautifully and at the close I approach a 6-year-old and ask him who this woman is. He whispers, "Isadora Duncan." The parents smile. The teachers rejoice. The day has been a success. Sunday
Sunday brings a morning brunch with friends, one dance class in the evening and much anxiety about what the week to come will offer and takee away from us in time. Monday
In the office again at 7. I make plans 12 hours in advance for a teacher orientation session I am to lead at 7 p.m. Having performed the same act for this group for almost a year now, I decide to polish my material.
The first few moments are spent making the teachers feel assured that I am not going to show them how to be effective teachers. Rather, I am going to explain to them how a successful Open University teacher (myself) fills his classes and serves his students in a successful way. Although I explain this at the outset, their skeptical looks remind me that all human beings are suspicious animals by nature (as am I) and that through the text of my message I must encourage their trust. Twelve hours later, I succeed. Tuesday
This morning I will teach three hours of dance at the university; the afternoon calls for a meeting with my part-time secretary in an effort to insruct her in the preparation of a new mailing list. Together we wade through correspondence and answer as much as is humanly possible within the short time we have together. The afternoon beckons with trips to the printer to proof the copy for promotional material, telephone calls to my literary agent in Boston who has heard my excuses for delaying completion of my manuscript before and finally to the warm, supportive atmosphere of my home.
Max has been screaming since 8 a.m., his mother reports. My son is a 10-month-old monster baby. Upon arrival, he greets me with hugs and kisses that quickly turn into howls when I put him in his playpen so that I can finish my afternoon business calls and relate today's economic message to his mommy. The message: gloomy.
The phone rings. At home when the phone rings it brings a different response than at the office. The office phone elicits feelings of expectation; the residence phone feelings of interference. Cautiously, I approach the phone and discover that it is one of my sisterhood friends from the synagogue. Our show, "There's No Business Like Shule Business," has a rehearsal tomorrow and one of the leads is in Florida. I calm my budding star with words like "on with the show" or some other such nonsense and retire for the evening.
As I lay me down to rest, I remember faintly receiving a phone call earlier from CBS television in California. They are putting together a CBS version of "Real People" and want to know if I am still teaching "social kissing" in Washington. "Thank God, that was three years ago," I sigh and then slumber. Wednesday
This morning is the last this week that I will find myself at my desk before 8 a.m. I prepare for the morning rehearsal at the synagogue with the sisterhood.
Calls are made about the spotlight rental, properties and rehearsal space in the shule . At 10 a.m., I am ready to face my chorus girls.
The day ends with an afternoon of planning a trip to Bethany Beach to stimulate fund raising for my summer dance program, "Dance in Bethany Beach." Final preparations are made for my acting class, which meets for the first time tonight. It is difficult to forecast what scenes to select for these adult students to perform since I never know until the last minute how many men and women will show up. I can be assured, however, that 20 to 30 shy, unassuming individuals will anxiously await myuals will anxiously await my magical power which will transform their introversion into extroversion. Sometimes I succeed. Thursday
The week draws to a close and the Sabbath grows near with the normal chaos of paying bills, dividing time between family, friends and the quest for the almighty dollar.
I am amazed at how often I actually succeed in balancing this hectic schedule and I am constantly distressed at the absence of time to study for my July Bar Mitzvah, write more free-lance articles, take a class now and then instead of teaching so many and, most of all, find quiet time for reflection rather than sleep prompted by exhaustion. Ah, but there is always next week. . .