The moment

>> Sunday, August 21, 2005

Thursday was sweltering with temperatures in the low 100's as Steph and I spent the majority of the day in our heavy, binding, and hot eighteenth-century clothes and wigs. My corset was laced so tightly that for two days afterwards, my ribs were sore. We spent the entire of Thursday in these clothes as we were filming in the Guthrie Library and in and around Guthrie.

After the library presentation, we changed into our clothing for the shoot in the Masonic Temple theater. This particular shoot was mostly of me singing Abendempfindung, so I changed into my heavy black satin gown with ivory lace at the sleeves and after Steph changed clothes too, we headed off to the Masonic temple where Larry and the rest of the crew were still waiting for Sanjay's sound equipment to arrive. We arrived at the Temple theater at around 4:30 and they decided that since the sound equipment was not yet there, (they were using some that they rented in Oklahoma City, but they didn't want to shoot the scenes with me singing until Sanjay's equipment arrived--Jessica had it confirmed that it was on it's way from the Oklahoma City airport), that they would shoot some scenes with Steph inside of the theater. Finally, at about 6:30 the sound equipment arrived and in about 15 minutes, after they got it set up, we began to shoot my scenes.

Because they were recording sound in this one, they couldn't run the fans in the theater and I stood in the hot lights wearing that heavy gown and literally roasted, perspiration running down my face, down my neck and into my cleavage. My costume mistress, (Kelly), came up between each take and dabbed my forehead, face, neck and chest with a cloth, re-applied my lipstick and dabbed my face with a generous amount of powder, and then we would shoot again. I don't know how many takes we made nor how many times I sang the piece, (which by the way, is five minutes long and every bit as demanding and difficult as any of Mozart's arias), but after an hour-and-a-half of shooting, I was starting to show signs of fatigue. Larry noticed and asked how I was doing. I replied that I was hot, tired, and hungry, (I hadn't eaten since 8:30 that morning). So while Jessica went out to scout out some food for all of us, Larry decided to give Chris, (my accompanist), and me a break and film some scenes with just Steph as if she were sitting in the theater listening to me sing. He directed her to sit in the second row near the left end of the middle section. She was to act as if she were listening to me sing this Lied, as if I were singing it directly to her. Since I was taking a break, there was no one up there really singing and Steph found it difficult to react to someone who really wasn't there, (the grip man, Scott, tried to stand in, but that really didn't work too well, LOL!).

I then decided to ask Larry if it wouldn't be better for me to stand in place and sing the song quietly, a cappella, so that it would be easier for Steph to find some motivation for the scene. He thought that was a great idea, so I got into place and we began the take. At first I only marked, (sang half-voice), as my voice was tired after all the singing I had already done, but after a few bars I found myself locked in on Steph and I began to sing to her, full voice with all of the expression, tenderness and emotion that I could muster. We locked in on one another and I was transported to another place. I forgot how tired I was, how hot it was, how much my feet hurt, how sore my ribs were. I sang to Steph, ...schenk auch du ein Trenchen mir, und pfluke mir ein Veilchen auf mein Grab..., I sang with my entire soul. I sang like it was the last time I would ever sing again. I forgot the cameras, the lights, the crew--it was only Steph and me, alone in that theater. After I finished singing the entire song there was dead silence--none of the usual stirring after a take where Larry would discuss the angles, lighting, etc. with the camera man--just still, dead, silence for at least ten seconds. Then Larry looked up from the camera monitor and simply whispered, "Wow, that was perfect". I walked down from my position on the stage, towards Steph sitting in the second row and I found her there, her chin resting on the backs of her hands, tears pooling in her eyes. She looked up at me and simply whispered, "I adore you, Wanze."

Larry and the rest of the crew quietly backed away and allowed us to have the rest of our moment alone. Later that evening he told us that perhaps, if one is lucky, a director will have the opportunity to shoot a moment like that once, maybe twice. He then looked at both of us and thanked us for allowing him to be there to record our moment and for giving him a glimpse into the deep and marvelous love that we share for one another. As for me, this is one of those memories that I will keep locked in my treasure chest of memories, never to forget. But what is so wonderful about this particular memory is that it is captured on film for everyone to see for all of time, never to be forgotten.

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