Archive for February 2014


A day at home. It’s amazing how much has piled up — e-mails, projects, stuff.

I did have one client scheduled to come today, but she postponed because the roads are still so dangerous. Can you imagine? Since last Thursday afternoon. It’s the cold, cold, cold ….. cold. And piled up snow, snow, snow ….  snow, and ice, ice, ice …. ice.

Bur all is warm and cozy at home as the sun shines in bright through the southern windows, warming my house and giving the thermostat a rest.

We’ll be back doing the show on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinee, then strike the set and enjoy the aftermath.

I’d like to show you a photo of the set which Doug designed, but the best I can do for the moment is include a few photos of the model. Photos of the real thing will come later.

photo 3


photo 2


photo 1


Hooray! Last night’s performance went very well, with laughs, some tears, and applause where one would hope for it. Today’s matinee performance is sold out (400 seats).  But there is next weekend.

I just hope I don’t stumble in the dark like I did last night. Here’s the deal. It’s dark when the nun’s quartet gets in place for their scene. Sister Margaretta starts out facing the “altar” in prayer. Well, proving what I’ve known since I was a kid who couldn’t learn to skate, I am clumsy. Yup! I stumbled on the edge of the platform holding the altar. To prevent my fall, I grabbed the altar, knocking down the bible placed there. Fortunately I didn’t knock over the whole thing, and I didn’t fall down. Anyway, I picked up the Bible, kissed it, and placed it back on the altar. In truth, no one would know I had done it if I didn’t tell them.

Today it’s Matinee at 3:00 p.m. and a cast party afterward. Cast parties usually happen after striking the set after the last performance, but the director and others decided to have the party today in light of the fact that so many of our players are young and need their sleep on school nights.

And what a sensation those young players are! Wish you could see them



Posted February 23, 2014 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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Whew! Last night’s anxiety was reduced with the musical warm-ups we did, and then the production went well. Of course, as actors, we didn’t get to watch the whole thing as we hid out in what I suppose would be called the green room if we were on TV – just a big room with lots of tables and our stuff. The best evidence was the applause at the end — it sounded and looked genuinely enthusiastic. More important personally, I know our nun’s quartet was well received. Since we have become a team, we did correct for a few of each other’s oversights, so no one knew the difference. Tonight I’m sure we’ll all be on target. And we did get laughs where we hoped for them.

So, now that I’m a little more relaxed — and enjoying it more — I’d like to make a comment about the show itself. More than an interesting musical story, “The Sound of Music” is a commentary on the early stages of the spread of the Nazi terror. Focused on the Austrian Anschluss, the issues apply to the whole period.

As a student, I was in Europe shortly after the end of WWII. I saw the devastation in England, Germany, and Austria as well as some of the other countries. Neither the attackers nor the defenders were ultimately spared.

I had a few dates in the rubble. I remember one night, for example, sitting with a G.I. on a pile of cement junk that had once been a building in Munich. There were other occasions when it was clear our local dates wanted marriage as a passport to the United States. (Those were the days when flying over the Netherlands pilots saw “Thanks, Yanks” spelled out in Tulips.)

What I remember even more is one of our German student guides saying, “This will come to your country someday.” I confess to having been watchful ever since. It’s the little things that whittle away at  one’s consciousness until, like Pastor Martin Niemoeller one can only say:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

I have carried two lessons with me from that student’s and Niemoellor’s  warning. (1) what happens to other people is important, because ultimately it comes home to me; and (2) be watchful – developments both bad and good happen in little increments. It’s like the frog who doesn’t do anything to escape from the boiling water because he is unaware of the gradual, seemingly unimportant changes in temperature.

So what does this have to do with the “Sound of Music?” The serious part of the message portrays three possible attitudes toward change. There is (1) Captain vonTrapp who sees the danger and refuses to go along with it; (2) Rolf Gruber and others who willingly join the Nazi cause; and (3) Max Detweiler who chooses not to choose but rather to go with the flow.

I want not to be Max Detweiler and, in the end, get caught by surprise. I want to avoid being in a situation where I’d need the courage of Captain vonTrapp, because I’m not sure I’m capable. And I certainly don’t want to contribute, either consciously or by neglect. to the development of the prejudice, cruelty, and violence purposely displayed by the Nazi regime.

SCARIEST OF All: I loved all the people we met in Germany and Austria. They were people like me. Not evil, not deliberately cruel or destructive. I can only conclude that many were the Max Detweiler’s of the time.

Well, so much for the serious side of a really fun production.

I hope good reports will continue,and eventually some photos.



Tonight is opening night — anxiety? Yes, more than a bit.

In the meantime, there are a couple of links I want to share with you.

This one is long and worth it, a great teacher demonstrating an important series of facts and observations.

Welfare for whom?

I think you’ll enjoy this one, but not without emotion.

Genius boy at and on the library.

CRAZY BUSY WEEK (OR TWO)   8 comments

Apologies to all my blogger friends. I’ll not be responding much for the next two weeks — rehearsals scheduled every night until opening night on Friday. Then performances — and more rehearsals next week. (I guess my performance should be pretty acceptable by the last show on March 2.)

Apologies as well to Facebook Friends, friends of 60 years (more or less), family, and anyone else to whom I should be responding. Life should get back to its usual normal in March. Maybe even the weather will have settled down. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I’m including again a copy of the brochure.

brochure SOM.


Posted February 17, 2014 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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It all started benignly enough on Wednesday morning, January 29, as we headed for a three day visit with my daughter in Virginia.

The plane took off on time from the Minneapolis airport heading for Atlanta. The indication was that the second leg of our flight — to Newport News, Virginia — was on schedule.

The information was not so good when we checked our phones again on landing. Our flight to Newport News had been cancelled. That’s when we began to feel the full impact of the storm that had bullied its way through the south. We had plenty of time to think about our next move as we waited for a gate. They were all filled with flights that couldn’t take off because their destinations – many in Florida — were suffering from ice and snow.

When a gate did open up, we waited some 45 minutes for the exit ramp to be attached. The fact is many of the airport workers had been unable to make it to work, so it took time for an exit ramp attacher to make it to our plane.

Then began a day of decisions. First option — rent a car and stay overnight with a friend in Atlanta. We were welcomed, but warned that the roads were treacherous. They would look for the best route to try.

There were no other options to fly to Virgina. As you may have seen on TV, the board was filled with cancellations.

To shorten the story, all airport hotels were full. We did get reservations at a hotel 7 miles away, beyond shuttle bus service. In the meantime, we were automatically rescheduled for a flight early the next morning.

Given the time it takes to return a rental car, we decided it would save time in the a.m. if we took a cab, so we joined the line — the very long line — of people waiting for a cab. (Yes, we did get something to eat in the meantime.) Getting to the front of the line didn’t help much, however. Apparently many cab drivers were unwilling to drive on the treacherous roads, so the hardworking agents were matching up groups of people heading in the same direction.

Finally, after a wait of about an hour, we were directed to a van that was going to a town near our goal. The driver, however, wouldn’t let us board. He did not want to drive to two different sites.

So the agent opened the door of the nearest small cab and told us to get in. That had to be the most panicky thing that happened all day to the driver who told us up front what the fee would be, hoping, I think, that we would refuse and get out. Nope — not at that point.

Now, I hate to sound like a Connecticut/Minnesota driver, but by our standards the roads would be considered clear. My son was ready to offer to drive. To the driver’s surprise, we did make it. If he drinks manhattans, I’ll bet he had a couple when he finally got safely home.

Our next adventure was at the hotel desk where we asked for a cab at 6:30 a.m. to get us to the airport in time for the early morning flight. To get one at that time, we were told, we’d have to call the desk at 4 a.m. So my son agreed to wake up at 4 a.m. to make that call. At 4:10 a.m. I woke him, thinking he’d overslept. Oh no. During the night he’d received notice that the flight had been cancelled. We were scheduled for an afternoon flight.

Still, at this point, we wanted to be at the airport early — “just in case.” The desk clerk did manage to get us a cab around 9 a.m. The driver seemed cool with the driving conditions, and we got there in half the time it took to get to the hotel.

In the meantime, we noticed there was an earlier flight to Newport News. At the airport we headed for the lounge to get help in trying to get on it. The lounge was closed. As was the lounge in the next section.

So we headed for a manned station to ask what lounge would be open. No one knew. But we did get put on standby for the morning flight with the promise that we wouldn’t lose our reservation on the afternoon flight.

Then nail biter after nail biter. At that gate, they announced they had a plane, paper work completed, a destination gate, a flight attendant, and a co-pilot, but no pilot. More nails bitten. Then word that a pilot had been found, but it could be as long as two hours before he/she got there.

Still no seats for us on the plane. But the pilot did arrive. Two scheduled passengers didn’t show. We got on! I didn’t feel safe until the boarding door had been closed.

As we were boarding that flight, we learned that the afternoon flight for which we had been scheduled had be cancelled. Whew!

We made it to Newport News, and my son’s bag made it too. Apparently someone had made the executive decision just to send it on, assuming at some point he’d get there to pick it up. (I finally got my bag delivered the next afternoon, just about in time to pack to go home.)

So we had two nights and one full day to be together.

Heading home, the flight from Newport News to Atlanta was great. Very few passengers. Each of us had a row to ourselves. Things went well in Atlanta too. On board and ready to leave early, the pilot predicted we’d be in Minneapolis ahead of schedule. Then we waited — and waited. The pilot came on to say they were still loading luggage. He came on again to say the plane had come in from Mexico with lots of luggage that took time to remove. We waited. Occasional updates from the pilot. Some 45 minutes went by.

The flight attendant told people they might as well feel free to get up and move about. As half the passengers were standing in the aisles, the plane started to move. I guess the pilot and the attendant were not in terribly good communication. Anyway, everyone scurried back to their seat belts. the flight took off. We arrived safe in Minneapolis 45 minutes late. Whew!

I wasn’t quite home, though. My car couldn’t be removed from the garage in Excelsior where it was staying until the next day when the driveway was shoveled.

What a winter! But now I’m home, once again immersed in trying to keep up as rehearsal’s for “The Sound of Music” are going full force.

I’ll bet you didn’t read all the details. But you get the idea. Glad to be back.





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