Last week with Liv

Last week of school. Last week of studies. Last week with Liv. 

As my time is running out here in San Diego, I’m thinking about the past two years. Thinking about everything that I’m gonna return to and thinking about everything that I’ve missed and will miss. This week will be filled with lasts! Last jazz class was today, tomorrow is last voice lesson and coaching with Ron and Laurinda, Wednesday its gonna be last tap class aand so on. We also have spirit week this week, which means that there’s a dress up theme every day. Today was Aztec theme, tomorrow is superhero theme, Wednesday is Star Wars theme (May the 4th be with you) and Thursday is… No need to explain, it’s very a intern MFA nerds theme. 

Besides dressing up as superheroes, we are also shooting a TV show this Thursday and turning in a musical movie project tomorrow. So lots of social media, high technology themed projects this week. I am proud of my movie featuring the glorious Courtney Kattengell with Alanis Morisette songs and a catchy story about lost love. 

Also my family just arrived and I can’t wait to show them everything. Sunday is the  

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Just “kittying”

how lucky can one girl be. Not only do I get to play the part of Kitty (a hysterical blond vaudeville wannabe performer, with a very high pitched voice) in this semesters production of the Drowsy Chaperone. It is also my second time as Kitty AND the third time I’m involved in a production of this show! Luckily it is one of my favorites. 

Maybe I AM a hysterical, blond, wannabe actress with a high pitched voice? I’ll leave that to the reader, or the audience… But really to my friends, to decide. 

  

Check out videos on YouTube of Kitty singing pop songs : “Kitty Presents” 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PNCFrkfjttM

MusiCalifornia

This is a tacky title, but when I created this blog, this was one of my suggestions for the name of the blog. So I thought I wanted to share it anyways. 

I’m studying musical theatre at a master’s level in California, and this semester is my final. I’m so excited to finish and earn my degree, also I literally can’t even… So much has happened these two years and I’m filled with pride and a little sadness, that I soon will have to leave this lovely place. 

When I was thinking about my song choice for the semester (songs to work on) I came across a lovely song by Joni Mitchell. I started listening to the song when I applied for the program, and when I listened to it the other day, I was overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions from the time when I decided to give California a shot. The song is called California, and I have decided that it is gonna be one of my songs to work on during my final semester. 

The funny thing about the song is, that it is about a girl who is visiting Europe, but misses her home, California. The complete opposite than me, and then yet the feeling is the same. Missing home, feeling lonely, meeting people, strangers, taking chances, trying new food and adjusting new settings. Also I have a feeling that some day, I will sing about how I miss my home in California, since it is a big part of me that I will never forget. 

  

Homeless is more

During my stay in California I have had a number of homes. 

When I go HOME for Christmas that means several things: My moms house, Mads’ house… Aarhus, Copenhagen, Fredericia are all places that equals HOME. Now my sister and her boyfriend’s new house also is sneaking up on the list. The good thing is the entire country is my home, and I get to feel at home every day. In the bus, on the train, on the street. The other day when I was walking in my rubber boots through an extremely muddy field (that’s another story, never mind, anyways) I felt at home. Something I don’t see a lot in (Winston Salem….?) CALIFORNIA -I mean, the muddy field. 

Anyways. I also talk about San Diego as home… So I understand if someone gets rather confused when I in one sentence refer to home as in several countries. But what a gift this is. To have so many homes… I must say that for now, I feel lucky, though I also look forward to have just one home, wherever that will be?

What is a home? Somewhere safe, somewhere with love, somewhere with familiar faces and things. A place where you can relax, sleep, do laundry, eat and play piano all night long… Except for the piano part, that means that I have far more homes than I first assumed… Right now I’m back home, in California. Wednesday I start in school again. Last semester. MFA. Excitement. Then I’ll go home…. to Denmark. 

The Fir Tree -HC Andersen

My favorite christmas fairytale, even though it’s kind of sad. Enjoy:

fir tree

The Fir Tree -By Hans Christian Andersen

Out in the woods stood a nice little Fir Tree. The place he had was a very good one: the sun shone on him: as to fresh air, there was enough of that, and round him grew many large-sized comrades, pines as well as firs. But the little Fir wanted so very much to be a grown-up tree.

He did not think of the warm sun and of the fresh air; he did not care for the little cottage children that ran about and prattled when they were in the woods looking for wild-strawberries. The children often came with a whole pitcher full of berries, or a long row of them threaded on a straw, and sat down near the young tree and said, “Oh, how pretty he is! What a nice little fir!” But this was what the Tree could not bear to hear.

At the end of a year he had shot up a good deal, and after another year he was another long bit taller; for with fir trees one can always tell by the shoots how many years old they are.

“Oh! Were I but such a high tree as the others are,” sighed he. “Then I should be able to spread out my branches, and with the tops to look into the wide world! Then would the birds build nests among my branches: and when there was a breeze, I could bend with as much stateliness as the others!”

Neither the sunbeams, nor the birds, nor the red clouds which morning and evening sailed above him, gave the little Tree any pleasure.

In winter, when the snow lay glittering on the ground, a hare would often come leaping along, and jump right over the little Tree. Oh, that made him so angry! But two winters were past, and in the third the Tree was so large that the hare was obliged to go round it. “To grow and grow, to get older and be tall,” thought the Tree –“that, after all, is the most delightful thing in the world!”

     In autumn the wood-cutters always came and felled some of the largest trees. This happened every year; and the young Fir Tree, that had now grown to a very comely size, trembled at the sight; for the magnificent great trees fell to the earth with noise and cracking, the branches were lopped off, and the trees looked long and bare; they were hardly to be recognised; and then they were laid in carts, and the horses dragged them out of the wood.

Where did they go to? What became of them?

In spring, when the swallows and the storks came, the Tree asked them, “Don’t you know where they have been taken? Have you not met them anywhere?”

The swallows did not know anything about it; but the Stork looked musing, nodded his head, and said, “Yes; I think I know; I met many ships as I was flying hither from Egypt; on the ships were magnificent masts, and I venture to assert that it was they that smelt so of fir. I may congratulate you, for they lifted themselves on high most majestically!”

“Oh, were I but old enough to fly across the sea! But how does the sea look in reality? What is it like?”

“That would take a long time to explain,” said the Stork, and with these words off he went.

“Rejoice in thy growth!” said the Sunbeams. “Rejoice in thy vigorous growth, and in the fresh life that moveth within thee!”

And the Wind kissed the Tree, and the Dew wept tears over him; but the Fir understood it not.

When Christmas came, quite young trees were cut down: trees which often were not even as large or of the same age as this Fir Tree, who could never rest, but always wanted to be off. These young trees, and they were always the finest looking, retained their branches; they were laid on carts, and the horses drew them out of the wood.

     “Where are they going to?” asked the Fir. “They are not taller than I; there was one indeed that was considerably shorter; and why do they retain all their branches? Whither are they taken?”

“We know! We know!” chirped the Sparrows. “We have peeped in at the windows in the town below! We know whither they are taken! The greatest splendor and the greatest magnificence one can imagine await them. We peeped through the windows, and saw them planted in the middle of the warm room and ornamented with the most splendid things, with gilded apples, with gingerbread, with toys, and many hundred lights!

“And then?” asked the Fir Tree, trembling in every bough. “And then? What happens then?”

“We did not see anything more: it was incomparably beautiful.”

“I would fain know if I am destined for so glorious a career,” cried the Tree, rejoicing. “That is still better than to cross the sea! What a longing do I suffer! Were Christmas but come! I am now tall, and my branches spread like the others that were carried off last year! Oh! were I but already on the cart! Were I in the warm room with all the splendor and magnificence! Yes; then something better, something still grander, will surely follow, or wherefore should they thus ornament me? Something better, something still grander must follow — but what? Oh, how I long, how I suffer! I do not know myself what is the matter with me!”

“Rejoice in our presence!” said the Air and the Sunlight. “Rejoice in thy own fresh youth!”

But the Tree did not rejoice at all; he grew and grew, and was green both winter and summer. People that saw him said, “What a fine tree!” and towards Christmas he was one of the first that was cut down. The axe struck deep into the very pith; the Tree fell to the earth with a sigh; he felt a pang — it was like a swoon; he could not think of happiness, for he was sorrowful at being separated from his home, from the place where he had sprung up. He well knew that he should never see his dear old comrades, the little bushes and flowers around him, anymore; perhaps not even the birds! The departure was not at all agreeable.

     The Tree only came to himself when he was unloaded in a court-yard with the other trees, and heard a man say, “That one is splendid! We don’t want the others.” Then two servants came in rich livery and carried the Fir Tree into a large and splendid drawing-room. Portraits were hanging on the walls, and near the white porcelain stove stood two large Chinese vases with lions on the covers. There, too, were large easy-chairs, silken sofas, large tables full of picture-books and full of toys, worth hundreds and hundreds of crowns — at least the children said so. And the Fir Tree was stuck upright in a cask that was filled with sand; but no one could see that it was a cask, for green cloth was hung all round it, and it stood on a large gaily-colored carpet. Oh! how the Tree quivered! What was to happen? The servants, as well as the young ladies, decorated it. On one branch there hung little nets cut out of colored paper, and each net was filled with sugarplums; and among the other boughs gilded apples and walnuts were suspended, looking as though they had grown there, and little blue and white tapers were placed among the leaves. Dolls that looked for all the world like men — the Tree had never beheld such before — were seen among the foliage, and at the very top a large star of gold tinsel was fixed. It was really splendid — beyond description splendid.

“This evening!” they all said. “How it will shine this evening!”

“Oh!” thought the Tree. “If the evening were but come! If the tapers were but lighted! And then I wonder what will happen! Perhaps the other trees from the forest will come to look at me! Perhaps the sparrows will beat against the windowpanes! I wonder if I shall take root here, and winter and summer stand covered with ornaments!”

He knew very much about the matter — but he was so impatient that for sheer longing he got a pain in his back, and this with trees is the same thing as a headache with us.

     The candles were now lighted — what brightness! What splendor! The Tree trembled so in every bough that one of the tapers set fire to the foliage. It blazed up famously.

“Help! Help!” cried the young ladies, and they quickly put out the fire.

Now the Tree did not even dare tremble. What a state he was in! He was so uneasy lest he should lose something of his splendor, that he was quite bewildered amidst the glare and brightness; when suddenly both folding-doors opened and a troop of children rushed in as if they would upset the Tree. The older persons followed quietly; the little ones stood quite still. But it was only for a moment; then they shouted that the whole place re-echoed with their rejoicing; they danced round the Tree, and one present after the other was pulled off.

“What are they about?” thought the Tree. “What is to happen now!” And the lights burned down to the very branches, and as they burned down they were put out one after the other, and then the children had permission to plunder the Tree. So they fell upon it with such violence that all its branches cracked; if it had not been fixed firmly in the ground, it would certainly have tumbled down.

The children danced about with their beautiful playthings; no one looked at the Tree except the old nurse, who peeped between the branches; but it was only to see if there was a fig or an apple left that had been forgotten.

“A story! A story!” cried the children, drawing a little fat man towards the Tree. He seated himself under it and said, “Now we are in the shade, and the Tree can listen too. But I shall tell only one story. Now which will you have; that about Ivedy-Avedy, or about Humpy-Dumpy, who tumbled downstairs, and yet after all came to the throne and married the princess?”

“Ivedy-Avedy,” cried some; “Humpy-Dumpy,” cried the others. There was such a bawling and screaming — the Fir Tree alone was silent, and he thought to himself, “Am I not to bawl with the rest? Am I to do nothing whatever?” for he was one of the company, and had done what he had to do.

     And the man told about Humpy-Dumpy that tumbled down, who notwithstanding came to the throne, and at last married the princess. And the children clapped their hands, and cried. “Oh, go on! Do go on!” They wanted to hear about Ivedy-Avedy too, but the little man only told them about Humpy-Dumpy. The Fir Tree stood quite still and absorbed in thought; the birds in the wood had never related the like of this. “Humpy-Dumpy fell downstairs, and yet he married the princess! Yes, yes! That’s the way of the world!” thought the Fir Tree, and believed it all, because the man who told the story was so good-looking. “Well, well! who knows, perhaps I may fall downstairs, too, and get a princess as wife! And he looked forward with joy to the morrow, when he hoped to be decked out again with lights, playthings, fruits, and tinsel.

“I won’t tremble to-morrow!” thought the Fir Tree. “I will enjoy to the full all my splendor! To-morrow I shall hear again the story of Humpy-Dumpy, and perhaps that of Ivedy-Avedy too.” And the whole night the Tree stood still and in deep thought.

In the morning the servant and the housemaid came in.

“Now then the splendor will begin again,” thought the Fir. But they dragged him out of the room, and up the stairs into the loft: and here, in a dark corner, where no daylight could enter, they left him. “What’s the meaning of this?” thought the Tree. “What am I to do here? What shall I hear now, I wonder?” And he leaned against the wall lost in reverie. Time enough had he too for his reflections; for days and nights passed on, and nobody came up; and when at last somebody did come, it was only to put some great trunks in a corner, out of the way. There stood the Tree quite hidden; it seemed as if he had been entirely forgotten.

“‘Tis now winter out-of-doors!” thought the Tree. “The earth is hard and covered with snow; men cannot plant me now, and therefore I have been put up here under shelter till the spring-time comes! How thoughtful that is! How kind man is, after all! If it only were not so dark here, and so terribly lonely! Not even a hare! And out in the woods it was so pleasant, when the snow was on the ground, and the hare leaped by; yes — even when he jumped over me; but I did not like it then! It is really terribly lonely here!”

     “Squeak! Squeak!” said a little Mouse, at the same moment, peeping out of his hole. And then another little one came. They snuffed about the Fir Tree, and rustled among the branches.

“It is dreadfully cold,” said the Mouse. “But for that, it would be delightful here, old Fir, wouldn’t it?”

“I am by no means old,” said the Fir Tree. “There’s many a one considerably older than I am.”

“Where do you come from,” asked the Mice; “and what can you do?” They were so extremely curious. “Tell us about the most beautiful spot on the earth. Have you never been there? Were you never in the larder, where cheeses lie on the shelves, and hams hang from above; where one dances about on tallow candles: that place where one enters lean, and comes out again fat and portly?”

“I know no such place,” said the Tree. “But I know the wood, where the sun shines and where the little birds sing.” And then he told all about his youth; and the little Mice had never heard the like before; and they listened and said,

“Well, to be sure! How much you have seen! How happy you must have been!”

“I!” said the Fir Tree, thinking over what he had himself related. “Yes, in reality those were happy times.” And then he told about Christmas-eve, when he was decked out with cakes and candles.

“Oh,” said the little Mice, “how fortunate you have been, old Fir Tree!”

“I am by no means old,” said he. “I came from the wood this winter; I am in my prime, and am only rather short for my age.”

“What delightful stories you know,” said the Mice: and the next night they came with four other little Mice, who were to hear what the Tree recounted: and the more he related, the more he remembered himself; and it appeared as if those times had really been happy times. “But they may still come — they may still come! Humpy-Dumpy fell downstairs, and yet he got a princess!” and he thought at the moment of a nice little Birch Tree growing out in the woods: to the Fir, that would be a real charming princess.

     “Who is Humpy-Dumpy?” asked the Mice. So then the Fir Tree told the whole fairy tale, for he could remember every single word of it; and the little Mice jumped for joy up to the very top of the Tree. Next night two more Mice came, and on Sunday two Rats even; but they said the stories were not interesting, which vexed the little Mice; and they, too, now began to think them not so very amusing either.

“Do you know only one story?” asked the Rats.

“Only that one,” answered the Tree. “I heard it on my happiest evening; but I did not then know how happy I was.”

“It is a very stupid story! Don’t you know one about bacon and tallow candles? Can’t you tell any larder stories?”

“No,” said the Tree.

“Then good-bye,” said the Rats; and they went home.

At last the little Mice stayed away also; and the Tree sighed: “After all, it was very pleasant when the sleek little Mice sat round me, and listened to what I told them. Now that too is over. But I will take good care to enjoy myself when I am brought out again.”

But when was that to be? Why, one morning there came a quantity of people and set to work in the loft. The trunks were moved, the tree was pulled out and thrown — rather hard, it is true — down on the floor, but a man drew him towards the stairs, where the daylight shone.

“Now a merry life will begin again,” thought the Tree. He felt the fresh air, the first sunbeam — and now he was out in the courtyard. All passed so quickly, there was so much going on around him, the Tree quite forgot to look to himself. The court adjoined a garden, and all was in flower; the roses hung so fresh and odorous over the balustrade, the lindens were in blossom, the Swallows flew by, and said, “Quirre-vit! My husband is come!” but it was not the Fir Tree that they meant.

     “Now, then, I shall really enjoy life,” said he exultingly, and spread out his branches; but, alas, they were all withered and yellow! It was in a corner that he lay, among weeds and nettles. The golden star of tinsel was still on the top of the Tree, and glittered in the sunshine.

In the court-yard some of the merry children were playing who had danced at Christmas round the Fir Tree, and were so glad at the sight of him. One of the youngest ran and tore off the golden star.

“Only look what is still on the ugly old Christmas tree!” said he, trampling on the branches, so that they all cracked beneath his feet.

And the Tree beheld all the beauty of the flowers, and the freshness in the garden; he beheld himself, and wished he had remained in his dark corner in the loft; he thought of his first youth in the wood, of the merry Christmas-eve, and of the little Mice who had listened with so much pleasure to the story of Humpy-Dumpy.

“‘Tis over — ’tis past!” said the poor Tree. “Had I but rejoiced when I had reason to do so! But now ’tis past, ’tis past!”

And the gardener’s boy chopped the Tree into small pieces; there was a whole heap lying there. The wood flamed up splendidly under the large brewing copper, and it sighed so deeply! Each sigh was like a shot.

The boys played about in the court, and the youngest wore the gold star on his breast which the Tree had had on the happiest evening of his life. However, that was over now — the Tree gone, the story at an end. All, all was over — every tale must end at last.

 

Shubidua -The Musical

Denmark is writing Musical Theatre History these days; my appreciation to have contributed just a little to this production. 

What you are about to read Is very subjective, since I have been involved in this production. I’ve been working on Shubidua -The Musical the most of my summer as a part of my internship from San Diego State University. I have been directors assistant and choreographers assistant, helping with preparations and development prior to rehearsals. I’m so proud of all the people involved and read this as my appreciation of everybody’s work, and celebration of the success. If you’re intrigued by Musical Theatre, this might as well be interesting to read. 

Shubidua -The Musical opened Friday night at Fredericia Theatre and according to newspapers and several audience member’s updates on Facebook,  it was a success of a different character. Not only does it reach a broad scale of audience, it also takes Musical Theatre to a new level in Denmark. According to me the show plays an important part of the evolution of Musical Theatre in Denmark. 

The Theatre Concert: In Denmark we have a long record of beloved and creative shows, that goes under the category: Theatre Concerts, which was a concept conceived in the 1990s. The Theatre Concerts has music that is already written and loved (Gasolin, The Beatles, Bob Dylan just to mention 3 examples), but expressed in new ways and innovating arrangements. There is almost no story line in Theatre Concerts and they are especially known by the spectacular set designs, costumes and make up. One of my early experiences in the theatre was when I was 9 years old and attended Gasolin The Theatre Concert, with my sister and my parents. It blew my mind, I was frightened, amused, excited and scared. I love the premise of the Theatre Concert, but the premise hasn’t developed very much since the 90s. Shubidua -The Musical takes it to a different level. It uses the music from the beloved band of the same name, but the important difference is, that there is a clear storyline and that the well-known songs helps to tell a story, which by the way takes place in Copenhagen in the 1970s and 1980s and not only does it tell the story of the life of the boy Mick, but it also tells the story of a country and a time period. Therefore is it not a Theatre Concert as many would think. It’s a Musical! 

From my perspective, Denmark loves the joy of recognition. In terms of Musical Theatre, we enjoy to see something that we know, something familiar. Whether it’s the story or the music we recognize. That is why I personally think the concept of this particular musical is genius, because it tells a very important story and has a lovely and important message, which is articulated by the recognizable music, time and place. 

The concept is not new, we’ve seen it in a variety of musicals such as Mamma Mia! But then again Shubidua -The Musical takes it to a different level. I dare to say that the set design is beyond something ever seen in Denmark, maybe anywhere. I don’t wanna spoil anything for anyone, just letting you know that this is the future and remember the fact that this production played an important part in the evolution of Technique on stage in musical theatre. Because this will change the game forever! 

I’m so grateful and proud to have been a part of this project and I encourage people see this Musical, since it has an important message, and has raised the bar of the standard of Danish Musical Theatre, and who doesn’t want to witness a piece of Musical Theatre History, I sure was glad I did back in 1995 at Gasolin The Theatre Concert. Shubidua -The Musical is spectacular, we all know the lovely music and I’m sure you will exit the theatre with a wide range of experiences and new colors added to life, colors you didn’t even know existed. 

  

20 years on Stage

I celebrated my 10th birthday at the preview of Bugsy Malone at Privat Teateret in Copenhagen. I was 10, and I got my first salary for doing what I at the time did not know was actually gonna be my profession. I remember that I was payed $6 an hour, and at my birthday I got a gameboy and a nice purse. Like a real lady. I felt very grown up with my new purse (which of course contained my new gameboy). It was a rainy day, when I turned 10 and I remember walking to the train with my purse in the rain, thinking that I was really grown up. I had a job and a purse and people expected something from me. I don’t remember how the performance went, but I do remember that my parents had prepared a late night Kermit cake (my favorite) with Danish flags in, when I came home. It was a lovely day. 

To day at my 30th birthday, I started of with a dance class, then I directed a scene with the sweetest undergraduate students, after that we worked on our individual Teaching Philosophies and last but not least we started rehearsals on Into the Woods. I don’t think a lot of people at 30 can actually celebrate 20 years anniversary in their field. So I am proud to do so. I’m still doing what I love, I’m working with musicals and I’m so excited to have found my path in life so early and trusted it. Not to say that this was ever easy. It has cost a lot of work, sweat and tears. I miss my family and my boyfriend every day and hope that they will still love me as much when I return. I’m sorry if you feel that I have not been a present friend, sister, daughter or grand daughter for some time, but that little girl with a dream and a gameboy in her purse has followed me, up till this point, and I’m not gonna let her down. Because she is a proud young woman who is ready to capture the world and fulfill her dreams. 

My name is Liv Stevns Petersen, I’m 30 years old. Thank you world

  Photo: Malmose.com