Monday, January 28, 2013

On to the next...

One show closes, must be time to find another one to do.  Tonight I'll be checking to see who's got spring shows and find out which ones I want to audition for.  Musicals, straight plays - as long as it's not too far or runs into or past Memorial Day weekend, I'll consider it.  First step is to pick an audition song and get it ready.  My resume's current, and I have headshots; now to decide at whose auditions I'll leave 'em...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

So what did I learn?

... from doing this show? 
  • First & foremost, that I can do more than I thought I could.  My memorization was never quite where I wanted it to be, but I did manage to pull off the role.
  • I found that I was usually able to cry when I needed to, something that I'm sure will be useful in subsequent roles.
  • When I have a LOT of lines to learn, I'll set mini-deadlines for memorizing X number of pages or certain scenes. ("I have to be completely off book by this date, so I'll get this scene down by date A, pages 20-30 down by date B...")
  • With a lot of thought and focus, I can shift from one mood to another in a single scene and make it believable.  That is, if one friend's comments weren't meant only to protect my feelings... ;)
  • I can "smoke" onstage pretty realistically with fake cigarettes.
  • With enough practice and patience, my "opponent" and I can pull off a scuffle.
  • I'm a Del Shores fan - I love the way he writes for women, at least in this play.

Another show closed

Last performance last night, followed by strike (because another company was loading into the theater this morning), followed by a cast party at a nearby diner.  Our marvel of a stage manager (SM) loved her gift (2 season tix to the company's new season and a poster signed by the cast & director), and the director loved his so much he actually teared up!  (Texas-shaped frame with just enough openings for pictures of each cast member, the SM and director)  The director also had all of us sign the lobby poster of the show logo.

Very well organized strike - we were outta there by midnight!  It helps that it was a one-set show and we had plenty of volunteers in addition to the cast & crew, but there were still truckloads of props to take care of, as well as furniture that included an actual upright piano.  Maybe the fact that so much of the stuff was loaned to the company helped a little - that meant those things went home with their owners instead of needing to be shoehorned into the truck.

What a great theater experience this turned out to be.  I learned a lot, both about acting and about my own abilities, got to meet and work with some great people, and learned about a playwright who writes GREAT roles for women and is still writing.  (I've already ordered copies of 5 more of his plays.)  Del Shores is only 55; may he continue to have a productive career!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Before I have to go thru theater withdrawal

Here my show has barely opened and I'm already looking at auditioning for spring shows.  I'll probably go tomorrow for a company I've been trying to break into (they get scores of people at their auditions - VERY stiff competition), another company is doing Ragtime, and a 3rd is doing a Cole Porter show that sounds like fun. The music director and choreographer for that one are both people I've worked with before and would enjoy working with again; only the stage director is an unknown.  Pity my poor theater widower. ;)

A 4-footed audience member?!?

Yesterday when we came out for the curtain call, I heard this strange sound over the music.  Eventually, I realized that odd silhouette I was seeing was a dog roughly the size of a spaniel that had its front paws on the armrest and was barking its head off.  (I imagine the music and clapping were hurting its ears.)  This was no service dog - a working dog would be bigger and better-behaved.  Who brings their dog to the theater?  I can't imagine the poor beastie enjoyed the show, and it may have bothered some of the patrons, especially if they had allergies.

Now I understand why actors don't read reviews until after they close

Opening weekend went pretty well - the house was at least 2/3 full each night and the audiences all seemed to enjoy the show.  The fight scene went very easily - finally felt smooth & natural.  I stumbled a little on my opening speech, but in general I think I did pretty well.  Hardly an award-winning performance, but nothing to be ashamed of, either.  I was a bit thrown when the audience was laughing at points throughout my big, emotional scene, but given the way Shores has other characters throwing in non sequiturs and other interjections to lighten the mood, I can understand it.  I may never know whether I made anyone cry, but at least I know the wig made 'em laugh. :)

We've gotten 2 reviews so far.  The first reviewer gave us 5 stars out of 5, went into great detail (starting with the costumes - my kinda reviewer :D), and had absolutely nothing negative to say.  The 2nd reviewer was less glowing; didn't like the costumes the first reviewer did, mentioned only 2 performers (though both reviewers had the same favorite), and generally said it was fun, but not great.  Funny how 2 people can see the same production so differently.  This sort of thing tends to remind me of The Six Blind Men of Indostan - everyone encountering the same thing, but in very different ways.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

How did that happen?

All along I've been a bit in awe of the size of my role in this play.  The other night, one of my (very experienced and eminently talented) castmates confirmed what I'd been trying not to think about, that mine is the largest role in the show.  How did that happen?!? 

I've always considered myself a singer who acts, rather than an actor who sings, and I only auditioned for this show for the practice.  I never expected to make callbacks, let alone get cast in the lead!  Quite a change for someone who's used to ensemble and featured roles.  I've been trying not to think too much about how big the role is and how much other people's cues and things rely on my getting my lines right. Sometimes, though, it's hard not to stress out, simply because I've never had such a big role before.  I think it would have been less stressful had it been a musical role - I've had plenty of experience learning music and choreography.

TW has been after me for years to audition for straight plays, not just musicals.  I've been doing that, but the demographics have generally been against me (fewer roles for women than for men, fewer roles for "women of a certain age" than for younger women, more women than men auditioning).  Now, though, I'll be auditioning for plays with a new confidence, knowing that at least one director believes in my ability to deliver a huge, meaty role.  Starting Friday, I have 8 chances to do just that.  And in cotton-candy-blue hair! :D

Tech week

Every time I go into tech week, I mention to at least one castmate that I love it because that's when the magic happens.  Having the sets, costumes, make-up, props, sound and lights make so much difference! That's when it starts to feel real, that you really are putting on a show, not just rehearsing for the fun of it.

This tech has been a bit different.  For starters, this company doesn't have anywhere to do any set construction ahead of load-in, so that first day is spent loading materials, not sets.  Makes for a very long day (and very creative set design and judicious play selection).  Monday was our first run on the set, which is usually one train wreck after another because distances are different, spacing is different - everything that affects your timing is different from the rehearsal space.  To my surprise, we had only minor problems, and only tweaks to the blocking. We also added wigs for those of us wearing them.  I was hugely relieved to learn that mine wasn't as extreme as I'd feared, nor was it the distraction it could have been.  ("Will it stay on during the fight? Or when...")  Last night we didn't get thru the whole show because the lighting and sound techs spent a lot of time setting up their cues.  It was also our first full dress; it was great to run things with the full rig - hair, make-up and costumes.  Unfortunately, because the tech work needed so much time, we only ran the first scene of Act II, not getting to the one quick change 3 of us have.  We finally got to work that tonight and I was relieved to see that I have a little more time than I thought I would, especially if I can get someone to help me get my boots off.

Tonight we also choreographed the curtain call.  And yes, it's choreographed, not just blocked.  Our director has us doing a very simple little dance.  Some of the others ("I'm no dancer!") were freaking out a little, but I thought it was fun, of course.  At one point I found myself calling it for people; our director seemed happy to let me, and even let me give a starting count the next time we ran it.  I hope the choreophobes can get comfortable with it; I'm certainly willing to do what I can to make that happen for them.  Now to figure out how to give that starting count so we can all hear it but the audience doesn't realize that's what's going on.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Walking wounded

Such a day!  I had 2 wisdom teeth taken out 2 weeks ago.  (If you want to lose weight over the holidays, tooth extraction is guaranteed to keep you from overeating.)  This morning found me back in the oral surgeon's chair; turns out I had a bit of bone that was trying to work its way out.  He gave me a coupla shots of novocaine, winkled that thing outta there, and sent me on my merry way.

As luck (or Murphy) would have it, today was our second marathon rehearsal (9-4:30), and our last before moving into the theater.  I showed up less than half an hour late (thank heaven for dental offices that open at 7 on Saturdays), still a bit numb, and dove right into the scene they were working when I walked in.  As the anesthesia wore off, it started to feel as though the bit the doc removed had loosened a few smaller bits.  Either it was just an illusion or the bits eventually worked themselves loose, because that sensation faded by the lunch break.

Than there was that dreaded fight sequence.  During the second time we ran the show, I fell during that sequence and landed hard, squarely on my tailbone. =:o   Maybe it was adrenaline, but I was able to pick myself up and continue as if nothing had happened.  Later, though, it started to hurt, so that now I walk a little funny if I've been sitting still too long, and I'll probably have a nice bruise by tomorrow.  If only I'd managed to fall on padding, not bone!