Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Chicago Day 2

It's Kaitie's Birthday! Whoo! She's officially 20 years old.

So we slept in in honor of Kaitie's birthday and then ate an amazing lunch at Lou Mitchell's Restaurant and Bakery. It's a famous diner in Chicago, and Kaitie wanted to go. I didn't think it would be anything special, but I had one of the best burgers of my life that morning. When we told our server Linda (the nicest old lady you ever did meet) that it was Kaitie's Birthday, she brought out a HUGE piece of 4-layer coconut frosted cake! We had just had a huge lunch, but somehow we ate that piece of cake.

After lunch we trekked off in search of someone who knew the right bus to take to Navy Pier. A nice girl at Starbucks pointed us in the right direction and we waited a while for our bus to arrive. It was awesome to take a bus around the city.
1. We were out of the cold.
2. We got to take a route we hadn't been and we saw a lot of cool buildings and architecture.
3. It was way faster and less tiring (who'd have thunk?)

We got to Navy Pier in about 10 minutes. Katie Mac nabbed some bus maps from the nice security men, and then we went inside. The Pier is really awesome. There's so much more there than I thought possible. We went in a bunch of the souvenir stores. Then we rode the Ferris Wheel and got some great pictures of the Chicago sky line. We went to see what the Shakespeare Theatre was all about, and I'm sad it wasn't open. It looked like the shows would be really good, so maybe one day I'll get to check it out. We read a sign that said the theatre was a Tony Award recipient.

We shopped in all the little shops and checked out all the vendors. I found an awesome Jackie Chan poster I wanted for my apartment next year, but unfortunately they were all out of stock. After Navy Pier we took the bus to the Red Line and then took the Red Line to the North side of Chicago to find a vegetarian diner called The Chicago Diner for Kaitie's Birthday, because she is in fact a vegetarian. The food was amazing! If I lived anywhere near this restaurant I would eat there all the time! I had the sweet potato quesadilla. I'm just going to say I'm officially hooked on Chicago food. This restaurant was located in Boi's Town, which was somewhere we wanted to go, so we killed to birds with one stone.

We took a different route back to the train station and ran across a Bookworks and we all bought some great scripts. I bought an anthology of Restoration plays! Then we rushed back to the Red Line and jumped on, getting off and onto the Brown Line which took us to Second City. We saw their 50th Anniversary show, with the touring cast. They were all very young--and very talented. They did a bunch of skits that had been performed throughout the years, and then some modern ones. They were all funny. I think I enjoyed the musical numbers the best. It was an awesome show, so we stuck around for their 3rd act which is their 'in the works' material that they test on audiences before making it a part of their repertoire. There ended up being a group of kids from a college near us, and they got a Lady Gaga parody song dedicated to them. It should have been us! It would have been so much cooler!

We took a taxi back to the hostel and then called it a night!

Chicago Day 1

Ok, I'm breaking these up because I'm probably going to ramble about them. And these are probably really uninteresting to everyone, but this is for me to look back on and remember what I did.

Sunday, March 28 2010:

We got to Chicago! My friends and I (there are 4 of us on this trip, Melissa, Katie Mac, and Kaitie (my roomie)) left school at 3:30am and I drove us to the St. Louis Amtrak station. We got there around 5:40 and boarded the train around 6. The train was really nice. I'd never been on an Amtrak train; they're very comfortable. The rain ride was 6 hours, so we slept, I read Rabbit Hole which is one of our summer plays, and then slept some more. We got to Chicago at 12:20 or so, and then we took our bags and walked the 5 blocks to Greek Town, where our Hostel, The Parthenon, is. It was a nice day, a bit nippy out, and windy which was to be expected.

So we checked our bags, because check in time wasn't until 3, and headed down to Girodanno's Pizza down the block. We ordered a medium pizza and it was HUGE. It was also quite possibly the best pizza I've ever had. We finished and then went exploring the area around our hostel to kill time before check in. We found some convenient banks, Starbucks, and a lot of Greek restaurants (imagine that). When we went back to check in, the man informed us that they had so many people that we were being upgraded to an apartment, with a private bathroom--for free! Awesome. We went up to the room and there were 4 British boys in the kitchen. We were really hoping to meet some foreign people on our stay here. Unfortunately we didn't really get to talk to them, and we'd figure out later that nobody is actually staying in our 3 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment with us, we just have a community kitchen that everyone uses.

So we unpacked in our little room with two bunk-beds. The upside was not having to store any of our things in lockers. Then we took off to walk east towards the Downtown Loop to see what all there was to see. We didn't want to purchase bus/train passes until the next day. We walked really far. We saw some amazing restaurants and we did a little shopping at an awesome Chicago store called Poster Plus. We went and saw 'The Bean' as Kaitie calls it. The Cloud Gate was really cool and we took a lot of pictures like the tourists we are. It was getting pretty chilly so after a couple more stops at some clothing stores, we headed back to the hostel. The Parthenon is actually owned by a family that runs the Greek restaurant it's attached to, so we ate there and it was really good. I had Cheese and Spinach Pies and then Crema Caramelle for dessert.

We crashed early because we hadn't slept much and the long day of walking definitely wore us out. We were in bed by 10:40.

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Official

It's officially SPRING BREAK!

Other official things on the list:

1. I was not cast in the musical! It was an awesome first experience, and the cast list looks great so I can not wait to see this show! I've heard so much about it because so many of my friends have their fingers dipped somewhere in the prep pot, and from what I've heard we'll be ending the year with a bang!

2. I am Public Relations for the Warehouse Theatre! Our whole board is made up of my class mates and 1 amazing first year. We have a really great group put together and we've already started reading possible plays to pick for the next season. I'm so excited to be a part of something so amazing. An entire board full of women is unheard of in the professional world, and it's going to be something that will definitely help me after graduation. I'll be learning a lot of new things and I should even be getting a huge binder from the former Public Relations chair that will help me in my next year here.

3. I will be doing my last strike of the semester tonight so I have no more obligations to worry about this semester crew-wise! Every semester we are required to strike (take-down, dismantle, and reorganize) two shows, and one has to be a main stage. I did strike for my show earlier this semester and I'll be doing my main stage show tonight. It's the last night of Playing for Time and they've had a great turn out. Everyone has been so supportive of the sensitive subject matter and the cast has definitely gotten their message across.

4. I have an apartment in Hillcrest. My friends also have apartments, and we went this week to go check them out. They're awesome! We have our own kitchen/living area, a small hallway, then a bedroom with a big closet, and a nice sized bathroom with--wait for it--a BATHTUB. I couldn't be more excited.

5. I will be in Chicago in 2 days! It's crazy! This will be my first big road trip without my parents. Technically I took one over Christmas break, but it was to a place I had already been. I've never been to Chicago. We'll be seeing Dangerous Liaisons, Trust, and The 50th Anniversary of Second City. We really wanted to see a musical, but it just wasn't happening. We're hoping to be able to pick up an extra show, maybe at some hole-in-the-wall artsy theatre somewhere. Experimental Theatre is always cool to see.

I've actually never seen a professional straight play. College is the closest I've come. I've seen a lot of Broadway and Touring musicals, but I haven't watched a play, so I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to watch some of these professional actors get their game on!

Another exciting thing I did this week was support the group called Trama Textiles. They're an organization in Guatemala made up of women whose families were destroyed in the war during the '80s. They make their money by hand weaving clothes, bags, jewelry, wallets, scarves, headbands, hair accessories, and a lot more. It's amazing. We had the President and Vice President come in and talk to our Global Village class. It was their first time ever out of Guatemala to share their story, and we had to have a translator come in because they didn't speak English. After they spoke and told their story and their mission (Which is amazing) I went out and bought a bunch of their stuff to support their cause. They have an awesome website if you want to check out any of their things. Tramatextiles.org

Now to school:

Acting IV: My Lady Windemere's Fan scene is officially blocked and now I just need to memorize and be off book for after break. It's a fun scene; I get to be distraught and beside myself as I try to fight off my (unbeknownst to me) mother.

Theatre History II:

We read The Little Foxes and A Streetcar Named Desire this week. Both were very good, but I definitely loved Streetcar more...not that there's any comparison. I'm glad I waited until now to read both of these plays because I wouldn't have grasped their significance if I'd had to read them in high school. I got hold of the movie with Marlon Brando of Streetcar and I'll be watching that this weekend with my roommate before we leave for Chicago, I'm excited!

Voice lessons this week were just preparing me for my callback, so we didn't really do much else. We did pick the bars I'll be singing for my upcoming Boji audition, though. So I need to work on those.

Otherwise, this week was just incredibly long, but honestly not too hard. And now it's time for a break!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Count Down to Spring Break

Monday started off crazy with a lottery sign up for apartment housing next year. My roommate and I both signed up, and, ironically, both got chosen. So we had to give one apartment back. AND our two friends happened to get lucky enough to nab two apartments near us as well, so we're going to be neighbors next year! My roomie and I will stick together. We're very excited about having a kitchen for next year! We'll be able to cook and eat healthier (better) food! She's a vegetarian, so I'm sure I'll learn to eat even healthier. We definitely need to find a cookbook that works for both of us.

There were also auditions for the musical Monday. I did my first college musical audition, kind of speak-singing my way through a song. I performed When Frederick was a little lad from The Pirates of Penzance and I acted every other word out. I'm pretty sure that's what managed to get me a callback! Because I got one.

So today I had my first college musical callback. I was called back for the character Hebe with a group of 6 other talented girls. I had to run to the Warehouse elections early, vote, then make a 30 second speech, and then run to my callback. We sang 3 lines from the show (basically the only 3 lines the character has by herself) and then...we were done. It was a very short callback. I think the director knew after that exactly who she wanted. A great first experience! The cast list goes up on Friday and we'll see what happens.

If I win the position of Public Relations in the Warehouse (which is likely because, oddly, I ended up running uncontested) then I'll be starting a new blog next school year dedicated to the Warehouse and all of its shows! This is an endeavor I'm really excited about, and hopefully it will help gain community support. I'll be finding out the results of the elections tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.

I have a couple more plays to read this week for Theatre History II: The Little Foxes and A Streetcar Named Desire. Both should be pretty awesome.

We received our partner scenes in Acting IV today. I'll be working with a good friend of mine on a scene from Lady Windemere's Fan. E and I have worked together before, and she's been my understudy earlier this year in The Laramie Project so I'm excited to get the chance to work with her again, since it's been a while. I'll be playing Lady Windemere, and she'll be playing Mrs. Erlynne. All done in a Standard British dialect of course. :)

Chicago is coming up in less than a week, and Boji auditions are in less than two. It's so crazy thinking about how fast this year has flown by. This time next year I'll be done with my last college audition and (hopefully) have some plans for working after graduation. Who knows what the future holds. I'm satisfied with dreaming about how awesome my summer will be at Okoboji!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's Snowing, in Spring

Yesterday it was 65 degrees outside..now it's snowing and we should get 3 inches or so. It's pretty...but winter is over! I'm ready for some sunshine. What's with all this crazy weather?

Wow, so I took sometime off this week because the parental units came up to visit. We had a lot of fun, and I'm really glad they got a chance to come up and hang out. We checked out some of the local restaurants: Flatbranch, Addisons, and Boone Tavern. They bought me an early birthday present of a new phone--woot! It's the new Droid..which is very cool, but honestly I'd never heard of it until now. My roommate tells me that's incredibly sad. I also acquired some new pajama pants which are awesomely comfortable. Thanks dad.

We also got to see the show Playing for Time. It was beautifully done. The Warehouse was the perfect space for it, because it's smaller and it made the experience more intimate. The cast was huge with around 40 people, I think. It's a play about the Holocaust and the lives of the women who were saved by playing in the orchestra for the Nazis' entertainment.

The production had amazing moment to moment work. This means there was quite a bit of the play that focused on action, and not on lines. The action would show more about the character than what they were saying actually revealed. The way a character left or entered a room was especially telling, as well as the way that the characters silently interacted with each other by taking care of each other or alienating someone.

My favorite part of the production was the end. The entire cast came out singing(and this cast was FULL of amazingly talented singers) in character and slowly raised these pictures of real victims to cover their faces. And at the end of the song, they turned them around so the audience couldn't see the faces anymore. It was extremely powerful.

The play also included a projector that showed pictures of places to help the audience understand where the action was taking place, or the names of victims and what they died of. All in all, the production was actually hard to watch. There wasn't a wall between the audience and the story as there would have been had it been performed in a space with a proper proscenium. It was a hard story to tell, and I could tell that it had taken its toll on the actors. They are a very strong bunch, and they did an amazing job.

Lets see, this week as a BFA Theatre Major:

Acting IV: We performed out 'monologues' given to us by Acting Professor R. They went very well. It was mostly for dialect and character purposes, so he wasn't concerned with memorization as much. We were all memorized, but it definitely took the pressure off and let us worry about acting. Every one's dialects sound great, and it was interesting to watch different character interpretations (since we were all playing the same characters). There's a noticeable difference between this acting class and my last one. In this one, I can tell we will be working scenes a lot more, which is always a good experience because you get to try new things. In my last class it was focused on preparing a piece of work and then sharing it with the class, which I also very useful. It's just nice to get to switch it up once and a while and not be doing the same things the same way. That's why I love my school!

Theatre History II: We discussed Waiting for Godot. There was a lot of discussion on the Christian elements of the play, and how Godot can be construed as God. However, Beckett (the playwright) specifically tells us that Godot isn't God, and if he knew who Godot was or what/who the characters were waiting for, he would have said so in the play. All in all, I loved it. A horrible piece to memorize I'm sure, but incredibly fun to perform and see. I would love to see it. History Professor B was telling us that at the end, when the characters say they're going to leave and actually don't move that the audience generally tends to get nervous and sits around waiting for them to leave. And then slowly people get up to leave. And finally everyone clears out, but if you look back in..the actors will still be onstage waiting (in a classic production, I suppose). Very cool. It's a very interesting look at the ways in which we pass our time, only to realize that we haven't actually accomplished much in our lives. Friday's class was cancelled due to Fashion Guest Speakers taking over our room.

I have a lot of reading to do this weekend concerning the plays for our upcoming summer season, as well as for Theatre History this week. I'm auditioning for my first college musical on Monday. HMS Pinafore! It's good experience, especially since I'm in school and it's the perfect place to practice things I've never done.

Except for the inordinate amount of snow outside, I think it will be a good weekend. Productive. And hopefully this next week will be productive as well in preparation for my Spring Break trip to Chicago!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

People assume strength when they see confidence

Just a quote I found today that pertains to a lesson I learned in Acting. I had my first lesson with Acting Professor R today, now that we've switched into drawing room comedy. He told my class that every time you come on stage you need to command it. You should walk on feeling like you know that every one's attention should be on you--because you have something to say. Which, when I think about it, is common sense, but sometimes you need to hear things you already know for them to actually sink in.

We reviewed our British Dialect because we'll be performing British scenes for this acting class. I have two monologues to memorize for Thursday's class(one from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the other from The Public Eye), and two Oscar Wilde plays to read for next Tuesday (said with a liquid U, Like Tyusday). I need to read The Importance of Being Earnest (which I've already read for Theatre History II this semester, but I loved it so I'll read it again) and Lady Windemere's Fan. I'm an Oscar Wilde fan and I'm excited to have an excuse to read his work. My British Dialect isn't as rusty as it would have been, because I had Playhouse Creatures to review it with. However, it's not (nor will it ever be) completely natural, so I practiced after class by reading my Global Village research out loud in a British accent. Fun stuff.

I finished reading Waiting for Godot for Theatre History, which I have a quiz on tomorrow. I loved the play. I had to read The Bald Soprano last week. They're both absurdist pieces, though I would say Godot is more existential. I loved them both, and I love that I loved them both. I was really hoping I'd like absurdist theatre, because it's so unique and creative and out of the box. I've even settled on an absurdist play for my Directing II scene: Ashes to Ashes by Pinter. And if I can't find a male to act in it, then I'll be doing The Chairs by Ionesco. I'm a new recruit for Theatre of the Weird.

My Theatre History Exam went well last class, though there were no questions on Symbolism, and I got a little mixed up on Expressionism. I did remember Existentialism though. We covered a lot of isms in this section.

My parents will be coming in tomorrow to visit me for the week! I had a small freak out (and by small I mean big) when I realized they were coming this week and not next week. However, they're going to get to see Playing for Time opening night, which will be amazing. And they'll even get to meet the kids at the Pre-School I work for. I've been rushing to get all of my homework done so I can spend time with them while they're up here.

I still have my Point Form Outline for Global Village to finish. I better get on that!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What a weekend!

This was a BIG weekend.

I had rehearsal this whole past week for the one-act play I was in, and it was a rush to make sure I was prepared by Saturday. We were doing random rehearsals trying to fit time in, and my scene partner and I were doing more outside work than we've done for shows in a long time. We had 3 separate rehearsals on Saturday. A morning one for a fight-call, and a run through. Then a 3 pm rehearsal with some Italian Run Throughs. This means you say the lines really fast (and normally you would accompany them with over dramatic movements, but we did it sitting down because the rehearsal space wasn't available). And then a 4 pm rehearsal for one last run-through before the 5 pm performance~!

Needless to say, the rush had my scene partner and I scrambling to make sure we didn't forget lines. The constant rehearsal was a help and a hindrance, just because we were trying to cram so much into our brains. But our director was amazing and she gave us a lot of freedom to build our characters and emotions.

The performance (for our director's grade--yikes!) went off perfectly! The energy was great, we didn't forget out lines, and we landed all of our naps in the fight scene. Naps are the sound effect made during a stage fight, usually by hitting hands together instead of hitting hands to faces. There was one line, after I get angry and throw a phone out of a window, where there was a pause because I had forgotten that director had told my scene partner to say her line early (and I was being a bad actor and I wasn't listening properly) before I remembered to say my responding line. However, it ended up working perfect for comedic timing. Everyone in the audience laughed when I said my line and we moved on and didn't make any mistakes. I felt so great after the scene was done, mostly because I didn't have to stress anymore, but also because I feel confident that we didn't mess up our director's grade.

If given the chance to continue working with the scene I would. The characters are very interesting and I feel like I only scratched the surface with mine.

Then there was the dance concert that I attended Saturday evening. Our college dance department put on a faculty directed/choreographed production. There were two guest artists: a Japanese woman and a circus arts man. The concert was really great! It's definitely one of the better ones I've seen here. There were so many interesting pieces. There was a piece called Lynchtown that was beautiful and powerful. And then I really enjoyed the circus piece. The dancers walked on stilts, rode unicycles, juggled balls (and did other awesome tricks with them), and mimed! It was very cool and made me wish I had been given the opportunity to take the Circus Arts class. It was full when I applied.

Today I made my final decision about the upcoming Warehouse Elections. The Warehouse is our on campus student-run theatre. And the elections are coming up for new board members. I originally wanted to run for Artistic Director, but I've changed my mind and settled on Public Relations. Doing this position can teach me a lot more for when I go out in the real world, if I ever wanted to start my own production company/theatre or something similar. Our AD position is unlike any professional AD position, because our faculty oversees so many decisions. I figured, I blog so--I could start a Warehouse blog! And then the local newspaper here has a blog and a YouTube channel, so I could definitely hookup with them to get a broader basis in the community. And I did a lot of PR when I was President of my Thespian Club in high school. I also love working with people, so--decision made! PR will give me a better business aspect, and AD would give me a more artistic aspect. I'm going with business.

I've done some research this weekend for my Global Village paper over the preservation of indigenous cultures. My TA was extremely helpful in the last meeting I had with her, and it reminded me how much more interested in international relations I used to be. It got me thinking a lot about studying abroad or what I might get my masters in one day. I'm definitely going to be looking into Study Abroad options for after my graduation date--look out Mom, here I come! The Dean of my performing arts department even mentioned how good of an idea she thinks it is in class the other day--so there. But really, there's so much more to learn and discover. And the best artists are the ones that experience a wide variety of things, so they can apply those experiences to their art. If all I ever do is theatre, I'll fail as an artist. And volunteer work in a foreign country would be fun!

I have a Theatre History II exam tomorrow morning to study for! It covers a pretty large time span, so I better get to work. I have to admit though, the lesson on the Theatre of the Absurd has definitely helped me research which absurdist play I want to pick for my Directing II scene. I better get on that too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Midterms Complete

I did not get cast in Some Girls, however we have a mentoring program here and my little mentizzle is officially an UNDERSTUDY! I'm so proud of her accomplishment!

Ok, so backtracking:

My Performance Technique midterm went well. I sang "Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered. Music Professor R told me that my acting was spot on, but I had pitch problems in 2 places. He told me that I don't usually have pitch problems so it was probably a result of me not supporting my breath enough in my diaphragm. I've been having a lot of problems with singing this week and last because I've been so sick, so honestly I thought it went a lot better than it would have. But I do wish I could have performed when I wasn't so sick. Either way, it's done and Music Professor enjoyed it, so what more can I ask for? I'm officially done with P-Tech for this semester! Sad, but ok because I still have Private Voice lessons to keep my singing fresh.

My Personal Family Finance midterm took me a while, but I finally got it done and I think I did pretty well!

Acting IV: I'm so sad this is over! I'm switching classes to work on drawing room comedy now. We performed for the last time today for Acting Professor B. We did our Greek monologues with our gestalts and everyone was just phenomenal. I am so ridiculously proud of my class. Everyone showed a new side of themselves I've never seen. There were deeper voices, stronger physicality and movment, and everyone was just so prepared. There was no nervous energy before performing, hoping you don't forget a line. There was just excitement at getting to share our work, and then shaking afterwards because we had expelled so much energy in the exercise. Then we had a great discussion afterwards about how much this lesson has helped our physicality and how we can continue to use it, and how much it's helped us improve overall. The pieces performed were selections from: Medea, Electra, Hecuba, and Antigone. It was so much fun. We had a lot of great class discussion in this course and I'll miss them. Acting Professor B gave us this last bit of wisdom: We should never be upset after not getting cast. We should walk into an audition saying, 'This is where I am, this is what I have to show you, if you don't want it I'll go somewhere else that does'. I'm very excited for next semester when I'll have Acting Professor B again for a monologue class!

Voice Lessons: I had two this week, one for a makeup when I was sick. I've officially picked all the songs for my semester and I now have a CD of accompaniment music to practice with. I rehearsed my audition song for our upcoming musical HMS Pinafore. I'll also be audition for our summer theatre Okoboji, so I rehearsed a new song that I think I might use for that audition as well. I've been learning a lot about my dialect. In acting, I don't have a dialect, but for singing purposes I hold onto my Rs too long and Voice Professor C tells me often that I need to be careful. We work on special places to breathe too because I'm a newbie and I don't pay attention to it on my own. She usually has very specific ideas for what she wants, which is helpful to me.

Midterms are officially done now, but the stressful week is not yet complete. I have one more day to get through before I think things will finally settle down. Tomorrow is Crew Watch for all of my friends in their show Playing for Time. I wish them all luck!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


It's midterm week!

We practiced our P-Tech midterms on Monday. I knew my song, but I wasn't acting it to the best of my ability. I got the note to be sure to start acting on the first note of the music, and not when I sing. I shouldn't have had to get that note, so I definitely need to pay more attention. Music Professor had me re-run some parts of my song acting-wise, but I did it much better the second time through. We perform for our midterm tomorrow in class, and I plan on doing it right!

In Acting IV today (ah! Second to last day of Greek Acting, sad) we performed our Greek monologues with our gestalts individually for Acting Professor B. She told me I really understood the assignment and I was doing a great job! It was nice to hear because I thought I was doing it right, but I was a little nervous about not having much movement (on my feet) in my monologue. I can't wait until Thursday when we get to see everyone's! It's going to be so much fun. This assignment has taught me so much. One of my classmates even mentioned to me that he had noticed that I used a gestalt in my 'crazy' scene in Playhouse Creatures. Using that gestalt really helped me make sense of that scene.

I had auditions today for the next Warehouse show Some Girls. It was fun! I used one of my older monologues that I knew really well, so I wasn't nervous about the audition. I ended up making callbacks, which is always my favorite part of the whole process. It was really different from any other callbacks I've been to because we were reading with guys from outside our school. All of our guys are required to be in the upcoming musical, so the director was forced to hold open auditions to cast the 1 guy role. I read with 2 different guys and they were both talented. I had a great time meeting new people and reading these scenes. It was a carefree atmosphere and I wasn't feeling any pressure. I'll be happy with whatever the outcome, knowing that I had a good time and I felt I did well.

I'm enjoying my small taste of free time lately, and I'll be sad to see it leave if I'm cast. I've had so much going on lately, and coupled with being sick it all seems a bit much. I could really use some time to breathe and relax and get myself back on track.

I have a Global Village Point Form Outline due on Friday, and I'll be performing in a directing scene One Act on Saturday. I'm not off book yet and I've got a lot of work to do to make sure I'm not stressing by the end of the week. It's a really fun scene with great dialogue and characters. It's from Riches by Lee Blessing. There's even a fight scene in it! I'm playing a man (because the director couldn't find one) and my wife and I beat each other up! I love it!

Anyway, I should really be studying for my Personal Family Finance Midterm for tomorrow. I'll be updating soon about being cast or not.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Beginnings

Playhouse Creatures is done! It was a fantastic 4 days, and I had so much fun being a part of an amazing collaboration. I'm so proud of the cast, crew, and production team. We received a lot of supportive comments from the faculty and theatre patrons, so it's a job well done if you ask me.

The president of my college attended, and so did most of the theatre faculty and students of the department. It's great to have a nice turnout.

My mom flew in to come watch like the wonderful parent she is and I had a blast performing with her in the audience. The closing night was the best audience we had, mostly because they were theatre people and appreciated more of the jokes in the script. Striking the set wasn't as sad an occasion as it sometimes can be, and I think that's because I feel fulfilled having completed something without ever really completing it at all. I never settled on my character and I didn't stop creating new things to try during the process. I'm proud of that development.

I watched the Academy Awards tonight. The competition was so tough this year. And I didn't have the same satisfaction watching it because there were so many films that I hadn't seen yet. But for the ones I did see, the wins were deserving. And all of the speeches were beautiful.

Anyway, the reason I brought up the Oscars was because I was thinking tonight about the differences between film and stage acting. I've always had an attraction to film, though I haven't done much of it. However, I attend a theatre based school that doesn't allow for many film opportunities. I've often tried to decipher the reason I'm more attracted to film than theatre, and I still haven't figured it out. There is an instant gratification that comes with the stage. That audience feedback that can power a performance and feed an actor. There is the immediacy of the moment, knowing that there won't be a second take to do it better. There is an artistic finesse that can be applied onstage where an actor's entire body can be engaged in an emotion or action, which isn't seen on screen.

These are all elements of theatre that I love. Since I've started earning my degree, I've begun to respect and appreciate the art form of theatre much more. There is so much more training involved in being a stage actor I feel. However, I still feel an unavoidable draw to film. I enjoy the intimacy of the camera, which is impossible onstage in the same sense. And I enjoy the degree of realism that can't usually be found in theatre, the intricacies of human life. I feel like somewhere I might have picked up the idea that the more natural you are, the more talented you are. Which isn't true at all. There are times for being natural, and then there are other forms of art.

It's safe to say I'm still unsure of my attraction to film. But I can say that, tonight, during the Oscars, when those dancers came onstage to perform the nominated songs and they danced their hearts out and then finished--and every one of those movie stars applauded their appreciation, I loved theatre that much more. Still, one day, I hope to have the opportunity to do film. Maybe it's because I always felt like I was meant to affect somebody. Or do something great in this world. And with film, an actor can affect so many more people, and your performance is never lost. Your moment--your acting--your craft is never lost. Then again...it doesn't grow the same way that it can onstage over a long run. I digress.

I have a lot of work to get busy on for this upcoming week. Maybe one of these days I won't even be sick anymore. That would be a pleasant improvement.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Opening Night!

I was going to chronicle this last night, but I got back from my cast party so late and I just wanted to go to sleep.

Opening Night went Great! Two of my acting professors came D and R. And L will be there tonight. The faculty is showing so much support for this show, and Director should be so proud of her work.

Our house was 1/3 full, which is expected on a Wednesday night, but they were responsive and gave us great feedback. It's always fun to perform for new people because they find humor and sadness where you didn't, and it changes the way you interpret things.

All the girls were really stoked, and the costumes were completed and looking great. I had a last minute costume fitting while the girls cleaned up the Warehouse (the theatre that we performed in). Then we all rushed to the Warehouse meeting to talk about running for the board for next year. I would love to be a part of the board. The Warehouse is a completely student run organization that produces and performs shows on campus. Being on the board is great experience for the real world from a business and artistic standpoint. Elections are coming up soon!

Anyway, then we all raced over to the theatre to begin getting ready. Some of the cast handed our cards and presents which are always amazing to receive. I write mine for the last day of the show so I haven't handed mine out yet. The respect and camaraderie in this cast is awesome to be a part of and I had so much fun pre-show just being with the girls.

Our first year cast member is the first to appear on stage and she really rocked it out last night. It was obvious that she was feeding off the audience energy, and she changed some of her performance and really stepped up her game. It was so exciting to watch, knowing that she'll be here with me next year to hopefully work with again. Our other cast members are 3rd years and are graduating in May (our program is 3 years, 2 summers). They were all equally amazing as well.

My costumes went smoothly, my makeup was good (for my last scene). I only dropped my dialect twice (unfortunately) on a can't and a been. Our Acting Professor L, who was also our dialect coach is attending tonight and I'm going to make sure I don't slip up.

All in all, I can tell that this production is only going to get better as it goes on! I'm excited that so many people are excited to come and see it. Most of the theatre crowd is attending on Saturday because they're in the rehearsal process for Playing for Time and don't have nights off. Our lunch lady told me today she's going to come on Friday! It's going to be a crazy ride, I can't believe it's almost over. But auditions for the next show are on Tuesday so I have another opportunity on the way.

Just to cover the bases: Today in Acting IV we showed the first 5-10 lines of our Greek Monologues to Acting Professor B, and she helped to give us ideas. She reminded me that starting in a neutral stance doesn't help me, it only hurts me. She says from the waist up, I understand the exercise really well, and I'm doing the gestalt correctly, but I need to engage my lower body more by giving myself the opportunity to move. So she had me sit in an uncentered position, and gave me some examples. She also said I could use my clothing more since it's referenced in my monologue so often. Before I left the room I asked whether or not this technique should be used in a regular audition, and she told me it is often encouraged. So many people stand in neutral that it's often intriguing and more attention grabbing to find a person start on the floor or sit in a chair or have their back turned. Being unique is what it's all about. Now I can definitely employ this for the rest of my time here. I might even start with my audition next week!

I'm off to finish my hair before show call!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

All you have to do is not succeed to make you think you can't act

The blog title is a quote from today's Acting Class by Acting Professor. She was explaining how much we let other people affect our decisions in life. Of course that's not necessarily a good or a bad thing, but it is an interesting topic to think about.

Wow, it's been a crazy tech week. I've never had so many costume fittings and costume changes in my life. And I have another tomorrow! But I love it, because my costume designer is so dedicated to getting it right. She has amazing ideas and isn't afraid to change things at the drop of a hat. She's been working so hard and this show wouldn't be half of what it is without her. I'm so proud of her and my cast!

We changed all of our costumes this afternoon. We got refitted and then stuck around to help the crew sew things up. There's still quite a few alterations to be done, but these girls work magic so I'm sure everything will be prepared for tomorrow.

The lighting design is gorgeous and the sound design is perfect. Maybe it's because it's a completely student run production, but I feel so much more pride for this show than others I've been a part of. The collaboration was what made the play such a great experience for me.

Anyway, I really just wanted to document my night before feelings so I can read it one day and remember what it was like. Rehearsal tonight was great. Everyone was still trying new things, and the crew really stepped it up. We've even had a couple guest costume helpers come in to make sure we're making our entrances on time because the costumes are so elaborate. Everyone was in high spirits and having a great time. It's so much fun to work in that kind of setting.

I forgot my shawl in my first scene, and I also forgot to take off my fancy necklace for my last scene. Two things I definitely need to remember! I had a new hairstyle today thanks to my cast mate, and it looks great so I'll definitely be using it for the week.

I'm rambling. Basically it was great, I'm excited to open tomorrow. We haven't had a flawless run yet, tech-wise, but I'm not worried about it....well I'm a little worried about taking off one of my petticoats, but I have time to practice it.

Acting IV today was very cool (my voice lesson was cancelled). Instead of getting up and doing our Greek monologues with our gestalts, we talked about how technology is affecting our generation and the generations to come and what it means for the world of art. Bad things that's for sure. But, I agree with a classmate of mine that it all has to come to a head sometime and things will change. We talked about the fact that my generation has hover parents and because of the constant communication between people over cellphones and the Internet, it's hard to be an individual. Or have alone time. Or grow.

All these were very interesting things to talk about and I hope to have more class discussions like that in the future. I really shouldn't be writing this much when I'm this tired. I know everything I wrote doesn't make a lot of sense, but I wanted to get it out there to look back on.

All for Love

I love theatre. And I love rediscovering that I love it because, you know, sometimes you just forget. It's easy to take things for granted and get caught up and forget about what's important.

I woke up yesterday thinking the weekend wasn't long enough. I had 1 midterm, 1 performance, 1 quiz, and 1 forgotten homework assignment. I'm still getting over my sinus infection and all I wanted to do was go to rehearsal. I didn't want to go to any classes. I knew when the day started that it wasn't going to be a good day. I didn't technically finish my midterm before the time was out. I went to work at the kids school and they tired me out. I wasn't sure I remembered all the words to my song and I was dreading P-Tech. When I got there, Music Professor told us we were going in reverse order, putting me near the front instead of the back like last time. I didn't have time to think about anything. I either had the words or I didn't. I was either going to add in a gestalt or I wasn't. I was either going to do well--or not.

I got up there and did what I felt, and what I wanted and the second I sat down my whole day felt better. Just because I had performed. Just because I had had fun. Just because I love what I do.

It was such a blast! I had been so caught up in having a bad day, and letting the pressure of having too many things to do get to me. I went up on that stage and let myself go a little and I had a great time. Those are the times that remind me why I do what I do. If I didn't feel like that after performing than I would know that I'm not doing the right thing for me.

I'm really thankful I've found something that makes me feel so happy. And I know that if one day, I don't feel like this about acting anymore then I certainly won't continue to do it.

Music Professor did give me an interesting note though. He told me (in convoluted terms that were hard for both of us to understand) that I was so inverted with my emotions that he almost felt like I wasn't letting him in. I was feeling it, and he liked what I did, but I needed to include the audience more. It wasn't a note that I'd ever received before, but I understood what he was saying because I had done something completely different in my performance yesterday.

However, it really got me thinking about one of my scenes in my show(that opens tomorrow, YEAH!). Sometimes I feel like I'm so wrapped up in what I'm doing that I'm not conveying everything I want to the audience. I wonder if they sympathize with me the way I want them to. I've talked to Director about it, but she hasn't mentioned anything off. She likes the performance I'm giving, but when Music Professor gave me that note, it made me realize that that's what I've been thinking (and been unable to put into words) about that scene. Just something to stew over and fix if necessary.

Rehearsal went really well last night for not having done a full run since last Wednesday. Mrs. Betterton had some costume malfunctions, and all of us got the note to not pick up our skirts with out fists when going up stairs. We need to look more graceful, but it's difficult with layers. All in all we were told to be louder and SLOW DOWN. Apparently last night was a quick run through and we chopped off about ten minutes. I guess we forgot to breathe.

Hopefully tonight will run smoothly and I won't have trouble finishing all my homework for tomorrow!