Thursday, November 18, 2010

One Day To Go

I thought I'd put the links to some of the coverage of my Global Ethics event if you weren't interested in seeing it!

And here's the video that was on the news! Erin gave the interview and they cut it really short, but I suppose it got the point across.

Now, I heard some have been having trouble getting the video to work. Beneath the video, if it won't play, there should be a link that says play video now. If you click that it will ask for your name and e-mail, which you can give because it's harmless, and then it asks you to RIGHT click the video. It might play an advertisement first, but it should eventually play! I hope it works!

In other news, this week has been one of the least stressful weeks. We had a Warehouse Board Meeting, a Warehouse Event to raise money at our local TGI Fridays, and Warehouse Elections to replace Rhea who will be graduating in December. We're on the hunt for a new Performance Liaison. It's down to a 2nd year and a 3rd year and both would be great additions to the board!

I've had very little homework, and some classes cancelled because a lot of the theatre faculty is out of town this week, apparently.

I've agreed to be in a 2nd year Directing Scene. It's a 10 minute absurdist piece, so it should be fun. I'll be playing 'Man from Hell', so I'll get to stretch myself a bit.

I have one 6-10 page paper to write over break, 1 Shakespeare scene to memorize, and one directing scene to memorize. Other than that, I'm free as a bird! I can't wait!

And as a bonus: I'm seeing the 1 am showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows tonight with Kaitie!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Run, The Strike, and the Last Week

Collected Stories went great! Opening night was the only night with major technical difficulties. Everyone settled into their roles and we had a great couple of shows!

Mom and Dad got here Thursday, but I couldn't see them until after the show. I had a movie scene to film. It was a scene from "The Princess Diaries" and I was playing the Queen (Julie Andrews) and Ashlee was Mia (Anne Hathaway). We filmed it in the style of "The Office", so it was more like a documentary. It was fun, and I didn't have to be completely off book!

Thursday's show was slow because we had a smaller audience. I felt pretty good about it though. Mom and Dad loved it! They said they enjoyed Friday's show more, but Rhea and I felt that Friday was worse. The difference between audience and actor opinion is so interesting to me. But as long as the show comes off well, it never matters how the actor feels about it. What matters is that we impacted the audience and got our message across.

Rhea and I spoke too fast in some parts and we'd stutter on a word and start it over. That's a big actor no-no in performance. You're supposed to continue with the sentence and never restart a line. It was very odd for us, but we got through those little blips with grace, I think. Friday night was talk back and we got to answer questions about what our favorite parts of the show were, and our favorite parts of the rehearsal process. A few under classmen students asked us some great questions about what the most challenging thing about being in a 2 person show was. The answer was so easy for me and I realized it's all thanks to Professor D.

Listening is the key to all great performances--that's what he taught me. And it's true. None of Collected Stories would have been successful if Rhea and I hadn't listened to each other. Because it's 2 people, it's such a reactionary show and everything depends on how you give a line and respond to a line. Professor always told us in his acting class that we have to listen and truly hear what your scene partner is saying to you, and then react accordingly. You can't brush past a line or throw it away, because the playwright wouldn't have written it if it wasn't important. Every line has meaning, and it's the actor's job to give it meaning.

I had a 2nd year come up to me after Saturday's show crying, and she told me that she finally got it. She watched the show and she finally understood everything Professor D had been telling them in their class about 'how to act'. And it was so amazing to have someone tell me that. And the only reason it felt so good is because it solidified for me that I've truly learned things here. I've gotten the education I need, and these underclassmen are getting it too. I was so proud of my cast and crew and professors in that moment. Some other 2nd years came up and confirmed what she said too, and I was blown away that not only had I helped them, but I had started using the things I learned here without realizing that I used them. It was a total 'senior year' moment.

Saturday's show was the best attended. All the theatre students that are in Meet Me in St. Louis came and they gave us great energy. Even Professor L came for some of the show! Strike was really emotional because it was Rhea's last college strike, and we were all feeling the end. This semester has just flown by, and I can imagine that next semester will go by even quicker. I can't imagine what my last college strike will be like. The set came down so fast! Director was having a hard time watching it disappear too, I think.

The understudy performance was Saturday during the day and they did an amazing job! I can't even imagine having to perform a 2 person show as a 1st year. They have so much to learn, but the little things that I could point out were all things that they will definitely learn here at this school. And it was so comforting to watch thinking "I used to do that" and knowing that by their 3rd year they will have come so far. Their performance was great! They have so much natural talent and they carried their conversations with ease. I really enjoyed it and they had a great turnout in the audience. I'm so proud of them!

Sunday we had our Global Ethics project event: A Walk in Their Shoes. It was so much fun! We got to the park at 12 and we started putting posters up around our trail. We had factoids about Africa and the starving population there, as well as optional tasks that had to be accomplished such as walking without shoes, carrying buckets of water, and blindfolding a partner so they had to depend on someone. We had an awesome turnout! We ended up raising $146.53! The best part though: We raised community awareness! There would be people who walked by our signs and stopped to read them. Somehow (and we're not sure how we accomplished this) the buzz about our event spread through the churches and the community to the newspapers! We had 3 different newspapers come interview us AND a camera crew! We were on the news! I got elected to give a personal interview, but I pushed Erin to take it instead. She's the one in our group from Columbia, and even though she wouldn't say it, she really wanted to do it. She gave a great interview! I was so proud of her. She offered perfect analogies to relate to the public the things we were hoping to accomplish and spoke eloquently about our organization: The Hunger Project. She also took our film acting training to heart and remembered to ask the camera man "Where do you have me?"(That means, where are you shooting me? Such as: from the chest up). My whole group is made up of senior theatre majors and we ate that up. Professor D would be proud.

No other group in Global Ethics had newspapers interview them, and they certainly didn't make it on TV. They aired it last night at 9 and it was a beautiful 45 seconds! We can't wait to tell Professor T about the outcome of our project. We gave away tons of great raffle prizes to some very deserving students and community members. Everyone's support was fantastic and appreciated!

Today in class we re-blocked most of our final Shakespeare scene and rehearsed it. We watched more of The Winter's Tale in Lit class. I had voice lessons today and Voice Professor T has decided to teach me how to belt! I'm so excited! We picked my final cuts for final voice juries that will take place at the end of the semester. I'm required to do 1 full song and 2 cuts. I kind of can't wait.

I also can't wait for Thanksgiving Break! My first break since Boji! I have free afternoons all week, and I'm excited to take a step back, breathe, and concentrate on my homework again. It's going to be a short week and I'll be home in no time!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Opening Night and Other Shenanigans


The weekend just flew by! It served the purpose of being the much needed break from Collected Stories for me. I was back and ready for action on Monday.

Monday afternoon we ran Act II, and then Monday night we had 1st Dress (Rehearsal). We had to stop a couple times for line issues (though we never asked to be given a line) and for technical issues.

Tuesday afternoon we ran Act I and Act II scene 3. It went well, and by night rehearsal we were on our game. We didn't have line flubs, the tech was on track and there were only a couple of issues that arose. Gotta love live theatre. I forgot my coat in one scene, and forgot to take it off in another. The keys I'm supposed to have weren't in my pocket, and many of the lights weren't focused. All in all though, it went really well!

So, Wednesday comes. Now, Monday and Tuesday I'd been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, printing programs, getting them checked and rechecked, printing more programs, negotiating bills, picking up T-Shirts (and then going back to pick up shirts that were printed wrong), Designing program inserts (because even after all the checking, somehow some important people were left off the program--my fault!), printing program inserts, cutting program inserts, inserting program inserts, Updating( printing, cutting and inserting) bookmarks, passing out flyers for fundraising, and SOMEHOW memorizing a monologue for class.

This monologue was performed Wednesday morning for Professor B. We were supposed to be able to come into the room in character, and use whatever prop/set piece she set before us. It was improvisational and REALLY hard. It would have been more fun for me if I had memorized my monologue before the night before and if Wednesday wasn't opening night. However, that was no excuse. I didn't do the best I could have, and Professor B called me out on it. She also gave me an out, saying she knew how much I had on my plate and that I had an entire play of lines to memorize. I find it odd how everyone has made such a big deal about Rhea and I having so many lines. To me, it just seems like my job to get it all done, and I love it so it isn't a hassle. And it makes me feel horrible when people use it as an excuse for me. So I went to Professor B after class and told her that I didn't have an excuse for not doing well, and that she shouldn't give me one. Weirdly enough, she wouldn't accept that. She told me that it was OK, and that she understood. I tried to fight her on it, but she wouldn't let me. It was kind of surreal, honestly. I just wanted her to know that I would never use my PR job plus being in a show as an excuse, and she just told me that it was a good excuse.

So I lost that battle. I also presented my global ethics project with my group. We ended up having to go last and had little time to present, so we did an abbreviated version of our process so far. Professor T was impressed at the buzz in the community about our 'A Walk in Their Shoes' event. All our proceeds are going to The Hunger Project, and our interactive walk will be fun I think! It's on Sunday, so I'm sure I'll have more about it on here later. I also designed the beautiful poster you see here.

OK, so all of this happened, and then I had opening night last night. I hadn't even felt like it was opening night all day because there was so much going on. We cleaned up the Warehouse and did all our last minute things. We redid some of the lighting, lined the wood flooring, and created the Biography Board. We had a Warehouse Board Meeting at 5:30 because it was Wednesday and we rushed through everything we needed to talk about, and then we scattered to get ready for the show.

Rhea and I were pumped. Our understudies were excited, and Director couldn't have been happier that it was opening night, I think. The show went GREAT. Rhea and I were solid in our performances and we made it through every technical difficulty presented to us! And boy, was it a fun night of live theatre difficulty. There were new costumes, early light cues (that left us either entering the stage in light or exiting the stage in light), phones that didn't ring, and the best of all--a bottle of sparkling juice that wouldn't open. Rhea has a long monologue where she opens a bottle and then pours us both some juice. She couldn't open it, so I took it from her (while she was monologuing) and tried to open it, and when that didn't work, she simply went to the kitchen (lucky we had a kitchen on stage) and she poured us some tea! Something to remember: always buy twistable caps, never the kind you have to pop.

But everyone loved it, and no one could tell that anything was wrong. I felt good about it, and I'm very excited for the rest of the week! Professor R and Professor D both saw the show last night and were very complimentary.

But the best part of my night last night was getting to hang out with my Mentizzle. Mentor Mentizzle is the mentoring program we set up in the Warehouse Theatre to get the underclassmen more involved. I haven't gotten to speak to her much this year, and last night we got to spend more time with each other. It was a lot of fun!

So, Day two of the run of Collected Stories. I had a commercial audition for Nuts and Bolts today. Unlucky for me (or lucky depending on your outlook) I was called in for the Diet Coke commercial. I was asked to dress contemporary casual but edgy by my agent (who is really just my teacher, but he likes to simulate the real world in these class exercises). So of course, the Diet Coke commercial is the one that includes the most improv, and I am horrible at improv. It's a skill I've always wanted to learn, but have always been too intimidated by. Usually when you are trying to learn it, you are surrounded by people that are really good at it, and it makes it harder. So I had to walk in (and I was called before I expected to be called) and tell a charming, funny story about the best Diet Coke I ever had. I was possibly charming; not at all funny. Then he wanted me to tell a different story, but I hadn't thought of a different one, and since I'm horrible at improv I couldn't think of one on the spot. So he gave me some ideas, and I tried a couple of them. Then he told me to take it darker, and I said some more of his ideas. Then I tried one idea of my own and I was done. He told me good job, how much it would pay if I got the gig, and what they were planning on doing with it. All of this took place within the span of 2 minutes.

All commercial auditions are 2 minutes long, and all commercial auditions are improv. Therefor I predict I will probably never be very good at commercial auditions. I'm OK with that though, because I'm not incredibly interested in commercials. Apparently, many of them are moving to Non-Union which means it's harder to be paid residuals for every time they air. And if you book a national commercial then people might see you as 'the girl in that one commercial' which can ruin any TV/Movie career you might want. Professor D told us that you have to be willing to trade a successful TV career for a successful commercial career. My roomie Kaitie is really good at improv and it sounds like her commercial went way better than mine. Go her!

So, Mom and Dad get in today, but I have class, then a movie to shoot, then a Warehouse Company Meeting to attend, then a show to perform, then photo call, and THEN I can see them. Hopefully I'll have more time tomorrow since they're here until Saturday! It should be lots of fun!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember Remember the 5th of November

So I looked up the story behind this rhyme--very gruesome.

Another crazy week and a half has come and gone. Rehearsals have been great! Rhea and I have had a blast (give or take some stress) putting this show together and breathing life into these characters. Director gives notes at the end of every scene and we write down the things we need to work on for the next time. It seems to have gone by so fast. Just last week, I was still reading from the script. Now I'm off book, we're performing in the space, and my costumes are coming together!

Monday was designer watch, which means the designers watched a run through of the show to make sure they have everything they need before we open. Wednesday was Crew Watch, which means the crew and production team watch the show, since they won't be able to see the final product because they'll be busy back stage working on it. Last night was our first night of Tech Week. We did a cue to cue, which means we only said the lines before and after any light changes or sound effects so the board operators could get the feel for where their technical elements come in. Tonight we'll be doing a full run through, with some costumes, and we might have prospective students come watch.

That's right--it's prospective student weekend! Every department at school is giving tours, and as an ambassador so am I. We're hosting an overnight for all interested students (there's over 100 I believe) and then tomorrow we'll be giving downtown tours. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun, and it's our job to make the school look as good as possible and bump up those admission rates!

In other news, school has been crazy. We did mock performances of our Shakespeare scenes ( I may or may not have already said this in my last post), I got together with my group and planned our presentation (including a rap to keep the kids interested), I presented Othello to my Shakespeare Lit class with my group, I created the program for Collected Stories, I created and sent the advertisements for Collected Stories to the local newspapers, I got the blog mentioned in the local news blog ( ) , had 2 Warehouse Board meetings, written dilemmas for Ethics class, visited with my mom, had poster run, taken headshots for the show, performed my Shakespeare soliloquy for real (and received fabulous feedback from Professor R who thinks I have a real future in the classics), and miraculously got off book for Collected Stories. I've also received my Midwest (combine regional theatre audition in February) form saying what time slot I have and who all will be attending. I've researched the theatres on the list and I'm now considering who to play my audition package to.

Most of the theatres attending are interested in musical theatre singers and dancers for their summer stock companies. If I play my cards right, I might be able to try and swing my audition to get the attention of the Shakespeare companies attending, since those are the theatres that interest me the most.

I also signed up for next semester classes. I'll be taking a total of 14 hours now (I might add more), which is the lowest amount I've ever taken. I'll be taking Advanced Acting on Camera, Advanced Acting for Comedy, Box Office Internship (where I'll learn some awesome PR skills, and gain business management experience), Dramatic Literature (all focused on plays), and Creating Online Media (which will be beneficial for a future side job in graphic design/PR).

I'm not sure why this post includes so many parentheses quotes. On the upside, we got to speak to an Equity Representative in Nuts and Bolts yesterday. He explained the different styles of contracts and the benefits of what Equity can do for us if we join. He also gave us advice about knowing when to join (only when it's right for you, never feel pressured). We also spoke more about side jobs in the acting world, and our newest project is to create our own work of some sort, whether it's performance based or a website. This is to help teach us that we're capable of making our own work when we're in a rut in real life and we're not being hired.

I'm sure there's a ton more I've done that I'm missing, but I'm not sure what all it is. Mom and Dad (!!!! Awesome) are coming up to see the show this next week. And after that it's one more week until Thanksgiving Break. That will be the first break I've had since Boji; the first break I've had since May. Whatever will I do with my time?