Monday, November 28, 2005

Mea Culpa

I jumped a few lines today. In my second scene. I was about one minute early. I did not even know I had done it until the scene was over. I attribute my ignorance of my mistake to the seamless cover the other actors put forth once it happened. I did not even get so much as a weird look. Or if I did, it was too quick for me to notice.

I wish my error to be acknowledged for all time. Therefore in my own blog I quote Martin Sheen as Robert E. Lee in the movie Gettysburg;

"Hear me, I pray you! It is entirely my fault!"

Aside from my blunder, I think it was honestly our best rehearsal so far. Lots of energy. Creative line readings. Smoother scene transitions overall. Act one only took about an hour and 15 minutes, they say. It can be shorter still, but that is much shorter than it has yet been. It was quite a pleasure to watch some of those scenes, even though I have seen them a dozen times now. There seemed to be a bit of new life to the show tonight. Well-deserved kudos to everyone.

I went through my costume change for the first time today. Zero problems there. (I love clip on neckties. Absolutely love them.)

I even managed to be louder in the courtroom scenes today. Will the wonders never cease?

Mainly though, people seemed to be having more fun tonight than the last few nights. I cannot speak for them of course, and I may be wrong. However if perception is anything, my great cast mates seemed to be enjoying themselves more today. I hope it is so. I know that I was.

This was the first full dress rehearsal with all costumes. I am thinking that the shot in the arm a show gets once all costumes are in place might explain why things felt so good all the way around tonight.

What ever shall tomorrow bring?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever

So once again a Saturday went by, and because of the timing of rehearsal, I forgot to publish my latest installment of my theatre advice article. Since I would probably forget again the next two Saturdays, the articles are on a very short hiatus. They are the backbone of this blog, and thus they will return two weeks from this coming Saturday. Until then, performance related posts will be found on Saturdays.

So if you were worried, please know that all will be well in your world again soon.

As per what I just said, a rundown of tonight's rehearsal.

We ran the show mostly uninterrupted. I did not watch act 1 as I had been doing the last few nights. Instead, I played on my miniature Pac-Man video game unit that I brought with me. (There is a small television in the theatre's green room.) This unit is something I have brought with me during various shows over the last year or so. It usually proves to be quite a hit with others as well. I may bring it again at some point. Hard to say.

As far as act 2, it felt good to me. The courtroom scenes had a bit more energy than they have had the last few nights. Furthermore, I felt a few new character nuances enter my performance tonight. I often find that some of the best acting choices show up in the middle of a rehearsal, without being planned. That is not to say that excellent choices and ideas for a performance cannot be planned ahead of time. More often than not, they are. Once in a while though, if you are open to the muse, a nice idea, that maybe only you will notice, will show up for you to make use of. Today, I added a small laugh as Mara sat at his desk after he lost the case. Not likely to be noticed by most, but I found it gave a nice depth to him. It also serves as a relevant prelude to his next line, in which he mentions how happy he is that things worked out the way they did for Mr. Kringle. Nothing mind blowing, but it's a nice touch, if I dare say so myself.

As I was leaving the theatre tonight, a cast mate mentioned that once again the director gave me a note that I would probably mention on my blog. He was correct; I still have to be louder. The director mentioned this as the only major problem with my scenes. It is not the first time I have encountered this problem. There is no excuse for it on my part, and I have every intention of making an extra effort to correct it tomorrow night. In my own defense, however, I have quite often found that this issue corrects itself once an audience is present. It should not take that long to fix such a problem, but knowing there are people in the back row tends to remind one to project, nonetheless.

Also worked on the curtain call for the first time tonight. Pretty standard. Nothing to worry about there. I will take my bow with those playing the judge, the judge's friend, the Baliff of the court, and Mara's son.

Three more rehearsals remain in this, a shortened tech week. (This show opens Thursday instead of Friday.) I must say, as far as the parts of the show that I am in, I still am pleased with the progress. (And not simply because I am in said scenes, though it may have appeared that that is what I was alluding to.)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Wet Behind the Ears

I hope everyone had a good thanksgiving, if you celebrate that. Welcome to the Christmas holiday season. (If you celebrate that.)

Today was a "wet tech" cue-to-cue rehearsal. Took about 5 hours. This was due in no small part to the fact that we were operating with only about a third of the cast present. As a result, the stage manager would have to be managing her crew while also reading as many as three parts in one scene from back stage. A lot to juggle at once. But we got through it.

I was not that bothered by the rehearsal, actually. Naturally I would rather be performing than waiting for the lights to be fixed, but it has to be done. There is no sense in getting angry about it. Then again, my scenes did not require a whole lot of repetition to get the cues down, so easy for me to say, right?

I did not wear costumes today, since it was only a cue to cue. However, I now have the second suit available. (It was hemmed over the holiday.) So I should try the costume change during tomorrow's practice to see how it works. I do not anticipate it being much of a problem, as I have a slower dramatic scene, plus one other comic scene during which to change into another suit. It is the only costume change I have in the play. We will see how it goes.

Beyond this, not much to report from today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

This Old Jackenapes and Stage Anesthesia

Stage anesthesia is a term I came up with back in college. I am sure many actors have experienced it. Your are injured, or otherwise sick in someway, and yet for the brief time you find yourself on stage, much of the ailment goes away. I contribute it to the fact that a good actor is generally not thinking about their pain or sickness when performing, and mind over matter is the result; you are not sick anymore.

That is until you are done performing, and come back home, as I did about an hour ago. Than your symptoms creep back to you. In my case, it is back and neck soreness as a result of some work for a charity I did earlier this morning before rehearsal. I was in bad shape, but forced my self into getting ready and taking the trek down 340. Then, as I entered the theatre, I felt a bit better. During the show, I felt virtually nothing. Nothing on the ride home either. But as I got settled back at home, the soreness is coming back. You gotta love the stage anesthesia though.

You also have to love the word jackenapes. It appears in this play, and I laugh every time it is said, as if it were new. The only other story in the world in which I have heard the term used was ironically another Christmas story...a Christmas Carol. It should be brought back into the vernacular.

Rehearsal itself tonight was much like previous nights. Nothing new particularly happened to report. The man playing the judge informed me he was cutting a line. I discussed possible cast party locales with a few adults. A photographer was there from a local paper, but did not stay for act 2. I was told I looked like a pickle in my green suit, and one girl dubbed me "Dill" as a result. Other than these brief moments of magic, a pretty straightforward rehearsal.

Now a brief Thanksgiving break, and then we pick up again on Saturday afternoon.

If I do not post before then, Happy Thanksgiving to any and all who read this blog.

Monday, November 21, 2005


The title applies to almost every facet of the show, in my view. Act one in particular was faster and more energetic than the last time I watched it. In all places. The show's potential as a Christmas experience really shone through in certain places tonight.

There were a few more people missing today than there were the last time, but still most people showed up. The scenes with crowds and stuff at the very beginning look pretty cool to me. I will not give away too many details, in case you live nearby and want to see it.

Kudos to the tech crew also. I don't mean to imply that they have nothing to do during act 2, but most of their complicated work seems to be in act one. There is more to keep track of in the first half of the show than during the second half. Still some snags here and there, but for only being on the job for a few days, I cannot complain.

Something else that will make it easier is that most of the furniture was spiked today. (That is to say, pieces of tape were placed on stage to mark the exact locations of where furniture is to be placed.) That always frees up some time, once people get used to the spike marks.

Tomorrow I need to look through the clothing for a man's winter coat. I did not even think of this until tonight when the costume designer mentioned that we were all supposed to be outside for the final scene. (The previously mentioned singing finale.) So that is on my to do list.

Another thing on my informal, less important to do list is to find a location to call my own when I am not on stage. Despite moving around quite a bit, I like to have a "spot" that I can go to when I am not on stage. It does not have to be the exact same spot every time, but I at least want a comfortable area to be in. This is for times when I want to pay attention to what is happening on stage. Or for times when I am waiting to go on myself. Or when the green room gets entirely too noisy for me. I have been watching Act one mostly from the balcony. Obviously once the show opens up to audiences, I will not be able to do that, as we have sold enough tickets for some nights to probably seat a few people up there. Too bad too. It's the quietest, most removed, and in some ways, best place in the house to watch a show. At least the rehearsal of a show.

The next rehearsal is scheduled for tomorrow. There was talk way back when of having rehearsal on Wednesday as well, if there were problem areas. Me and two other cast members had a little bet going as to whether or not the director would call for said rehearsal at the end of tonight. I said he would not. One said he would. The third in our little pool said he would make the decision tomorrow night. I won the bet, as there is no rehearsal that night after all. The other two tried to insist the bet was non-binding, and refused to pay. One offered a beer, and the other offered Skittles on a date to be determined later. That was acceptable in lieu of cash, until the second person took back the Skittle offer. how fair is that?

I guess the moral may be not welch on a bet with a man who blogs. (Laughter).

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Top to Bottom

I wanted to give a recap of last night's rehearsal, since I did not post it then.

Most significant about last night; it was the first time we ran the entire show in one night. If you have ever been involved in theatre you know that the first night this happens is always a long night for everyone involved. Last night was no different. I would say it took about 3 hours and 15 minutes to run the show, with some short breaks. That sounds long, but when you figure there were various technical aspects that were being run for the very first time, it could have been worse. (Indeed I have been in shows where it has been far worse than that going into the final few rehearsals.)

Previously I mentioned how different the atmosphere would be once the entire cast showed up each night. I was quite correct. Even though there were still several people missing, 90% of the cast was there, and it was quite packed at the Opera House. (Not to mention a tad too noisy in the green room for my tastes.) But such is life in a large show.

Frankly, it is not so bad. Sure I can get a bit edgy when I am in a very crowded noisy room. The temptation is also there to feel tired near the end of the night. Yet with all of the people milling about in costume (we added those last night), that first sense of being deeply involved in a production hit home. That sometimes-chaotic kinetic energy of a theatre filled with people (hopefully) doing the various things they need to do to be ready for the next scene. All part of the gig. Seeing that reminds a theatre person that they are once again part of the big production.

As for the rehearsal itself, I at long last got to watch act one. As far as scene/costumes changes, set movements and technical aspects, it is much more complex than act 2. It also contains a lot more people. It almost felt like I was watching another production entirely, so unfamiliar with the first half of the play was I. (I had read it of course, but did not remember the overall sequence of it.) The act one folks had their work cut out for them from the beginning, and they still do. That being said, I have no reason to believe it will not be ready in time. Believe me, I have been in plays where I doubted the readiness of the thing far closer to opening night than this show currently is. It needs some oil, but not a new engine, to use a silly metaphor.

As for me personally, one of my costumes I am wearing is one I wore for a previous show. So it already fits perfectly. It is a dark greenish suit. People seem to love it, as I got several compliments about it from people. I guess there is something about the green suit.

The director would like me to be louder during the courtroom scenes. Louder during my objections to the proceedings and such. I must remember to project more. It is not an uncommon problem I have depending on the show I am in. Plus, being louder will make Mara appear even more flabbergasted by the unfolding silliness. I will do so from now on.

The director did say everything I was doing was "ringing true", though. This I am thankful for. I would rather have to work on bigness and volume of a presentation, than having failed at being true. Being true to the character and his actions/words is an actor's first duty, in my view. If that is accomplished, no other note from a director is unattainable.

The next rehearsal is tomorrow night. Only 6 more practices after that.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Answer the Call

Sorry folks. This, my weekly theatrical advice article is late in getting posted. I had an early rehearsal, and forgot all about it. (I normally post at 1pm or so.) But if I were to forget to post for any reason, rehearsal would be the best one, right? Anyway, here it is now.
I separate "real" performers from the phonies by one simple barometer; the willingness they show to exceed their obligations even when ignoring them would be both easier, and seemingly harmless to the production as a whole.

One such theatrical obligation that may seem harmless to overlook is the time for call before a performance.

The theatre I currently do most of my acting for usually sets call time for about 90 minutes before curtain. (That is to say, show up at 6:30PM for an 8:00PM curtain.) I have known several actors, both during college and since, that simply never take this obligation seriously. Unless they require 90 minutes of preparation for their entrance onto stage, (rare), one can expect them to arrive at the theatre anywhere from 30 minutes before curtain, until sometime after the curtain, but before their own personal entrance on stage.

You may not see the need for you, who plays the spear holder in act 2 scene 5, and has 5 lines to show up an hour and a half before curtain. After all, you can stroll in during intermission, grab your spear while wolfing down a sandwich and a Starbucks blend of some kind, and be physically all set by the time your moment comes. This, however, is just the problem with it. You are concerned only with being prepared for your own personal moment. The moments for the production itself become secondary.

Come in later during call, or after it, and the rest of the cast/crew is in performance mode. They have adjusted themselves to the climate the audience has presented, done their personal preparations, and stand ready to give a performance all they have. (If they are dedicated.)

You, on the other hand, when you choose to ignore call take on the aura of an outsider in your own show. Others have had their leisurely build up to curtain time, when you were taking your nap, or making your calls, or whatever it was you felt was more important than easing into the start of the show you agreed to be in, with the rest of your cast mates.

On a more practical note, live theatre is wrought with unforeseen circumstances. Why should a stage manager or cast mate spend their precious final ten minutes before curtain filling you in on what you missed, when they should really be focused on something else at that time?

It is easy to blow off a call, for any number of reasons. However, to paraphrase a line from a baseball movie that I find often applies to theatre as well;

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't, everybody would do it."

Answer the call.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Troop Depletion Report

I promised earlier tonight, (in my very first audio post, hoozah!) that I would write an overview of tonight's rehearsal. As I always deliver on my promises, here it is.

In all honesty, there is not much to report on tonight though, despite the build up to it in the audio post. There were many people missing, and one can only progress so far when a stand in is reading the missing parts. Not that we got nothing done. Indeed, I experimented even more, (and successfully) with the courtroom scenes. It is just difficult to gage how well a scene is progressing when two or more main players in it are not there.

There were actually a decent number of people there for the first hour of practice, since we were going over the song again. After the song, (which in and of itself suffered from diminished personnel), many of the act 1 people went home. Unfortunately, I think there were more act 1 people tonight than there were act 2 people. So overall quality is hard to discern.

However, tomorrow afternoon we are running the whole show in one night for the very first time. The director warned that anyone who is not present for that would be found. (Or did he say hunted down.) So it begins...the rehearsals in full. And with costumes. (Which is another aspect of tomorrow afternoon's rehearsal I am looking forward to, as previously mentioned.)

I wish it were a more profound entry, but that is really all that happened today.

But hey, you got your first audio post today, so I would not complain if I were in your shoes.

Very First Audio Post (During Traffic)

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Bit Late

I meant to add this last week, but one thing let to another and I never got around to it. So here it is now.

My friend Gaby has a new blog. You can find it
here. It is not strictly a theatre oriented blog, but she does do alot of community theatre. (That is how I met her in fact.) So you will find her talking about theatre and acting related things a good deal of the time. But she is cool even when she is not talking theatre.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Tonight's rehearsal was different than the last few. Nearly the entire cast was there. While I would guess that act one rehearsals usually have a fair number of people, this was the first time I had practiced with that many people present. (Tech crew included.) As I expected, it was quite a departure from the easy going run-throughs the act 2 gang has had the last few weeks.

Not that I mind that. In fact, I enjoy having that much kinetic energy flying around the place, so long as it is productive and everyone stays on task. Personally I feel pretty secure in my responsibilities. It is just that I am now doing my job with more people around.

This also means more people back stage to potentially talk to, which is a good thing sometimes. So long as we are quiet, of course. (I promise my stage manager that I will keep it down, if she should happen to read this.)

Spoke with a friend of mine, who I have been in several shows with. It was the first time I had really seen him since the initial read through, him being a mostly act 1 person. He echoed some sentiments that I have shared here on the blog already. For example, how odd it is to be this late into the rehearsal process having not seen half of the cast. Tonight was the first time we had seen each other do anything on stage for this show, actually. But as I reminded him, soon we will be running the whole show all night. That will add even more wildness.

As for what we actually did, most of tonight was spent getting the singing finale worked out. This is why most of the whole cast was present at first. It is only one song, but it requires the whole cast to be coordinated and such. It is nights like this when I do not envy the position of the director of a play. I am not sure I would want to play air traffic control for so much going on, when music is involved. And it is just one song. Sometimes it's a wonder I ever do musicals. All and all though, the cast sounds good when we sing, and I think the major kinks of the blocking were ironed out tonight.

I felt even better about my character tonight. I felt freer, and willing to experiment a bit. Nothing radical. It is just that now that I have the lines down cold, I have been toying with slight variations on certain inflections during the court room scenes.

I look forward to my next rehearsal, on Friday. The director said there would be specific attention being paid to the courtroom scenes on Friday. That is when I will really sharpen things up in my performance. I already have some ideas. I look forward to the chance to try them out.

The show is evolving. Now if the temperature outside would just dip below 60 degrees before the show opens, it will really start to take on a Christmas feel.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Hodge Podge Entry

All sorts of odds and ends tonight.

To begin with, I want to thank my various friends and colleagues for their comments here on the blog! For some reason, not everyone's comments are getting through, however. More than one person in the cast told me they tried, and failed, to post a comment. I am a bit baffled by this, but I hope no one is discouraged. Keep trying. If you opt to post as "Anonymous" you should have an easier time. You can always email me as well with any comments.

As for today's rehearsal, various things. To begin with, many people were missing, so once again, it feels like this little tiny show. So leisurely and laid back. I confess I love it. Yet I am certain that once the rest of the cast of hundreds shows up the atmosphere will be, to say the least, different. But a good different.

Missing people notwithstanding, we got a decent amount accomplished today. It was a little odd, because we did not go in order of the scenes. We started at the end of Act 2, to go over the scene with the song. (More on that in a moment.) Than we did some act 1 stuff which got skipped the last time act one was rehearsed. Then we proceeded with act 2 in order, getting about halfway done. So, as odd as it sounds, I ran through my last scene, and my first scene, in that order. Wild, isn't it? Kind of like filming a movie.

Some of the background set pieces were also up today for the first time. Walls, etc. They look good. Kudos to set designers.

Now for the previously mentioned music scene. I have mentioned before that the show ends with a song. Cast members off stage sing "under" the final scene where the little girl is all happy, and everyone falls in love. (You know, the miracle.) At the start of said scene, the director had various members of the cast come out on stage to begin the singing, including me. I am not sure if he did it on purpose or not, but having my character seen singing about the importance of faith in the unseen is quite poetic. Mara, being the man who declared there was no Santa Claus. You have to love the "redemption" factor of it all. Nice call, director.

In other news I ran into a friend of mine at the theatre, who claims she did not see me standing there until I said hello. A likely story, I am sure. She is a very busy person, but she reads this blog. So this paragraph was designed specifically to rib her.

Down town Charles Town was decorating its public buildings for the holidays today as I was leaving rehearsal. They are not finished yet, but it certainly serves as quite the reminder that the whole season is not far away at all. Which of course means our show is even sooner. From my humble perspective as Mr. Mara, act 2 guy, all seems to be progressing at a very excellent pace.

Don't you love it when that happens?


So you find yourself in a community show, and naturally in a few short weeks, sporadic, brief rehearsals evolve into nightly work sessions, (or ordeals) often lasting for hours on end. The closer one gets to the debut, the more tension there is. As well as more pressure and excitement.

Add to this the things from your life during the day that you bring into rehearsal. By the end of the night, the result as often as not is a highly charged, smoldering kettle of emotional soup. Just as frequently, there is someone else, who is working on their own emotional home brew during rehearsal. When two such people catch each other's attention back stage, something I call incastutation can take place. (Infatuation, with a cast mate. Clever, right?)

This is of course, human nature; attraction due to mutual difficulties with an outside situation. Theatre experiences tend to heighten this already acute programming in our minds. (Rare has been the play I have been in where this did not occur to some degree to someone.)

I blame the off stage drama, and the fatigue, and the excitement of the stage, and any number of other variables. Whatever the cause of it, the temptation to pursue such interests can become quite strong at times, understandably. Sometimes things can get pretty serious. But let's face it; that is not always good for your performance. (Falling "in love" and performing well are very difficult things to keep one's mind on simultaneously.)

And if things get serious and then go sour before the show opens...It can be less like an opening night, and more like an opening nightmare.

Just take it slow. Much slower, in fact, than you might otherwise take a budding "relationship." Stay friends during the run. You owe that to your cast mates, and the production. Remember the old adage "attraction means distraction". If there is anything there between the two of you, it will certainly be there after the show closes, and you can makes each other's heart flutter as much as you like. If not, imagine all the crap you spared yourself, and everyone else involved.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Do Pay a Visit

To a blog authored by Playmaker. She is an actress who lives in D.C. She actually makes money by performing. The real deal.

Not to mention, she has read and commented on this, my own humble blog.

What a world, huh?

Porn Purge

Holy moley. I just spent half an hour deleting "comments" from almost every one of my previous posts. By comments I mean porn spam.

I honestly thought I had the settings to alert me of when comments were made, thus allowing me to approve or reject them. Obviously I was wrong. I think I have corrected the problem now.

I sincerely hope I have.

My apologies to anyone who had to deal with that while visiting.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


Tonight we had rehearsal for act 2, though we did not run through the whole act. We did make it about 2/3 of the way through, however.

I would say that I am pretty much off book now. (Which is just as well, as I am due to be off book by Saturday.)

Actually, I was further along tonight than I thought. At one point I had not thought to bring my script out with me when we ran the scene. Turns out, I had those lines down already anyway. I think that is how it works sometimes; you are ready, you just have to remember that you are ready.

From the costume department, I tried on two suits today before practice. One was darker, but a little small on me. The other was a lighter grey sort of color, and fit me almost perfectly. (The pants are just a tad too long.) It's a smart looking outfit, actually. Vest and everything.

At least it looked like it fit well to me, and it felt comfortable. The costume designer will have to confirm that for me next time I try the suit on. You see, I am not totally aware of what makes a good fit for a suit. I so rarely have had to wear one, (even on stage) that I am not even sure what size suit I am, or what the finer points of how a suit should look are. In my inexperienced opinion, however, the grey suit looked quite good. I look forward to seeing what it looks like with the previously mentioned eyeglasses.

Speaking of costumes, someone from the cast had tried to leave a comment on this blog, about costumes. For whatever reason, it never showed up on here. I am still puzzled by that, and am looking into it. Be that as it may, she told me tonight that the comment referred to how often the purpose of a scene, or the motivation of a character remains vague, until the costume is put on. Just wearing a certain uniform or outfit can bring out things one may not have thought of previously. I feel the same way. (Which is why I wore the glasses for rehearsal tonight, and will continue to do so.)

As for everyone else, it feels like a small cast, even though it is rather large. I think most of the crowd scenes take place in act one, and so alot of the ensemble, (which several of my friends are in) is not present when we run act 2. So the overall feel is of a smaller cast. Wait until next week this time, when everyone has to show up every night. It will be a little less, cozy, as it were. At least I assume so. I base that on the fact that last year, in Scrooge, there was a cast even slightly bigger than this one. You could not walk without stepping on a cast mate. Good times.

My next rehearsal is Saturday afternoon.

Monday, November 07, 2005

All Rise!

Tonight in rehearsal we ran through the blocking of the courtroom scenes (which constitute most of my stage time.) This is the first time we had ever run them. It went fairly well, despite having several people from the crowd missing from the rehearsal. There is plenty of time to work on that, however.

I do not move much during the three scenes that take place in the courtroom. When I do move, I have a table that is my home base, as it were, which I always return to. This means I have little blocking to commit to memory.

The director said I would have some leeway to walk around as I addressed the court, as well as those in the gallery of the court. I took some of that leeway, and felt very lawyer like, walking around, making statements, etc. I had not been in lawyer mode sense my old mock trial days back in high school, so that was fun.

The whole night was fun actually. In a very laid back way. Of course the rehearsals will get more hectic as we get closer to opening night, but tonight was a very leisurely run through of three scenes, and it was nice to be getting into the groove of the show in such a manner.

The director seems to view my character very much as I have viewed him. That is to say, that Mara is a decent guy, caught up in a lot of antics he views as silly and outlandish. A tad cynical, but mostly just concerned with the integrity of the court, Mara need not be played as a mean bastard, the director told me. I love it when a director and myself see eye to eye on such things. After that, I felt quite at ease with my characterization.

Another thing that helped me get in gear was eyeglasses. I did indeed find a pair, (several pair, actually) from the costume room. Not having worn glasses before, I mostly deferred to the costume designer as to what looked right. At one point during a break, she brought in one of the pairs I had looked at previously, sans lenses. I tried them on, and she liked the way they looked. Cast mates did as well. The glasses felt very comfortable and light on my face. Presto! New costume piece.

I am very glad the glasses issue worked out. It added more depth to the character, and if I may say so, the scene. I plan to wear the glasses for all rehearsals now, just to get used to them.

It's all starting to come together now. I think it will prove to be quite a fun show.
My next rehearsal is the day after tomorrow, when we will run all of act 2 for the first time. Hopefully enough people will be there for the crowded courtroom scene. If not, at least I have my eyeglasses. All is well.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Last Call...

The curtain call. I see it as having basically two functions, and only two. It gives an appreciative audience a chance to thank the actors, especially their favorites. It also gives the actors the chance to bask a bit. In the case of musicals, it also gives the band a chance to be recognized.

While it does have a nasty, and deserved, reputation for sometimes being ham feed, theatre is just not the same without a curtain call. What a moment a simple bow to an applauding audience can be. Particularly for small roles, scene stealers, and first time actors.

Theoretically, there are almost as many ways to present a curtain call as there are shows that they are designed to conclude.

So which is best? To me, this is basically like asking which restaurant is best. Everyone has his or her favorite, for whatever reasons. I feel the same way about curtain calls. There is usually no right or wrong. Only preferences of the director. That being said, how do I prefer mine to go?

Mainly, I think it is actors and actresses who should be taking curtain calls, and not characters. The concept of the "in character" curtain call is one that I have never enjoyed, as a director or a cast member. Once a play is concluded, the 4th wall vanishes.

This is one reason I am against them. When the 4th wall is up, and the characters are interacting, the audience is transported to that world. Yet when the show is over and the audience is waiting to recognize the players, how exactly does the actor playing a reclusive hermit stay in character, and still walk forth and take a bow? Not without astounding awkwardness, and clunky curtain call blocking.

Furthermore, when characters die in the course of the play, die hard advocates of the in-character curtain call, (whom I have worked with) will not allow that actor to even take a curtain call; the illusion of the death is shattered. That is a horrible thing to do to an actor who worked as hard as everyone else.

Which is, of course, in the end, the least appealing trait of this type of curtain call; it deprives the actor of the chance to bask and enjoy the moment. It also deprives the audience of a chance to applaud a performance that they were moved by. This is fair to neither party.

I have played some good guys, and honestly some I'd rather give the audience a chance to applaud for an exhausted Ty, than to make them squirm as I try to remain a convincing psychotic killer, while gracefully taking a bow on center stage.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Eye Spy?

Today I went to various places trying to find a nice cheap set of eye glasses to use as part of my costume for the show. The only place I really found any was at a local drug store. The cheapest pair I could find was about 10 dollars.

That seemed a little pricey to me, yet, the pair I found did look rather natural on me. They may or may not be the kind of glasses you would actually find in 1947, but probably close enough for government work.

And of course, they are not prescription glasses. They are simply the kind that magnifies things a bit. This pair was one of the lowest levels of magnification, yet I would still feel dizzy if I had to walk around in a scene wearing them. I would have to remove the lenses.

I did not actually buy them yet. I am tying to decide if it would be worth it or not. If I bought them and the costume designer did not care for them, I am out ten dollars. (That does not sound too bad, unless you are poor like me.) On the other hand, if they were acceptable, it would be a nice costume piece. I like to have that little something extra when I do a role.

I like playing around with costume pieces and such. There is never much I can do with my hair, since a role rarely requires a different style, and because I do not usually play a character that requires a particular style other than my normal one. I also do not get much of a chance to experiment with different voices and accents. Just one of those things, I guess; I have rarely been in a show that needed an accent. So I like to add different touches with costumes. The eyeglasses thing seems like the perfect thing to me. But ten dollars??

The sooner I get the whole thing settled, the better. I want to start wearing them during rehearsals as soon as I can, to get used to wearing something on my face while performing. (I do not actually wear glasses in real life.) I think I will probably double check with the guy in charge of the whole theatre to see if there is not a box of used eyeglasses floating around somewhere in the prop shop. If so, I will rummage through that. If not, the touch of wearing glasses for at least some of the scenes may be too nice to pass up, even for ten dollars.

Decisions, decision, right?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

Had my first real rehearsal of the entire production so far. It was nice to be back in the groove of being on stage and going through blocking and such, albeit for only a very short scene.

I go back in about 5 days. That represents the last time I will have a hiatus between rehearsals of more than a day or so. The nightly or semi-nightly grind will begin thereafter. I do not mind this, as it is my favorite part of the rehearsal process. Things really start to come together for most shows during that time.

This whole show is sort of on fast forward. As I have mentioned here ad infinitum, not only do I have a small part, but a part that does not at all appear in act one of the show. (A very first for me.) So it was not until tonight that I showed up for my first review of blocking and such, and I was already on stage, which is kind of cool.

Normally, at this particular theatre, a show begins rehearsing not long before the current show opens for actual performances. This requires actors to run through scenes in a nearby rehearsal room, so the curent show has access to the stage. This rehearsal room may represent about 3/4 of the performance space on the actual stage, depending on the set. Sometimes less. It is always nice to reach the point in the rehearsal when we can leave that stuffy little room.

Yet because of the schedule, I am happy to report I did not have to have a single rehearsal in said little room. The show took control of the stage last night, and I was there tonight. Sweet timing indeed.

Even what little bit was run through today, I was able to get more of a feel for what I want to do with the character; his walk, his voice, his stance. I see him as mostly proper and professional, but not stiff. More on those particulars as I think more on them and experiment. Suffice to say for right now, my movements on stage, as blocked for the scene tonight, seem to mesh rather well with the idea I had in my head.

So, a good night for me tonight, simply because I was back in the saddle again; the smell of the shop, the light hearted coversation with colleagues, etc.

And because it was the stage manager's birthday free cake was provided. Not normally a cake fan, but free cake is almost always good cake.