Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Earlier today I went over to the Old Opera House and picked up a copy of their next play, "Dearly Beloved". I finished reading it a few minutes ago.

I have to say, it is a bit goofy, though it ends up having some quasi-touching moments, if a bit cliche'. Clearly it will be one of those innocent crowd pleasers, even if the writing is not razor sharp. I do belive I will try out for it on Monday.

There are parts for seven women, only 4 of whom have any significant stage time. There are 4 roles for men, all of which are smaller than the women's roles. Only one of them is particularly written for someone my age. That is the second smallest male part, but I enjoyed what I read of the role.

It is not that I couldn't play older than I really am. I can play 40 or so, which is the called for age of the other three men. So, if buy chance I were to be cast as one of the men in their 40's I would accept. I just happen to find the role for the 20 something character to be the most fun.

Theoretically 4 possible roles for me, though practically I am probably going to be in the running for just the one. That will make competition stiffer than I normally like. But that's a part of it.

So I will prepare myself forthe upcoming audition in the coming days.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dates Confirmed

As a follow up to my last entry, the Old Opera House has informed it'smailing list that auditions for thenext show will take place this Sunday and the day after. I am 87% sure I will try out. If I do, I am 99% sure I will try out on Monday. Not just because of the Super Bowl, but because I have made it a habit to try out on the last possible day. (Something I have discussed here before.)

I am not sure if it will be 100% cold reading, or if the script will be available to peruse. It has gone both ways at the OOH. I have contacted the powers that be over there about it. So, the process mostly, kind of, "sorta" begins.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Intermediate Plans

My apologies for missing last week's advice deadline.

I do however have an update of sorts. in the sense that I have plans, but haven't actually done anything yet.

I have been perusing the site of the Old Opera House. I was perusing the descriptions of the plays they are performing this year. Though no audition dates have been set yet, I feel 90% certain I shall try out for this

I have not yet read the script. In fact, the last several plays I have tried out for, there have not been scripts available to read. I always prefer to do that before an audition, but you do what you can do.

Be that as it may, I think I will try out for it anyway, despite the premise not being one that catches me on fire. Overall it is time that I get back into the game. Since becoming an actor, I have never gone this long without being in a show. (It was July the last time I performed, for those of you keeping track.)

Also, it is a comedy. I have lamented the shortage of solid dramatic plays in the area previously on this blog, and I will not belabor the point here. Suffice to say that at this point, however, I will take comedy, if that is all that I can get right now.

I have also looked at the websites of other theatres in the area. Nothing to write home about there either. They are fine institutions, and I yet have hope to make my debut in some of them before I die, but I just do not see anything that makes me catch my breath just yet.

So, an Opera House comedy is my next goal. The show goes on in late march, so my guess would be auditions would take place in or around the second week of February. As always, I will keep you posted.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


I wanted to take some time this week to talk about a theatre position that often gets overlooked by the public. Indeed, many times in my career the theatres I have done work for have not had the luxury of such a position. (Though I would be astoundingly grateful if ever someone were able to fill such a position.)

It is the position of child wrangler.

This is a very important position. Anyone who has been in a large cast with many children but no wrangler can attest to this.

An average child under the age of 12 or so is energetic, enthusiastic, and crowd pleasing just by their very presence on stage. On the opposite side of that coin, most children of the same age group lack focus, discipline, and an understanding of their own backstage volume. Enter the child wrangler.

What makes a truly exceptional backstage shepherd of the young?

First and foremost they must enjoy children. I think that is a no brainer. But that enjoyment should come with a very specific balance of character; they should be someone who is strict enough to make sure all of the negative traits of children do not get out of hand and effect the quality of the production. Yet at the same time, the wrangler should be someone who understands the ins and outs of theatre, such as entrances, exits, cues, and the like. A good babysitter back stage may keep children safe and out of the way, but without theatre knowledge could create a confusing or unpleasant situation for the children under their care. Such an experience may prevent younger people from trying theatre again. As with most things in life, too little and too much are both detrimental to the theatrical experiences of the average child.

There is one final aspect of a good child wrangler which I think most will not think about. A wrangler should posses a patient understand of not just children, but of adults who do not care to, or are not especially adept at interacting with children.

Theatre, particularly community theatre, contains certain risks. One of these risks an actor must be willing to take, is being in close working proximity to demographics of the population which they would otherwise avoid working with. In the case of many, (myself included) children below a certain age fall into this category. It is not that I hate children. Rather, when in a show, I have a very specific job to do. I undertake my responsibilities in a very serious manner. Given that most children in this day and age, when left to their own devices, behave in a manner that is quite disruptive to those ends, my job is made more difficult than it has to be when I need to deal with the average child backstage.

Even when better than average in behavior, I have little to say to children which they will enjoy or understand. A good wrangler should understand this type of adult, without being judgmental. They should, in short, not see people like me as children haters simply because we choose not to deal with children.

True, some adults also have to be wrangled. But that is a whole other thing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Auditioning For Yourself

Not all of us in theatre are cut out to be directors. It is a whole separate world, with different required skill sets, that not very actor has the ability, or desire to cultivate.

Yet, even if you have no directing aspirations, there is one time when at least taking on the symbolic role of a director can be helpful. When you audition.

I hear the collective confusion out amongst my readers now.

"But Ty, even if I like directing, I certainly am not in director mode if I am auditioning for something. That would make me an actor. I cannot very well audition for myself, can I?"

In fact, you can.

When you audition, you should always be putting you very best foot forward. This task, however is sometimes more nerve wracking than one might think.

You may wonder what the director is looking for. You may try to determine, based on his/her look if you are doing well, and try to change what you are doing mid-audition. Perhaps you try to read on the faces of those that have gone before you what sort of individual is conducting the audition. Perhaps you can piece together just enough info...

Or perhaps you can worry yourself sick about just how you should be auditioning. You may or may not be familiar with the director of a given show, but one thing is for certain; you are never more familiar with anyone than you are with yourself. So instead of driving yourself crazy, gather up all the information you have been given prior to your audition and ask yourself the following sort of questions:

--What sort of traits would I want to see from an actor if I had to cast this show?
--If I were putting this whole show together, what, on the part of the actor, would make my casting decisions easier?
--How would I like to be treated, viewed, or spoken to if I were conducting this audition?

When you answer these questions, proceed to audition accordingly.

Now of course, different people will view a play, role, or audition in different ways. Chances are they will not see everything the way you would see it if you were in their place. Yet the point of auditioning for yourself is not to read the mind of the director. It is to give you a base approach to start with when its your turn to audition. It will remind you that directors are human, just like you. Most important of all, it will help prevent hyperventilation, stress, and other general freaking that comes along with working overtime trying to know everything a director wants before you even enter the room.

If a director wants you to try something different, they will tell you so, if they are worth anything. And if not, at least you did the best you were able to do with the audition, and can walk away knowing that.

The one weakness of the auditioning for yourself approach? It does not grant you the power to cast yourself in the show when you are pleased with yourself. But that wouldn't be any fun anyway.