Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Actor's Auld Lang Syne: 2010 Edition

I hope all of my loyal blog readers are enjoying the holiday season. (Which to me doesn't end until January 2, basically.) Mine has been going well, for the most part.

At this season,  one naturally looks back at the year about to be completed. I thought I'd do that in regards to my theatre activites in 2010, as well as share some thoughts on 2011.

I won't get into too much detail, because I covered the specifics here in the blog. I advise you to go back tot he archive for more. But here is an overview with some thoughts.

In March, I auditioned for the first time for The Potomac Playmakers, based in Hagerstown, Maryland. It was part of my decision to expand my theatre experience beyond the same few location in West Virginia. Obvious I made it into their production of "Heaven Can Wait", and it became my first full production in my home state of Maryland. I made a few new friends, and was exposed to the nearly built Academy Theater. The experience altogether was a pleasant, positive one, despite some very frustrating difficulties with the production itself.I intend to, but as of yet have not, returned there to audition for future plays, even though I learned their play selection tends to lean toward the tame and conservative.

Naturally, that process took up most of my time in April and May of this year. The 6 shows were mostly a success in regards to crowd size and response.

June brought an aborted attempt at a second summer for the Bard's Men, a theatre company with whom I worked a year earlier on Romeo and Juliet. The summer of 2010 was to be a touring summer for the venue-less company, and the material was to consist of several scenes from various Shakespeare plays, along with some educational commentary. The script was created, and auditions were held, but almost zero interest in same resulted in a decision by management to cancel the production, with hopes of preparing for the summer of 2011.

It was a personal disappointment, as I had looked forward to the chance to find venues, and travel to them, in order to present different Shakespearean speeches and scenes. I have had a similar idea for a traveling company ever sense I performed "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged" in college, which was also a traveling show and an excellent experience. This Bard's Men production remains the only show in which I was involved that was ultimately canceled.

In August I tried out for what seemed at the time a fun and witty collection of short plays, known as "A Thurber Carnival." The season opener for The Full Circle Theater Company, I was under the impression that the play would be a fun, relaxing, and relatively low pressure experience. I hadn't been on stage at Full Circle for over a year, and I had been looking forward to getting back there.

As my blog entries during that time indicated, it quickly became a very stressful and unpleasant event in many ways. (In a major way due to the unprofessional behavior of our choreographer.) Not to mention some serious ego problems on the part of some truly odious people. As a result, it ended up being more something to be survived, than enjoyed, and I got the feeling I was not the only member of the cast who felt as much. This experience was enduring through half of August, all of September, and a weekend in October.

Before "Thurber" tent was taken down, I was approached to take a role in The Full Circle's production of "A Christmas Carol". I hadn't auditioned for the this play, (one in which I had appeared two years previous), but turn out for auditions was very low. Not enough to cover all of the roles. After some conversation I agreed to appear in the play, if nobody else could be located. Nobody else was, and so I took on the role.(Which in fact was several roles, making it the second ensemble piece at Full Circle in a row I appeared in this year.)

Most of October and November was spend on this project, and in sharp contrast to "Thurber", it was a smooth, peaceful, easy going rehearsal process from start to finish. Some of that I realize was due to the fact I had been in the play before. (Though in a different set of roles.) But dedication and organization played a large role in the smooth as glass production.

There was talk of making that particular adaptation a yearly thing at Full Circle. I determined I'd be willing to participate in it again in the future, provided I had the same roles I had this year. Having done it twice, I have determined the set of roles I had for 2010 (Fred, Old Joe, Young Scrooge) are more enjoyable to me than the ones I had two years ago.

Just as the dust from "Thurber" had not settled before we began "A Christmas Carol", auditions were held for Full Circle's next play "Claudie Hukill" on the same day we performed the second Saturday of "A Christmas Carol". As I have explained, I am the assistant-director of that play. And though I won't be writing regular updates on the experience here in the blog, (as I decided it was not about acting directly), I will be posting some updates here and there.

"Claudie Hukill" doesn't open until February, but it is the theatre experience with which I am closing out 2010, regardless.

So, as it can be seen, 2010 has been a Full Circle year for me. I have had no more than four evenings in a row away from the place since early August. Nor shall I again until Mid-February. But I look forward to it.

And on the subject of looking forward, what might 2011 hold for me in the world of acting? What are my plans?

None specifically at this time. I can say that nothing remaining in the Full Circle season strikes me as particularly interesting. And I have no idea what the other theatres in the area are doing. I will be looking into that at the start of the year.

My hope is to once again audition at at least one theatre that I have never been to before. I am running out of local options, but there must be some within driving distance. I think it is good to keep up that policy of trying to broaden the theatre horizon. And if I cannot find a new theatre, I may consider trying out for something in Frederick, Maryland again, even though all the theatres in the city with whom I have dealt personally are cliquey and have terrible attitudes towards performing. They are under the impression, (so far as I can tell) that they are somehow more important to the world of theatre than those to the south of the Potomac River. I don't like that. But perhaps attitudes have changed. It has been about 8 years since I even attempted to get into a show in one of those places.

I am going to check on the Winchester Little Theater, to see if any upcoming auditions there interest me. After last year's pleasant experience during "It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play", I determined not only that there are some good people there, and that the venue is charming, but that if I were to make the hour-plus commute there again, it would be only for a spring/summer time show. I had a nightmare wintry commute home from there last year.

But again, a warm weather show may be worth the commute, as it was for The Potomac Playmakers. I do want to appear at the WLT again at some point.

I don't yet know what the plans are for The Bard's Men for this summer. I know there was talk of staging "Titus Andronicus", a play in which I have very little interest, I must admit. That is not to say I would reject the chance outright to be in it if that is what they are doing, but if the chance presented itself elsewhere, I would take a look.

Especially for Shakespeare. I have a hope to perform some sort of Shakespeare in 2011, even if it is just a reading someplace. I don't know how or where, but I intend to research that.

I also may finally begin taking steps to start my own theatre company. A traveling, public domain showcase of the classics, including Shakespeare. I have talked about that on this blogs several times before, but 2011 seems to be the year to begin building, even if it is not the year to begin performing. (Though it may come to that as well.) I will blog about that as more becomes known.

When Christmas rolls around again, I hope that the aforementioned WLT is again putting on the "It's a Wonderful Life" radio play. They didn't this year, and I was disappointed. If they do so in 2011, I feel fairly confident I will be there for auditions.

I also plan to spend more time reading scripts. This is a big one for me. Whether I have my own company, or plan to make suggestions to other companies, I have been a bit delinquent in reading new scripts, as far as being an active community theatre personality is concerned. If I hope to direct, I need to be familiar with more scripts. And the more familiar I am with scripts, the more I know going into an audition should a local company decide to perform one that I have read.

I also plan to memorize more monologues. It's good to have a few in one's arsenal, and I have been derelict in my duties pertaining to that aspect of being an actor. That ends in 2011.

One thing in certain about 2011; I won't have any idea all of what will occur. And indeed I predict that at least one theatre project in which I find myself involved during the year will be unexpected, as it pertains to what I am thinking now. But that is the beauty of it, I suppose.

And so, as 2010 prepares its exit from the stage, 2011 is waiting in the wings. I am hoping for a warm and large crowd to welcome it.


H A R R Y G O A Z said...

Happy New Year !!!

Ty Unglebower said...

And to you also.