Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas with Hamlet?

"Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Savior's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long;
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy takes nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time."

                              --Marcellus, Hamlet. Act One Scene 1

An obscure (and often cut) indirect reference to Christmas time in Hamlet. I always thought it was a bit odd to have in there. And while I don't know if what Marcellus says is true or not, I do know that as we enter the Christmas season, I am reminded of Hamlet, along with a few other of Shakespeare's plays.

I have read Hamlet  in its entirety eight times. (Though not for several years, sadly.) And most of these readings were during the Christmas season.

I really have no idea why I have read Hamlet at Christmas time so often. I speculate it had a lot to do with the fact that initially, when I was in school, I had more time to sit down and just enjoy the play, as I was on a long vacation during the holiday season. Then after the first few times, it became a quasi-tradition. (Which as I mentioned, I have not kept up in recent years.)

When it wasn't Hamlet, I would sometimes read a few of the other plays. Probably because I would often get a copy of any given play as a present at Christmas, and would then read large chunks of it during the holiday. Or otherwise receive movie versions of same, and watch them.

Yet it applies mostly to Hamlet, which clearly does not take place at Christmas. However,  I always saw it taking place in the cold, dark, candle lit corridors of Elsinore, where the very cold air bites shrewdly. Most of the events take place within the castle walls, providing a bit of a claustrophobic sense. At least it could be seen like that. And this image lends itself well with staying inside, out of the night and the cold and the wind, and, by tradition back then, spirits and demons and of course...ghosts. (Though of course in this case, Hamlet opts not to avoid a very particular ghost.) When viewed in this fashion on the stage in my mind, it does have a sort of Winter Solstice atmosphere to it, in a way. At least as far as the environment and the supernatural. Perhaps that also contributes to my tendency to think of the play when I think of the holidays.

It is quite possible, however, that like so many mental associations that accumulate within our distracted globes, there is no cogent explanation for it. Perhaps in the apartment building within my mind, the Hamlet (and other Shakespearean) stuff just happen to have taken up residence down the hall from some of my Christmas thoughts, and the inhabitants of both have mingled over the years. At parties or tenants meetings or some such. (I won't beat the metaphor into oblivion. You get the idea.)

It has been a disconcerting and disorienting last few weeks for me, loyal blog readers. I don't know If I will have the time to dedicate to reading the entire play before the end of the season this year. Perhaps I will try. Or perhaps I will read highlights. But in any event, there will always be that small part of my mind that thinks of the Prince of Denmark during the birth season of the Prince of Peace.

Monday, November 14, 2011

WFCT: Signing Off

The show is closed. And as is the case nine times out of ten on this blog, I didn' cover the Saturday performance the night that it happened, meaning that I need to cover two shows with one entry.

Not that it should take long. I think that by now loyal blog readers have understood how this show was trending. I will say that both performances were acceptable overall, though there were places in each that I think got sloppy and could have been improved upon. Maybe if we had been doing it for two weeks it would have been, I'll never know.

As for which night was best, that is a matter of perspective. Saturday night was the slightly bigger crowd, and I think the performances were a bit more disciplined and on target. I think the energy was higher on Saturday night as well. According to my self assessment it was also the night I feel I gave my best performance of both the background stuff as well as the actual readings of which I was a part.

But Saturday's audience was not quite as responsive as the one on Sunday. For that reason, I was in the minority in my evaluation of the weekend, as most of my cast mates felt that the smaller, more rowdy, but more vocal Sunday audience,represented the best of the run. Especially true, once the laughs started to come from the actors milking things that, in my view, should not have been milked. I never did think that the cheap laugh was something to consider a reward for a job well done. If it were the cheap laugh that was all that mattered, I submit rehearsing would be necessary. We could have just read the script cold for the first time opening night, and which the crowd guffaw and our stumbling.

A few cast mates at intermission expressed to me that they felt the people were supposed to laugh at the dramas, (which they did, especially on Sunday night) because they were designed to be campy and ridiculous. I expressed disagreement with that sentiment, as I feel the dramas are only campy in retrospect, looking at them over 70 years of changing tastes. But at the time they were written, they were probably in most cases quite dramatic. When played correctly.

Now, I agree that a show could be conceived wherein the actor were exploiting over-the-top campiness as related to the 1930's radio style, and such. Yet this production was not presented as a parody of the 1930's. It was presented as a nostalgic look at same, and as such, I really would have preferred that the dramas be played straight. But then again, I have always felt that going for the cheap laugh weakens any comedy, even if the laugh is received. It has never been just about getting a response to me. Even when I am in a comedy. But certainly not a drama.

Nevertheless I remain proud overall of my performance in this production. I remained articulate and paced in my line delivery. Expressive even if not manic. I proceeded from day one with the notion that people who would only be able to hear me, and not see me, would still get 100% of my characters. (This was after all a radio play.) I think I gave them that in the end.

I succeeded at feeling less light headed during my performances in Act Two over the final two shows. I shifted around the mike on purpose while I was performing, instead of standing there as stiffly. I was less tense. I was in less of a hurry to switch characters after the first, opting instead to casually go back to the booth and get my between-shows drink. I think it helped.

This experience has been an interesting one. I was drafted into it, rehearsed it a handful of times for a few weeks, then everyday for a week. Only one rehearsal wherein all of the elements were in place. It all moved so fast, given the non-traditional nature of it. In the coming days I think I will look back and feel almost as if it never happened. Like a dream one has of doing something familiar.

Not that the experience was in any was surreal, but just that the normal deep emotional investment wasn't their do to the brevity and the format, and ergo the impact was different. I even opted out of going to dinner after strike with some of the members of the cast. I almost always go to such things, but I just didn't feel it last night.

I am not sorry I did this show, but it did come at a very busy time for me, and proceeded to unfold in a rather hectic manner. For those reasons, as much as I enjoyed certain aspects of the show on the day, I am somewhat relieved that it is concluded.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

WFCT Goes on the Air

Of course, last night was opening night for Hour of Nostalgia: An Old Time Radio Show.

It went all right, by and large. There were numerous technical issues to contend with, but the performances seemed to go well. I am satisfied with my own appearances. Though doing two consecutive skits with no break, at the energy level I am using left me more drained than I anticipated. In fact after the first skit I was ever so slightly light headed. I think there could be a few explanations for that.

To begin with, the first skit ends with me screaming. So that's intense and requires a lot of energy. But everything before that involved portraying an increasingly unnerved person. So that is intense as well.

Secondly, I have at most 60 seconds to break in between skits. In that time I make my way back to my seat, grab a drink of water to prepare my through for the next skit, grab the script for same, and sit down, for a few brief seconds, to collect myself, before jumping right back into reading. Reading the lead for the second longest script of the evening.

Perhaps I am breathing to quickly? I don't know. I will try to pace myself a bit tonight. What little of that I can do, anyway. It may also help, at least in the first skit, to move around a bit more. Not all over the place of course, but the mike I use in the first one is fragile, and tends to move when I step near it due to a warped portion of the stage on which it sits. So my inclination is to stay still. But I think that causes tension. Plus, the mike wasn't working properly last night. It only picked up sound if one spoke into the side of it, and not the front.

Act One went well for me, though of course I am mostly silent during same. But being in that stage manager character up in the "booth" is fun.I wasn't as deeply into him as early as I wanted to be, but nonetheless I think he started to emerge more fully later on.

As for the audience, I am not certain about numbers. It seemed like about 25 of the 100 seats were filled, but it may have been more. It's hard to tell sometimes, and I didn't count. They laughed at a few places...mainly those in the dramatic plays that were played up to be funny, though not intended to be so. As for the actual jokes, there were a few chuckles here and there, but not a whole lot. We didn't flop. but we didn't have them rolling either.

Despite the small, quietish audience and the technical troubles, most people in the cast seemed to have fun. That of course is important as well. As for me personally, I enjoyed certain moments more than others, but consider the night as a whole enjoyable. I am hoping tonight is better, though. Maybe I can add a few things here and there. We will see.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Standby to Air...

Our final rehearsal for "An Hour of Nostalgia" was last night. And how do I feel about it?

Though it doesn't much matter how I feel, or really how it went, since it is over, the show opens tonight, and it is what it is at this point by and large, I will say that our last rehearsal went all right. Not great, but okay.

It was honestly still far too loose for me. It technically still wasn't a start to finish run of the show, as there were a few interruptions. Not as many as the previous night, but still too many for my liking for a last rehearsal. In addition to that, the sound cues were still problematic, and timing was off in places with them. Plus, this still elicited laughter from the cast, and commentary as to the nature of the gaffes. With all respect to my cast mates,   that should have not been happening at all last night. It is a bit frustrating to have to deal with the gaffes, and the jokes about the gaffes while I am waiting to deliver my next line on the last day I will have a chance to practice same.

Some of that may have been due to the director telling us all to look at each other and feel free to laugh if any mistakes are made. I personally think this ruins any dramatic tension that we need to build for the dramatic plays, and I am a little afraid that the entire thing could, if we are not careful, devolve into a slapstick parody of old time radio, instead of an actual presentation of same. I have no say over how others choose to react, but I myself have no intention of playing up mistakes for laughs in front of the audience.

All of that said, most of the actual performing went well. I finally seem to have the opening down correctly. The director complimented me on always being in character as the stage manager, even when I am just up in the booth. That is an excellent indicator of me doing my job, so I am satisfied to know that.

As for the radio skits themselves, several people mentioned after practice that the thought The Cask of Amontillado went better than it has ever gone. I don't recall doing anything different personally, but it is nice to know that it sounds that good. I still don't enjoy doing that one very much, but if the audience enjoys it as much as the cast did last night, it will be acceptable.

With the exception of a few sound cues that have to be corrected, John Wiffle Concentrates, the comedy/fantasy that I appear in near the end of the production was smooth. I have mentioned before that that is my favorite of the four skits we are doing, regardless of the fact that I am in it. It's goofy, upbeat, and lends itself to high energy from it's performers. My only regret is that it comes immediately after the Cask, and I therefore am constantly performing for about 35 minutes total. (That is more tiring when it is all voice work, than it would be in a standard show, I am thinking.)

One of the cast members said he had several friends coming to tonight's, but beyond that, I have no idea what to expect from any of the nights. (We only run for one weekend.) In either case, I am ready to get on with performing this one.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Start to Finish...Almost

So we ran the entire show last night. The plan was to do so without interruption for the first time. Yet too many things remained unclear for that to be possible. Several stops in the action were in fact needed to clarify some things. (I myself needed to do it at the very beginning, as I still didn't have the opening correct. I believe I do now, however.) There were also sound cue issues and a few other things that required repeating sections of scenes after all.

Yet we did go through everything, in costume, on the stage. (Except for the singing, because the singer was not there, though the "band" did play the instrumentals of each song.) Plays themselves take up about an hour and 20 minutes total, with a 15 minute intermission. With the songs added the show will run about an hour and a half or so. I know it seems much longer than that when we perform it, but that could be because I hardly appear in Act One. Act Two is much faster than Act One is, though.

The rehearsal itself was still rough in places, especially, as I said, in regards to sound cues. Performances themselves are rather sharp at this point, I think, but they can be easily thrown off by a jumped, missed, or mistaken sound cue. I would have preferred to have had more than two separate rehearsals working on such technical aspects for that reason. Yet it is what it is now.

I did hit a bit of a stride with my background performing last night in Act One. (During which I am the mostly silent stage manager.) I have a quasi-system in regards to pushing buttons on the fake control board which, though in all likelihood technically nonsensical does provide a consistent performance. If I may say so myself. In the very least I feel that I appear to be responding to what is happening on stage when I flip buttons and such.

The cigarette smoking has also become quite natural at this point. And it goes well with the outfit I am wearing. (White shirt, black pants, bow tie, shoes and suspenders.) The stage manager is a laid back sort for the most part. I have rather enjoyed creating and portraying him. I hope to add a little more depth and nuance tonight, and if not night, during the performances. Sometimes the little things don't show up until one is actually in front of the audience. The subtleties that make an already good performance even deeper. It is the sort of thing on which I pride myself when I can pull it off. To be honest, I don't think this guy needs that much more. I think I already establish rather nicely what he is doing, and the attitude with which he does it. Yet if I can come up with just one more little brush stroke, I will be all the more satisfied. I will think on it.

Some anachronisms which I find a bit jarring in places have made their way into the production. Especially considering that I was asked to not use my binder for my script due to it not being period. If the entire shoe were to have remained period, I wouldn't have minded as much. But when modern piano music and other contemporary references are slipped in, I feel a binder would not have been too much of a jump to make. Certainly no more distracting than some of the other modern concessions. Not that it ruins the entire show or anything. Just a personal preference on my own part.

The Edgar Allen Poe story felt better to me last night, though the director thinks it needs to slow down quite a bit. I suppose I and the others in it will make that effort tonight.

The comedy/fantasy, sadly, was interrupted more than once to fix things. That is the one skit that I was most looking forward to doing from start to finish, because I think that one relies to a great degree on the momentum of the performances. (Mine in particular, only because I have the largest role.) Hopefully tonight it will happen without interruption, but I am prepared for the possibility of course that it will not.

One rehearsal remaining.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

"Sink or Swim"

These are the words the director used at the end of rehearsal last night. It is how she summed up our current status and what we need to accomplish for the remainder of the week. I would agree with the assessment. We are falling a bit behind at the moment.

This week's rehearsals have been rough, I won't sugar coat that. It is very difficult to run tech week rehearsals when nearly all of your tech crew is absent. The light and sound guy up in the booth was not available, and neither were the drummer, the pianist, and the singer. Each of those positions is crucial to the timing of what we will be doing, and at this point we have yet to practice the show with all of those individuals in place. Nor will all of them be there tonight. (Wednesday.) So trying to time cues, lines and my own fake duties as the stage manager character have been a rather confusing endeavor this week. Needless to say, I would have much preferred more than a single rehearsal with all of the elements in place. But I won't get one, and of course, neither will the rest of the cast, so at least it is even.

Last night we ran the very top of the show first, wherein everyone makes their first entrance. Then we spent the rest of the evening running Act Two. (Wherein I play a lead in both skits.) As with the previous rehearsal, it was stop and go. Yet the second act is so much shorter than the first that rehearsal last just over an hour. I thought at first we would be going back to run the entire act once more, but we did not do so.

I appear first in a drama, than in a comedy/fantasy. I have mentioned before that the comedy/fantasy is the skit I most enjoy being in. The drama, "The Cask of Montillado", based on an Edgar Allen Poe story, is a bit of a drag to me. I don't like the pacing, the writing, or the characters. I suspect this is due to the fact that unlike the other plays, which were created specifically for the radio back in the day, this play is an adaptation of a work not intended for the radio. As such it feels very forced and unsatisfying. There is absolutely no plot to it. It simply begins, and all of a sudden, it ends.

My biggest problem though is that twice I must refer to everyone acting "gay". Given that this is an adaptation, and not a straight reading of Poe's story, I wish we would could just change the word. That context of the term is now archaic, and people laugh every time I get to the line. As will members of the audience no doubt. It's not a laugh worth giving them, either. Especially in the midst of a drama.

Which brings up another quick point; a lot of people in the cast feel that anything we do in any part of the show is acceptable, including screwing up badly, so long as the audience laughs. I am inclined to disagree with this sentiment. There should be funny moments within the skits, but the production as a whole isn't slapstick. And even if it were, excusing any decision on the basis that someone might laugh has never been my approach to comedy in any play. Yet especially not the dramatic moments in this one.

As for the actual rehearsing, The Cask of Amontillado went well, for what it is. Most of the problems related to sound cues for the foley guy. (The one who creates live sound effects, as opposed to them being played digitally from the booth.) I think this skit has more sounds effects in rapid succession than any of the others, so it requires some doing. When the foley technician has his partner back for opening night it should be easier for some of those sounds to be made on time, I would say.

The comedy/fantasy, John Whiffle Concentrates went on with few hitches. We did have to stop and start a few times for director notes, but most of the sound effects are from the booth on that one, and the booth was empty last night. So we just kept going. As I have said, I feel most comfortable with this skit, and have the most fun with it, despite it being a bit too long for what it is trying to do. It lends itself to high energy more than the Poe story, that is for sure. Though it does present one formidable challenge that is unique within the show.

There are a series of six lines, to be spoken by "bystanders" in the story, which the director wants members of our audience to deliver as part of the play. The nature of how to select these audience members each night, how to get them in place to deliver the lines, and how to cue them as to when to do so remains up in the air. At first the plan was to have the actors step aside from the three microphones, and have the "announcer" bring the pre-selected people up on stage at the appropriate time, and then guide them off stage back to their seats for the remainder of the skit. It was decided however that this would be much too problematic.

The suggestion was made to have the audience members deliver the lines from their seats during the production. Physically easier, but logistically problems still remain. Such as when and how to cue each audience member to say their line. How to get them the line in the first place. Raising the lights in the house, normally dark, so the audience members can read said line. (They of course will not have a full script, and hence won't know when to deliver their lines.)

Then of course there is the idea of selecting the people in the first place. It looks like the "announcer" will be doing that either before the show starts in the lobby, or during intermission. My one contribution to this conversation was to give the entire process plenty of time, in case people don't want to do it when selected. This I think is a real possibility, as I find that traditional audiences often do not feel comfortable being a part of a show they have come, and paid, to see. Some will of course be willing, yet we should be prepared for the likelihood that they will not be.

One of the performers proposed that the three actors not currently in the scene be the ones that deliver these lines. I agreed with the suggestion, but it received no response from anyone else. So we will have two days to work out how to get these three audience members into the scene. Which is tricky, because it cannot be rehearsed, as the audience isn't going to be there for any of the rehearsals. Again, sink or swim. There is much work to do.

The plan tonight and tomorrow night, (Wednesday and Thursday) is to do full dress, and run the entire show, top to bottom, without interruption for the first time. It hasn't been timed yet, and the actors have not yet had a chance to experience the normal pacing of the scenes and transitions. It will have to be done without the crucial musical interludes at this point, but hopefully we can approximate their duration when the time comes. I admit that I am still not certain when all of them occur. It will be an intense two evening leading into opening night. But also hopefully a productive two evenings as well.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

"On the Air"...Tech Week Begins

Last night was the first night of tech week for An Evening of Nostalgia. We only went through Act One. And that was probably as much as we could handle at the time.

There are still many things which need to be ironed out before Friday. Sounds effects and music remain at this time a bit confusing and difficult to pin down. It will not be made easier by the fact that last night was the only time until Thursday that all relevant people will be present for rehearsals. Tonight, the pianist will be absent, and tomorrow the singer will not be able to attend. There are a lot of moving parts to this show now, and I will confess to being somewhat nervous as to putting them all together in just a few days, especially when so many people will have to be missing.

I also confess to being a bit unclear on my responsibilities for the first scene, wherein we open the radio "station". Things had to be changed so many times, that I am uncertain of which version we decided on last night. We won't run the opening again until tomorrow, though, and I don't want to hold up tonight's rehearsal with questions about something we are not working on. So I will do so tomorrow.

We also got another foley sound effects person last night. It just happens to be a friend of mine with whom I have worked before.

I have almost no lines in Act One. Just a bit role in the second skit. So most of my time is spent being the stage manager up in the "booth". That was made easier last night with the addition of an electronic control panel. (Not plugged in, of course.) It gives me something to do during that hour or so when I am not doing anything else. I will fool with buttons here and there, and have already developed a faux system for when to adjust which buttons...as though what is happening at the microphones is determining what I do. That adds something to the character I think.

So does the cigarette. I had fun messing around with that, pretending to smoke the whole time. I even have a light that I used to pretend to light the smoke a few times. Astute people will note that no smoke is coming from it, and that it doesn't burn down during the evening, yes. But if my cigarette is the center of attention, something has gone seriously wrong with the show as a whole.

I also washed one of the provided glasses and had some water pre-set up in the stage manager's booth.

There was much stopping and starting last night, so the show wasn't on constantly, but I tried to keep some degree of character even during the stops. I don't have as much to do now as previously envisioned, as I will no longer be giving cues of any kind as the stage manager. So I see the guy as a technical wizard who has some vocal talents and is required to stand in once in a while when other people cannot do the show. A good natured, slightly mischievous guy who enjoys what he does. Casual but professional. Again, I shouldn't be the center of attention during Act One, but when people do look to where I am, that is the sort of persona I want to convey.

It is always a bit of a challenge to play a character who later plays another character. I have done this a few times in my career, and I think the key is to just vanish into the second character when it is time. Trying to perform as the stage manager who in turn is performing as the character in the radio skit provides too many layers anyway. If the script called for the stage manager to be an especially bad actor that may be an exception. Yet no such requirement exists here, and therefore I will most likely simply delve totally into the characters I play in the skits when the time comes, just as if that were the only character I was playing. Then slip back into the stage manager in some subtle way between the skits, and at the end of the show.
Not that I will have much time to cultivate it tonight, for as I said, we will run Act Two, and I have no chance to be up in the booth for Act Two, given that I am a lead in both of the plays.

Things certainly need to be tighter than they are right now overall. And they can be. There is no reason to assume they will not be. But there is a very large amount of work to be done in a very small window of time.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Talk It Through and Smile

Last night's rehearsal was just a reading. I know that sounds ironic given that the entire show is just a reading. Yet we were not on stage or on the mikes tonight. We were in the green room reading in a more casual atmosphere. (Though we were one person short. One of the actresses is sick.) We only did three out of the four skits though, and only one of my big ones. The dramatic one.

I think in some weird way it was easier for people to personalize their line deliveries in the green room than it is on the stage. Myself included, at least for the dramatic skit. Doing this in front of mikes is a weird middle ground. Not quite open and free enough to allow for the comforts of a standard performance, yet not quite as casual as simply sitting together and reading the script with one another. Maybe this casual rehearsal will have deepened the performances in some way that will be reflected once we get back to the stage.

Not that I myself  find the microphones intimidating, but they are a bit awkward. I am still feeling my way through how best to hold my papers and where to stand and such. I have done the whole radio thing before, but the last time there was more space, and the mikes were somewhat bigger. But that of course is what tech week is for. To iron out those kind of things. That will begin on Monday. And we open a week from tomorrow already. It is easy for a reading like this to sneak up on you if you are not careful.

We also had headshots taken last night. So I put on the costume I have assembled. I am going with black pants, simply white shit with black suspenders and black bow tie. It seems to work. If it gets cold, I have a sweater I can use that should be period enough for our purposes, though I didn't wear it for the picture. A poster will be made for display in the lobby containing the pictures and the fake biographies we all came up with. Should be eye catching. I wonder if he will let us keep the pictures of ourselves. Though I may not want mine, I didn't think to ask to see it after my shoot. I imagine it looks decent though, or he would have taken another.

They also hope to find an echo effect for the one skit that takes place in a catacombs. Nobody is sure if they were able to do that in the 1930's or not. But if so, and if we can replicate it, it will make a nice effect. We already have several nice effects.

It is becoming interesting. I look forward to performing the whole thing start to finish as it will appear for audiences, though. Which o course will happen in a matter of days.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Out of the Cold

The director informed us at last night's rehearsal that previous plans to have the cast file into the theatre from outside periodically before the show and walk through the lobby has been scrapped. Everyone will now enter the staging area from inside the theatre, as usual. This didn't really affect me, though, because I was never supposed to come in from outside. I was going to be the first one at "the station" since I playing the stage manger. I would have been on stage from the start. Yet it is a major change in the nature of the production itself.

We have a new sound engineer as well. At least so far as the home made sounds. (clinking the glasses, pouring the liquid, and other such things into a microphone on stage.) He will have his own script, so my stage manager character will not be given sound effects cues as originally intended. This doesn't bother me. I don't think it was working to begin with. The way the stage is, the sound person can't see me well anyway. At this point I will still be cuing the music from my "booth". At least for the first half of the show, before I become one of the actors.

I also wrote my fake biography for my "base" character. I didn't turn it in yet, though. It will give me a bit of a personality from which to work. And much like my appearance in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead this summer, I will have a large chunk of time on stage wherein I am not saying anything, so I will have to create some kind of persona. I have been keeping a cigarette in my mouth and pretending to smoke it. I have also been pretending to throw switches on a non-existent control board in the "booth". Just to look busy. Otherwise I am basically just sitting there alone for about 45 minutes.

Rehearsal itself was a rather long process last night. We only did three out of the four plays, but we had to do a lot of stopping and starting so the director could give line notes. I have significant roles in two plays, one right after the other. (I need to remember water) so my voice is a little tired by the end of the second one. But I like performing the second one more than I like the first. The first as an adaptation of an Edgar Allen Poe work. Ostensibly horror, but I don't think the story, as adapted, translated well onto radio. (The Cask of Montillado.) Nor do I much care for the character I play there. I don't hate it, and I imagine it will be more enjoyable as time goes on, but it isn't clicking with me just yet. If I had more time with the script I would be less worried, but we go on in 9 days. (!)

The second play I am in, and the final one in the production for the evening is a goofy fantasy. A comedy. I like being in that one much more. Which may explain why that one went much more smoothly last night. (Though my opposite had to leave rehearsal early due to illness, and one of the other actresses had to stand in.) I like the high energy nature of this loony story. (Mr. Whiffle Concentrates, the story of a guy who turns himself into a bird by the power of thought. I told you it was a fantasy.) It's the second longest skit we do, but seems to move much faster. The director seems pleased with the progress all of the skits made last night, which is good news.

We rehearse again tonight, and then are off for the rest of this week. But next week we will be meeting each night in the lead up to opening night. So despite it being a reading it promises to be a tiring week. Maybe not as draining as the tech week for a full scale production, but there will be a lot of time spent at the theatre next week, getting this ironed out. Given the progress so far though, I don't think there will be any set backs.

Tonight is also "picture night". We will have head shots taken to be part of the poster which will go in the lobby during the production. (Which means I have a shirt to iron.) We won't be on stage though. I think one of the musical acts for the show will be there rehearsing. Either way after picture tonight will just be a line reading back in the green room.

I think I am finally finding some good voices to use for each character.