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.

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