Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Bigger the Better For a While

It seems lately that many of my posts here relate to what I miss, or hope to return to in my near theatre future. Yet this is a place for such thoughts, so I won't hold back.

I sort of miss huge shows.

Most of my theatre for the last few years has been done in a tiny, black box type of venue, and that's great. But before I had a falling out with the manager, (an very unpleasant gentlemen), I did most of my acting at a medium-sized 300 seat theatre. Which meant that from time to time, huge production, (usually musicals) with nearly unwieldy casts would by staged. And I would be in them.

Those type of shows have their disadvantages. More chaos. More to rehearse in less time. Greater likelihood for screw-ups.

Yet there are advantages as well. And I don't just mean having a better chance of getting in because there are more roles. I mean once I am in a show like that, I have a greater chance to sort of vanishing into the background when I am not doing my job on stage. Yes, sometimes there are people everywhere and you can't escape physically. Yet still, with so much going on, and with so many jobs being done by so many people, one can more easily fade out of the attentions of others, and fade back in when desired. As long as you don't miss your cues, (and I don't), one can sort of float away on the sea of humanity that tends to make up such large productions.

And everyone tends to have their own group. If you don't like those five guys that always talk to each other, good news-there is another five guys and a girl you like to talk to that hang out elsewhere in the theatre.

And in venues large enough to put on such shows, there are, literally, more places to hide...

You can't step out of yourself as easily when you are in a cast of five, in a theatre where a flushing toilet can be heard anywhere, including the house.

For years I had grown weary of the nebulous theatrical blob that large productions in big venues would become. The not knowing how things are going on stage because it is so far removed from where you are and what you need to be doing right now. The sheer humanity. But sufficient time has passed that if I could find a good show, with a director I liked in a venue that could handle it, I'd head back to the undulating mass of a cast of 30.

So long as I could switch back to the small shows at will.

Do you like being in smaller shows, or huge ones?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Drama vs. Comedy: My Latest on ShowbizRadio

Right on the heels of my recent post about longing to be in a dramatic piece, comes my latest column for In it, I discuss the false battle that has for ages been rages between advocates of drama and advocates of comedy as the more "worthy" or more "difficult" type of theatre. In essence I say it is time to stop this argument and accept that both are similar yet distinct and equal forms of theatre. Find out more by reading the piece, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Drama, Please

Most people want to avoid drama in their life. And I am generally no exception, though I am seeking some more drama on stage. For it has been quite a while since I was in a drama.

I have had some dramatic moments in plays such as various incarnations of A Christmas Carol. (We tend to forget just how dark that story tends to be!) But as far as being in a full fledged drama, it has been several years.

Not that I feel being in a dramatic play as opposed to a comedy is more noble. Dramas are not, by default better plays than comedies, (though most tend to assume so.) It's all about how good the script is. Nor do I think that dramatic actors have a more difficult job, by default, than comedic actors. Doing drama well and doing comedy well are two different things, both of which require talent.

Yet I have been on a run of lighter roles the last few years, and much like shifting one's position on a couch after a time, I am itching to get exercise my dramatic "chops" again as they say.

One local theatre had been planning to put on Ibsen's Hedda Gabler in the summer. There was talk of that play perhaps not taking place after all, but if it does, I have thought about trying out for same for several months. I am familiar with the play, and have seen it performed, but have not been in it myself. I have no notion right now as to what part would suit my best. If the production does go forward and all other things are equal, I will probably sit down and read it again before auditioning. (I own a copy around here somewhere.)

It's not my favorite Ibsen play. That would be An Enemy of the People. But I have never done any Ibsen, and I find that like Shakespeare, performing Ibsen, (at least a good translation of same) is one of those things that every dramatic actor tries to do at least once at some point.

That is still a bit in the future though. I will naturally keep you posted on this, loyal blog readers.

Have any of you ever been in Hedda Gabler, or other Ibsen plays?