Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Happy New Year/Show

Welcome back, loyal blog readers. I hope you enjoyed the holidays.

Last night was the first real rehearsal for show(s) I'm in, and of course I will tell you about it.

But this year, as I am in a show for the first time in several, I aim to approach these pages a little differently.

For one, the one-act plays I'm in for this production are originals, or otherwise not yet widely known. So my usual approach of talking about my character probably wouldn't work this time around. If I'm Buckingham in Richard III, there is a built in familiarity among most readers as to who he is, and what the nature of the play as a whole is. I could use that to talk about where I was in developing the character, and my approaches to same. That won't be quite as useful in these shows. That's not to say I won't make any observations about my character development, but I'm going to try to make them broader, and more related to the acting process as a whole, as opposed to the specifics of the shows I'm in for now.

I might also through in some advice/observations about the nature of the company here and there as well.

First off, though, I'll mention, as I have in years past here on the blog, that in some ways January through March is the best time to be working on a play. After the holidays, there is little to look forward to in the dark, cold days of winter. Working on a play provides some regular, natural focus to the less-than-appealing time of the year for me. And while March in this area is generally still winter, through the course of a show during the first quarter of the year, the days get progressively, if only slightly, longer. By the time the shows opens, the approach of spring will be a ways off, but obvious. That's another advantage to a show during these months.

A danger of course, is weather that make travel impossible, as happened to me on the final performance night of my one man show last year. But we will think positively in that regard.

At any rate, one of the best things to do during a cold winter is to come into a warm home. However, a close second is to come into a warm theater out of the cold for a rehearsal. (Though many theaters remain cold, I suppose.)

For this show, we might not have to quite work twice as fast, but time is of the essence; the schedules for the cast are difficult. We will only be able to meet three times a week most weeks until tech week. That's not horrible, but of course the more time a cast has to work, the better. But I've been in tight spots with shows before, and it turned out fine. I have no reason to believe this will be any different.

As for last night, most of the evening was about discussing our characters. Again, right now it would not be interesting reading for me to get into much of that, as these plays are not yet widely known. (And one of them we could not go over last night, due to the director having to attend to emergency family business.) But a lot got done.

In fact, we have been encouraged to get together on our own with scene partners to come up with some ideas about relationships and such. Already I have contacted several of my cast mates with whom I share stage time for this very purpose. I normally would not send personal emails to strangers this early on, but they have a purpose after all. Though naturally any observations from such meetings would need to be approved later, it does give the production a bit of flex time in a sense. Work outside of rehearsal. Plus it will help me get comfortable with people I don't know in less time than normal; that's a huge plus for a show, as I've often said.

I have worked with a handful of directors and actors that don't allow this. That is to say, they've gotten angry at the suggestion of discussing the play outside of rehearsals when the director is not present. Thankfully, this has been the case most of the time, and isn't this time. But I actually confirmed last night it was acceptable, even after the director made the suggestion. I've experienced, here and there, some nasty responses to doing such things in the past. I didn't wish to repeat such things.

(Incidentally, as a director I also have no problem with casts discussing and experimenting on their own, as long as I'm made aware of what they've come up with.)

So that's how this year and this show begins. more to come, of course, but it's been interesting to get back to acting under someone else's direction as opposed to my own. Stay tuned.

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