Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Radium Girls

Well, the theatre process begins anew for me. I've been cast in a production of Radium Girls.

Actually, I was cast officially about a week ago, and auditioned about a week before that. But the director had to search for people to fill some of the roles after auditions were complete. Not enough people tried out initially.

I didn't post about the auditions. I tend not to do that here on the blog anymore, preferring to post about shows once I know I'm in them.

For those who don't feel like clicking on the link above, Radium Girls is an ensemble piece. Set in the 1920's, it tells the story of young girls who worked in a factory painting watches with radium based paint. Such painted glowed in the dark, and make the faces easier to see in the dark. The dangers of radium were not widely understood at the time, but when the girls all begin to suffer from severe radiation illnesses, they seek compensation from the factory, and to spread the word on the dangers. The factory of course resists, and there is the basic conflict in the play.

Generally, each actor in a production of this show plays multiple roles. (With a few exceptions.) I'll be playing three characters, two of which I stated I liked in my audition sheet. The third has only one paragraph in the whole play. If you are familiar with the show, I'll be playing Reporter, Berry and Lovesick Cowboy. Smaller, but interesting roles that I look forward to exploring.

The story is told in a series of minimalist vignettes. Sort of like Our Town or The Laramie Project, but more politically significant than the former and less intense than the latter. The fourth wall isn't broken as often, either.

I've met the director before, in passing, in my travels in local theatre circles over the years, but have never worked with her. I have one friend of mine who is also in the show, and one cast mate I was in a show with once, years ago. The others I saw for the first time either at the audition, or on Sunday night during the initial table read at the director's house.

The reading went well. It can of course be difficult to determine who well certain scenes will go based just on a reading, before most people are in full gear. But for what it's worth, I didn't notice anything to cause concern about who we've got for the show.

Schedules are bad. So bad, the whole cast never meets on the same day. I have offered to alter my schedule at home if it will be helpful. I haven't heard back on that yet, but I don't want to stand in the way of progress if I can help it. After my previous show, I believe getting as much rehearsing done with everyone as soon as possible is best.

Though we have lost about two weeks of the process already, because the director had to fill the missing roles. We're set now, though. My first rehearsal will be tonight (Tuesday.) As with my last several shows, this one will take place at the Black Box Arts Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

I will start studying lines right away, as I think I fell a tad behind for a while in my last show, and I won't have much time. I have far  fewer lines than I did in my last show, but they won't get into my memory by themselves.

I am in fact happy to have a smaller presence this time. In the last show back in February, I had a large role in one of the short plays, and, arguably I was the lead role in the second short play. And I had almost no down time. This time I will have long stretches where I will get a chance to relax and gather myself between scenes. I really could have used that in the last show, and I relieved I will have it in this one.

So, this marks the first time I've been in two shows in one year in quite a few years. Let's see how it goes.

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