Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Radium Girls Finale

Radium Girls is concluded. Has been for several days, and I've been slowly getting back to some of the things that being in the show delayed. Ironically, this blog was one of those things.

The second weekend, though  by no means problem free, was stronger than the first, from an acting perspective. Saturday was our biggest crowd at the Black Box, probably about 30 people. Good crowd. The crowd for the closing matinee was smaller by about ten people, but arguably more responsive. My mother came on Friday.

As is sadly often the case, very few of my personal friends came to the show. No need to elaborate on that disappointing fact.

I personally felt that I myself gave stronger performances this weekend than I did last weekend. For whatever reason, right up until the end I always felt more nervous during my single scene as "Dr. Flinn." I've never been sure why this was the case. It could be because the scene required a long, rambling speech. It could be that I wasn't cast in the role from the beginning. That may seem silly, but all throughout the process in the back of my mind I felt like it wasn't "really" my character, even though I had the role since about week two of the rehearsal process.

Maybe I just didn't like the character. Or the scene, which I felt was one of the few in the play that was not well-written. I understood why it was there in a way, but it was too long, not a good match for me, and always took me out of the play a bit. It got a few laughs from the crowds during the run, and my cast mates very much enjoyed watching me in the scene, but internally it never totally clicked with me. On the final day I went a little further with the character, making him even broader and sillier in some ways, and that made it a bit less imposing to do the scene, but I never felt totally at ease with it. (On Friday I even dropped one of the sentences from his speech, but jumped right to the next one, without further incident.)

It can't be denied that there were tech and crew issues in this show that were never totally solved. They made the show longer, and through off at times what could have been a far better presentation. Not to bad mouth any one individual, because one single person can't be blamed for it, but scene changes and other such things were an issue when they didn't always have to be an issue. Maybe an extra week of rehearsals would have done it. Maybe. It doesn't matter now.

Such problems did a few times irritate me quite a bit, but over all the experience of being in Radium Girls was a positive one. I am glad to have been in it, now that all is said and done. I enjoyed it more than my previous show, for any number of reasons.

I feel I presented four distinct characters throughout my performance. Even Flinn, the one I didn't like, was sufficiently different from the other three. That's the biggest challenge of ensemble work-making sure each of your characters, no matter how "minor" appear to be different from the others. I feel I achieved that.

Not that it was always easy. Several times I had to jump right into the next character, necessitating rapid costumes changes. The -longer-than-they-should-have-been scene changes probably helped me cheat a bit, but for a while there I wasn't sure if I could find a system that would allow me enough time to change costumes quickly enough. I did, in the end. In an ideal world, I would have had a crew member helping me do that, which was discussed early on. But as I mentioned there were already enough issues with the tech aspects as it was, without adding more responsibilities to the team.

For the record, if you know the show or care to look it up, I enjoyed playing Berry, the lawyer for the Radium Girls the most, especially during the scene of the hearing. The reporter was my second favorite character, and the one I played most often during the show. Berry and the reporter are the two characters I said on my audition sheet I liked the most, and I'll always be grateful to the director for letting me play both of them.

I'll miss some of the folks from this show, most of whom i had never met before. I'd work with any of them again.

I'll also miss my hat from the show, though. I almost offered to buy it, but I didn't.

So, that's about it for this show. If you get a chance to see or be in a production of Radium Girls, I encourage you to do so. It is a good script, with a lot of room for different styles of acting, and stageable on a low-budget.

What's next for me? It may be happening very soon, in fact. On Saturday before the show I auditioned in the same building for a production of Macbeth, that a friend and Radium Girls cast mate is directing in the fall. If I get into that, I'll probably be rehearsing, or at least doing table work for that in the next couple of weeks.

But plenty of time to talk of that, should it happen. For now, I'm officially closing the Radium Girls chapter of my time, and this blog.

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