Archive for the ‘Acting’ category

Love Letters

February 27, 2012

Molly Maynard knows how to lay down the guilt, and I’m glad she does. I’ve told people for a couple of years that the best show I’ve seen in this area was Tick. Tick… Boom! from Company of Dreams. I think it got topped this weekend.

Arts Boyd County produced Love Letters as a fund raiser for this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park. It’s a very simple, two-person show, where those two people sit and read the letters they wrote to each other over the course of their lives. The letters were funny and charming, dark and sad, and moving in every way. They performed this past weekend, and I got to see the final show on Sunday. It was a very simple set, consisting of two writing desks, and it was performed to a very intimate audience, numbering twelve. That was the only thing that I didn’t like: the audience size. While it was nice to be a part of such a small group, the show was deserving of selling out the theater all three nights it ran.

It’s now confession time. I had no intentions of seeing this show. I knew the synopsis: Two people sitting and reading love letters to each other. It did not sound at all interesting to me. I completely judged the book by its lovey-dovey, marshmallowy cover. Instead of seeing the show, I was just going to make a donation to ABC. I spent Friday night hanging out with my bestie. Saturday, I went to a concert in Ironton. While the performers were quite talented, most of the musical selection didn’t interest me. I planned to spend Sunday afternoon cleaning my guns and finishing laundry (or in the alternative, going to work, which I ended up doing after the show). Fortunately, I went to IHOP after the concert, where I bumped into Molly (the producer), the director, and a bunch of people who had just gone to the show. Molly guilted me into going, and I’m incredibly thankful for that, even if she did lie about it! Even though you don’t read this blog, thanks, Molly!

After the show ended, I went upstairs to give Molly a piece of my mind about lying to me the night before. After I had done that, she said the two actors would be up shortly. I stayed and talked to the other people that I knew there. After awhile, the actors came up and started mingling with the few of us that had come. The woman, Lynette, came up to me and addressed me as her Winnie-the-Pooh buddy. It was then that I remembered that she had sat behind me at a show at the Paramount in the fall. We had talked for about 25 or 30 minutes before the show started. She had recognized me from the shows I had done, and we just started talking shop.

At the end of the day, I got to see an excellent show and spend time with friends and people I barely know. I’m very grateful that Molly has a talent with guilt.

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So you thought you might like to go to the show.

August 13, 2010

I went out to see a play at a local state park last night.  I should have realized that Thursday the Twelfth was not a good night to go out, but I did anyway.  I managed to get lost on the way – on a road I’ve driven many, many, many times.  After driving a distance that should have gotten me there, I found myself on a major highway halfway to my destination.  At least I knew where I was, and I also knew a shortcut to the park.  I got on a limited access highway and sped – in reference to speed, not speed laws, of course – to the exit I wanted, got off and had another car come flying up behind me.  I floored the gas pedal to try to keep him off my bumper.  Flying through the woods on a windy, two-lane road with ditches on both sides is not fun, at least for me.  The jerk about a foot behind me seemed to love it.  He finally passed me in a no-passing zone and got stuck behind a utility truck less than a quarter-mile ahead, allowing me to catch back up to him.  I finally got to the park and found a great spot in front of the stage.

A friend of mine in the show told me a few days before that I needed to come see it because it was actually good, unlike the last show – which she had also said was good.  When I questioned her about it further, she said this one was much better.  The last show was very entertaining, but no masterpiece.  The acting was good.  The production was quite good, given the limitations of the venue.  The script itself didn’t give much to produce greatness though.  It was quite humourous and the cast fully brought out that aspect of it.  Unfortunately it was not a really good show. – I made a point after the show of telling my friend that she didn’t have to lie about how good it was because I was going to come out to see her in it anyway, after which she insisted that she did need to say that and that it is “the greatest show EVER!” in a completely “I’m bulls*^@%ing you” tone of voice. – It was still well-worth the trip out to the park to see it though.

They say that teachers are awful students and doctors make the worst patients.  I’m starting to think that actors are not the best people to go see plays with.  There was commentary through large parts of the show, ranging from the this-ground-is-hard/I-need-to-move variety to the our-friend-totally-lied-to-us kind.  I still think the latter was a bit of an exaggeration – although the ground was quite hard in reference to the former.  I’ve noticed the same thing with other thespians as well though.  Come to think of it, it’s pretty common among the general population these days, so nevermind.

After the play, I stayed for a bit and talked.  Someone recognized me from Copa, despite my having a beard for disguise. – She actually said that she didn’t recognize me until someone pointed out that it was me. – I eventually began my trek back home, and that turned out to be even more exciting than the way to the park.

There was a heavy fog at the intersection where I needed to turn to take the fast way home, but I managed to get the turn anyway.  The fog was so thick though that I could barely see the road, and the next thing I knew – literally only about 45 seconds – I was back on the road I had just gotten off of and headed back towards the park.  I’m still not sure how I managed to do that.  I turned around, took my turn again and headed off in the right direction.  Everything looked normal, aside from the fog.  There was the hill on my left side, a creek on my right, lots of woods and occasionally a house.  I finally crossed over the overpass.  I looked down at all the lights passing under me and realized something.  I wasn’t supposed to cross the interstate.  I actually wasn’t even supposed to get NEAR the interstate.  At least I knew that if I kept going on that road, I’d run into a major highway and take that east to get home.  Eventually, I came across that highway and had an incredible urge to turn west and just drive for a couple of days.  That sort of thing happens with me.  After sitting at the stop sign for a minute or so, fighting that urge, I turned east and headed home.  An hour and three counties after leaving the park – which is half an hour from home and in the same county – I got back home and went to bed.

This morning, I find myself exhausted after only five hours of sleep.  It’s for mornings like this that Starbucks was founded.  You also know you’re tired when your venti bold-roast coffee looks like it’s only a grande.  It wasn’t until about halfway through it that it started to look like the right size.  One thing I discovered last night that never would have if I hadn’t gotten lost is that Billy Joel’s For the Longest Time has to be the perfect song to warm up my tenor register to.  If I hadn’t spent that long driving home, I never would have come to that song on my iTouch playlist.

next season

May 28, 2010

The ACTC Theatre banquet is tonight, which means next season’s theatre schedule will be announced tonight.  The programming committee has done a pretty good job so far of keeping next season’s shows pretty quiet, although there are some rumors.  Of course when I started hearing speculation almost two months ago, I couldn’t help but put in my two cents.  While the rumors I heard were completely plausible – and one or two are very likely – I believe mine are a whole lot more fun, even if none of those rumors ever took flight.  Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

Starlight Express – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s tale of a toy train come to life.  This one might be plausible if it weren’t for the fact that the actors are supposed to perform wearing roller skates.

Rent – Jonathan Larson’s rock opera about the life of several artists struggling to survive in New York City’s slums over the course of a year.  The subjects of homosexuality, drug use and AIDS are just what’s needed to bring in the crowds in eastern Kentucky.

Les Miserables – Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer wrote Les Mis based on the Victor Hugo novel of revolutionaries in France in the early 1800s.  While it is an exciting show and would certainly draw a crowd, it would be nearly impossible to put together a cast large enough to pull it off, not to mention the insane cost of building the sets and getting props for the barricade scene alone.

The Producers – Mel Brooks’ tale of two Broadway producers striving to get rich by creating a musical so bad it has to fail.  This show could actually be performed, but the kicker was my suggestion that we would get Matthew Broderick to reprise his role as Leo Bloom for our performances.

Twilight: The Musical – As a revenue boost, this show would bring in the teenage girls night after night after night.  It could probably even run a third weekend in this town.  If only show existed – and Twilight had a better story.

Avenue Q, Jr. – Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx’s Avenue Q is the story of people and monsters, mostly in their early 20s, living about 11 blocks farther into Alphabet City in New York than those folks from Rent.  The show includes a cast largely comprised of puppets and songs about homosexuality, having loud sex, racism, life having no purpose, pornography, and enjoying the suffering of others.  What could be more likely than that to offend the fine folk of eastern Kentucky?  The only thing I could think of was to have it performed by children – thus, Avenue Q, Jr.

Tonight I’ll find out if next season’s shows will include roller skates, vampires or singing puppets, and I’ll be sure to let you all know.  In the meantime, what other shows should I have suggested?

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April 30, 2010

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On wrapping up the show

April 23, 2010

Copacabana is over.  Our last show was Sunday afternoon.  By 10 PM Sunday night, the set had been struck.  It was sad to see it end so quickly.  While we were all exhausted and my voice still needs a little more time to fully recover from the late nights, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little teary-eyed to see it all come down.

I auditioned for the show to knock something off of my bucket list.  It was to right a decision I had regretted – pretty much the only one I regretted – since college.  I expected to get a minor role at best when I walked into the audition.  After the audition, I didn’t expect to be much more than human scenery and an extra voice for the chorus.  Instead, I landed a major role.  Over the next nine and a half weeks, I went from being terrified about the work it would take to bring about the role and only knowing one other person there to feeling insecure about my abilities and having gotten to know a half-dozen people to feeling confident and having lots of new friends.  All of the performances were great with the possible exception of one that was a bit sketchy.  Even that one was fun because all of us had to be on our toes the entire time.  Doing Copacabana also reminded me of how much I love performing for people.  Fine.  I’m an exhibitionist.  There!  I said it.

What I loved the most about the show were the wonderful people I got to spend all those nights with.  There were late rehearsals and then there were rehearsals when we stayed late just so we could stand around and talk.  There were very few nights when I was home before 10 PM, and there were many when I was not home until well after midnight.  Yes.  That is with work the next day so I never quite got enough sleep.  As Heather noted about a month into rehearsals, I was a bit – or quite on the evening she brought it up –  irritable from the lack of sleep.  Still, to be with these people was entirely worth it.

Lindsay is the person who told me I should come and audition for Copacabana.  Actually, she wanted me to audition for A Christmas Carol, but I had WAY to much going on at church to do that show.  Before I digress further, Lindsay and I went to high school together.  We were in band together for a couple of years and reconnected on facebook in the fall.  That’s how I heard about the college theater having been restarted after an unfortunate incident a several years ago and about Blood Brothers, the play she was in.  I saw it on the last night, and thought it was a great production.  After talking to her about it, she told me that I should audition for future shows.  That’s how I ended up going out for auditions.  Lindsay was one of the people that I spent many of the late nights talking to.

While Lindsay was someone I could talk to from the first day, Allie was not.  On the night of read-through, Allie sat beside me and gave me all sorts of crap.  Granted, I dished it back out from time to time.  It didn’t get better through the first music rehearsals either.  I thought he was abrasive and rude, and I generally avoided him as much as possible.  Over the course of the production, I realized that – like another friend of mine – this was his way of being friendly.  If he didn’t like me, he either would have ignored me or been quite hateful instead of abrasive.  One of Allie’s best features is his honesty.  While most people will respond to a question like “How am I doing?” with simple praise, Allie will give an honest and straight-forward answer, and he’ll follow it with advice on how to improve what you’re working on.  Although most people can’t handle an Allie, he’s somebody that I’ll take on my side any day of the week and twice on Sundays.  (Those matinees can be killers!)

Brian reminds me a lot of me.  He’s laid back.  He stays on top of gossip and drama but he doesn’t seek out opportunities to spread it.  Brian has a great sense of humor.  He can hit you on the side of the face with a joke or he can subtly insert humor into almost any situation.  Despite this ability, he is someone who can sit down and have a serious conversation about nearly anything.  He is one of the few people who never lost control over their emotions through the entire run.  (I’ve learned that there’s a lot of drama in theater.)

Tiffany – like Brian – was one of the younger adults in the cast.  She nearly always had a smile on her face and felt at home with her youthful side.  Tiffany was always there for the kids in the show, whether they needed a ride somewhere or wanted to talk to someone.  Tiffany is also a huge UK fan, so in a cast of people who largely didn’t care about sports, it was great to have someone to talk to about the tournament.

Greg amazed me with his dedication to the performance.  While scenes were being blocked, he could be seen standing to the side diagramming everything that was happening.  If he was in the scene, as soon as he went off stage, he had his notebook out writing down what just happened.  Even after everybody else had set their books aside, Greg continued to go over his lines and notes.  Despite the fact that he must have known it by heart for weeks, even during the final shows, he could still be found in the dressing room leafing through the script or blocking.  Greg was a great reminder to keep my head in the show even while there was chaos and revelry backstage.

Lauren genuinely cared about what was going on with people – not in a wanting gossip way but rather in a how-are-you-really-doing kind of way.  She is immensely talented as well.  In fact even at just 15 years of age, I think she was one of the most talented people in the show.  She can get in touch with her sensitive side and her fears, but she also knows how to pour on the comedy when the time comes for it.  There were several times she almost had me laughing on stage during performances.  Lauren also did an excellent job doing my eye makeup for about half the shows.

Caroline and Haley are two of the most outgoing, friendly young women I’ve ever met.  From day one, they were welcoming to the ensemble.  They possessed a genuine excitedness that was easy to feed off of, and they made me feel a part of the group faster than anyone else.  Caroline’s talent rivals that of Lauren, and she never let show if she was disappointed to not get a leading role.  Haley is no slouch herself when it comes to talent, and I’m certain her abilities will blossom in future shows as she gets more time on stage.

Andrew and Blaine always looked to make things a game.  They might be making up dance moves or competing to see who could drop the fewest screws during work call, but there was always something going on with them.  They also had a way of drawing in others to their entertainment, which made some of the long days and nights much more enjoyable.

One of the names that never appeared in the program is that of Kelsey.  Kelsey is another of the young ladies from the production who really stands out from her peers.  While she possesses the youthful qualities of her age of 16 when it comes to joy and curiosity, she also shares the maturity and interest of a woman twice her age at times.  Kelsey is wicked awesome with an eyeliner pencil, too, being the only person who could use it on me without bringing tears to my eyes.  (Hey!  It’s not like I use those things a whole lot, here!)

I’ve only scratched the surface of how amazing these people have been over the past two and a half months.  I’ve also not even mentioned so many people from the cast, who I have grown close to – and if you’re reading this, your exclusion should not be taken personally.  I’m sure I’ve already lost the attention of the few people who normally read this blog! – through the production.  I also never mentioned Paula, who did amazing things with the costumes for the show, or Ed, who was like the circus master, turning three rings of absolute madness into the vision portrayed on stage, or the many, many other people who made Copacabana happen.  I have a special place in my heart for each and every one of them, even if they were not mentioned specifically here.

Now that the show has been over for five days, I find that I miss it so much.  I miss the fun.  I miss the performing.  Mostly though, I miss the people.  I was lucky enough to get to see several of them last night when I went to see another play featuring a couple of them.  It was amazing.  As great as the performance was, the best part was still seeing and talking to my new friends, even if we did end up out until after 1 in the morning.  Now, I’ll just wait until the banquet in a month to see everyone again and find out what next year may hold in store.  Until the fall, I’ll have my memories of the work, the lost sleep, the pain, the joy, the friendships that were and will forever be to me…

Copacabana.

At the Copa…..

April 13, 2010

Copacabana has nearly run its course.  After weeks and weeks of rehearsal and the first weekend of performances down, I’ve come away with quite a bit.  I’ve been amazed at how much fun I’ve had.  Part of that is just that the show itself is fun, but much more importantly, I’ve enjoyed hanging out with everybody on the set.  There’s been a lot of hard work, long hours and a bit of blood.  There’s also been fun and games, long conversations after rehearsals and excellent meals with great new friends.

Now I find myself in a place where it all ends after Sunday.  We’ve had a couple of days off to rest and mend.  We have a final rehearsal on Thursday, and then three more shows this weekend.  It feels like spring break from my senior year of college: hanging out at home instead of at school with all my friends, looking forward to all the fun of that last push, but also dreading the end when we all go in separate directions.  Some will be back in the fall when the new season starts.  Others will be leaving to go other places.

As for me, I don’t know what’s to come.  I’ve loved this experience so much that I want to keep doing it.  I also have the other things that I’ve mentioned previously that I want to do.  A couple of people are wanting me to audition for the summer series for another theater next week.  Maybe I’ll look into that and see if I still have the acting bug after that’s over.  We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’ll remain excited about the final three performances of Copacabana.  Some family and friends have said that they’ll be coming to the show this weekend, so that’s all the more to look forward to!

the spring wither

April 1, 2010

I feel that I should post something entertaining and amusing or at least some tale of complete absurdity, being that it’s April Fools Day.  I just don’t seem to have it in me these days.  The warm weather outside seems to be sapping me of energy.  Tonight we’re supposed to be completely off book for Copacabana, but I only know the first half of Act II.

I know I’ve overstretched myself this year.  Serving on three committees at church wouldn’t be that bad, but I feel pulled to address both Youth and Worship things on Sunday mornings.  I don’t feel like I’ve been able to take care of either to the extent they deserve.  I know I’ll be able to pass one of those on to somebody else in two months though.  I imagine I’ll continue to work with the Youth, which can use a lot of time and, more importantly, energy, although I don’t think I can handle another winter/spring as busy as this one was.  Other things are trickier.

I got a letter from one of the other members of board of directors for the Ironton Council for the Arts a few days ago.  It stated that they are going to require members of the board to attend three quarters of the meetings.  With only eight or ten meetings over the last year, I came close to missing that mark after missing the last two meetings for Copacabana rehearsal.  I also missed three of the six concerts this season due to reenactments and I missed a fourth for the church ski trip.  I find this to be much more troubling.  I also don’t know how much difference there will be this year.

Added into the mix is the fact that I’ve enjoyed Copacabana much more than I had anticipated.  I had always wanted to do a theater show, and when this came along, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to fulfill my dream before I continued on with my life, having checked acting off of my bucket list.  (Hey!  Acting is better than robbing a bank!)  I also thought it would be a great way to meet women, but there hasn’t been much luck on that front.  Now I’ve found that I really enjoy it, and I’m tempted to do it again.  Unfortunately, it interferes with many of the other things I enjoy doing.

Now here I am in the Spring just days from Easter, trying to decide what it is that I want to do and what I need to give up.  Having a second year like this one would simply be more than I can handle.  I keep living life like I did in school, but there’s no longer summer to rejuvenate.