So close it's scary…

Coming soon.  Like next week!!

Here’s my 90 second promo for it.

Podcast 90 second promo

Pet Peeve when it comes to staging…

I have this pet peeve when it comes to certain parts of staging. It’s called a cross. A cross is when an actor or dancer is told to move from one point of the stage to another.  I didn’t want to say crosses in the title of the post out of fear of having the religious people freaking out. Well, that and it’s about more than just crosses.  Anyway, I hope this helps all of the actors that this applies to.

Crosses

When an actor is told by the director or choreographer to cross the stage, I can’t tell you how many times it looks like they are just  moving because of that exact reason. They were told to.  When asking the actors what they are doing during the cross, they say, “I don’t know. You didn’t tell me what to do.”   I want to pull my hair out!  I want to grab it by the fistful.

The director or choreographer is only there to give you just what the title implies, direction.  It’s up to the actor to create the reason why s/he moves. Putting intent behind movement creates interest and energy which adds to the show.  If it looks weird, or out of place, then the actor will be told ways to adjust the cross.  That first step has to come from the actor, I feel.  Otherwise, it would take 4 months of rehearsal to get the show up and running, and even then it would look bad.  It would look bad because it would be over worked and lose that spontaneous feeling that reality has.  No one plans out every single movement that they will do, do they?

Eye contact

I find that I am thrown, yes thrown, as in flung from the momentum of the show when I see this happen.

When an actor is speaking to another, it’s incredibly important that you maintain eye contact during those intense or intimate moments.  The difference between an actor that maintains the connection and one that doesn’t is HUGE! When the connection is lost, it shows that the actor is uncertain or unfocused which to the audience translates as unprepared or not as talented as the actor truly is.  When an actor can keep that connection, the moment gets taken to another level because the audience is engaged in the tension that is being built up between the characters.

Staying in the moment

Along the same lines of eye contact, if a movement is not something that the character would do, don’t do it.  I know, that’s easier said than done.  Here’s what I mean:  Just for an example, if an actor was playing Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, there is no appropriate time for him to adjust his dance belt.  Or if an actor is playing a corpse and adjusts their shirt because they are self conscious about their stomach.  It’s not character appropriate, and again takes the audience out of the  moment as well as the actor.  When an actor is fully immersed in the character, they will forget their personal issues.

Yikes, I feel like I am being super negative about these things.  I don’t mean for it to sound that way.  These are easy basics that will help an actor.  And I truly do want to help  and sometimes speaking truthfully is difficult to hear.

Now, go get’em!!!

Costumes…

Well, the costume fittings were MADNESS!  Madness, I say.  On Wednesday, the cast tried on the costumes for the show.  Huge thanks to Carol Clever.  She took what is thought to be a deceptively minimal look show, and gave it a realistic type of look. What’s difficult is that most productions  just want the sparkle  because it looks great.  My thoughts are that we would have a better connection with the audience and the text if we go for a more realistic look.  It will have a bigger emotional impact in the second act as well if you are truly listening to what is being said.  It was such a challenge to imagine what these things would look like on stage with colored lights and the stage set and dressing, I’ll have to admit.   What I found the most amazing was how much input that I, little ol’ me, had in this whole process.  Incredibly, the director, Bill Starr, and I have the same vision for the show.  Yay!!  I am excited that my thought process, even in spite of my limited training, runs along the same track as this intense man that I have learned several things from.  Now just to let you know, that when I say limited training, I mean actual school training, I am always reading books and learning the theatre craft. Back to the outfits.

Some of the looks needed to be tweaked.  All of the looks need alterations though.  I feel horrible because it’s a lot of work for our costume designer, and so I and several other cast members like Victoria and Beth Ann (by way of Brett) have offered our help to make the show look as good as it can.

My fav is the Frug outfits.  Still working on the hair.  The wigs were fresh out of the box and just plopped on the ladies heads.

Melinda puts 'tude in her go-go boots!

Patty Reinhart is dangerous in her go-go outfit!
Patty Reinhart is dangerous in Frug outfit

These are going to be made shorter to give you more leg.  Hot. HOT! I tell ya.  For the men, there are some things being fixed.  They will be wearing a tux shirt and pants with a bow tie and  flounce accents on their sleeves.  Here’s what my trio is wearing.  I think that the vinyl vest for the men is so sleek.

Valerie is rocking the Union Jack!!
Valerie is aloof and rocking the Union Jack!!!

Act 1 opens in the park with varying degrees of 60’s looks.  Here are just a couple

Heather Schweitzer vogues in her 60’s look
Andrea looks like she’s ready for school.
Ben makes a tiny tribute to another Bob Fosse show.  Can you name it?

For Rhythm of Life, there wasn’t a lot to look at on Wednesday.  We had several tops, but not completed outfits.  So I can’t quite bring you a true look for that number but it should be colorful.  But I’m A Brass Band will be faboo!

Always immersed in the role, Ian Teter models the Brass Band outfit

I am leaving the Big Spender costumes out because there’s gotta be something to surprise you when you see the show.  I just wanted to give you a little sneak peak before the show.  You may think that these looks are plain, but keep in mind the lights, and all the stuff that’s going to be on stage to add colors.  I can’t wait for the day we set foot on that stage with the sets in the theatre.  I think that’s when everything is going to click, and I can have a refreshed perspective of the show.

Cleaning up a dance…

Charity (Katie O'Bryon) and Oscar (Michael Carey) share a moment on the ferris wheel.
Charity (Katie O'Bryon) & Oscar (Michael Carey) share a moment

In an ideal world, I would love to be able to focus on one dance for every clean up that we have scheduled.  But as is the case with theatre, it never feels like there’s enough time.

Yes, we are all blocked and choreographed, but the cleaning of it takes so much longer than I always expect that it would.

Last night, we cleaned  Brass Band, Cry at Weddings and Rhythm of Life.  The latter two are pretty traditional musical theatre style dancing, and when you see them you will know what I mean.  There are Fosse-esque elements added to keep with the feel of the rest of the numbers.  Well, Weddings and Rhythm are looking very, very good (I need to make a very minor change to Rhythm once I find out about the lighting), but Brass Band was my major concern.  It’s going to be a great number, and I am not just saying that, but whew-eee when I saw it at a run though on Saturday, I swear I was going to hyperventilate.  I’d say that two maybe three people remembered most of what they were doing, and everyone else looked at each other with confusion written all over their faces.  With the director watching this hot mess scatter across the stage, I could tell that the cast felt uncomfortable too.  So, I couldn’t be too mad at them could I?

When we began cleaning up last night, they remembered a lot of the number, but I had to re-teach the second half once more and with the same questions to answer as the first time I taught the steps, we ran out of time to run the number full out two or three times like I had planned. Don’t get me wrong, some great things came out of the run through and the clean ups, but the less that we’d have to clean the more amazing the show will be come opening night.

Until next time, break a leg!

Cast bid Charity good bye

Audition announcement!!

West Valley Light Opera announces the audition dates for

Logo for Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

“Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”

April 3 and April 5.  Times have not been confirmed, but as soon as I know them, you will as well.

For those who don’t know, “Breaking Up…” is a comedy featuring the songs of Neil Sedaka.

The story follows two friends, Lois and Marge,  that set out for good times and romance one Labor Day weekend in a Catskills resort.   Sounds like fun!!

Oh, and this just in…Turns out there is LIMITED seating for Sweet Charity on Sunday March 14 AND Sunday March 21.  Get those tickets now if you are serious about going on one of those days!  Call 408-268-3777 for availability.

Now we begin…

Late Thursday night, I got the news that a theatre company will be nice enough to sponsor my site and podcast and allow me access to all the behind the scenes stuff that the audience doesn’t get the chance to see.  Woo to the Hoo!! The next thing I have to do is contact other theatres and get them to say yes, to my idea.

I am tinkering with site to see if there is something else that I can do to make it POP.
I am trying to make a simple 60 second promo for my podcast.  I am stuck.  I have the ideas, but the wording of it sounds strange to me.
I’ll figure out something, but I just want to get it done.  I already know who my first interview is going to be, I just have to set a time to do it.  In addition, I have the very first song I want to share with people.  (Even if they can’t buy it.  Yet.)

Also, I’d like to take a moment and ask for poetry submissions or a short essay about an experience that you have had watching a performance. The only requirement for the essay is that you write about a work that stayed with you. It could be a painting, a play, a song you heard, or a story, basically something that is creative.
This is an invite to you, yes, you.  I think it’s important that people see that the Arts leave an impression on others and not just me.
Send your submissions to jery@TheActorvist.com.  Yes, that is one “r”.  Long story.