Why would I do that?

Why would I do that?

I was recently asked, in light of my last few posts on the show, why I would speak of a. my attempt at perfection, and b. pointing out the flaws of the performances while doing this.  Some have even asked if I am concerned that people may think the show is less than any other theatre or amateur-ish in sharing the dirty laundry.

I respond thusly:

What I love about the stage is that sometimes, whether it’s a Broadway show or a local high school production, things happen and watching how an actor deals with them recover is exciting.  This is also a sign of how prepared they are.  For example, when my partner and I celebrated our 11th anniversary in New York, we watched the original cast of Wicked, sans Kristin Chenoweth, on the first day we arrived.  During the scene where Glinda confronts Elphaba each woman is holding her weapon of choice, a large wand and a broom respectively, and they circled around each other.  Then almost as though it were a pair of nun-chucks Glinda began to twirl her wand.  But then, it got snagged on her dress!  So she threw the wand down and put up her dukes.  This was such a memorable moment of that performance, without question! The audience laughed, cheered, and then applauded that whole moment.  It was incredible.  But to see that the woman playing Glinda never looked like she wasn’t in control the entire time blew me away.  The first thing that I said to Perry as we left the theatre was, “How did she not freak out?!?”

So, to answer the questions.  I am aiming for perfection each and every night so that I know in my heart that I have put everything I can to creating a solid performance for each show.  While I may only now be speaking of this goal of perfection, I have to admit, it’s one that I try to do every single performance.  I want to feel like I’ve worked as hard as I could to make that patron leave happy and that the ticket was worth it.  Because what is Art if it has no heart?   This of course leads to the question, ‘if you are noticing all the things you did wrong, aren’t you removed from the moment on stage?’ Um, no.  Well, if I was only worried about spitting out memorized lines, then maybe yes that would be the case.  But I am so familiar with everything that my version of Bert Bratt is that when it feels off, I just make a little mental note and think about it when I am off stage.

I admit, I understand why they ask these questions.  No, I am not concerned about the quality of the show.  We have very strong performers in the cast who are wonderful people to work with and make this production a joy to be a part of.  But I have never said the show isn’t great.  I speak solely of my mishaps and weird stumbles, which have been trivial in the overall picture of the show.  Who’s going to remember those things happening? No one.  That’s how minor they are.  Am I really sharing dirty laundry if I am speaking only of myself?  I think not.  I am stating facts, not theories.  I know that I did these things wrong and I recovered well from them.  Did anyone in the audience see? Don’t know, but I doubt it.

I point out my flaws because that’s the beauty of live theatre.  You never know what is going to happen.  No show will ever be duplicated.  Ever.  The audience is always different and as such we as actors react a little differently too.  What if a moment happened on stage that was pure accident, like the Wicked one, that leaves such an impression on someone?  I often comment at how bad my memory is, but that moment in the show is so clear and vivid, I still can see it and smile.  Things like that, then become a shared experience.  Something to connect you to other people. And deep down inside all of us, there’s a need to be connected to others.  A need to know that we aren’t alone.  And that little experience you’ve shared with others is a very small but comforting thought when you think about it on a cosmic scale.

Argh! One weekend left and the pursuit of perfection is still on!

This afternoon after leaving Yamagami’s Nursery, I hopped in the car and set out for the theatre and this afternoon’s matinee.  But as I was heading southbound on Hwy 85, I began to feel sluggish and a case of the “boy am I tired’s” hit me like a ton of bricks.  My body was sore from the Zohar rehearsal for the winter showcase and from the week off of the show, and from my gym workout after a 3 week break on Saturday.

But sure enough, as I get into place for the opening of the show, the lovely Roberta gives me a pep talk and I am raring to go.  And go we did.  Weeeellllllll, until after my first exit. Hahahaha.  When I come back on stage with Finch, we totally forgot what it was that I was supposed to say. Actually let me rephrase that.  I knew the line, but it always trips me up because the way that it’s written.  It’s written as “My secretary will take care of the forms and getting your particulars.”  For me, I feel like saying “My secretary will take care of getting the forms and your particulars.”  It’s that one little word: getting.  And what came out of my mouth was “My secretary will uuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..getting your particulars and filling out the forms.”  I swear that “uh” felt like the longest moment in the world!

Then I began to joke and say that I would make it a character choice and go on the rest of the show and use that randomly throughout.  Like, “Well, uuuuuuuhhhhhhhh, this is something.”  Or better yet, as I am singing: “A secretary is not uuuuuuuuuuhhhhhh a toy.”

Just be sure that the “uh” sound like and old dry wooden door opening.  Had to make sure you had that imagery in there for ya.

Other than that, the only other thing that I can knit pick is that I was early during that same dance break that I rolled my ankle on last night.

The audience was small but mighty!  People came out in to the lobby in such high spirits it was wonderful to see and the hear how much they enjoyed themselves.  I am so happy, but with that in mind, we have to get the word out about this show to have our last two performances sold out.  So if you would be so kind and please write a review of the show on Artsopolis, I can’t tell you how much all of us in the H2$ family would appreciate it.  After today’s performance, I got to meet a number of wonderful people who did happen to enjoy themselves so a special shout out to Bijou and Bo.  A lovely young duo how were very knowledgeable about theatre and all the little things that we accomplished that some people may have missed.

If you haven’t been able to make it out to the show, I would personally like to invite you to come out and watch the show.  Also, let me know if you are coming so I can be sure to look for you after and thank you personally.   I hope to see you there on Friday on better yet, closing night!

Oh, Saturday night, why dost thou mock me?

Tonight’s performance of H2$ was pretty good over all.  I went it with the focus on getting everything right. Hitting every movement clean and sharp.  Making sure all my lines were enunciated clearly and not too fast.  Right off the bat, after Scene 1 in the first Act, the audience was catching the jokes and giving us on stage some great energy to feed off of.  I knew that this was going to be a great night!

Then we came up to dance break in “Coffee Break.”  At one point, Lea, Stephanie, and myself break off into our own dance steps.  During the step where I swing my arm overhead and turn, my ankle rolled so I turned on the side of my foot.  Luckily, it didn’t hurt, but man!!!  I was kinda mad, but I decided ‘well, one little step won’t be so bad.’

Then the rest of the night was fun and quick and mistake free from that point on.  However, even if I would have gotten the step correctly, I still wouldn’t have gotten to the perfect that I want.

During the number “Secretary Is Not A Toy” the audience (to me) doesn’t respond as well to that number.  I think it’s because of the content which is about sexual harassment.  Well, what we now consider SH.  I think that there has to be a way for us to get a great response from the crowd.  While the subject material may be uncomfortable, our choreographer Val, gave us some playful movement to diffuse the harshness of it.  It’s a fun little number, that just seems like the least favorite.  After my friends watched the show, they were offering suggestions about it.  One of which was that the look of concentration on some people’s faces is a little off putting and that it pulled them out of the number.  While my friends appreciated the dancing, they were saying that using our  faces in character to convey what we are singing and dancing about would make a big difference.

Well, there’s always tomorrow’s matinee!!  Get your tix at www.wvlo.org!!  Also, you can check www.Goldstar.com and see if there are discount tickets available.  Hope to see you there, as my search and reach for perfection continues…

Two more weekends to reach Awesomeness Maximus!!

Ms. Roberta Inscho-Cox and Ms. Samantha Stidham letting you have it!!

The show as it is, is a good fun show.  We’ve trimmed off some of the excessive time over the last weekend and now have a show that runs pretty smoothly.  The cast has been working hard and keeping it all together during this time of the year when crazy colds or flu viruses are making the rounds.  Some battles have been lost, but the rally that happens when one of our cast mates has been caught by the bug is pretty impressive.  Everyone that has throat drops, Advil, sinus medicines, Day-quil, Ny-quil, or any cough suppressant is offering it up in the hopes that it happens to be the magical thing that will cure the ailment.

But back to the awesome, I mentioned earlier…

I love the show, I truly do.  But I think, deep down, we can take the show further.

What we would need is for everyone to pitch in and give that  something a little extra.  I can’t say exactly what it is completely, but it’s what makes all the difference.  For example, let’s say you had to point at someone so you kind of just casually point.   There’s a little bit of a bend in the elbow as it sags from lack of tension.  The finger is just lazily extended enough so there’s an idea of the direction.  Now, point with a purpose.  Point as though everything depended on the person needing to know that direction.  How much stronger is that motion?  When I think of it this way, my hand and arm are level with my shoulder.  There is no bend in my elbow and I feel like energy is trying to lead the way for that person.

That’s the little something extra that needs to be in there.  People like Lea Simon, Karl Schweitzer, Andrea Brady, and Robert Summers amaze me because I can always see that focus in “the Moment” while they are on stage. There are others, but this is just a quick post so I can’t name them all right now.  It’s thrilling and I know the audience can see it in them too.  Oh, and the two ladies in the picture: Way, Way Awesome!

Maybe it’s just me, but when I leave after seeing a really, really good show, I feel like I’ve had an experience, and it’s that sort of feeling I look for in the audience at the end of the night.  There are a few people that have it as they leave, but I want everyone to have it.  Is that an unrealistic expectation to have and to try to live up to?

I don’t think it is and I feel like it’s also part of my duty as an entertainer to strive for it.  So for these next two weekends, I am aiming for the unachievable.  I am going all “Black Swan” and reaching for perfection.  If I happen to fall upon my own knife while in this pursuit, then it will have been for a worthy cause.  (Of course, I speak figuratively.  Just so’s ya know…)

Will I be successful?  Come and see!  There are a limited number of discounted tickets for the show but you have to call 408.268-3777 and mention the code word “Gold.”  These are for tickets on Saturday night 11/26 and Sunday afternoon 11/27.   Hopefully, I’ll see you there!!

Have you ever wanted to do something perfectly?  How did it go?  Do you think that striving for perfection is a lost cause?  Let’s chat about it.

Conference notes Pt 3…

But back on track…

Before we got to the Ben Cameron video, there was a dreamy and yet grounded performance by the Dandelion Dancetheater entitled Friend.   There were people dancing on the house floor across the front of the stage and along the far side of the theatre house and in the main aisles.  Here’s my video footage, and sadly I was too riveted by the interactions on stage that I didn’t get any of the other dancers.  I apologize…

After this moving performance, came the panel discussion from Pt 1 Notes.

Then came a very funny and creative play about an audience talkback by Liz Duffy Adams.  The play was actually called “Talkback: A Play About Talkbacks.”  In theatre, the most common, but not often the most fun audience participatory event is the talkback.  This is when an audience, after a performance, has the opportunity to ask questions of the cast or  artistic staff, like the author director, about anything regarding the show.  Often times, it becomes more of a critique than a questioning period.  In this production, the play is Shakespearean and it’s a talkback about a new show that William has written.  Its filled with the comments like “I loved it. It was moving, and well written, but I think it’s too wordy.” Or “Great play, but do you really need three hours to tell me the obvious.” So by the end, William is curled up in his chair trying to just disappear.

One of the last lines from the “audience” was hilarious.  A woman stands up and marches to the stage and says, “I was a good play, but it made me feel stupid and I resent that!” then stormed back to her seat.  Then the other audience members chimed in as she walked.  It was all in the timing.  Then, the director and stage manager, once the audience leaves, come up to William to discuss rewrites.  Luckily, our “hero” sticks to his guns and says the play is perfect just the way it is.

Then next cool thing that was shown was a seemingly impossible task.  Conductor Eric Whitacre, had a brilliant idea and it’s better to let him explain:

Here’s the actual performance.  I was stunned by how amazing this turned out.

Happy Opening Night!!

Just in time for the Opening Night of WVLO’s How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying!!

Episode 21

This one features a brief interview with Brett Carlson!  Come and see him in “How To Succeed” as the snotty Budd Frump.  www.wvlo.org for tix!!