When You Get To Hear It For The First Time…

As I spent the last few days worrying over JCS, that little voice in the back of my head began to whisper to me. Just ever so slightly.  Kind of like seeing something out of the corner of your eye.

After a week of rehearsals, the cast got to sing through all ov Act 1 witb minimal stopping.  To get them into the spirit of the night, we kicked off rehearsal with some vocal warm ups.  After a couple of standards, we threw in something goofy just for kicks. Once they fully comitted to the exercise, I threw emotions at them as they sang “do you want fries with that?” I wanted them to build from a “it’s a great day” to “if you don’t get out of my face i will kill you!” It was fun to see them take this group exercise and make it into mini scenes.  Some were more believable than others and when I came across those, I would say that I don’t believe it and I could see the shift in their intensity.  It was a lot of fun.  I hope they enjoyed the experience.

From there, the cast did a mini sit and sing of Act 1. It went really well and totally made my night to see the cast react to hearing the leads for the first time.  It was great to see them really get into it with everyone being in the same room and enjoying the music.

After a small break, we cleared the chairs and told the cast the move around the room in the spirit of a character.  It was like watching a show in itself.

To watch the characters begin to take shape,  to see the reactions of the rest of the cast, and to know that we are on the up slopes of this process made for an incredible night!
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Cut to 3 weeks later…

We’ve managed to get all but 6 or 7 numbers staged and begin stumbling thru acts this week. Every day I am excited to see what is in store and what is inside these actors.  Every day I am grateful that they work so hard.  I feel so unbelievably lucky that this particular group of people accepted parts in this show.

I hope that they are still enjoying themselves, even inspite of my frantically worded explanations.  As I watch them laugh and chat, I know they are enjoying each others’ friendships.  That gives me hope. Hahahaha!!

In all honesty, this incredible group of actors and I cannot wait to share this show with y’all!!!

Even Though I Rehearsed It, This Is What I Ended Up Telling Them…

love-spells5

Last night, we held our orientation for JCS! I don’t know if anyone saw, but after saying hello to everyone, I sat down and scanned the room.  Just seeing all the excited and smiling faces kinda got to me.

When it came time for me to introduce myself and explain how I look at the show, I forgot almost everything I had practiced. I told the cast that “I believe the show is all about love.  Why do the Apostles follow this man? What is he saying that makes them love him?  Why does his legacy entice people to do the same?  I always try to look for the good things and what is supposed to have happened to this man is a tragedy.  So I need for all of you to find your own motivation as to why you love him so much.  On the flip side of loving this figure, what is the response to his death? In our production, no one is to “blame.” Jesus is our puppet master that forces all of the events that need to happen.  He does it out of love, though.  That brings in the guilt.  What could have been done to prevent this from happening?  This is where I hope we can start a dialogue for the people.  In life, we have those feelings of ‘what could we have done to have prevented this tragedy?’  It’s too often that everything we hear is negative, but if we can put more love into the world, maybe we can get that thought out there that showing love to people can help to prevent them.”

My voice was shaky and my thoughts were zipping through my head at a mile a minute and as soon as I began, I knew that what I was saying wasn’t what I had practiced. Then I told everyone they could go, even after we said that we needed to get some info from people .  Ugh, I was a mess.  Not a hot mess, just a mess.

My personal philosophy is to always look at and for the positive things that happen in life. From the daily news to the internet, we are constantly bombarded with negative imagery and words.  Granted, there are a few small rays of light like Positive News and Daily Good.

While I got the end of my rant correct(ish), I feel like I may have confused some of the people, like my Priests, Pilate, and Herod.  I had a great short chat to clarify my intent with Aaron, the actor playing Herod.

Here’s how the spiel went down in my head:

Love is the greatest motivation of all.  That is my personal belief.  If Jesus was sent here for the reason people claim, in the show, why does he doubt his purpose?  Why do the Apostles follow this man?  What is he saying that makes them love him so? Why are Mary Magdalene and Mother Mary the two main people who remain at his side even during the crucifixion?  Why are the priests so threatened by him, if they call him a madman?  Those are just a few of the questions that I would like to present at the moment.  We’ll look further into it as the days go by and by all means bring in your questions too.  It’s things like this that make me feel like JSC is really a story about love.  While this show talks of some of his miracles it never really focuses on them, so in that spirit I would like to present this show to you actors while also adding in the elements of reality and reason.  Going back to the purpose of Jesus, doesn’t his whole existence rest on the idea that he was sent here to die for the sins of the people?  If so, is there really a person to “blame?”  Could this have been prevented? If so, why didn’t they try? In our society today, don’t we look at tragedies and ask “How could this have been prevented?” Can’t we take that thought and become proactive? If we spread love through this world to all people, wouldn’t we suffer less tragedies? This brings me back to my first statement.  Love is the greatest motivation of all.

So, tonight we begin to dig into the songs of the show.  This is such a talented cast (I know every director says that)  I absolutely cannot wait to hear them.  I think I may get verklempt.  I am so grateful to be on this journey with them.  I hope that I honor their work with this show.

And We Begin In Three Days…

just a dream

I have always wanted to try my hand at directing.  Partly for the experience, partly because it would be different, but mostly because I wanted to see if I could tell a story in a different way.

Almost exactly a year ago, I had asked the producer of “Sugar” about apprentice opportunities for directing and she said “I will put your name on our contacts list just in case something comes up.”  I was totally satisfied with that and happily continued the rehearsal when they were ready for me to pop back into the scene.  I had asked another company the same thing and got the same answer so it wasn’t unexpected.

Little did I know that three weeks later I would be asked to present an idea to sit IN the director’s seat of Jesus Christ Superstar.  Ever since I found out it was in the season, all I thought about was auditioning to play Judas one more time.  At first, I didn’t know what to say.  Do I jump at the chance knowing that I have never done anything like this and have no training for it?  I had a little dilemma. After taking a few days to think about it, I decided “Why not?”  Sure this could mean that if this goes horribly wrong, I may never get the chance to do this again.  But if it goes right…

Rehearsals are right around the corner, and to say that I am excited is an understatement.  I have been thinking about the show for the last 8 months! Regardless of my nerves, I really think that this is going to be the best learning experience of my life.  Not only is it a chance to try something new  and in the realm of theatre, but it will allow me to strengthen skills that I can use anywhere and in any job.

Listening:  I like to think that I do a pretty darn good job of listening to people.  In any theatrical endeavor, collaborating with everyone is essential, and that means listening to everyone’s concerns, ideas, and criticisms.

Problem Solving: Taking all that information and making it useful or addressing why the information can’t be used.

Decision Making:  I never knew how much planning and questions I would have to answer even BEFORE auditions.  I am usually a “feely” kind of decider.  So if something feels right or not is how I usually decide.  With a project like this, I had to learn to look ahead and see if the decision would affect anything else in the show.

Time Management:  Once the ball gets rolling, there isn’t much time to waste  getting all the ducks in a row.  I really need to be wary on how I use every minute of rehearsal time so that the actors aren’t sitting around. It’s not fair to them to make them spend their time waiting if I can help it.   Also, I have to make sure that all the pieces are put together well in advance of tech week.  My goal is to have the show running two weeks before tech.

I can bet that the management at the nursery will love this.  It’s amazing at how many skills one can acquire and/or develop in the Arts and yet the educational system deems them less than “academics.”  It’s a real damn shame.

Like I said, I never thought I would have this kind of chance this quickly, so I am nervous about this but once we get into the swing of things, I feel like it will be SUPER!!