ūüéľIs This The Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy? ūüé∂

Happy Holiday Season, Gentle Reader!

Oooooooowwweeeeee!

I hope your Turkey Day was wonderful, if you celebrate. If you are one of amazing Readers outside of the US, I hope your week was magnificent. But to be clear, this post isn’t about the recent holiday.

As we head into the weekend, and I return to grown up Ralph Parker, I wanted to share why I am enjoying this production so much. And it isn’t because it is Christmas themed. LOL. I don’t really celebrate it as I had mentioned before despite the fact that I worked on a Christmas show last year and in White Christmas many years ago.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to be a part of this production was the shear fact that I have never had the opportunity to work with this many youngsters before. I wanted to have this experience because it was not only new, but the energy that they bring is incomparable. My past experiences were as a choreographer of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for a youth production and the shows where I was cast that did have younger persons, really only had one or two. To share a stage with 10 of them is a wholly different experience and I am enjoying it immensely.

Another reason I have cherished this process is because of the director. Allie Bailey is one of my favorite people and director to collaborate with during the process. The first time I met her was at auditions for her production of Pippin. What a blast that was! This is my 3rd time working with her. I have absolute trust in her. I appreciate that I can offer my ideas on the character and she asks questions to force me to dive even deeper than what I thought was deep enough. Sometimes instead of confirming my ideas, she counters knowing that it can do one of two things, guide me into a different point of view OR ensure that my view as the character has an answer in their backstory for every potential question that the script may present. I trust that if I am not presenting anything clearly, she will catch it and let me know so that I can make stronger choices. I also like to think that she trusts me and is fully ok with the time I take to work through building my character. She also knows how much I change delivery of lines to try and find my truth in the moment. Sometimes, directors have wanted me to make my choices and stick to them midway through the rehearsal process so the scene is “set” but that stresses me out because if a line gets delivered differently on accident and I give my response like we had “set” then the truth of the moment is lost and will be seen as forced by the audience.

It has been so incredible to take this journey, Dear Reader. The A Christmas Story movie is brilliant in its mix of realism and hyper camp thanks largely to the filming style by director Bob Clark. Not to detract from the acting because I thought all of that was well done too with special nod to Darren McGavin. But aside from the lamp, the filming visual are what stick with me. Like the zoomed in perspective of the kids on Santa and the elves when they are angry or the over dramatic grading by Miss Shields. That is hard to replicate on a stage. Yet, our director had the solution.

When I step back and take a macro look at the staged version, I can see at least 3 levels of style, for lack of a better term. In the first ring, this is the most true to life. My version of Ralph lives here. Yeah, he gets caught up in explaining some of the moments of his memories, but think about when you are recounting something to others. It is a normal reaction. Not only can you get caught up in the storytelling, but those emotions can well up within you again. Like the bullying scene. It is sad to recall, but man, those are some of the easiest feelings to recall from my past. It is painful and scary and embarrassing but the mix is easy to find when I need them.

In the next ring, the memory is stored there. I know that the potential for expanding upon your story is highly likely, Sweet Reader. While Ralph recalls this Christmas memory, obviously some parts are over the top. This is the ring that Mother, The Old Man and Randy, Santa as well as Ralphie’s classmates and Teacher live. Slightly larger than life yet rooted in complete truth but a little more exaggerated than Ring One.

In the final ring, Raphie’s imaginative fantasies reside. This is the overblown moments in the show. This is the home of Black Bart and his gang, Shakespeare and the fan girling Miss Shields, and Red Ryder.

The real trick was knowing where to blur the lines and have those rings bleed into one another and I think our director must be a fricking magician because she has managed to do that very thing spectacularly.

I say it every day in real life, I am a lucky duck. I cannot tell you enough what a wonderful time I am having getting to know these little artists as well as making friends with peers that I had not worked with before. And now, it is off to the theater!

Thank you for once again taking a moment out of your lives, Gentle Reader, to read the musings of a vagabond actor just looking for new ways to explore emotion and view life through the stories of others.

Until the next time our paths cross, Dear Reader, stay safe and alert. Be sure to care for yourself and those around you.

‚̧ԳŹ

It’s the Bittersweet Symphony, That’s Life…

HELLO Gentle Reader!!

mousewheel

These last three¬†months seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye!! I just turned around and whoosh…

Evita opened and closed. I loved meeting so many new people and young talent. ¬†It was educational watching Lexi Dorsett Sharp and Jesse Sharp as they continuously sought or created opportunity for themselves. ¬† The show¬†had a wonderful run, but then it was on to Boeing Boeing which ended up having the same rehearsal period¬†at the same time as Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang.¬†Even now, I still hear fabulous comments regarding Evita¬†as the audience of Boeing leaves. ¬†Lucky for me, we are now two weekends into Boeing and Chitty is set to open next week. ¬†So I was very excited about the prospect of possibly having a week or two off to relax or what have you, BUT it turns out my next project, Corridos, ¬†begins rehearsals next week. ¬†The commute is about twice as long as the other two shows, but I am really looking forward to the experience with The Western Stage Company. ¬†After that,¬†then I get a bit of a break before reprising my role as Father Mouse for a children’s¬†play during Christmas. ¬†It is a fun little gig and I get to be silly and make children laugh. ¬†What’s not to love about it?

While this year has had a number of new experiences and opportunities for me, I have come to find out that I need to pump the brakes a bit and handle some non-theatre business. ¬†It saddens me that I need coast for awhile instead of building on my momentum that I have gained these last few months. Selfish of me to say, I know. ¬†You don’t have to point it out.

Personal

I try to keep this blog upbeat and free from personal family stuff.  Sometimes, though, the family stuff will blend into a topic.  Today is such a day.  Not to worry, dear reader, I shall be brief.  I know I have made mention of my father in the past and have said how incredibly supportive he is of all my endeavors.  I have also mentioned that he has had his share of demons, like drugs and alcohol.  I have been told that the life he led is beginning to take a toll on him.

My brother told me of an incident where he watched as my dad spoke to his parents, asking them to “come and get him because he is ready.” ¬†My grandparents died a long time ago. ¬†I never actually met my paternal grandfather. ¬†My mom said he has periods of depression and he won’t eat. ¬†My sister has said he complains that he has no one to talk to. His own brothers and sisters make no effort to contact him.

As you can see, all of this information has been received from other people and it breaks my heart that I have been so in pursuit of this theater goal that I have brushed off so many things and so many people.  The amount of guilt and sadness I feel is hard to admit out loud. So many missed opportunities.  With that in mind, I have made it a point to try harder to visit.

Most recently, I snuck in a quick visit on Sunday before my matinee show to find he was in the garage cleaning my mom’s car. ¬†He was joking like he used to and it was a good sight, but then to hear, “oh, you hear I’m dying, then you come around.” ¬†While I know he meant it jokingly, it was so tough to take. ¬†And like most good jokes, there is a kernel of truth, so I have no right to get defensive about that. So I told him, “don’t be selfish. ¬†We’re all dying.”

Yeah, that is how my family jokes. ¬†You may think it’s harsh, but if you grew up in our house, you would understand.

In order to spend a bit more time with my family, I have decided that it would be best for me not to add anymore projects to my current schedule. I will complete my commitments for 2015 and maybe pick up an acting or improv class.  Most of my evenings and weekends will be free and I will spend some time making the rounds and reconnecting with not only my parents, but my siblings as well.  We were never really all that close, but it will be nice to tighten the net a bit.

With that in mind, I will be able to see more shows and cheer on more actors and finish completing my own website.  SHWAAAA??  Oh yes, kiddies.  I will be launching an official artist website soon.  It will have production info as well as random backstage footage shot during shows.  Just silly stuff.  But be on the look out for that announcement.

Thanks for your patience and hopefully, I will see you after one my next few shows!

Love!