I TOTALLY love the cast of Bless Me, Ultima!
Boy, oh boy, Saturday was a blast. The day started with a welcome by our director Ms. Elisa, then followed by the exciting news that Bless Me has actually just wrapped up filming as a feature length movie!!
Next up were the sound, lighting, and set design presentations. The set designer said that the stage will be raked, or slanted. The plan is to keep the show minimalistic to keep the momentum as swift as possible. There are mini-scenes inside larger scenes, and if there was a need to pause, even the slightest one, for each shift, we could be in trouble of losing the audience’s attention. In keeping with the less is best idea, the raked stage is supposed to have images of the landscape on it. I am curious how this will work. Will the images be projected from behind the platform, or from above? If it’s from above, isn’t the image going to show up on the actors as well? We shall see…
One element I am really impressed with is that there will be a massive attempt at using as much live music as possible. Hooray! I can’t seem to do a show without having to sing. Haha! Even in the last play I did with Teatro, Hero, I sang the line: High School…High School Musical 2!
After the presentations, we all introduced ourselves to each other. We took a short break, and then dug into the script. Things have been changed and reassignments were adjusted, and the train began to move forward. At first as we began to read, things felt a little tense to me. Not for any particular reason. It could be that sometimes it’s uncomfortable to read aloud. It could be that the cold in the room was a little distracting. It could be that some of the people were missing parts of their script. After we got about six scenes into the read thru, Elisa stopped us and asked about the themes that we’d come across so far and how we feel about them. People brought up religion, good v. evil, and duality just to name a few.
Then it got a little weird. I understand what was meant, but I think it’s a bit trivial as far as the issue went. What happened was someone said they didn’t like the fact that the word “magic” was used to describe the things that Ultima could do. The reason was that the term “magic” made them think of pulling a rabbit out of a hat or something along that line, or that “magic” was only used for evil things.
I am a little torn that there is talk about changing a word that is the supposed school of altering things either by supernatural means or through knowledge of natural laws unacknowledged by science. It goes back as far as alchemy does. Magic was used long before the likes of Harry Houdini and others had began to create tricks and illusions for entertainment. What I wonder about is was that something that offended the person who purposed the change due to their religious beliefs or was it because it truly reminded her of parlor tricks? If its the former, isn’t that why we are here to do this play? If it’s the latter, do we really have the power to change the words of the playwright if a wording change diminishes the power of the script?
It also made me wonder why no one had problems says “miracles.” Aren’t those just magic? The difference that was told to me was that one is religious based while the other was more of a hedonist term. WTH? This lead me to believe that this group was more religious that I thought and that’s where the whole Magic debate stemmed from. That makes me a little sad.
When I read the book, what I came away with is that you should question religion. It’s not something that is only contained inside of four walls. There’s a lot of back and forth for the main character, Tony, about the belief in the churchy god and the energy that’s everywhere that just is. That church god and cosmic energy are one and the same. It’s okay if you wanna believe in both! Now, I don’t mind either way what anyone believes. That’s what makes the word go ’round. However, with the church being all greedy and stuff, it acts like a child. If you were to compare the two, Magic is much older than most religions. Just sayin’! Churches say, you can’t do this or that. You can only worship in a confined space surrounded by others as witnesses to make sure you are doing what you’re supposed to. With the energy, there’s just possibility. There’s no one saying you can’t. You must follow your own moral compass and decide if what you do will hurt someone else.
It was a great conversation, sometimes it did go off track, but THIS is why I love working with Teatro Vision. I don’t get anything like it with WVLO, or Sunnyvale Players, and Saratoga Drama Group. The people in this cast are all fun loving and easy to laugh with. It’s going to be a happy, happy experience working with these folks.
Also, for those of you interested in another fellow theatre blogger, my cast mate Jess is the author behind Theatreg33k.blogspot.com. I am thinking a podcast with her will be a blast! I’ll keep you posted on that.