Archive for June, 2008

A Little Fun Everyday

Following the run of any show I am involved in I go through a period of reflection and a bit of depression (just more so for certain shows). I have found that the best way to deal with this is to continue auditioning or until the next audition arrives by putting my thoughts into words. I am often asked by some people what draws me to the theatre so much and why it seem that I audition for EVERYTHING?! The best explanation I can come up with is the term play, itself. Being in plays allows us to play in new worlds. I find that the best actors and those I really enjoy working with tend to generate a playful persona, but at the same time be able to know when to work (if you want to call it that). The director is the playground monitor who tells his children (cast) what to do and when to do it… setting the rules for the game/play. When the performers are good they are rewarded and when they goof up and not do as well, they know that as well.

Each person involved in every show varies in experience. There are the more experienced who have been there and done that and can seem more comfortable in their surroundings. Then there are those who come along who may never have stepped foot on the stage who may seem shy and apprehensive but hopefully will be able to learn how to play along as well and make new friends. Of course there are those who venture to other play spaces and play in yet other’s backyards and once again become the new kid on the block. Even allowing past characters to reemerge in moments of flashback can bring laughter from some while driving others to distraction 😀 Right, Morat?  EVERYONE WINS!

So, I really do think that the world of theatre is best enjoyed to its fullest by those who refuse to completely grow up. And those who are willing to let their playful sides come out even in the most serious of tragedies there are moments of brevity.

The fun does not necessarily need to end when the curtain drops on the final call. Game nights, cast parties, and other activities can be enjoyed by those involved. As a wise old man once advised a certain android who wished to be more human: “Don’t forget… you have to have a little fun every day.” Well said.

Goodnight Little Womans

Well…. here is my final post on the great experience that began back in late March.  New director, new cast members, new atmosphere, but still great fun.  It is rather strange how intimate I have become with the stage in our little corner of Ohio.  Twice I have been in shows where I end up lying downstage center.  Whether it be sleeping and being pulled into my television or being stabbed in a duel and killed.  During our final performance this afternoon, Marmee suggested that I combine Braxton Prendergast with my favorite character (of course many of you who read my blog know who that is).  As thrilling as that would be, I decided that I better not although it may have drawn an even larger reaction than normal.  The director could not understand why Braxton’s death always drew chuckles from the audience.  As our lighting tech so kindly observed, he does not know me very well, does he.  Actually, I was quite impressed at the amount of time it took to strike the set.  It took less than an hour and a half.  Everyone really pitched in and helped.  So, after that most of the cast and crew went for a final wrap gathering at an area pizza shop and said our final farewells amidst the sadness and joy.   Once again, my sincere thanks and congratulations to everyone involved in this marvelous production.  I found many ways in which to deliver the line “Who are you?” so it would be different each time I said it.  I think I found as many as Jo found to deliver “Christopher Columbus.” Plus, my goals for the show were met.  I believe that the cast worked hard but still enjoyed themselves, and I got to wear pumpkin pants (tights as well, but that was definitely not on my list).

Something Wonderful

The end of the run of a show brings mixed feelings.  For most, it is a feeling of relief that a show has completed its run and it is time to move on and get back to their normal lives.  I do not know how many feel as I, but a run of six shows just does not seem enough.  Sure we are not paid professionals but honestly, our little theatre does wonderful work and deserves every bit of the applause it receives every night.  Not just the applause, but the acquaintances made during the 6 weeks it takes to stage a show is marvelous.  Each production is different, the cast, the set, the crew, nothing is ever the same.  You may get a mixture of cast members in subsequent shows, but each time I am part of a show I let each cast member become a part of me.  Sharing each others triumphs as well as those times we are “pushed” in order to accomplish what the director as well as ourselves know we are capable of.  It is just difficult to leave something that starts with an empty stage and grows into “Something Wonderful…” (a little tune from The King and I). Tonight, while waiting in the orchestra pit for my set change, I began to feel my closing depression set in (a day early but nonetheless there).  I would not say that this happens every show, but definitely with the best of them.  But, with the closing of one show usually comes auditions (at least) for the next show.  So, tomorrow will be the final performance of Little Women, but looking ahead to July 7th I see auditions for The Nerd.

A Small Umbrella In The Rain

A wise man once said that every performance of any show is different every time.  No where was that more prevalent than in tonight’s performance of Little Women.  As I posted earlier, we have been plagued by a leaky ceiling.  It was discovered that this was due to a malfunctioning air conditioner.  During the first act, the a/c was turned off and it was suggested that we speed the action up to accommodate the audience.  At intermission, we had a concession line that featured free cups of water.  The aristocrat Braxton Prendergast was seen behind the counter serving complaining that it was beneath him to serve peasants.  Mrs. Kirk threatened him with bodily harm at least twice.

Apparently, the audience did not mind the drips because the air was turned on again for the second act.  This was perhaps the best the act has run and accepted.  The final duel between Braxton and Rodrigo met with thunderous applause when the villain fell to the ground.  Every time a line was spoken having to do with water, the audience roared in hysterical laughter.  The title of this post is taken from the title of a song that Jo and Prof. Bhear sing at the end of the show.  I thought they would never be heard from all the laughter I thought would come.  However, after a few chuckles, the song went very well as did our 4th of 6 shows.  Maybe tomorrow someone will provide the audience members beneath the drips with small umbrellas of their own.

Ah, yes and a happy birthday to my co-star, Elizabeth.

Suspension Of Disbelief

Continuing with AFI’s list, I will now comment on the fantasy world. This genre is by far the one in which most people have to leave their logic and knowledge of the ordinary world at the doorstep and embrace their inner child. This was perhaps my favorite segment (as they did not include the 10 best musicals). But here goes:

  • Big (I believe that this Tom Hanks film re-started the whole kid-transforming-into-an-adult-overnight craze)
  • The Thief of Baghdad (silent movie that I cannot comment on)
  • Groundhog Day (? OOOOKKKKKK…. Why?)
  • Harvey (classic Jimmy Stewart film… near and dear to one of my frequent readers)
  • Field of Dreams (they built it and they did come again a bit of a ?)
  • Miracle on 34th Street (the original in glorious black and white which I have commented on before)
  • King Kong (1933 big scary monkey climbs Empire State Building and go boom)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (another Jimmy Stewart favorite at Christmas time…. once in your life did you not want to know the world would be like if you were never born?)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (one of the most faithful book to screen adaptations ever conceived)
  • The Wizard of Oz

In my humble opinion, the classic Oz deserves to be at the top. I dare say that this movie has lived on for over seventy years and I do not know of anyone who has never seen it. If there is they must live under a rock. Speaking of rocks, there is at least one film that should have been in there somewhere. The Neverending Story is a fun fantasy (featuring Rock Biter) for children of all ages full of wonder and far away worlds. Also, where is The Princess Bride? The inclusion of Groundhog Day just made me scratch my head. How does one get on to vote on this A.F.I. list anywho?

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Turkey Loaf, Turkey A La King, Turkey Hash, Turkey Pastrami

This morning after I was so rudely interrupted, I turned on our local radio station where one of my fellow Little Women cast members delivers the news. One of the featured topics of the day was “The worst movies ever made.” I know the film that at least one of my readers finds to fit that bill… and I am pleased to say that I have yet to watch The Night Listener with Robin Williams. I have mentioned from time to time Norbit and Howard the Duck. However, there has to be some other good stinkers out there. Here are a few:

  • Leonard Part 6 (starring Bill Cosby during the waning years of The Cosby Show… did not make me ask what happened to the other five previous films))
  • Ghost Dad (also featuring Mr. Cosby which goes to show that bankability in one form of entertainment does not guarantee success in other forms)
  • Rocky V ( and about 2/3 of the movies Mr. Stallone has graced us with… thank goodness the series came back and went out on a better note with Rocky Balboa)
  • Jaws the Revenge (Bruce the Shark looked even more fake)
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (sorry Mr. Shatner, your directorial debut was not your finest hour

I am sure there are several other (un)worthy films to include on this list. Please feel free to join in the fun and making us all relive some of the low moments in theatrical movie history.

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A Rude Awakening

This morning while I was in bed peacefully sleeping in the quiet confines of my nearly abandoned home (the parents are nearly finished with their 2 week trip to California), I was  alarmingly awakened by thhe srill tone of the telephone ringing.  I looked at the alarm and saw 6:30 AM.  They will leave a message.   Five minutes  later, the phone rings again… UGH.   Ten minutes pass; I get up to answer the phone, but they already had hung up.  Check the Caller  ID: Kaiser’s Supermarket.   Was my alarm set right… I did nothink I had to be in until 10.   So I call back (since all three times it was the same caller).   Can you come in at  8  instead of 10?   Our bookkeeper had a daughter who was going into labor so they were a bit short handed.  I suppose, I said rather groggily.  At least my first two hours there were rather uneventful… only the two hour delay of our truck that put a damper on the whole day.  Not only were we minus one person, our stock was two hour behind schedule (which seems to happen occasionally… especially when you have new driver who has never heard of our small metropolis and even have gotten it mixed up with a town with the same name one state to the west…. which is not a fur piece away… think I have been thar once).   So… other than that, the first part of my day was fine (I did get in two hours more than I had anticipated, good thing would have been better if I had not gone to bed so late last night).

Sci-Fi… Not Just The Final Frontier

Another of the AFI list of top 10 categories was Science Fiction (which some believe will be tomorrow’s “science fact.” I promise I will not bore and go into depth on each of the genre’s… just those I know a bit about from viewing.

Their List:

  • Back to the Future
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Alien
  • Blade Runner
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • E.T. The Extraterrestrial
  • Star Wars
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey


I will agree with the five films that I know well to a point. I’m not sure if I would include Back to the Future. Sure it is a fun time-travel movie that I have watched multiple times, but will people remember it 30 years from now. T2 is the best of the Terminator series and a wonder of film-making even 17 years later. Blade Runner is purhaps best summed up as a cult favorite (one of Harrison Ford’s semi-forgotten films… not by me, but…). Aliens and The Empire Strikes Back were far superior movies than their predecessors. E.T. almost could have been included in the fantasy category but should be included on either. And their top choice? I could not make it through the first 45 minutes of silence and a representation of the beginning of man set to the magnificent strains of Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra.
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Beastly Beauty In The Snow

Recently, the American Film Institute (AFI) presented their list of 10 Top Films in 10 Categories. It seems that every year, the group presents their list of 100 Films in various specials (one was 100 Years 100 Songs). This year they decided to be diverse and focus on animation, sci-fi, gangster, fantasy, western, sports, mystery, romantic comedy, courtroom drama,

The top ten Animated as presented by the AFI:

Finding Nemo

Cinderella (1950)

Shrek

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Toy Story

Fantasia

The Lion King

Bambi

Pinocchio

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

I suppose there is always going to be something to be said for the achievement Walt Disney made in 1937 by creating the first full-length animated feature. However, I do not think that it should be considered the crowning achievement in animation. To me, Beauty and the Beast is an even greater accomplishment. It not only continued the resurrection of the animated feature begun by The Little Mermaid, but almost made me forget that I was watching an animated movie. The scene in which Belle and the Beast dance to the title song begins with what would normally be termed a crane shot (if it were not an animated feature). Beauty also holds the distinction of being the first animated movie to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.   It was also the first fully animated Disney film that I really thought would make a great musical on the stage (coincidence?). Every time I watch the film, I can imagine each of the characters being brought to life on stage; and yes, I have even imagined myself as my favorite character in the show. I am terrible audience member.

Beauty and the Beast (Disney Special Platinum Edition)

Coming Soon To A Community Theatre Near You?

A question mark you see….hmmm. They are coming soon provided the selections we made in our play-reading group meets with the approval of the theatre board. The small group assembled to discuss our selections decided upon the following for the 2009 season:

Over the Tavern

Honk

Lion in Winter

Little Shop of Horrors

Miracle on 34th Street

I am greatly familiar with three of the five shows. I had heard of Over the Tavern and recently read the play. Someone I used to work with has a nephew who played the young mentally challenged boy in an area production a few years ago. I am not really familiar with Honk but know that it is a musical based upon the tale of “The Ugly Duckling.”

I adore Little Shop… and definitely will audition for that (as well as most of the others, right?). I need to begin re-looking into that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken show. But it will be a fun show to do for the Halloween season. I am told that a frequent reader of this blog might consider venturing this way to audition (but I’m not sure if that would be possible…. D?).

Wrapping up our suggested season is the play Miracle on 34th Street. I do not think there is a better show that could bring in huge audiences and put them in the holiday spirit than this timeless classic.

We also began tossing ideas out for 2010 (The Year We Make Contact… according to the sequel to 2001). A few musicals were introduced: State Fair and Can-Can. State Fair is perhaps the least known of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals. Can-Can is a Cole Porter show (I KNEW IT as soon as I looked it up…. there you go, C.)

So, our job is done, it is now in the hands of the theatre board to approve or do better. (and I forgot to mention a suggested special engagement of Jesus Christ Superstar that I could post about forever).
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