Archive for The Nerd

The End Of A New Adventure

Yesterday was the final production of WCCT’s run of the hilarious play, The Nerd. The play itself is one of my favorite goofball comedies and our interpretation of it was met with great audiences and huge responses (although there was the one performance, but you go on). The final performance began with a few cast members getting antsy at the delay of the title actor’s arrival. The gentleman playing Axel approached and asked “Have you seen Chris? I can’t be both parts!” I had a very sneaky suspicion.

At 2.20 (ten minutes before curtain), taylhis approached the theatre pushing the stroller along with Christopher. My suspicion was confirmed. He was indeed watching the Bears play. Right behind me came Producer justj who informed me that it was MY responsibility as stage manager to go get him. I was already on my way. However, I was soon being trailed by said producer. Two heads are better than one?

When we arrived at the house (thankfully, it was mere yards from the theatre), our friend was engrossed in the final seconds of the first half. “Let me see if Hester returns this kick!” Ok… Mission accomplished just as the director was opening the show with her personal rendition of Cyndi Lauper‘s ’80s hit, “Time After Time.”

Following the curtain fall, clean-up began and photos were taken and presents were exchanged. My favorite memento was the card I received from my friend.

Final thoughts on my first stage management. I had a great time working with the cast and my crew. It was definitely a challenge and I know that I could NOT have done it alone… THANKS Carol. However, I AM MUCH MORE of an onstage performer. However, if the need presents itself and I am not engaged as an actor I could be persuaded to assume the role again. Thanks again one and all… cast, director, crew, friends old and new, groupies (OOOPS, they are friends), and of course Alex.

A Break From The Chaos

Well…. not really chaos (unless you include Thor…. just kidding, but I was never 8-years-old). Opening weekend of The Nerd went very well. There were huge laughs, audiences for each of the three shows (although today’s performance was questionable… at 5pm Saturday, there were only 6-7 reservations of which 4 were my family members). The only major thing that I encountered was the absence of real deviled eggs.. sorry Carol.) Also to Chris for the absence… I would find it difficult to eat a hard-boiled egg and have that dry texture in my mouth. And the pop will be waiting for you at intermission from Thursday night onward (put it in my script: POP @ INTERMISSION 4 CHRIS!!!)

Let’s see… Saturday night the cast was to have an 80’s Night Party at the lounge across from the theatre. After about 10 minutes inside, a group of us decided to be a bunch of “godless party poopers” and held our own gathering elsewhere. The highlight of the party had to be the The Wonderful World of Disney Trivia in which 2 of the competitors knew more about the world of Disney than I and our ever so gracious hosts formed a team (thinking that two heads are better than one).  But all in all a truly successful opening… coming from someone who sees absolutely nothing of what is happening on stage.

If You Were A Box What Kind Would YOU Be?

Tonight was the first night that I have ever been the stage manager for any show. There are times when I really find it to be fun; but the idea of not being able to be part of either the on-stage activity or in the audience makes it difficult. I do enjoy the comradery you feel by being able to assist in getting the performers props, cues, etc or the challenge of making sure an 8-year old knows when to say his lines backstage or that he is not (unintentionally, of course) making a nuisance of himself; but in all honesty, I really think Alex is doing a fine job both with his character and learning what to do and (more importantly) what not to do when he is off-stage. A year ago he and two of my nieces were in School House Rock with me. The main difference was that the children’s chorus was on-stage the entire time. I can’t imagine dealing with 30 kids (some of whom were no older than 7) backstage.

The actress playing Titsy (or is it Tansy… so many names) payed me a huge compliment tonight by saying what a great backstage manager I am. Maybe with more experience I will come to enjoy it as much as I do being on-stage. But, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I am REAAAAALLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYY antsy and NEEED to be on-stage. It has been almost 3 months. But this cast is such a ball to work with. One of my best friends plays the title role. Another good friend is producing. Yet another frequent party goer is assisting backstage. Of course, visiting with our resident groupie and whichever child happens to be with her at the time is cool, too. Our first time director is doing an awesome job. All the cast and crew has made the first of 7 performances highly enjoyable.

Following tonight’s opening, a bunch of frequent game nighters converged along with an infrequent groupie. While the guys were handily humbling our female counterparts, the telephone rang. I just had the strangest feeling that I knew whom it would be. I suppose I should have been a little bit more thoughtful by phoning ahead and telling Alex’s parents that we would be late, but there is next time… (shame on me).

Gumption… Who Has It and What Is It?

WOW… tonight was the final dress rehearsal for The Nerd and to quote our director, “We have a show.” I do however, have a few questions about it beginning with the title of this blog… what exactly is gumption… Let’s find out together, shall we? Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary lists two definitions:

  • common sense/horse sense
  • enterprise/initiative (he lacks the gumption to try)

Ok… now that that has been settled, the last person whom Axel believes to have said quality was Marjorie Main. Once again, I haven’t the foggiest idea who he is speaking about so, I will consult the trusty wikipedia website and low-and-behold we get:

Marjorie Main (February 24, 1890April 10, 1975) was an Oscar-nominated American character actress, perhaps best known for her role as Ma Kettle in a series of ten Ma and Pa Kettle movies.

I KNEW I had seen her name somewhere before. I vaguely remember watching the old Ma and Pa Kettle series after church on Sunday mornings. She was nominated for an Academy Award for the 1947 Ma and Pa Kettle film The Egg and I.

So now that I have found answers to my two burning questions concerning the play, I can tell the cast of The Nerd to BREAK A LEG. IT IS GOING TO BE A SMASH.

Eat My Shorts, Man

Ah, yes, the weekend clean-up prior to the opening of a show at our community theatre. Those gathered were kept busy by doing various duties around the small space. Hanging vinyl LPs from the ceiling in the lobby (I realize that this may age me a bit; but I even remember 8-track tapes and Betamax), finishing up the molding for the doors on stage, and totally 80’s-afying the interior of the building. Carol and I spent the majority of our time drizzling paint in a pizza box that was in turn used to create a tiled effect on the stage floor. THIS TYPE OF PAINTING I CAN HANDLE… thank you very much.

Normally, the lobby of the theatre is used to showcase the artistic talents of a local artist. For our production of The Nerd, our director decided to use the space for a variety of pop culture items of extravagance. Record sleeves for Madonna’s True Blue album, authentic movie posters for Star Wars and E.T., and a Strawberry Shortcake tv tray were just a few of the items I saw waiting to be displayed. Totally tubular, Dude. So… for a blast from the past and a hilarious play… check us out September 5-7 and 11-14.

WHAT THE HUSK IS A RUSK?!

I’m glad you asked.  A rusk is a rectangular, hard, dry biscuit or a twice baked bread, commonly called zwieback.  These biscuits are often used in child weaning.  They also, apparently, go quite well with garbanzos.  The dish plays a pivotal and hilarious role in our fast approaching production of The Nerd.  The cast had their first practice run through the entire piece tonight and except for about a page and a half being jumped over.  It went EXTREMELY well.  Although, a certain nephew of mine could stand to jump on his entrances a bit quicker.  I’m not one to shirk blame since I was beside him and missed telling him of one of his upcoming moments.  But for it being only his second time on stage, he is doing quite well.

I have failed to mention one of my cast mates from  Little Women who has also had limited stage experience.  She plays the role of Clelia Waldgrave, the dim bulbed wife of Warnock (Worncock, Ticky, Tocky, Tacky, whatever his name is) and mother of the precocious Thor.  Clelia has some funny moments herself, not the least of which involves dishes.

One of my other favorite parts is played by that guy who has a name that reminds me of an omelet (not to worry Colorado).  Axel is one of the characters who shares the secret of the show (to find out what the secret is you have to get your reservations in soon).  Some of his on screen antics are sure to bring down the house.  “Hideous pagan ritual” indeed.

So… just over a week to go before our production of Larry Shue’s side-splitting comedy The Nerd makes its debut, be sure to reserve your tickets soon.

Hiccups

With less than two weeks to go until opening night, I would say that our community theatre’s production of The Nerd is coming along quite nicely.  Today was the first rehearsal during which no scripts were allowed on stage.  For the most part everything went rather smoothly, but of course there were those few “hiccups” as the director called them.  But a large portion of the lines are so incidental that it is really difficult to time and memorize.  There are lots of “What”s, “Excuse me”s, etc that may not seem important but as scripted they add so much to the humor of the piece.  And poooor Rick, I don’t know how many times he has to explain the rules and procedures of a game called “SHOES AND SOCKS.”  One of his FAVORITE parts of the entire play along with his display of musical prowess.  But once again, he is just indescribable.

The gentleman who is playing the role of Willum is also beginning to come into his own.  He brings a nice sense of bewilderment to the scene.  Not sure of what he should do under the circumstances he finds himself under; just trying to make everyone in his home (welcome or unwelcome) happy.

Tansy is growing as she finds herself trying to stand by her man but at the same time becoming really frustrated at Willum’s ineptitude.  She really is like a chicken running loose running from the kitchen to the living room.  I would have a hard time remembering what I need to bring, when I need it, and when to bring it on stage.  Just take a breath and do it.  Above all CONFIDENCE.

So… only 12 more days till curtain.  I know I am not going to be favored by all involved for counting days; but, I would be even more excited if I were on stage. Yet, I am beginning to become secure in my role of helping make sure everything runs smoothly behind the stage (not totally… never that, but adequately so.  More on the remaining cast later.

Knowing One’s Place

In all honesty, I have to say that the current production I am part of is the most difficult time I have ever had and I do not have to memorize one line of dialog. There are several roles both on stage and off in any show. It just so happens that my presence for The Nerd is strictly off stage. Not that it has not been and continues to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I get to sit back night after night and watch the thespians on stage create their roles. All eight of them are doing a fabulous job developing realistic personas not only through the written word but through movement and (to me) most importantly facial expression. Not only are the lines significant, what goes on along with those words may be even more so.

The character playing Rick is just bewildering. Even when he is not speaking, he is doing something that is just soooo hard not to focus your attention on, making the other characters on stage that much more uncomfortable. His mouth open, staring at a character one minute, wandering around paying no attention to someone yelling at him the next. The eyeglasses add an even greater effect. Once he gets his script away, I know that he will be able to take it to an even higher level. I cannot wait to see the costumes. And that voice?! 😯 Plus, I am so excited to be watching HIM on stage.

I have also been impressed by the gentleman playing Tocky (… or is it Ticky?). He has some of the best lines in the show and is very strong characterwise. Audiences will howl when he gets angry at his young son or becomes flabbergasted by the nerd’s constant nerdiness. Thor (Ticky’s son) is a very close relative of mine and he can be as bothersome as the character on stage.

Everyone else is doing great; I will make it a point to focus on others in future posts as soon as I can find intriguing things to mention about them.  I stilll have a bit of time.