Monday, October 18, 2010

Show Report: Alice in Wonderland, The Rock Musical

Just now, did you have the same thought I once did? That thought being, A Rock musical? Seriously? But you know what, it actually turned out ok.

I'm not gonna lie... I was kinda scared there. Until opening night, we had not had a full runthrough with all cast members present. Ever. We had not done a runthrough with all props or sets... in fact, we'd never even done a runthrough on the stage. THAT'S how unprepared we were.

It all came together, though. Opening night, nerves saw us through all the awkwardness of learning how to handle the props/sets/everything, and after that it was smoother just because we'd done it once. Closing night was fantastic... one of my best theater experiences ever. The show was amazing, my performance felt great, and I  liked everyone in the cast. Except one person, but even that night I was kind of ok towards her. So basically, if every night had been like that one, I could have done it for a month straight.

Two things. I want to mention the girl I hated, not to trash talk her personally, but mostly to complain about unprofessional behavior. Y'all. If you are ever in a play, COME TO REHEARSAL. Even if you're only in like three scenes and only sing one song, come. Do NOT skip just because, do NOT come at 6:30 on opening night (I don't care if you're in another show and are running late because of rehearsals for it. Opening night is more important). Do NOT tell everyone in the cast to calm down at the end of a long hellish rehearsal that you only came to the last five minutes of. (At that point, I said something cutting to her, and four people thanked me afterwards.) Do NOT blab in the dressing room about how little you care that you showed up late for the performance. And do NOT rely on your friendship with the director to get away with all of this. Because even if you're super talented, it a)drags down the morale of the rest of the cast and b)reduces your chances of getting cast in another show. And that's all I have to say about that.

The other thing I wanted to mention is my favorite line flub of the show. At the last minute, the director added a line for Tweedle Dee, when several characters are sitting around talking about how they don't want to go to the Queen of Hearts' croquet match. He says, "Do you know how long it's been since I've been on a date with a woman? Held her hand, nibbled on her ear, and heard her sweet voice whisper the words, 'Call me again and I'll call the police!'?" Turns to the audience. "You know it's happened to you!" Pretty awesome in its own right, ok. But on closing night, he said, "... heard her whisper, 'Call the police... (3 second pause while he panics)... and I'll ... call you.' " Y'all, this kid is 12. It was priceless. When the director, who happens to be his older brother, heard, he totally cracked up. As did we all. :)

By the way, I was the Cheshire Cat. That's right; J.A. finally gave me that big part he promised me! And you know what? I was awesome. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Likeable Villains, Part 1

So you guys. One of the side effects of not having a husband for the summer is a vast amount of TV-watching. Largely consisting (now that I'm all done being obsessed with Roswell) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I just finished Season 4, and one thing that's really struck me so far with the series is how much I liked the Mayor from Season 3.

The first few times I saw him in the series, I didn't actually notice him. He was just some higher-up who talked to Principal Snyder sometimes. But as he got more screentime, and as his character and evil plot were developed more, I started to like him a lot.

If you haven't seen Buffy, well, you might want to look into it some time. Buffy is a Vampire Slayer, the Chosen One. She hunts and kills vampires and demons, keeping the world safe for democracy and not being killed on the street corner. She lives in the town of Sunnydale, California, which is located on top of a Hellmouth, pretty much a huge hotbed of demonic activity.

It's revealed in Season 3 that the mayor, Mayor Wilkins, is actually over 100 years old, and has been the mayor before, posing as his own ancestors. He built Sunnydale on top of the Hellmouth on purpose, because of some dark ritual he's going to enact, at which he's going to Ascend. (It's revealed that this Ascension is going to transform him into an uber-demon that's going to kill them all, thus enforcing the "authority figures as demonic evil forces" symbolism that the entire show, being based on a "high school as Hell" metaphor, revels in.)

So far, he's not sounding too awesome. I mean, ok. Dark ritual, kill everyone, become a demon. The fun thing with this character is that instead of being all byronic and brooding, he's a total goofball. He befriends a rogue slayer named Faith, and often treats her like a lovable niece, offering her minigolf and ice cream, and dressing her up in pretty sundresses. You know, in between giving her presents like very sharp knives and asking her to kill people for him.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nontraditional Performance

Have you seen this??

A girl took all these pictures of herself with a whiteboard, quitting her job, then emailed it out to the whole office, because apparently her boss was a total d.b. Then today, this came out... apparently the whole thing was a hoax.

Here's what makes this fun for me: She's an actress. They held a casting call and everything, to cast this girl as Jenny.

SO. What makes this an acting job? She didn't have any lines. She was never actually filmed. As far as performance goes, there was very little, beyond still facial expressions and poses. Is this different than a modeling job?

Is this a performative experience for us, the "audience," as it were? Performance, to me, is generally defined as a person doing or saying something with the knowledge that he/she is being watched/observed. That makes this a performance... in that the blog post was done with the intention of fooling us, with being seen, and with being believed.

Random question: (If this were a class we'd discuss it, but it's not, so just think about it, ok?)

How are these pictures of "Jenny" different than these pictures?

Could we call these pictures a form of performance as well? (Just throwing this out there: I could probably call just about anything a performance-- and come up with a way to justify calling it that. lol)

(The Disney pictures, by the way, are part of the Disney Dream Portrait Series, as photographed by Annie Leibovitz.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Theater'd Out

We'll see if I can get through this, eh?

So. I just did a run of The King and I. It was... really blah.

The production itself was really good. I'm not sure that the casting choice of the King was, as it were, ideal, but then, there were NOT a lot of qualified auditioners. Let's just leave it at that. He's a good friend of mine, and I'm glad he got the chance to play that role, but... it definitely wasn't type-casting. All things considered, he did very well.

But that's not the point here. The point is me. And the fact that I hate theater right now.

I would show up every day and think, ugh. I'm so over this. When can I go home?

I'm just not excited about theater right now. In fact, as aforementioned, I hate it.

There are a couple of reasons. One of the big ones is that I want to play a lead at some point, and I just don't see it happening. J.A., my director friend, who pretty much promised me a lead role in King&I, totally screwed me over. On the one hand, sure. It worked out fine for him not to give me a lead part. He still got my support, I showed up and did everything that was asked of me. On the other hand, I have to wonder how much he tried to get me that part. He told me that his production team had a big part in making those casting decisions, and reading between the lines, that says to me that they overruled him. Did he have to pick his battles? One of his really good friends ended up playing Lady Thiang (which is NOT a role I was up for). Did he choose to fight to cast her, instead of fighting for me?

Going to a different theater is an option that wearies me. If I do that, I'll have to find a show that has a big ensemble. Then I'll have to deal with being in a show where I only go onstage a couple times, in the big ensemble numbers. THEN I'll have to deal with stupid loud people that I want to punch in the face backstage (or worse, I'll have to deal with children). On top of all that stupid crap, I'll have to do it all while watching someone in the lead role that isn't even as good as me. Then I'll have to do it again. And again. To get a big role in a community theater production, in fact, I'll have to stick with the same theater and/or director for several years. (As J.A. is currently in the process of proving -- thanks a lot.) (In fact, he's also in the process of proving that I have to not only be friends with the director, but with the entire production team - stage manager, vocal director(s), AND choreographer. I may or may not give him another chance to drive home that point.)

The other reason I hate theatre is because I've done three shows in a row now. I started rehearsals in October, and I've been working on something ever since. Even my "break" before King and I didn't really count for me, since it wasn't nearly long enough.

There's got to be more to it; after all, I have an entire Bachelor's Degree just in theater. So much of it during college didn't drive me crazy; there's got to be a reason why it's driving me nuts now. Of course, I wasn't performing in college, just studying.

Anyway, this whole post sounds really super bitter. (Especially the bitter parts.) Can we just agree to not hold it against me? Life's not fair, I admit, and I'm not here to be pampered or pandered to or anything like that. And I'm sure everyone picks up similar things to be bitter about during their lives. I'm pretty sure this bitterness has something to do with my anti-theatre kick right now. I can't figure out if it's a cause or effect. Or maybe they're both effects. In any case, that's where I'm at right now, and why the place I'm at isn't a stage.

Nontraditional Casting FTW!!

This is NOT the first time this has happened, but Helen Hunt is playing the Stage Manager in Our Town off broadway right now, a role usually played by a man. Which is awesome.

I tried to do this earlier this year, in a local production of Willy Wonka. They posted a message on a local forum that they needed more adults for the show, so I called the director and asked if I could come to callbacks and audition for the role of Willy Wonka. Any guesses about what she said?

Admittedly, this was a very small theater, and it tends not to try anything too "out of the box." I was still pretty disappointed; how cool would that be?? At least Helen Hunt gets to live my dream.

Go read all about it here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Story Within a Play

So this is a cool story. This author wrote a book, which was banned by a school board. Which, the school board had these meetings, and invited the author to come to one and talk to them all. And then the author wrote a play about a book that gets banned from a high school and the author of the book comes to the small town where it was banned and meets people. That play, by the way, opened on Broadway this week and stars Billy Crudup. So there you go.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Iron Man 2

Did you see Iron Man 2? I saw it on Monday, and let me tell you something: Those people were trying too hard. But they were having a heck of a lot of fun.

I liked the performances, and I liked a lot of the dialogue. I was pretty much either laughing at the dialogue because it was funny, or because it was super-duper lame/cheesy. (A couple of times, my husband leaned over and said, "Stop laughing! That was lame!" To which I had to reply, "I know; that's why I laughed!")

I thought that the plot was a little forced, though. Mickey Rourke's character, Ivan Vanko, was this dangerous powerhouse, but I never felt like he got to cut loose and really wreak havoc. Where's the rampage through the streets? Where's the dangling the girl off a huge cliff, accompanied by the obligatory "save the girl or the bus full of children" moment? It was just, Oh, he's in prison. Oh, run before he blows something up. And then, in what really should have been the most bada** scene of all, Tony and Rhodey just kind of... win.

The other thing that was forced was Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett, what were you doing in this show? No, really. Why were you here? Besides enforcing the "hey, the guy whose purpose seems to be training and security is very bad at boxing and fighting!" gag, which I hated.

(Also, why did you take your hair down at the end, to fight the minion-guys? If I were going towards the huge fortress, knowing I was about to have an epic battle against the BadGuy (which you did), I'd be putting my hair UP, no matter how perfectly bouncy and curled it is. I'm just sayin'.)

Anyway, I found this cool article about Robert Downey, Jr. and Mickey Rourke in the movie. Here it is, for your pleasure.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Feeling Better

Ah, the drama of the Theatre. If only people knew what kind of craziness goes on backstage! I think they'd be waay more impressed with the kind of magic we thespians create ON stage.

So far, rehearsals for my latest show are going well. Even though I'm only a lowly chorus girl, I've already impressed the music director, earned a solo in one of the big songs, and received a VERY poor impression of the person who got the role I wanted (code name: Public Frenemy #2).

This last is a positive thing, because I think it's healthy to have something to be a little bitter about. As long as there isn't too much rancor there (which there's not... I promise). I just think that... well, I wouldn't be much of a thespian if I didn't relish the drama, y'know?

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Aaaand I'm super pissed off, just like I thought I would be. I didn't realize I'd feel bad about it, though. Remember how I'm a horrible person??

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Latest Audition

I have a confession to make; I am a horrible person.

Here's the thing. Casting a show is hard. I mean, it's insanely difficult. I HAVE to believe that. A director gets really excited about a show, starts thinking about the different ways it could go, and hold auditions. And then said director has to work out the possibilities presented by everyone who came to auditions versus the way she wants her show to look, feel, sound, etc. There are a million different variables to consider, from whether a certain person is talented enough to do what needs to be done with a character, to whether that actor looks the part, to how that actor looks in comparison to the other actors and characters, to what you personally know about that person and how fast they learn, whether they're going to bother to show up to rehearsals, learn their lines, etc etc etc. The list could go on forever. Sometimes a person shows up to an audition and performs amazingly, but gets passed over for the part she desperately wants because she's too short/unknown, then has to watch from the chorus while a less talented actress plays the role she wanted. (In fact, this happens all the time.)

If you couldn't tell, I went to an audition on Saturday. Callbacks were yesterday, and the cast list is (supposedly) going to be posted sometime tomorrow. Today is a reprise of the cranky-flavored waiting game.

I know the director of this show; he directed the last show I was in. Don't tell him, but I dropped out of another show, just to come audition for this one. That's how much faith I had in this audition. During the last show I was in, he pulled me aside after rehearsal one day and told me that he knew I was frustrated with how I'd been cast, but that he thought I was really talented. He said some things that made it sound like he really wanted to cast me as a lead role in a musical. Which is what led me to drop out of a different show and come audition for this new one.

The audition itself went fine; I felt like I danced well, and I feel like I sang well. They didn't have me read, which worries me. (I'm not gonna lie; it worries me quite a bit.)

Here's the reason why I'm a horrible person, though. Because I understand that the director is going to do what's best for The Show. Despite the fact that he likes me and thinks I'm a great person, and knows that I'm really good at things like memorizing lines and showing up to rehearsal and singing insanely well (I'm not kidding, guys, my voice is awesome) and throwing a lot of energy into a stage performance. If I don't fit into the casting choices he needs to make to end up with the best show possible, he'll stick me in the chorus. He'll feel bad about it, no question. He knows I deserve better, and he knows I want better, and he's told me so. And I have no doubt that he'll tell me he's sorry and explain why I couldn't have a leading role (if I ask him to).

I don't care, though. I know myself and I know how I feel and react to things, and I KNOW that if I don't land a lead in this show, I'm gonna be really pissed off and bitter about it. That's why I'm a horrible person. Because I acknowledge that the choices he makes are going to be the right ones, but I also know that I'm going to be mad at him if he doesn't make the choices I want him to.

I know I should be a bigger person and say that whatever he does, I'll do the show and make it the best I can from wherever he puts me. But I don't WANT to be the bigger person on this one. I'm choosing to be an incredibly spoiled, "entitled" brat.

The good news is that I have a pint and a half of Ben and Jerry's in my freezer, just in case the news tomorrow is bad.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I have ten minutes

At the end of the workday, I'm suddenly seized by a muse...

I want to talk about something important, and it applies to everyone, not just to theatre people. It's called rejection. And regret.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, and I noticed that when I see a giveaway, I actively decide not to enter. You know why? I'll tell you.

I know those blogs have TONS of followers, and I know that ALL of those followers are entering, and so I decide, heck. Why enter, when I'm not going to win anyway?

On the one hand, it's a fairly good attitude. I can not win because I chose not to, or I can not win because the universe hates me. At least one way I have control over what's going to happen.

On the other hand, it's a really cynical attitude to live by, and if there's something I don't want to be, it's cynical. I mean, that attitude would keep me from trying out for any play, ever. It would keep me from doing anything in the theatre industry to achieve my dreams, because I know that the industry is full of nothing but soul-crushing failure.

My thoughts on the matter aren't clear enough to continue (I'm down to only three minutes, now), but I have an essay I wrote a couple years ago that I'd like to resurrect now. It's entitled, "Sometimes life sucks a little... that's because it's life."

So. And so.

I've had a number of experiences in my past that have taught me not to try for things. Whether it be auditions I don't make, scholastic programs I don't get into, or boys who just don't want me, I've gotten two things out of it all: 1) I should NEVER put myself out there. I should stick with safe things that I KNOW will work out, because if there's ANY risk involved I will fail. 2) I'm a complete idiot, and I never learn. It's inevitable that I'll keep trying and keep getting my feelings hurt.

I wonder, though. Maybe it gets easier as time goes by. Maybe the risk and the trying and the working up my courage in the first place becomes less scary, to the point where I think I'm actually becoming (dare I say it?) a brave person. I know, I know. I've long claimed to be very timid and shy. No one's ever believed me, though. I think I'm losing my fervent belief in it, too.

But then there's the other question: Even though I know that everything I try will fail, why do I keep trying? Why do I keep putting myself out there, when I know it will lead to failure and heartbreak? Well. Maybe it's because I'm so darned optimistic. I think, maybe it'll work this time. Maybe all I have to do is [insert bold action here] and [desired outcome] will be mine.

I can't be sorry, though. As much as I'd like to. Because even though I go through heartbreak and distress and worry and extreme disappointment, I can't bear thinking of the alternative. Which is that I'll go through my life never DOING anything, never even trying to take control and make something HAPPEN. If I don't act, it won't work out and I'll always wonder if there was more I could have done. But if I do something, it won't work out and I'll at least know that I tried. I did my part, and it just wasn't meant to be. Or it's on the other person's head, or whatever. I have too many regrets of inaction in my life to consciously add to that list.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Skeleton Creek

There are a lot of ways to think of the term "performance." Of course there's the very traditional paradigm, with a stage and lights and an audience and things. Broadway, the Theatre, plays, musicals, and all that kind of thing.

There are a lot of other ways to look at it too, though. Performance art, for starters, which tends to include installation art (which is usually friggin' awesome). Devised theater, technology as performance. In my 301 class, we had a unit where we talked about things like lonelygirl15 and blogging as performance.

Technology in terms of performance and presentation is very interesting to me. It's a completely new way of displaying yourself; for once, you pretty much have total control of how the world sees and knows you. And one of the most fascinating aspects of it all is the way you can use technology these days to play with and blend mediums.

This brings me to the title of this blog post, Skeleton Creek. Skeleton Creek is a book I discovered through one of the reference librarians at the library where I used to work. The premise is fairly straightforward: Sarah and Ryan are best friends who frequently get themselves into trouble. Their latest escapade is an exploration of a creepy abandoned structure right outside of town, called the Dredge. During this midnight adventure, Ryan fell and broke his leg. This book starts right after that. The book is in the format of Ryan's diary, and it tells about how he and Sarah work together to uncover the mystery of the Dredge. Ryan writes down everything he can, and Sarah chronicles it all in video format.

Here's the fun thing: You can watch the videos.

Every time Sarah sends Ryan a video, he writes down the password to the website where she posts them. Which you, as the reader, can use to watch them.
Let me tell you, friends, the videos add a new, exciting, and really creepy element to what would otherwise be a very thrilling book. It's full of danger and suspense, and thank goodness the sequel is out because the first book leaves off on a completely ridiculous cliffhanger. I got to the point as I watched the videos that I had to have classical music playing in the background, just to keep from freaking myself out too much.

If you're interested in exploring different types of performance, or if you like scary Young Adult fiction (I'd say it's about a middle school range), PLEASE check it out. Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman.

Friday, February 26, 2010



Did you know about this?? Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth (the original Velma Kelly) in The Addams Family: The Musical! On Broadway! Are you freaking kidding me??

Oh em gee, guys, I'm geeking out like a Star Wars convention. Terrence Mann!

Is this the best idea ever or what??

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It didn't work out

So. I didn't get cast in the show I auditioned for. It's happened to me before, and it'll happen again. That doesn't make it hurt any less this time, especially since I love the show so much. I know everything you have to say, so please don't say it. I know that you still love me, and that I deserved it, and that sometimes the director has to make the best choice for the theater, and that this is a good thing because three shows in a row would have burned me out, and that I'm still a good person and still very talented, and that there will be other, probably better, shows at a different time. I know all that, I don't want to hear it again, I just want to be sad.

Comments on this post are locked; let's not talk about it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cranky-flavored Waiting Game

I expect all of you to understand. I'll present two different scenarios... different scenarios, same emotions.

Scenario #1: (for non-theatre types)
You know this person. You've liked werf* for a long time, and love hanging out with werf. Werf always makes you laugh, and you always feel really good when you're around werf. The best thing you can think of would be to date werf. And then something amazing happens... werf asks you out! You agonize for weeks about the date. How is it going to be? Are you going to make a good impression? Are you going to say something stupid? Could this be the start of a fantastic relationship? You go on the date, and everything seems to go well. And then comes... the waiting. Did werf have a good time? Does werf like you? IS WERF GOING TO CALL YOU???

This brings me to scenario #2, for those of us who are theatre-inclined.
There's a play. It's kind of the most awesome play you've ever seen. You've listened to the soundtrack a million times, you know every single song by heart. You go see it every chance you get. And now. Oh, boy. A community theater, the kind you actually have a shot at getting cast at, is holding auditions for your favorite play of ALL TIME. You agonize for weeks. What are you going to sing? Can you get the music in time? What are you going to wear? How will you act? Will the director like you? Will you fit the part? Will there be other people there you mesh with??
You go. You audition. You sing your heart out, and read with all the characterization and energy you have. And now, two days later, you sit and wonder: Are they going to call you? Did they like you? Have they already cast you?

If you can't tell, I had an audition on Saturday. This play has been one of my favorite plays, ever since I was an extra in it in high school. A nearby theater is putting it on. I auditioned Really Well, I think. They had few enough people there that they went ahead and had callbacks during the audition... we all got to read from the script, and we all sang from the musical. They told us they were going to post the cast list online, and they'd call us if we made it.

So we waited. And waited. AND WAITED. And then... online, they posted that instead of casting the show and starting rehearsals on Monday (today), they're having more callbacks on Tuesday. So now, instead of waiting for a call that I'm cast in the show, I'm waiting for a call that I get to come back and audition some more tomorrow. And waiting. And waiting...

Here's the thing about this move. The words say, "Man, we had so many talented people come that we need to see some of you AGAIN! Oh, by the way, if anyone didn't come on Saturday, you can come on Tuesday and try to impress us." The message says, "You guys are NOT going to work for us. Will someone else PLEASE come and audition so that we're not stuck CASTING these losers?" Am I wrong? Maybe that's not the message they were trying to send, but it's definitely the one *I* got.

This waiting game is driving me crazy.

*If you can't tell what it means, go here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Theater "Membership"

A theatre company in Seattle has started a "subscription" program, where you buy a membership, pay by the month, and then you can see as many performances as you want, as often as you want. It's a building that houses four theaters, so it's not like just going to the same play over and over again, either.

Would you do this? Subscribe to a theater like it was a gym? I know I would; it would be amazing to be able to go see so many plays! Any night you don't know what to do, you have a built-in activity that's exciting, colorful, and, if not educational or cultural or edifying (which arts performances have a reputation for being), at least pretentious! Which, in my book, is the next best thing. :)

Brand Spankin' New!

SO YOU GUYS. Here it is! A theatre blog!! FOR MY VERY OWN!

Do I sound excited about being here?? Well I wouldn't be much of a thespian if I couldn't be dramatic about things, eh?

Here's the deal:
I got this theatre degree, see? From BYU. But what am I doing with it? Well, right now I work full-time at a marketing company... as the receptionist. In the future, I'd like to be a full-time... homemaker. That's right, friends. A big fat nothing. At least, as a money-making venture. It is, however, a heck of a hobby for me.

When my husband, Hotty, started law school, he decided I needed to Do Something Productive. I work during the day, but during the evenings I was kind of bored. As a result, poor Hotty couldn't do much in the way of studying, because he wanted to spend time with me. Hence the need for Productivity. I'm pretty sure that auditioning for the local production of A Christmas Carol wasn't really what he had in mind, though.

During the rehearsal period, the season for this year at the community theater was announced. Turns out there's only one play they're doing this year that even remotely interests me... Fiddler on the Roof. So here I am, playing Avram's Wife in Fiddler. (What's that, you say? You don't know who Avram is? EXACTLY.)

I also do theater makeup; when I got that fancy theater degree, I chose to emphasize in Makeup Design. During A Christmas Carol, I got to do the makeup for Marley's Ghost every night; now, in Fiddler, I do makeup for Tevye's Dream.

What I'd like to do with this blog is fairly simple: It's a blog about theatre and performance. I'd like to talk about my experiences with live theatre, and I also want to talk about theatre in general. I took a fun class at BYU called Contemporary Performance Practices, and I might visit that class from time to time and talk about some of the people/organizations we studied, since a lot of them are current practitioners. Basically, this is a place for me to geek out about something I love!