Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How embarrassing!

Yep, I took a nose-dive into the floor last night. Not long after, I also tripped backwards and got stuck in the heavy layers of my skirts. Ahhhh, the comedy that is a first dress rehearsal. The frustrating part is that I have experience wearing elaborate costumes with a corset and a hoop skirt and 50 pounds of fabric (ok, that's an exaggeration, but it can sure feel like that much). A hem should fix most of the problem, but I think the adjustment to the poofy, weighty dress was more difficult than I anticipated because we hadn't taken it into consideration when blocking, and now it was first yesterday a factor that affected some of our more physical blocking. Tonight I am going to request that we take some extra time to look at some of those issues (on the side so as not to take time away from teching) and hammer them out so they're no longer causing concern!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tech for YPF

So this is when it all falls into place. Whether the "fall" is more like a laboring effort or a graceful landing has to do with everyone's preparation prior to this week as well as the professionalism of each person involved during this week's process. Tech week can be so exciting because all of the technical aspects like lights, sound and costumes - it's when the production really comes to life! Without crews and designers, there wouldn't be a show, so it's important to remember that Tech rehearsals are really a collaborative effort!

From the administrative side, I helped Jacque Troy lay out the playbill for the show. It is quite the detail-heavy task, requiring lots of coordinating and editing several times, so it helps to have multiple pairs of eyes to proofread because it's nearly impossible to get every detail straight the first time and not miss a single typo!

Astray The Sun rehearsals over the weekend were primarily for fine tuning. A couple of minor, very specific changes were made with how actors deliver a line or two, but mostly we just used the rehearsals to run through the show without stopping, keeping in mind the most important performance aspects: our energy, connection with each other, and diction. We had some really fantastic runs, despite the fact that one of our actors was very ill and had to stay home.

Well, my call for Tech is in 40 minutes and I'm nearly jumping out of my skin with anticipation! I'll keep you posted on our progress!!!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Progress with ASTRAY THE SUN

Last night's rehearsal went well enough. Although when we had another run through, we all felt that our performances were a little inconsistent. We each made a handful of really strong choices that we were very happy about, but then we all had "duhh" moments of forgetting a line or dropping our energy from time to time... And that'll happen in a rehearsal or even sometimes during a performance, but the trick is to really maintain your focus and energy as an actor to make sure you stay on your toes and in the moment!

One thing that our director Carol really stresses too is to keep our energy up for the whole show. There are incredibly high stakes in this short play, and so it takes a ton of energy, passion and intensity to convey this epic play in half an hour!

Another important thing that we're really working to perfect is the connection between characters. We've had lots of fun in rehearsals playing and discovering the levels of the relationships, and now we're just tweaking minor details in their interactions to really highlight the different moments that the characters experience in the play.

We also tried on costumes last night. Amelia Figg-Franzoi (Marquette student) brought over some beautiful Elizabethan costuming for us to look at and get a feel for how they will affect our movement. So that's another aspect we're looking forward to adding during tech week because adjusting our movement due to our clothing will be another fun challenge (especially for myself and Peggy Strand, the other female actor in the play, who will wear hoop skirts!)

So today is our last day off. We are super excited going into technical rehearsals and the performances this coming week! It will be busy and exhilarating, so tonight is the time to rest and stay healthy before we forge ahead through the last rehearsals!

- Bethany

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rehearsals for ASTRAY THE SUN

This week we moved over to the Chamber Theatre to work in a rehearsal hall so we could practice in a space comparable to what we will have on the stage. For the most part we had been rehearsing with a similar space, but we ran into some differences with entrance/exit options, so we had to adjust a little to that.

We're all feeling pretty great about the show overall. There is some fight choreography, and we are lucky that one of our actors, Randall Anderson (a local professional), has 20 years of experience and has helped us to be safe in the process of planning out exciting violence that appears as realistic as possible. We have all been memorized for over a week and just ran lines last night to check and make sure we were getting every detail correct.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Update from Sam!

Hello again! Thanks Bethany for explaining everything, I probably should've done that.

Anyway...my cast has started to rehearse and so far it's going great! Our first meeting was yesterday (11/30) and we met again today. Right now we're working on blocking and pacing. We're focusing on getting the energy where it needs to be, and putting the movements in with it. The actor and actresses are doing wonderfully. They're mostly memorized which makes it much easier to just keep working away at blocking and getting the emotions and intentions right. We didn't get quite as far as we wanted yesterday, but I know it'll all come together quickly.

I love working with Sheri (my director). We're pretty much always on the same page and she's got awesome ideas for how everything should be staged. I'm having a lot of fun watching everything begin to come together and I can't wait for the next rehearsal Saturday!


Acting in Young Playwrights Festival

As an actor, I was thrilled to be cast in Astray The Sun as Aurora! It's a fantastic play, Charles (the playwright) did an amazing job with the language. Of course, Samantha and Kevin (the other winning playwrights) are wonderful too, we have three great plays for the festival! They are all so unique and interesting.

Astray The Sun is a one-act set in Vesper, a fictional Renaissance town. It is an inventive play with themes about love, friendship and duty. Vibrant characters provide for colorful relationships, unexpected humor and clever dialogue written entirely in verse!

These first two weeks of rehearsal have been a blast! We started out by working through the text in a read-through to analyze the character relationships and intentions. Then we worked out the blocking to help our bodies get an overall sense for the flow of things. This was especially helpful to our cast for memorizing since the language is hightened and takes a little more to get to a place where it comes naturally. Carol, our brilliant director (and a founder of Windfall Theatre), also had fantastic tips for how to use the language given to us. As with Shakespearean lines, it is powerful to use the sounds in the words to feed your emotion. For example, words with soft sounds like "fff" "ww" and "sh" help to connect to sad feelings, just as plosive sounds like "k" "T" "D" and "B" can help feed the frustration in the moment.

So we're all finishing up our memorization so we can really dive into the details of our character relationships and their emotions in each moment!