Monday, January 31, 2011

The day of rest.

OH boy, what a week!HI, my name is Sara Zientek and I will be playing Jackie in MAURITIUS. I am in my last semester at UW-Milwaukee and will be juggling 16 credits while rehearsing 6 days a week for this brilliant show. I thought I would give myself an easy semester with a lot of dance classes, yoga, and one discussion course. Sadly, I was mistaken and realized that I am completely exhausted by the time I get into my car and head on over to rehearsal. LUCKILY, there is PLENTY of coffee to go around and the energy that Andrew and the rest of the actors bring quickly lifts my spirits and I am ready to act the night away! 
One thing that I would love to share is the thrill of working on a show that involves fight work. We are lucky to have a brilliant fight choreographer (someone who blocks out the fights and shows the actors how to execute them safely and efficiently), James Fletcher. Fletcher and Andrew have talked over what they both think would be effective during each fight scene and then get to test out their ideas on us and see if it looks believable. This is my first time having to fight in a show so its very exciting and terrifying at the same time! First Fletcher talks about what he wants from us, He makes whoever is doing the fighting walk through it in slow motion to make sure our hand and feet positions are correct. Then, we start to pick up the speed and eventually start doing the fights at show speed. Nothing is set in stone, so if any actor feels uncomfortable and needs to change something that is ALWAYS an option. We want the fights to look as real as possible, but they also need to be completely safe. So we do each fight scene several times with Fletcher there watching from different angles so he can make sure nothing looks wrong and to make sure there isn't a big gap between a persons fist and someones face if they were throwing a punch..that wouldn't look real :) 
Once everything looks good and everyone feels comfortable we try and run the whole scene and add the fight into it. Andrew and Fletcher both seemed very pleased yesterday with all the fights and I can't wait to get back to rehearsal tomorrow and work on them a little more. 


p.s. we have finished staging the whole show and now are starting to get into detail work about our characters.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Meeting Theresa Rebeck

I'm Andrew Volkoff, director for Chamber Theatre's upcoming production of Mauritius. I currently live in New York City, but I can't tell you how excited I am to be back in my hometown, directing at MCT. Blogging's a little new to me, but I thought I'd share a New York story with you about meeting Theresa Rebeck, playwright of Mauritius. It really shows that New York is really just a large small town....


I was at Drama Bookshop in New York City last year looking for a few scripts and they're winding up this wine and cheese shindig in the store. I'm poking around on a lower bookshelf and I hear someone say (regarding a woman standing near the wine), "Well, yeah, that's Theresa Rebeck". I chalk it up as insider humor, but I do stand up and poke my nose over the bookshelf to look at who they're referring to. The man at the counter repeats it to the disbelieving woman holding a script: "No, seriously, that IS Theresa Rebeck". I'm bowled over at my luck! I walk over to her and say, "You're REALLY Theresa Rebeck?" She laughs and says, "Yes", and I say "Holy cow! I'm directing a production of MAURITIUS at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre in February!"

The long and the short of it is: she couldn't have been nicer, and when I said I had some questions about the play (Me: "about Mary.." She: "yeah, she's the one everyone has questions about...there are two ways you can play her."), she graciously gave me her email address. I've corresponded with her a few times and it's been great to get some clarification about character and motivation straight from the playwright's mouth, as it were.

After briefly speaking with her, I quickly ran to the Theresa Rebeck section of the store, bought an additional copy of Mauritius and had her sign it, donating it to last year's MCT gala. What she wrote was very cute: she signed it "To You. Theresa Rebeck. May 2010." She even let me take a picture with her... :)

I'm not generally superstitious, but I certainly consider that an auspicious beginning!

Looking forward to beginning rehearsal today,
Andrew Volkoff