About This Blog

I really like theatre, and I like writing and talking about it.

This blog is mostly about my relationship with theatre, the moments that make me fall in love with this art form, and the times when we don't always get along.

I'll be writing about things that I like, that I think are good and interesting and want to share. I will probably also write about things that I don't quite get, or think are wierd. I may also write about things that aren't theatre, strictly speaking, because it's my blog and I can.

Monday, May 23, 2011

There's No Dying In Theatre!

Saturday morning when I woke up, I felt pretty okay. I'd had some breakfast, and was sitting at my desk surfing the internet when I realized I felt kind of dizzy. My roommate advised me to drink some water, but I still felt woozy and out of it. After the extremely non-strenuous activity of playing some video games, I realized that I was feeling nauseous as well, and went to lie down for a while.

On any other Saturday, that would be fine. But on this day I had a 7pm call time for a show in which I have a very high-energy, physical role. And it's a small theater, so there's no understudies. Even in bigger theaters, you don't just call in sick if you're not feeling well. You have to be physically incapable of playing your role (and doing so safely). It's a matter of integrity as much as of convenience.

I knew Saturday would be a challenge--as I pride myself on the ferocity of my performance in this particular production, I wasn't about to half-ass it. I open the show flying on in a rage, and it's my personal goal to resemble a freight train in my entrance as much as possible. Besides that I have two fight scenes and a LOT of running. I would just have to grit my teeth and get through it.

Luckily, my head started to clear up once I'd been up and walking around for a while, and my stage makeup helped cover my zombie-like pallor. I had a couple friends at that night's show, and they reported that they couldn't tell at all that I hadn't been feeling well.


In other news, I completely failed at seeing the live broadcast of the Met's Die Walküre. After seeing Das Rheingold in the fall, I was really looking forward to it. However, the live screening was the day after my show opened, and I knew I'd be too tired to make it to the theater at 10am. We discussed catching the re-broadcast, which would have been on a Wednesday evening. At which point my opera companion pointed out that Die Walküre is five hours long.

Hell no. As much as I wanted to see this show, I know my own stamina level, and this just wasn't going to work out. *Sigh*. Opera fail.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Obies

I just want to say quickly how happy I am to see that Scott Shepherd won an Obie for his performance in Gatz! (narrating and reading the role of Nick Carraway), and that Punchdrunk Theater Company got a special citation for the design and choreography of Sleep No More.

 These are two projects I've been cheerleading for a while, but because they're both so unusual, they're not eligible for the same kind of accolades. It's nice to see some recognition for this kind of innovation and originality.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hardest Job

I was recently chatting with one of my fellow actors after a rehearsal at which we'd done some costume fittings, and I mentioned how pleased I was with my costume, because:

a) I like the way I look in it
b) It is what I would have envisioned for the character
c) It's super comfortable

She and and I were discussing the fact that often your costuming in a show doesn't flatter your own personal vanity, but you have to put that aside for the good of the show. My favorite actors to costume are the ones who, even though they may not look cool or sexy in their costume, love it anyway because it enhances the character and fits the life of the play.

I once had professor in college who told us that scenic designers are listed ahead of costume designers in the program because their job is harder. Would it surprise you to hear that he was a scenic designer himself? I call bullshit. You're never going to hear a theater space complaining to its designer that the set makes it look fat. Costume designers have to deal with the personalities and hangups and physical comfort of the people we're designing for. You can't just hammer an ill-fitting wig into place like you can a set piece (although I've sure had people try).

I love reading theatre news on Playbill.com, and they have a feature they run on Mondays where they interview an actor, and one of the questions is always "what is the worst costume you've ever had to wear?" You don't hear them asking about the worst prop or sound cue.

Sorry, actors, but it's not always about you. We designers have to negotiate so many personalities; we're trying to keep you happy AND the director happy AND deal with things like quick changes or making the continuity of the story work. You may not like the way you look, but some times it does not serve the story for you to look cute. Every story needs its clowns and villains and grotesques. What's important is to do what's best for the show. And if that's looking ridiculous or ugly, then do it, and enjoy it! That's why we act, anyway, to be the things onstage we can't be in real life.