Tag Archives: theater

Enough

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Today I wrote a play in exactly five hours and 18 minutes. I submitted it to a speed-play-writing competition…the same one I won back in the spring.

That’s quite enough writing for one day.

This time, I feel no pressure to win. Which is good, because I won’t, so I’m prepared.

It was one of those “do it while you’re young” things. So I did it. Because I’m young.

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Vacant

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I keep wondering what’s different about this semester.

No, it’s not that I’m no longer in undergrad. I got used to that a long time ago. And it’s not the apartment, although that’s very different. And it’s not the part-time job, either. I’m more used to that then I am to my classes.

Every night, when I sit down at the end of a long day of classes and work, with several house stretching before me to midnight, I pull out my books and start reading and taking notes, and occasionally I pause to contemplate the change, unable to put my finger on it.

Today, I realized what it was.

It was the fact I/m not going to rehearsals. I didn’t even audition for anything this year. I knew that I’d be adjusting to grad school and I didn’t want to dedicate myself to something that would keep me from fulfilling other responsibilities. In undergrad, plays were easier to juggle because I wasn’t working 28 hours a week.

This is the first semester in forever when I haven’t actively tried out for a play. I”m not even in a speech class. Zip. Nada.

It’s a weird feeling. Admittedly it’s nice to, you know, do homework and things at a less-than breakneck pace and to be able to take time for yoga and running and regular meals.

But…no performances for me. No stage. No long nights. No script. No memorization. No blocking.

No….late…..nights….

Maybe I’m sad. Maybe I’m okay with this.

Early Exit

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It’s bad enough when you have to leave a movie theater early. Even in the dark of the hall, people can see your silhouette on the silver screen. You have to climb over people and tread on toes on your way out. It’s embarrassing and certainly frustrating to the other moviegoers.

But what’s even worse is having to leave the theater early in the middle of a live performance.

 I’m not talking about a rock concert. I’m not even talking about a classical music concert. I’m talking about a play. A good play. An excellent play. The sort of play where you can tell that every actor is giving his or her utmost to every line, every movement, every facial expression. The sort of play where the audience is riveted, unable to tear their eyes away from the action.

Riveted, that is, until that dumb chick in the front row decides she has to get up and leave ten minutes before the play is over.

That dumb chick was me. I confess it freely. The play began at 2, so I thought I’d have plenty of time. My work shift begins at 4, and the play was still chugging toward the finish at 3:55. I left because no one wanted to take the first twenty minutes of my work shift so I could stay until the play closed. I did try to get someone, but received no affirmative answers. Rumor had it the play only lasted an hour and a half. The play was excellent, but was much longer than an hour and a half.

I don’t know how it ended. What’s worse, I distracted from the action by getting up and leaving. As an actress, I know how unbelievably annoying that is. What’s worse still, the play’s leading man is one of my childhood friends, and this play is his senior project. And I just walked out. I feel terrible.

Ah, well. These things do happen. To make up for it, I shall attend the play again on closing night. And this time, I won’t budge from my seat until the final curtain falls.

Now I have greater sympathy for those who randomly walk out on performances. I don’t know what they’re going through. Maybe they just have to go to work. 

And That is All

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Well, I’ll be honest. I didn’t get a ton done today.  

I went to an eternally long meeting in the morning.

I ate lunch.

I went and talked to the cast and director of my play, watched them do a run through, and made a few comments that I thought might have been helpful. Maybe they were. Maybe they weren’t.

Then I did voice practice for not nearly long enough.

Then I went to work. This lasted a while.

Then I wolfed down dinner and went to go see my play. It was beautiful. They did such a good job with it—they made it far better than I could have imagined it being. I may or may not have gotten teary.

Then I came back to my room.

Then I left it briefly to talk to my friend. It was cold out. We didn’t really care.

And here I am, an hour later, having speed-read work manuals and having just remembered I was supposed to read an officer guide by midnight tonight as well. Hmm.

But my play was beautiful, as were the stars and the moon. So that’s my happy thought, along with its usual company, that will send me flying to my dreams tonight. 

So My Play Won

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Alright, well, that went better than expected.

My play made the list of the four that will be performed tomorrow. I’m extremely excited, because I will get to see feet put to my words. I’m fluttery and nervous and oh-so-thrilled.

In order to follow through with my promise, I will publish the script to the internet for all of you to read. It’s called “The Honeymooners.” It’s probably the most romantic, sentimental stuff I’ve ever put on paper. But as they say, it is what it is.

Enjoy. Click here: THE HONEYMOONERS

Becoming Meg

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If ever you have the chance to be in a musical, try it.

From September until now, I have had the privilege of becoming Meg March for the UU production of Little Women: the Broadway Musical. Tonight was our final night of performances. It was a bittersweet event, with many smiles and many tears. It was our best performance, in my opinion. In a way, all of them were.

When I auditioned for the play, I determined that I’d consider myself lucky to get any role. I’d be glad to have the role of a potted plant. Normally I land character parts, or villains, and occasionally unicorns—but significant roles have evaded me since high school. I didn’t think there was any way I could be one of the four sisters. How could I? The March girls are angelic romantic heroines. I’m—well, I’m Rizzy.

I had been told I couldn’t act. I had been told my singing voice was ugly. Even if those words only came from one person—which they did—and even if they were lies—which they were—they stung and they stuck. I didn’t think I was anywhere near good enough for my dream. I’ve dreamed of being in a musical since I was a little girl. Here was my chance.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered I had been cast as Meg—the most romantic March sister. I was hugging total strangers and telling them I was in a musical.

Meg proved an interesting acting challenge. Before this play, she was my least favorite character. We are not at all alike—or so I thought at first. After all, her first line is “Jo, I hate being a governess. I should be out meeting eligible young men.” I wouldn’t mind being a governess, and marriage isn’t my chief goal in life. Meg is a hopeless romantic. I am a cynic. Meg is very concerned about what people think of her. I wear mismatched clothing for the fun of it. Meg is insecure. I am…

And there I found the common ground. While we’re insecure about different things, Meg and I both have our fair share of insecurities.

Meg’s greatest wish was to go to the St. Valentine’s Day ball at the Moffatts. My greatest wish was to be in a musical. Meg got an invitation. I got a role. When faced with the reality of attending the ball and playing a major role in a musical, Meg and I both cried:

“What will I do when someone asks me to dance?”

I had to learn to dance. I’m about as coordinated as a newborn giraffe with inner-ear problems. Rehearsal after rehearsal went by, and I began to wonder if I could do it. For the longest time, I couldn’t. But I had a supportive director and cast and friends and family who all told me they believed in me. It’s amazing how far that can get you.

I would say that the stars aligned in such a way as to make being a part of this cast an easy part of my life—but they didn’t. It was a challenge keeping all my juggling pins in the air. I didn’t do it alone. God made it clear from the beginning that He wanted me on the cast—another story for another day—and He gave me the grace to handle every project, every scene, every relationship, this blog, church programs, being society chaplain, every homework assignment, and every test. I could not have done this semester without Him.

Performances came and performances went. No member of the cast or crew had an agenda to push or tried to hog the spotlight. We shared it. We were and are a family. That can’t be said of every cast I’ve belonged to. God blessed us. We wanted nothing but His glory. And that’s what we got.

I will never forget being Meg. I have never been so stretched before. I am sure more challenges will come, but never has a challenge been so delightful and so satisfying. It was a Christmas gift for which I will always thank my God. Because of Meg, I am a stronger little woman. That alone is wonderful enough. 

Well, Then

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That went better than planned.

The week, that is. My speech probably could have been better, as could a couple of reading quiz grades. I could’ve done a better job of keeping my composure…but what’s done is done.

I would have gone to bed early, my dearest readers, but they are decorating in the hall, and they are being festively noisy about it. I don’t mind. That’s what earplugs are for.

Besides, I needed to write a blog post, if only to say that God is good. even when I panic and don’t think He is anymore. He’s always good. He has surrounded me with love in every form and fashion.

I am blessed.

You are, too, if you think about it.

Good night, my lovelies. 

Roxanne is an Idiot, and Other Observations

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If your name happens to be Roxanne, I apologize in advance.

The title refers to the angelic Roxanne from the play Cyrano de Bergerac. She is flawlessly lovely, gracious, resourceful, and kind. I would venture to call her “intelligent,” but I cannot in good conscience call her that. Despite her many fine qualities, she remains an idiot.

Why, you ask, is she an idiot?

Allow me to preface my explanation with the statement that “love at first sight” is a myth. I know it makes me sound cynical—and maybe I am—but love does not happen as the result of a single glance. Attraction, yes, but attraction is not the same as love. Too many people confuse the two and suffer the consequences.

Roxanne is an idiot because she fancies herself in love at first sight. She falls in love with Christian, a good-hearted but empty-headed young man with a pretty face but not much else to recommend him. But Roxanne sees that pretty face from a distance and declares herself in love without even having a single conversation with him. Not a word. None. Zip.

Imagine her disappointment when she sits with him, tries to talk to him, and discovers he can say nothing. The only reason she agrees to marry Christian is because Cyrano, the long-nosed warrior-poet, steps in and provides him the words to say. He does it well—too well, since his rapturous poetry stems from his love for Roxanne, who never paid him any heed because he was “just a friend”—and ugly.

Roxanne is an idiot. She fell for a pretty face—but it was the heart of the poet Cyrano that really won her.

Ladies, listen up. Don’t pursue a man just because he’s good-looking. A pretty face can hide an empty head—or a hollow heart. Don’t discount a man because you’ve stuck him in the friend zone. Don’t write a man off because you don’t think he’s attractive enough. Don’t give me that. Don’t be ridiculous. A person’s heart is of far greater weight and worth and beauty than his face. Faces fade. Strength weakens. A man’s character is irreplaceable. 

Had Roxanne been smart, she would’ve opened her eyes to what was right in front of her all along. She would’ve seen Cyrano, the prince of poets, for what he was: utterly brilliant and indescribably beautiful.

But she didn’t. Because she was an idiot.

Other than that, the play is great. 

Astonishing

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Tonight we rehearsed with the orchestra. That didn’t go as poorly as we all thought it would.

I’m still amazed that I’m in a musical.

Rehearsals are interesting for me. Rehearsals are where I can leave the real world alone for an hour or so and pretend to be someone else. Someone whose story has a clear path and an end. My path is not always clear. The end of my story is hidden by fog.

But during this hour or three, I let myself relax and become a part of the music. One of the songs is “Astonishing.” It’s Jo’s anthem. It’s the song she sings when she decides to…

…well, to do something. I’m mostly concerned with Meg’s motivation. Meg, the hopeless romantic who hates being a governess and really, really wants to get married. We are not at all alike. She does not have an anthem.

I wouldn’t mind having an anthem. I should write one. I’m a poet. I can do that.

Because life—my life—is astonishing. My life is not a musical. Sometimes I wish it was, but it isn’t. But every life is a song. Scratch that—each life is a symphony.

Even when you can’t hear it. Even the empty measures are there for a reason. And eventually it will all resolve under a final fermata, and I’ll walk away thinking, “Well, wasn’t that lovely?”

Yes. Yes, it will be lovely. 

Graceful

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If you can’t laugh at yourself, you miss one of the greatest jokes in the world.

I’ve noted in my 21 years of observing human nature that those who take themselves too seriously are often the most miserable. There are no exceptions. People who can’t laugh at themselves, at their situations, or at least at pictures of themselves as children tend to be really unhappy people.

Rehearsals for Little Women have been interesting. They involve dancing. I’ve discussed at length how good I am at dancing, i.e., not at all. All the skipping and waltzing and frolicking that I have to do onstage…well, I’m no Ginger Rogers. I trip. I stumble. I misstep. I look like a fool and I’m holding everyone up.

I find this outrageously funny. I spend all of rehearsal chuckling at myself. I know I look like an oaf, but I don’t care. I’m having too much fun to care too much. I know other people are getting a laugh out of my clowning around, and that’s enough for me.

Laugh at yourself, and the world laughs with you, and everyone’s amused and much happier than they would be otherwise.

And soon hundreds of audience members will be laughing at my missteps, too, if I can’t manage to get my act together.

That’ll come.

I hope. 

Wednesday in a List

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  1. Sleep. I need it.
  2. If I’m not careful, I’ll sleep in too late tomorrow. Can’t have that.
  3. Neverland. I want to go to Neverland. Not the ranch that belonged to Michael Jackson, but the place that’s second star to the right and straight on until morning. I want to go there. And stay there. Please and thank you.
  4. Walking like a princess and walking like a unicorn are eerily similar activities.
  5. I still don’t know who Meg March is.
  6. Dancing is hard. Singing is also hard. Dancing and singing at the same time is really stinkin’ hard.
  7. Time never crawls when you want it to.
  8. It especially doesn’t crawl when you sleep.
  9. I often say that I’d like to go back in time by a couple years. Well, today, I’d settle with going back to Saturday. Saturday was a good day. It was crazy busy, but it was good.
  10. Have you ever dreamed that you were singing in front of 7,000+ people? So have I. And sometimes when you dream, your dreams come true…in extraordinary ways. 

So It Begins

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I had an idea for a post today. Really, I did.

It had something to do with aesthetics. Don’t worry, I wasn’t going to wax philosophical. I was merely going to bemoan the fact that I have a test in the subject tomorrow and I still have a mountain of notes to cover. Frankly, I wish that those high-falutin’ Greeks would have thought twice before inflicting their esoteric ramblings upon the world. They had no idea that 21st century college students would be reading their works and weeping late into the night.

But then I went to rehearsal. I danced every idea I’ve had all day out of my head. Well, more like “jostled.” I am not very good at dancing, so I sort of hopped in time to the music while everyone else on the cast seemed to know exactly what they were doing. I sweated buckets, and I do mean buckets, but all I felt I had to show for it was a sinking feeling that I may have gotten myself in too deep this time.  

Then I came back to my dorm room and realized that I had yet to read a chapter that’s due tomorrow morning. And then…and then…and then…

I gave up and ate chocolate.

So I assure you that I had a brilliant idea. A wonderfully brilliant writing idea. But it’s gone now, buried under piles of mental clutter, and an unceasing rhythm pounding in my brain that says “Just make it to Wednesday. Just make it to Wednesday. Just make it to Wednesday.”

 And so the stressful part of the semester begins.