Monday, March 9, 2009

Playwriting and Rehearsals

Well I'm grateful for the comments left on my last post.  Mostly it's nice to know I'm talking to people and not just out into the void.  I'm enjoying catching up on all of your blogs as well.  Golden rule and all that. 

So a couple weeks ago I agreed to have a play ready to read on April 27.  I didn't really work on it much.  Then this week the teacher who asked me, posted a sign up sheet asking for people who would be interested in reading new plays written by me and two other students who write.  Within an hour 20 people had signed their names.  I've been writing a lot since then.   

Erik Stein, whom I'm understudying as Javert and Marcellus, told me that last summer he spoke to Eric Hoit, the Artistic Director of the Melodrama, about an idea he had for a play called Under the Boardwalk.  They talked for a while about it and Eric Hoit told him that he should go ahead and write it.  Fast forward to December when the brochure for the next year comes out.  There in the brochure, the third show is Under The Boardwalk by Erik Stein.  Not one word had been written.  So Erik (Stein) told me that there's no greater motivator than seeing the play you're supposed to be writing there on the brochure with dates and ticket information next to it. 

Les Mis Rehearsals are going really well.  It's a blast learning the music.  We all already know it, but it's fun sitting at the piano with the music there in front of you learning the actual words and not what you think you remember.  The best part is hearing the actors not just mimicking  the way it is on the album, but making it their own the way the original cast did.  Roger (our Director) told us that we have the rare opportunity to present a west coast, American telling of this story.  Not that we're changing it, but we're not doing it as a museum piece.  We're owning it ourselves, and not copying other people's interpretations.  As one small example, we're not using cockney accents.  The play takes place in France, and we're in California, so where would English accents come into it?  I think some people may be a little put off that it isn't exactly the way they saw it before, but if we did that it would be dead.  Our production will be living and relevant.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jumping Right In

Mondays are my day off.  In theory it's the one day I get to catch up on homework, clean my room, do laundry etc.  In practice it's the day I sit around the house in a stupor accomplishing very little. 

Today is a transitional monday.  Yesterday was closing night of A Midsummer Night's Dream at PCPA (I played Lysander).  It was only a three week run which felt too short to all of us involved.  I auditioned for the show in December, so I've been preparing for it in one way or another since at least October  or November when I started picking and working on an audition piece.  

Every once in a while you find yourself doing a show that is really special.  You don't always see it coming because you're so focused on your work.  Also you're in a rehearsal hall without people watching.  But then you open the show and share it with the audience.  When you bring that crucial element in you know what you have, and to our delight we had something magical.  And then just three weekends later we close.  One of the things about theatre is that it's an art that only exists in the now.  There's nothing that remains from it after the show other than the shared memories and communion of the people who experienced it.

Tomorrow we start rehearsals for Les Miserables.  I'm in the ensemble and understudying Javert.  It's going to be a very different show, but the material is remarkable, and it's a great group of people working on it.  Hopefully it will be another magical result.  Especially since our run goes for something like 56 performances.  
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