Theatre has played a huge part in my life.
Learning to Love Drama
I’d give you specific examples, but the truth is that theatre is so tied to who I am that an attempt at making an exhaustive list would fail to properly explain. I made my debut on stage a couple of weeks after I turned nine. I can’t imagine the course my life would have taken if I hadn’t.
My introduction to the theatre came in the form of a summer conservatory I attended every year for 9 years. That was the maximum the program allowed. My grandmother found it for me after my first ice skating lesson bored the tights off me. She wanted my brother and me to take up extracurricular activities. I, having never thought about any such thing before, was picking Things That Looked Fun at random.
The play closed several days ago. There were a lot of crying actors during the final curtain call. I managed to refrain from crying until my first bow, and then my tear ducts refused to dry. When we took the cast bow, I got to watch one big, fat tear fall to the ground from the end of my nose. Looked pretty cool, actually. I cried again when they started dismantling the abbey and mountain.
Overall, the second weekend went better than the first, I’d say. There were fewer hitches in the performances, since we’d worked out a lot of the problems we’d had.
We also had bigger audiences — word got around. For Saturday’s matinée (during which we were competing with both a radically sunny day and the library’s Reading Rendezvous) the theatre was about 3/4 full; for the final performance, Megan and her helpers crammed extra chairs into every nook and cranny they could get away with and still had to turn 40-50 people away.
The audiences were more responsive, too, on average. For those of you who have little to no experience with performing, let me explain why that matters.
It’s been awhile since I wrote one of these, since I’ve been busy with work, rehearsal, and school. In fact, we’re already past the first weekend of performances and moving right along into the second.
The remaining rehearsals were a time of steady improvement. We continued to do one act per day up until the last Friday before tech week, on which we ran the whole play. Saturday was a work call day; some people helped dismantle the set at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, move it to the APU Grant Hall, and rebuild it. I went to the later work call at the TBA studio, where I helped with costumes. I learned how to add ribbon to things; as a result of my inexperience, it took me way longer to do the task I was given than I had hoped. However, I was surrounded by friends engaged in other needlework projects with whom to chat. It was a great way to end the week.
Monday, we ran through act one. Tuesday, we ran through act two. Wednesday was a day of working on various groups’ weakest songs. Today (Thursday), Shane and Lindsey are busy working on leading man and lady stuff. Tomorrow… well, they haven’t sent out the e-mail for tomorrow yet. Rolf and Liesl are called tomorrow, for sure, which Erin announced on Tuesday.
The run through of act one went pretty well. We were mostly aware of what we were doing, and had missed the blocking of few scenes, in spite of the fact that we’ve been blocking things out of order and piecemeal. The run through of act two was less good. The only scene in act two which had been neglected was scene one… but that scene is half the act. Oops. Since it is the second act, people are also less solid on both lines and music.
I’ve been called to rehearsal thrice this week. The first two were just the nuns doing more parts work with Justin.
Charlotte, who plays the Mother Abbess in the show, has her secret identity as a voice instructor, so she’s been helping Justin catch things we need to fix. She pointed out on Monday that when the second sopranos are spot-on, the whole choir is spot-on.
Since I had noticed prior to that observation that if I fuck up, the rest of the section fucks up, I find myself in a position where I can drag the entire choir down. (I’m poorly skilled at blending with my section and have a strong voice, so a couple of the girls listen to me to make sure they’re on track.)
Yesterday started out as a full-cast rehearsal. We all did warm-ups together — real, full warm-ups — for the first time, including some more name-learning. We then picked up where we left off with the read-through of the script. There was little left, so it took us less than an hour. Erin (the staging director) made some general comments about the direction she wants to take us in; she and Jaime (the stage manager) made some announcements regarding things they need from us.
My tendency to ask more questions than anybody else manifested itself in a slightly-amusing-but-slightly-exasperating fashion, as usual. I’ve resolved to try to rein my question-asking in a bit, writing down questions that apply only to myself or to a few people for later asking.
So. I am too lazy to check and see if I’ve mentioned this on the blog yet, but I’m in TBA Theatre‘s upcoming production of The Sound of Music.
And it’s going to be awesome. (Less than three. Less than three. Less than three!)
Everyone in the cast is great. We have an array of beautiful singing voices and fantastic acting talent; everyone has a wonderful attitude; and everyone is totally jazzed about doing this. Some of our cast have never been in a play before, but I have every confidence in their ability. Irony alert: all of our on-stage newbies are adults. All the children have been in at least one play before. Interesting, no? But I digress.