Monday, October 11, 2010

...And so Full of Bananas!

Oh boy.  This show is funny...I mean REALLY funny.  Not just because the show itself has some real crack-up moments, but because this cast & crew is just funny anyway.  Perfect casting, if I do say so m'self. :)  I continually hurt  my body just laughing.  (head, face, upper abs, etc.)  You know, in the 'laughy parts'.

It's fun to relax just a little into the show & be able to focus on connecting to your other actors while staying REALLY present in every moment, using everything that comes at you.  Some really funny moments have developed since we opened, without changing any lines or doing anything different blocking-wise.  You never stop finding ways to make a line work better if you keep a keen eye and ear.  I remember at one point in my education hearing that Anthony Hopkins will read a script something like, 80 times.  THE WHOLE THING, mind you, not just his lines.  His point was that there is a LOT to discover in a script (it's like solving a mysetery really, clues everywhere!).  The more times you read it, the more you can piece together about what makes your character tick and how he/she presses buttons and affects others in that universe you've created together.

However, you can't relax TOO've really got to be on your toes still.  It's weird though in live theatre...although you memorize lines, and music, and lyrics and blocking over the rehearsal period, learning to trust everyone onstage with you and the crew beyond...things can change at a moment's notice.  And by change I guess I mean, GO a little SIDEWAYS.  That's what makes live theatre kinda scarey.

For instance, on Thursday (I think it was thursday) our pianist, Justin, had played some telephone rings with a sound manipulator option on his fancy keyboard in one scene.  In the moments to follow is my solo song.  Before my solo, mr. pianist FORGOT TO CHANGE IT BACK TO THE REGULAR MUSIC OPTION.  So when my music started it was a JINGLE JANGLE type of effect that was a tad confusing.  I actually didn't hear the bells, I just didn't hear the music I normally hear.  But because my mind at that moment is so focused on coming in at the right time with the appropriate 'acting throughts' running through my brain,  so my loud ass just started singing and figured (in a fireball quick millisecond) that:
A.)everyone in that band is a TOTAL pro, they will hear me come in and follow along; and
B.) I'm LOUD as hell in this chesty, belty song, so we will be fine.  Again, THEY WILL HEAR ME AND FOLLOW ALONG.

Breathe. Trust. SING.

Later that night after the show, our wonderfully talented pianist apologized up and down (bless his heart!), but the point is, these things can happen.  You can't get mad about it, you just have to solve the problem in a TEENY TINY fight-or-flight second and..AND KEEP GOING.  Keep telling the story. 

Live theatre, ladies and gentlemen.  Scarey as hell sometimes, but if you just keep going, rolling with the occasional punches that can come at ya....stay focused enough to not get hurt...and react to whatever happens AS YOUR CHARACTER MIGHT REACT...

The audience either doesn't notice....or is polite and notices just a little but forgives you.

They stayed, they laughed, they clapped at the end of both that crazy song and at the end of the show.  Whew.

Acting really is reacting, huh?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

You Can't Drink Eggnog In Jeans!

My favorite line in the show right now is about how you can't have eggnog in jeans.  I'm pretty sure the only thing this means is that my character, Cleo, wants an excuse to change into sexytime clothes in front of prospective multiple love experience partner, Wally.  I mean, has anyone ever heard of an Eggnogg Dress Code?  If you have please share it with us, but I personally have not heard anything of the sort.

I've wanted to write a blog before now, but the WHAT & WHY of this show has been a bit elusive these past couple of weeks so I had no idea where to start.  (Not that I have NOTHING to say, I just mean I'm really having trouble wrapping my brain around this show and my part in it - how to portray Cleo in a realistic way and represent her point of view appropriately.) 

I was born in 1972, so my memories of that time really only exist in the pictures from grade school.  The 80's are HYPERCOLOR CLEAR, but the 70's...are a blur. 

In trying to understand this period in our nation's history (both socially & entertainment-style-wise) I've watched a couple of movies and TV shows:   Inside Deep Throat (the documentary on the multi-million dollar early porn flick), Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (a 70's movie with a similar-but-not-exact storyline to "Wife"),  another BAD documentary called "Sex With Strangers"  and got some Mary Tyler Moore on Netflix.

I can definitely say Inside Deep Throat gave a great perspective on where America was at with the sexual revolution at the time it came out.  EVERYONE wanted to see that movie: young, old, gay, straight, moms, dads, businessmen, movie stars...even Jackie O. was photographed coming out of the theatre in NYC.  ...I KNOW, Jackie O!  After the repressed 50's and early 60's, America was very thirsty to burst out of it's conservative past and be...SOMETHING ELSE.

Mary Tyler Moore is a great way to explore the acting style of the era and to see how different themes regarding women were dealt with (Mary being single, living in her own apartment in the big city, being a career gal, dating someone she'd just met that day who was good looking but had nothing else to offer, going to jail for not revealing her sources as a journalist...)  Very interesting & bold ideas/topics to have been covered on network TV in the 1970's.

We've had several discussions about what people were seeking in this "love revolution" time - was it sexual expression mixed in with women's lib?  was it was it to connect on a deeper level with people and...KEY PARTIES were all we could come up with?  Was it just another another advertising trend?  When did shorts get THAT short?  When did we go from Spaghetti straps to strapless?   It's hard to tell which came first here...

I also had a little guilty pleasure moment in watching a Biography special on "The Facts of Life" show/cast.  That show's pilot season found about 9 young ladies at a fictitious girls school - WHO WERE DRESSED in VERY SHORT SHORTS, considering the cast ranged in age from 9 years (Kim Fields) to 15 (a couple of the older gals).  Sex was still selling a LOT at the end of the 70's.  They went on to say how they did a total switcheroo of things for the 2nd season, including changing the wardrobes to VERY conservative private school clothes. (Shirts buttoned all the way up, ties, vests, modest-length skirts and KNEE SOCKS.)  I mean - I know it's a silly little sitcom, but it was a HIT sitcom that lasted for 9 years.  Clearly the public wanted to identify with it.

I then began to wonder how it was that the 80s took such an abrupt turn back to being pretty conservative?  How exactly did DISCO die?  Reagan?  Aids?  Drug overdoses?

ALSO: how did Linda Lovelace only make $1200 for Deep Throat (AND DIED PENNILESS) when it -to date- has grossed over $300 million?

In my quest for answers, I only have more questions.  Feel free to educate me if you have thoughts to contribute!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Join In the Action, Just Lead Me To It

Hi Blog.  It's me...Emily.  We haven't met yet, but I figured I'd give this public speaking forum a shot.  I don't know how funny it'll be, but if you never try anything new, you never learn, yes? YES.  And if it's a failure of epic proportions, well, I guess I won't step in THAT pile of dung again, now will I?  Well, maybe.   I'm kinda monkey-like, so I might.

But I digress...

We just started rehearsals for New Line Theatre's "I Love My Wife" this past week.  I'm thrilled to be in another show with New Line - always ridiculous fun with this company let me tell ya!  I'm particularly thrilled because the material is new to me.  I mean, I know it was written awhile ago and I probably should have investigated it at some point...but I didn't.  So it's brand new and exciting material to be working on over here.

In a nutshell, 'I Love My Wife' is a musical about two wacky couples deciding to try wife-swapping (see Scott Miller's blog for a more in-depth description!).  I have the pleasure of playing a character named Cleo (one of the wives).  I'm really looking forward to exploring her perspective and what she represents as a social example of how other women/people shared her thoughts at that time in American history.  We all know the 70's in America was a turbulent, crazy I really look forward to tapping into it.

Now, more importantly...where's a good place to find bell bottom chambray jeans?

Keep it groovy.