Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What To Do When Not Invited to a Party

Step 1
Pause Sherlock.  Cannot handle the pain of real life and Sherlock at the same time.

Step 2
Turn on some music.  Have a party of your own!  Why not!

Step 3
Dance loudly above their heads.

Step 4
Write a blog post about it.

Step 5
Schedule said blog post to post a day later for two reasons:
     1) To figure out how the schedule option works.
     2) To not post two blog posts in a short period of time because you just posted on in an attempt to distract yourself from the party.

And there you have it!

Monday, February 24, 2014

My Time on a New York Street in 1929

For the past 7 weeks I worked on a production of the play Street Scene by Elmer Rice and what an experience that was.  The play takes place on the street outside an apartment building in New York in 1929, a time that was incredibly different from today.  This whole production process what quite a learning experience.  I played Shirley Kaplan, who is described in the stage directions as "a dark, unattractive Jewess, past thirty."  What a character description.

Sam, Abraham, and Shirley Kaplan.  What a beautiful family.

Street Scene is intended to be a naturalist piece, showing a slice of life in New York in 1929.  There is a lot of dated language as well as dated views of the world.  One of the things that we really had to work on was separating the world of the play and the characters of the play from the world we live in.  We had to remind ourselves that our characters were saying things, not us personally.

Another challenge of the piece was the size of the cast.  This cast was massive.  Since it is naturalism, Rice wrote many characters who pass by the apartment building in an attempt to make it feel like a real street.  This meant that we had around 30 people in the cast which is huge for a straight play.  And that was with characters being cut from the show.  It was pretty cool because I got to meet and work with a lot of people I wouldn't have gotten to otherwise.

The apartment building.  My apartment was the one to the right of the doors.  Picture by Kayleigh.
It has been quite a while since I have been on stage (over a year) and this was a great way to get back into acting.  I also learned a lot about directing, being a directing emphasis and all.  It was really cool to see Kathy work with such a huge cast.  She really took the time to work with every person regardless of part size.  She always has new ideas and was willing to hear recommendations.  It became quite a collaborative process and, in the end, we were able to create something that we were all proud of.  I am so glad I got to take part in this production.  And now I will get some sleep.

(I made two awkward dances with this cast that can be found on my YouTube page.)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Muppet-ty Emotions

Well, I just finished re-watching The Muppet Movie.  (It turned out that my roommate had never seen it before, which shocked me.)  The moment the movie opened and Jim Henson started to sing "Rainbow Connection," I completely lost it and just started crying from joy.  The Muppets are amazing and I love them so much.

I am currently reading "Jim Henson: The Biography" by Brian Jay Jones (which can be bought here) and it is amazing.

I have always loved the Muppets but reading this book has reminded my how much I love them.  And watching the first movie tonight confirmed that even more.

A couple of summers ago, I got to have some time to experience the joy of dealing with a puppet for myself.  As part of a guerilla marketing campaign for a production of Avenue Q that the Skylight Music Theatre was producing, my mother and I drove around town with James Pimpton, a puppet designed to look like James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio.  It was an absolute dream come true.  The second I put him on, I felt him come to life.  I loved every minute I spent with that puppet.

Pimpton and I having a grand ole time.
The more time I spent with him, the more I felt like he came to life.  I got to experiment to find the ways to make him seem most alive.  I spent so much time just studying how he moved and what I could do with him.

The hardest thing was making him seem alive in pictures.  In a picture, the viewer cannot see the movement of the puppet.  So what may look real and alive in person suddenly looks dead on film.  This was also quite a learning experience and we quickly learned that we had to keep him talking and moving while the pictures were taken.

Pimpton and I became buds.  Even though I knew that he was only a puppet I was controlling with my arm, he became more than that.  He was quite real.  And the day I had to give him back broke my heart.

But tonight I am reminded of my love for puppets like this.  And I have made it my goal to find a way to get ahold of another puppet to play with and make my own.  Someone that I can really create and turn into something amazing.  Watch out world.  I have a new goal.