Archive | February, 2013

The Evil Smell Of “Yum”

28 Feb

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Hello Bunnies! 

Am super ecstatic to report that in the quest to lose tonnage for my current show, ye olde scale finally hit the negative 10 marker! That’s right, 10 pounds lost, since first weigh-in on February 12th!

The craptastical thing about it, is that I only getta claim 7 pounds of that “legit,” as my “cheat-day” saw me gain 3 pounds and have to re-lose it again…plus another pound, which took me until this morning to finally accomplish.

…And what have we learned from this?

…We learned that it isn’t worth a whole day of cheating to have to work 3 days after that, in order to get outta the hole.

…Which means less of a cheat on cheating days.

This is something I can totally do, you guys. 

My goal was 20 lbs by Opening…and had I not stuffed m’damn gob so hard last weekend, I would be halfway there by now.  And STILL not even by calorie counting or “technically” starving m’self.

(* “technically” refers to the fact that my body has plenty input to work on and burn off, with all kinds of green things and homemade foods. But, because I’m me, I am perpetually “hungry” nearly every waking moment of the day.)

The cravings are stupendous. 

I instantly want to eat everything I lay my eyes on…even things I wouldn’t in “real life.”  This makes going to a grocery store, or even the gas station, a major mental hurdle of willpower.  For some reason, my sense of smell has also become magnified to pick up just the faintest whiffs of foodage…cooking 3 miles away…in a house…somewhere in my neighborhood. 

…I swear to you, I could smell pasta sauce simmering, when getting out of my car last night.

With me, this will always be a constant fight, that will never get easier.  Such is the life of a foodie. And I’m one of the foodiest.

…At some point, I’ll be able to add in exercise beyond pacing in my office…soon as the weather turns.  No time to get soaking wet post-work, and pre-rehearsal, then shower et al.  Nor do I choose to chance getting a cold right now.  So, until these gray clouds and random sky pissings calm down to less than 7 days per week, this is the way it’s gonna be.

In Other News:  Finished blocking last night for the entire show, which means we are fucking WIZARDS! (But not literally.  Although, that might be cool to try sometime.)

…I am on my 4th cup of black coffee, (which helped me thru this morning’s Month-End closeouts), and am now off to spend my “lunch,” learning more lines… keeping my mouth too busy to chew on things.

~D

Press Corruption

27 Feb

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This has nothing to do with buy-outs and palm-greasing of the Journalist trade, and everything to do with pimping out a product.

…Yesterday’s blog got high numbers of interest, so thought you might enjoy a little more on the the realm of Theatre PR.  It’s pretty basic in that you are trying to sell something that people don’t need, and make them pay money they often can’t afford, for something that lasts a maximum of three hours time.

…This is on the basics of course.  The cold, hard, sell-it-to-me facts. 

WE know that theatre is necessary and worth it, and lasts much longer than a fleeting instant, by the fact of how it commands your attention, and influences debates and conversations and emotions long after the curtain has gone down.  But before people get all emotionally invested in whatever it is they are about to see, you have to make them emotionally invested in what they are about to see.

…Yes. It’s sort of a “catch-22.”

Hollywood has been doing this with entertainment for over 100 years.  They found the best ways to corrupt your feelings and pocket book, and continue to tweak them infinitely in new combos and patterns and trends in order to keep up the good work.  It only makes sense for theatre to follow in their footsteps and do the same thing: so we do. 

…We slobber posters all over everything, invent catchy tag-lines, print out postcards and flood the market in bookstores, local businesses, and home addresses, flip out bookmarks, bulk-mail season flyers, tweet about rehearsals, FB “special deals, ” sell random tchotchkes, email campaign your inboxes, and stick ads on every theatre callboard, newspaper, community calendar, radio station, and even craigslist.  We are not too proud to do anything.  Hell, give us a sandwich board and a hot dog suit made of felt, and we’d use that too!

…The point is: theatre only works if you have people come to it.  Tickets are often upwards of twice the price of a Friday night trip to the movie theatre, and it is limited in the special effects and able-to-get-up-any-time-you-want-to-go-pee option. Also, a lot of time, you’re going out on a limb in content, by unrecognizable actors, and plots you’ve never heard of.

I’ll give you all that.

…But it is also my job to get your butt in the seat and watch it anyway. It’s my job as an Actor. It’s my job as a person of theatre. It’s my job as part of a PR team. So here is how I do my share: trailers.

Trailers are the sweet-spot of instant info and emotional investment you can use on unsuspecting patrons. In 2-4 minutes, you can give them history, plot, characters, emotional content, themes, a good cry when needed, and production dates, times, and ticket info. It’s short. The music will help set a perfect mood. And they can share it with others. When I go on a full-run campaign, I usually mix it up with an initial teaser with history of the show and content, to educate…followed by another trailer by Opening to light a flame under their asses more specifically, followed by a review quote-filled one telling them why they should all go buy tickets now because the damn this is just too goddamn amazing to miss…followed by a “one more week and you’ll have missed it, and then won’t YOU just feel like a schmo?” hit.

…And: it works.

People will talk about them. People will share them. It can go viral on FB, and be sent in newsletters and general emails…and it answers the question of WHY a person should buy a ticket, WHAT they are in for, and WHERE the show once came from. So here are a few as examples…just to wet your whistle:

***

First: The Teasers:

Opening Week:

Reviews:

~D

Speed-Blocking

26 Feb

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Due to one cancelled rehearsal and a max of four per week at roughly 2.5 hours each, Mr. Director has set an unheard of course of blocking. 

His goal is 3 days.

3. Days.

…That’s 101 pages, wherein 8 of the 10 in the cast, never actually leave the stage for more than roughly 1 minute, each at staggered points throughout the show.  We eat on stage, dress on stage, cook on stage, sleep on stage, get in fights, and live on top of each other from the second we arrive until just before the last monologue of the show.

…That’s a LOT of fucking movement, all.  In fact, it is actually a woolly mammoth shit-ton.

It means that whether we are actually in the scene or not, we are still “on,” somewhere…usually in a bedroom on a platform, on the couch, by the “pouf” chair, at the table, working at the stove…going about doing all the things that normal people go about and do in day-to-day life, only in this case, it needs to be paintstakingly blocked, and stipulated step-by-step.  Because, due to the cramped space, and furniture, you almost can’t move until someone else does so as well, so you can counter them, and be (in turn) countered by someone else.

…Again. 8 PEOPLE.

8 People.

3 Platforms.

1 Staircase.

1 Couch, which folds out into a bed.

2 Cots.

3 Beds.

3 Dressers.

1 Dinning room table with chairs.

1 Desk.

1 Side table.

1 Kitchen sink/counter/stove/ice box hybrid

4 Doors.

1 Bookcase.

0 Walls.

…Tonight, we finished through Scene 2 of Act 2, covering all Mrs. Van Daan’s major three freak-outs and melt-downs,  the smoking argument, four costume changes, Anne’s nightmare, Hannukah, the break-in, Peter & Anne’s first real “talk,” and New Years.

…We’re makin’ better “time” than a stripper at a Bachelor Party. 

…But of course have no idea if, at these speeds, we have really retained anything.  It might prob’ly will be one gigantic cluster-fuck by the time we review and start working scenes this Sunday…but by the grace of theatre impossibility-happening-anyway…we might just make it happen.

Theatre’s weird that way.

Especially when you think there is no way in hell it could ever work.

…It’s like a special rule or something.

In the meantime: I built a teaser trailer for the show today.  Am contracted to do it for another theatre in town, but I like to do them for other shows too…mine, that is…to help and get the press out.

Wanna taste?

Alright. You twisted my arm. 

…But spill anything on the fur coat, and your ass is MINE, bub.

~D

Music-Speak With Ghosts

25 Feb

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First of all, accents have a musicality to them. 

…We’ve been through all this before, but today brings a new challenge.

I don’t know why, but I’ve always been drawn to accents, and able to learn and speak in them with relative ease…even the more complicated ones, mixing cultures and races together…or pinpointing it down to a specific region.  It’s my favorite thing to do, and I’ve gotten to play with all kinds of them in the course of my career…which is awesome, even though it may at times also be “limiting.”

For instance: right now, I’m trying to find that thin line of European Jewish lilt, minus any other linguistic influence, because our Director has chosen to go without Dutch and German for the show, entirely.  The van Daan’s, however, are written with sentence structures so specific to a Yiddish musicality, that it was made clear to me we’d have to either consciously work against it, or embrace it.  The Director (thankfully) allowed us to keep the influence as written, yet specified he wants no others to muddy the soup.  This means that the contributing factors of what delineates a European Jewish accent from say a New York one, becomes harder to define. 

An American Accent, influenced with the musicality and lilt of Yiddish, automatically lends itself to the cutting of clean endings, the combining of words together to make a mouthful, and the inclination to end almost every sentence with the cadence rising upward in a question.  For a European Jewish lilt, you would temper the large roundness of the sound and lazy endings with say the Russian “R’s” or forward motion of the mouth pursing out Dutch “D’s” or German “V” sounds replacing the wide “W’s.”  All of those mixtures help contain the Yiddish sound a bit, calming it down, so you sound less like some random guy from Brooklyn. 

…When those influences are denied you, tempering the Yiddish, is a lot more difficult than you might think. 

It’s one of those accents with a mind of its own, that takes over the tongue in no time flat, and runs off with itself. Which means that right now, while pounding lines, I’m forever having to consciously hit every ending and separate every word so it sounds almost freakishly unnatural.  Because, I have to isolate and find the correct rules to apply to each word-combo problem I find, keeping it with hard “R’s”, and hitting all the endings just right, but without it seeming like a freight train hit every sentence in a head-on collision.

…And because of the subtraction of any other accent as influence, it means I can’t just go to a YouTube of native Polish Jews, or watch a news story, or archive footage of German Holocaust survivors sharing their stories.  I’ve got to basically invent this whole other version, whose closest mother-tongue of existence actually  (so far) has only resided in the mouth of Shelley Winters as she had herself performed the movie.  Which is infuriating, as she’s the last person I want to listen to, while I’m trying to muscle through and discover the role for myself.

Usually, American films are the WORST place to go to for any ounce of dialect authenticity.  Only this time, I had little choice…it was either this or the overindulgence of something like “Fiddler on the Roof”…which would just be fucking ridiculous. At least in THIS case, I know the source is clean and on point.  Because Winters was from a Jewish-Austrian family, and if anyone would have been able to figure out how to solve the English-only Jewish European Accent problem, I’m thinkin’ she’s the most qualified person in the room.

…So despite hating it, I had to listen and learn.  Not because I loath to learn from “the goods”…but because she was SO fucking good, that even in the parts where I hit a line-read just like her, it sorta pisses me off that I’m not coming up with newer choices.  Sometimes it’s just in the writing: your choice.  Sometimes in the attitude and type of character.  Obviously, I already have a good grasp of this woman, because we are lined up in many facets of it.  And wisely I only kept to one short scene for homework purposes, so as not to get her living in my head throughout.

…Now that I sorta have a grip on where to go with the influence, I’ve gotta go to first blocking rehearsal tonight, and forget everything I heard from her, so I can forge my own way through the Attic jungle. 

Which is doable. 

…It just means for one section, I’ll be fighting an Oscar-winning ghost, is all.

So, again…no pressure or anything.

~D

For The Oscar

24 Feb

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This one is a last minute post to m’peeps who won tonight. (As seen in tape delay with a bevy of friends.)

…Of course, we knew Adele would win, that was never a question up for debate with real people…of which I am proud and roared loudly upon acceptance speech.  In the mean time though, can we get a “hollah” for Shirely Bassey at 110, singing with the same chutzpah and vibrato as her original self a zillion years ago?

…Also, I’d like to openly shed a tear for Streisand’s Hamlish tribute (the same year I saw him live at the Seattle Symphony), and get an “Amen” for Annie Hathaway’s Best Supporting win.

…My only major upset for the night was effing Jennifer Lawrence, who at age twelve has absolutley no reason to be winning an Best Actress catagory Oscar when people like Kate Winslet had to spend over a decade and six nominations to finally win…especially when going up against Juilliard-trained Jessica Chastain and her hotel room of mugshots and engrossing meta homework on “Zero Dark Thirty” like a fucking GROWN UP actor.

…But I’m not bitter or anything.

Congrats to m’peeps, 12 of whom won of the ones I wished to…which ain’t bad, when you consider how political Hollywood is.

…Also, Charliz Theron should keep the hair, Seth MacFarlan should be my other boyfriend, Catherine Zeta-Jones is a physical wizard, Daniel Radcliffe, should always randomly Broadway-dance, George Clooney still makes the best Cary Grant,  Daniel Day-Lewis should maybe be retired from award-winning…just to be fair…and Les Mis peeps were all on the same stage at the same time, singing…and it was of awesome. 

…So there.

Until tomorrow:

~D

Changey Mindees

23 Feb

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You know how you sometimes see a show and get disgruntled with it for whatever reason and do the whole, “Fuck this, I could be watching West Wing right now!” bit?  And then you never revisit it again?

…And you know how then sometimes, you see this one actor do something and decide you really like them, so then start stalking them in other stuff, then remember they were in that one show you’d given up on that one time, but then decided to watch it again anyway, cuz now you have a new found love and reason to? And then the show turns out to be even more awesome than the original part that you used to actually like?

…Well, I had one of those days.

The show was the BBC Robin Hood, the subject was Downton Abbey’s own “Anna Bates,” and I decided I like it better than before, and prob’ly need to own it now.

This all only happens in Season Three, of course. 

…So I skipped all the others and picked up exactly where I had originally left off…bouncing straight into Joanne Froggatt (aka “Anna”) bein’ all feisty and awesome, while my boyfriend Richard Armitage runs around as evil Guy Gisborn, sporting eyeliner, with a black leather wardrobe sticking to him like glue, throughout. 

The show is fun for no reasons at all Historical…because it doesn’t really stick to that, or period…although it sorta tries.  Where it wins is in the hawt, brooding, sexy, sword fighting field…as well as ridiculously amazing Hungarian forests (where they filmed.) 

…Also, it wins in the “I know more than you,” actor career-boost arena. Because those people had no idea that within one year, Joanne would be a household name as half of a major character-plot romance at Downton, and within two years, Armitage would go epic blockbuster as the king of dwarfs in, The Hobbit.

…At THIS point, they are only semi-starving actors, lucky to get whatever the hell they can grab onto, along the way.

Oh, what a little time can do. 

(And two hella important projects.)

…Which is all to say: if you’re up for a little fun, you should totally Netflix stream it. But you’ll have to start at the beginning of season one, or nothing will really make any sense. By season three, you’ll have an extra little treat waiting…and on account of it being a fairly long series with hour-long episodes…by the time you’re done with all of that…it’ll only be like five months before Downton returns, and something like six for the second Hobbit movie.

…So, it’ll tide you over a bit.

You’re welcome.

…And now: back to streaming.

~D 

The Fella’s Op’ning

22 Feb

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The Fella had an Opening night tonight, which was stellar and included both a post-party, and a post-post party.  In fact, the second one is still going.  I first remembered to blog about four hours ago…but then forgot again and got much more interested in food on my “free-eat-anything-night.”

…Currently, Marty is passing around a picture of her Uncle.  Apparently I will be marrying him some day…not only to get me into the family (a convenience for all of us)…but also I think, just so she could call me “Aunt Roz.”  Which would just be weired.  Cuz both her Uncle and I are in our early thirties.  And Marty’s 26.

…Crazy stuff happens in the Mid-West (apparently.)

I have sweater teeth.

Have eaten more shit in the past ten hours, than the past ten days put together.  My tummy is complaining about it a little.  My teeth feel like they are coated in  peachy-O sugar granules and cotton balls.  I’m well hydrated to fight off that wine I stopped drinking about four hours ago…but I really want a Coke.  Don’t have any…and once I go to sleep, my free night of awesome indulgence is over.

…Alllllmost over.

Good times were had. 

Off to spend some last moments with the friend-fam.

~D

 

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