Tag Archives: actors

How The “Actress” Ages

5 Feb

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Listen up, it’d be easy to call it a “formula”…like there is science and reason behind it, but the truth is: a female actor ages roughly three times the speed of a male one, and that is the truth.

…This is not in “actual” body, this is measured in a thing called, “playable age,” which means the gap you can fill, based on what you look like and your “type.”

The older you get, the wider the gap ‘tween the sexes age in comparison, gets. This is how Sally Field played Tom Hanks’ love interest in 1988, and his mother by 1994, only six years later.

…That’s a sizable swing, people.

The fellas get to age as it comes to them, regardless of number, primarily filling three titles across a career: Child, Love Interest, Old Man. Women get four: Child, Love Interest, Mother, Crone. Yes, women get an extra label in there, but the major difference shows when you plug in the actual playable ages of what these times of life are considered by Casting Directors.

Women
Child – Infant to preteen
Love Interest – Preteen to 25
Mother – 25 -35
Crone- 35 1/2 – onward

Men
Child – Infant to preteen
Love Interest – Preteen to 170
Old Man – 171 onward.

…This is the actual truth. (Sort of.)

…The only break we really get, (as women performers), is if we happen to be Character Actors. In which case, even BEFORE 35, we have already (at some point) played one or two Crones, and our fair share of “Mothers” anyway…so the smack in the face for “playable age” isn’t such a big deal.

…In my case, looking at the cast list yesterday…I just thought it was funny.

…Sort of a little bit depressing…but I can still smirk about it.

…About what, you ask? Oh yeah…I forgot to mention:

One of the next two roles, in this show I’m working on, has me playing opposite an adorable, hilarious fella, I last worked with in “Anne Frank.”

…At the time, he was playing Otto, Anne’s father.

…And now: he’s my son.

With this kinda “comedy,” who needs drama?

😉

~D

Death Of Blob

4 Feb

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I’m one of those humans who needs to have a purpose…an end point, a goal…because if not, I turn into a lard-person-jelly-lump.  Both physically and mentally.

…I don’t do well just free-floating whichever way the breeze (if any) happens to be blowing this day/week/month/year.

So, I go for goals.

…I like  to plan and prep the next three things I wanna audition for…which informs what color and length of hair I’ll be sporting for the next six to nine months…how fat I’m allowed to let myself get, or how much I need to lose…what kind of movies and books I’ll be watching and reading for study aids…which actors will be my obsession teachers this go-round…and (eventually, based on casting)…what I will be doing with my night’s and weekends, and “where.”

…Which is why booking a show for me, is not just a big deal as “an actor,” but even just “as a person.” 

Twenty years doing a thing, builds some serious habits.

It reflects the kind of year I’ll have emotionally, physically, psychologically. It reflects the people I will be socializing with…which friends I’ll be seeing more regularly, and the kinds of places I go on the down-times…based on which city and county those “down-times” occur in.

…So, when I DON’T have anything to plan, at all…not even on the what-to-audition-for-next pipeline…I literally don’t know what to do with myself. I’m not a person who can just “be” to “be.” I can’t not think and study and plan. It’s against the religion of me. Even my Psych Doc couldn’t break me of it.

…Hence, for the last month, post-last-show, I have turned into a blob with total lack of enthusiasm.

Family tragedies certainly don’t help that.

…All you can do is just sit there, being “the blob,” turning into MORE of a blob, and thinking you are prob’ly doomed to get even blobbier before anything changes for the better. If ever again, at all.

So you do.

…Till an actual goal pops up.

…And you see it float there above your head, juuuuust outta reach, so you have to actually shift your weight, and stand up in order to touch it.

…And you do.

…And the fucker wiggles free n’ flies away, right in front of you…

…And you think, “Goddamn it, if I were FIT I’d have just jumped higher, and gotten a better hold of the thing to begin with!”

…Only sometimes, I guess the goal doesn’t totally float away for good.

…Sometimes, for reasons even YOU don’t understand, it gets caught up in the corner over there. But since you told yourself to forget about it, you don’t even know it’s there. How could it be? You totally lost it. You were there!

…Only looks like, maybe you didn’t.

…And two days later, you get a call on the phone. And it goes a little something like this:

AD: Hi. This is (Artistic Director you know.) I’m calling about the show.

Me: Oh. Yeah. That. Listen, I’m really sorry about lousing up that callback…

AD: I’m calling…

Me: –The “thanks, but no thanks call,” no, yeah. I get it.

AD: Not really. What? No. He wants to offer you a role.

Me: (Beat.) What?

AD: In the show.

Me: Who?

AD: The Director.

Me: Oh.

AD: Yeah.

Me: Why?

AD: Why??

Me: Yeah.

AD: Um. Because he liked you?

Me: (Beat.) No. But really. Why?

AD: That’s really why.

Me: But, I sucked.

AD:…Or: not.

Me: Really.

AD: Yep.

Me: Huh.

AD: So…

Me: Yeah?

AD: You like…wanna do the show?

Me: Oh! Sorry. YES.

AD: Okay then.

Me: Yeah.

AD: Good.

Me: I really needed this. I mean: comedy and purpose and stuff.

AD: Well, good.

(Long silence.)

Me:…But, seriously?

AD: Seriously.

…And so now, all of a sudden…the blob regains purpose.

…Which is a very good thing.

Very good.

I feel like I can breathe again.

Eventually, it’ll even sink in.

Huzzah and stuff — !

~D

An Open Letter

30 Dec

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Dear God,

Please make me morph (as close as humanly possible) into a carbon copy of Emma Thompson, someday.

…I should like to own the linguistic and intellectual banter to keep up with the Cambridge fellows of her like, as Stephen Fry, and Peter Laurie, and all the rest.

…Please let me one day read Lit in a top worldly place of letters and write an Oscar winning screenplay on the author’s works of my former thesis.

I would like  to be one of the newest version of Lunt and Fontaine, Olivier and Leigh, Branagh and Thompson, please.

Could I get away with being a total bohemian nutter, and people will still love me viciously?

…Also, please can I marry Willoughby?

I would really  appreciate working with Streep, and Pacino, and Hoffman, and Winslet,  whilst have them love me so much, they consider me family.

Can I own the magic English skin that never wrinkles or ages, and the lithe figure to go with it?

Please, dear God, make me funny some day.  (I know my limits, but a 100th of a percentage of Dame Thompson will due me.)

…Also, WHY ain’t she a Dame yet…it’s really bothering me….

Smart-sexy.  It’s a thing. I watch it and want to own it. Willing to work hard: please help me to achieve.

A “Character Actor” of first degree: please grow me.

Smart choices. Smart dialogue. Smart wit. Smart woman. I beg this degree.

A double header, double feature is all it takes to remind me…how astronomically essential a hard worker is. And how (more  than anything) I wanna be “that guy.”

…Who, in this case…

…Happens to be…

An Emma Thompson.

I  thank you.

Sincerely,

Me.

Communist Garbo, a-la Python, With Peter Lorre

7 Aug

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All hail Britannia!

…This evening was spent as Miss Pamela Edwards, the bratty English-finishing-school-grad-turned-reluctant-hostage of a wanted murderer.

…Covering election debates, with road trips through the bumpy highlands, while handcuffed to my kidnapper, we had just reached the rented hotel room bed, when (like the best episode cliffhangers of anything you’ve watched, ever)…the scene was called for the night to be picked up as a “part two” added to all the other intimate scenes being blocked on Saturday.

Until props arrive next rehearsal week, we are in makeshifts. A 1940’s gentleman’s tie, wrapped ’round our wrists, served as our cuffs, a collapsing music stand: our happy accident-to-be-copied-with-real-prop lectern. Beds made of benches…and every canned sound effect, being live foleyed on stage.

…Something like 40 accents thrown out there so far between the four of us. Keeping them from bleeding into one another is gonna require time and it’s own special concentrated effort. But as much as we laugh through the night, we are still focused on the prize…and can proove it…as we are still totally on pace with blocking the entire show in one week.

…Meanwhile, random character notes are already being thrown at us. Things like, “flirt like you’re in a maltshop” and, “he’s the oldest man in the world…think Tim Conway”…”lets put some shapeable dough in that bowl and see what happens”…”rush at him and bellow as loud and unintelligibly as you can”…”anytime you want lovey things from her, just yank the handcuff”…”she’s a cheek pincher..no…not that cheek”…”this is the part where you go wrangle him again for five minutes”…”all the women should sound a-la Python”…”it’s like The Scarlet Letter is in your house”…”Good! Yes! I want him to work his ass off on this speech and your job is to steal the scene”…”it’s like you’re, Niles and he’s Frasier…only: with sex!”

…And in keeping with clarity, we also chime in: ” if you can understand me right now, I can make it sound worse”…”what about I do Sydney Greenstreet and he can pop into Peter Lorre?”…”how literal are we getting…am I gonna be all wet here?”…”it’s a very His Girl Friday, sex antagonism thing”…”can I take the gun from my garter?”…”wait, who am I right now?”…”do I mount him here or no?”…”from English to German with all the subtlety of Carl Reiner”…”I think she’s seductive on accident, with zero emotions or sense of personal space. Like a dom…or a communist Garbo.”

…Obviously, it helps to all be giant film nerds and actor stalkers. Half our fun is coming up with a spot on simile or metaphor, somehow related to this noir or era-involved world of ridiculousness we are living in. If someone jumps up, points wildly at you and yells, “YES! Exactly!” afterwards, so much the better.

Double “win!”

….Plus, an awesome isolated and specific point of character contact for later.

~D

For Those Who Are Earnestly Interested

8 Jul

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One more short week of performances and “The Importance of Being Earnest” will be put to rest in the archives of the theatre.

…But we have not prepared for our exit quite yet.  There are bets still to be won. 

(If you’ve just joined us and want to get in on the bookie action, catch up on our history of numbers here and here.)

…For the rest of us, let’s move on to the meat n’ potatoes of our fourth week’s stats, so you can blast ’em all you want to the masses and help press us to number one of the season by next Sunday’s closing matinee.

First, our winnings:  We pulled into the second-selling slot of the season by last Saturday’s performance, even besting our own projections by a full day.

…And second, comes an interesting new handicap/advantage for the unusual five-week run: Due to the additional week of performances, we have zero Season Ticket holders for next week’s reservations.  This lowers the weekly pre-booking of seats average…which means we have more to physically fill, in order to achieve a full house sell-out performance.  On the advantage side, that of course means more option of weekly revenue should we FILL those seats…the money then not being attributed to early projections, but instead being fresh meat, and bonus bucks to our final ticket-selling totals.

…In short, from now to Friday (and beyond, frankly), we need to whore ourselves out, completely.

Wanna help do some pimpin’?

…Have you already seen the show?  Come back and bring friends.  Ain’t seen it at all?  Go online and grab some tickets now…the internet is never closed, friends! 

…In order to sell-out any (or all) of the remaining performances, as of 11PM this evening, here is what we need:

Friday  7/12 — 136 unsold
Saturday 7/13 — 148 unsold
Sunday 7/14 — 87 unsold

…Again, everything this week is at the mercy of direct-sell, with no subscriber base to help cushion the numbers.  New projections based on current percentages have been set at a closing of $17,500 for the gross…which is $2,737 below the number one slot show, “Sherlock, ” (whose final gross was $20,237.)

…From yesterday (post show) to this evening’s final numbers, we have sold $311, which (if taken as an average across the next 7 days) will only bring us to $2,177…missing our goal by over half a grand.

…This won’t win us bets, friends!! So here’s what we do:

We go on a guerrilla campaign, digitally.  And you can help!

Have you seen the show and like it?

Have you read the play and dig Oscar’s winking wit? 

Do you have a history of voting for the underdog?

…Grab this and pass it on!  Or any one of the trailers, or a comment you’d like to share about the show, along with hash tags and/or email addresses linking your gorilla campaign contribution to the theatre itself.  The bucks go to art, (a worthy, worthy cause), the full houses will go the actor’s hearts (mine included), the support you give, no matter how big or small (in post, or comment, in buying out an entire house) will make you a part of our “Earnest” family…sharing in the final WIN, that I know we can attain:

To get a 118 year-old comedic gem, written by a genius 159 year-old Irish playwright, into the number one selling slot of 2013?

…Come on you guys, what isn’t awesome about that?!

YouTube Channel Links
Main Theatre Website Link
Ticket Purchase Link
Facebook Link

~D

The Screaming Over-Compensator

13 Jun

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So, we had one of those mostly smiley Preview audiences, who…I am sure…prob’ly enjoyed themselves just fine.

Occasional laughter by all, was heard. Occasional booming ones selectively, from others.

…But we learned quickly, that it would not be quite at the frequency that we were hoping. 

…Which bothered some of us. (Me)

…Which is dangerous in comedies, because sometimes that influences the knee-jerk reaction to amp or over-compensate in some way: An Actor version of poking the audience with a stick in order to hopefully arouse the desired response.

…As if that has EVER worked, in the HISTORY of the theatre, in ALL OF TIME.

(It doesn’t.)

But, Actors are stubborn assholes, who (by the time you see them do what they do to entertain you) have already vested a pretty huge fucking amount of time and effort into a thing.  And so, though we KNOW that over-compensation isn’t going to do a goddamn thing to achieve the kind of endgame we were hoping for, a lot of us will try it anyway.  And for a lot of us, it is an automatic switch that flips, running on it’s own little generator.

Actors have different compensation mechanisms, I find.

…Mine is screaming.

Something in me assumes that if the reactions are slow or silent from the seated sections, it is most likely because they prob’ly just can’t hear what is being said.  So my auto-pilot fix is to amp the volume. About 12 decibels.

…I also like to infuse an extra shot of energy.

…Which, when added to the screaming, is like slamming a 5-Hour-Energy shot, with a RedBull chaser.

Now: do it in an English dialect, while wearing a lot of fancy clothes.

That was basically my Preview performance.

Again, on auto pilot.  It would just kick in. No matter how much I had told myself not to let it, while pacing backstage, listening to one-liner after one-liner, fall into a pit of mostly silence.

I was determined to get up there, and be fine. And I was fine…until the first couple “dings” of missed opportunity hit. Then, I would begin to panic, and project my vocals suddenly with enough speed and power to kick a train off it’s tracks.

…Have you ever attempted a love scene while being intimately yelled at?

Earnest has.

…And it was not one of Gwendolen’s more evocative moments.

Somehow, between tonight and tomorrow, I have got to just calm the frick down.

Nobody is going to get everything that we do.

Nobody else spent a month pouring over and interpreting the text, like we did.

This does not equal failure.

…Nor the need to panic.

For some: it will be the physical comedic angle that’ll get ’em. For others it will be accents and costumes. And for probably fewer than I was anticipating: it will be the actual language content.

It’s period.  It’s British.  It’s an acquired taste to a contemporary palette.

I suppose it would behoove me to remember that.

…And maybe also, to watch the auto-indicator when the anxiety levels start to rush.

Center. Focus. Delight.

I charge myself in ink, to enjoy the hell out of my castmates tomorrow night…to work my ass off…to think of delicious, decedent Gwendolisms, and receive any output by the audience, as a garnish perk.

The end.

~ D

Paper Tech

7 Jun

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The best night of Hell Week, is technically the first one.

Paper Tech.

…Where the show’s sound, light and cues are plotted and planned by the design and run crews. 

This mean: Actors- OFF.

…It’s usually the only night we get, ‘tween now and the last performance of Opening Weekend.  A fairly brutal run of everythings added onto everything else and slammed up against tons of new toys and clothes and props to side-track you, and not quite enough sleep to process it all.  Tempers sometimes get short, a zillion tiny details you might not have thought about or planned for are suddenly right in your face with immediate answers needed, everyone is hot from too many lights and no air ventallation…and for reasons I will never understand, this makes everyone like everyone else a lot more.

…It’s that old “Band of Brothers” adage.

So tonight, while our tech crews battle on paper, and our costumers battle with needle n’ thread, we actors battle our lines (some more), before tomorrow morning’s first call.  Costume Parade, followed by cue-to-cue, followed by (one hopes) drinking.

…Personally, I’ve just finished fighting the yoga ball, after spending about two hours listening to Benny Goodman and figuring out some hair styles that’ll work with my super-awesome hats (one of which Mdm. Costumer let me take home for just that occasion.) 

We are going to look so ridiculously delicious, it’s just ridiculous.

…And now: I’m off for a shower, and some read time before the Zzz’s take me.

…Take me HARD.

I hope they leave me no mercy.

Long days ahead.

~D

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