Tag Archives: Drama

Actor Fat

2 Dec

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Have been eating role-sugar for eight months now, and my actor butt has gotten fat. 

…As much as I love me some comedy, (and as hard a work out as they are in their own right), I’ve been missing the meat-n-potatoes  of my average yearly diet, sorely.  I love the drama and angst and hard book work and mental prep that goes with a good juicy steak of a role. Which shouldn’t be construed as complaining…I’ve been WORKING….and in fun stuff…but there does come a point where if you have to swallow one more bite of cake and ice cream, you feel like you’re going to explode.

…I’m right there.

The joy of the high tea delicacies of “Earnest” was wonderful, and I absolutely love it.  The challenging a-la-carte three-desserts-in-one of “39 Steps,” kicked by butt with sugar rush, and now beavering away in “Narnia,” feels like a milk-n-cookie afternoon snack.  But, finally booking something that requires actual chewing and digesting, just made m’freakin’ week…gotta tell yuh.

…Even if it is only a performance read, with only four or five rehearsals underneath it.

It’s an uber group of players, brought together with a director who produces nothing as just flake or muddle-and-serve.  She plops in table work, gets the read up on it’s feet for action, and presents it in a style all-but-performance-ready, save the book in-hand to reference to, as needed.  Wickedly well rehearsed, which means we get about four days of solid, amazing, script chewing and work-shopping ahead…for which I CANNOT FREAKIN WAIT.

…Throw in the fact it’s an Odets, and we’re walking in Group Theatre footsteps with all the ensemble complexities and arguments and whirlwind of emotions and politics coming with it, and you’ve got a very happy Hennie in the making, m’friends!

Steak dinner on the rise! 

…But first, lemme finish these double-stuff Oreos, cold glass o’ milk on the side 🙂

~D

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Cracking The Code

23 Oct

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This one fucking monologue…

…I gotta figure it out. 

So far have tried 11 different ways, and so far have found 11 ways how NOT to do it.  It’s killin’ me. It starts my second Act, and is all high hysterics and ridiculousness, but not quite farce…which is really fucking difficult to gauge, not least of which because everyone on stage just looks at me with egg on their face watching it like a freak show, and it is the total opposite to my natural style of humor. 

…I am dry and bitchy, by nature. (hello, have we met?)  If you exaggerate that, you get dryer and bitchier.  “Hysteria,” is this whole other deal.

We do things to challenge us as performers, so I’ve done my fair share of farce and comedy, and though I’m not horrible at it, it ain’t exactly my forte.  So, the information I get outta rehearsals like last night’s, is that: “It didn’t work. Again.” 

…Now, I don’t always know WHY it didn’t work, in fact, most times I don’t at all…but I know when it does, and it has nothing to do with the reaction from the house right now…because this many weeks in, people never laugh at anything anymore, anyway. Cuz shit is only funny the first 20 or 30 times you try it.  After that, you’re kinda “over it.”  You just have to sorta trust it’s still funny, and go with it, until previews and things.

…Only I know it isn’t working.  I can feel it.  But I don’t know “why,” or what the answer is to MAKE it.

Here is how I look at comedy: Comedy is to timing, as Fosse is to a choreography. 

…That dude was fucking intricate.  One half millimeter of a finger arch and you were out of sync.  It’s like “this,” not “This.”  Specificity is the KEY. 

Comedy is like that

…One hair of a beat is the difference between HILARIOUS, and absolute crickets.  I don’t know why, but it is a fact.  Which is why Comedians don’t get NEARLY the credit they should, for an artform where one breath in the wrong place screws the entire joke up…but some chick blubbering in a corner, with snot running all down her face, will win the Oscar.  Every. Single. Time. 

…The snot isn’t “timed.”  I can almost guarantee you that anyone playing a rape victim, or watching a loved one die, would be able to work themselves up to that level of disturbed ugliness, with very little imagination and timing involved.  Drama is all on your own clock, at the viewer’s expense.  Comedy is all on the VIEWER’S time, with phantom rule books of how long to hold, turn, smile, nod, grin, hiccup, slip, fall, smack, pop, bash, wink, slobber, flash, burp, squash, run, jump, or shriek, at any given time with constantly changing table-ratios of balance, depending on which order they fall in, at what point in the scene, which characters are involved, and if the audience is sleepy, bored, restless, horny, infectious, or has indigestion. 

…It’s like the most intricate math formula ever.

It’s ALL of that, (aka: reading the room) PLUS, just knowing what works and what doesn’t…when to “play” it big and when to play it “straight,” (which is also funny, but a different kind.)

…I KNOW funny when I see it.  And I can figure out most the time, when I DO it…both while throwing it away, and doing it on purpose.  But so far, top of my second act, all I know is:  It isn’t working. 

We open in 18 days. 

So that is really starting to bother me.

…And I’m not goaling for a milk-sop fest of feedback, here.  I don’t need hysterics from them.  All I need is to complete the take without feeling like a giant scene-deflating asshole, or freak other-worldly alien, directly ending into a set change. 

So far, I have not once accomplished this. 

…And I’ve totally done it in legit, no-holds-barred, hysterics at least twice…so it isn’t that I ain’t willing to “commit.”

I need another way to look at it.

…But I don’t know what.

…Time to hit the books (aka: the DVD collection) and fish out some instances that someone used, at some point, sometime, to help me figure this out.  There IS a way to make it work.  People have only managed it for several hundred freakin’ years is all.  And if THEY can do it, I can do it!  And I can do it MY way!  I just need some quiet time, in an open space not shared amongst apartment dwellings, where I can beat the shit out of it, at full vocal level, until it knows it’s place. 

And I need to not panic that I WON’T find it in time, cuz that just is NOT fucking helping me right now.

~D

From The Bunny Ranch

29 Jun

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Welcome new readers!  I have some.  Already!  And as-such, seems we’ll have to do a bit of last-season-wrap-up to get them into the swing of things.  So here goes, the condensing of the multi-episodic soap opera that was my previous blog.

Firstly: I will irritate you with purposely incorrect grammar, punctuation and completely made up words.  Like it or lump it.

Second: I will never disclose a single person’s actual identity, about whom I am writing.  Unless they are famous.  Then I’ll name-drop that shit till the cows come home.  You may certainly make guesses as to their ID, but keep it (and mine, if you know it) to your damn self. Mmkay?

Third:  I have two jobs.  It may get confusing to follow the drama if you aren’t made aware of that.  The first one is my “career.”‘  I am an Actor.  A theatre one. I do it often and all over, and even get paid, so can legally write things like movies and books off my taxes every year.  This is very important, because those two things are the crack-cocaine of my very existence.  So, I will, coincidentally, be writing a lot about them, too. 

…The second job is the job I have to have, to actually pay the bills.  This time, I’m not even going to name-drop the true profession.  Instead, I will liken it to working in a cheap Brothel…which totally translates, if you happen to know what it is I really do. 

I don’t get paid well for it.

I work like a dog at it.

The Boss makes his living because I do all the work for him

It’s populated with other-whores, only they work as independent contractors, for which I personally serve as Pimp.

…And not a day goes by wherein I don’t feel screwed raw and left for dead.

….”So get a new second job!” you might be saying.

The short answer to that is: I’m trying.  The long one is: Meanwhile, I can afford to be picky, cuz at least I already have a job.  And why “settle” again, when I don’t have to?

Fourth: I try my best to be “entertaining” in voicing my frustrations.  Dark comedy has made others into millionaires.  For me, it just makes having to reach for the Xanax bottle a less-frequent occurrence. But first and foremost, this is my “out”… my “haven”…my land of Oz. So sometimes, it won’t be “entertaining.”  Sometimes that shit might bum you out or make you say, “Hmmm…” with a thinky face of serious reflection…or fire you up to want to call me out on the street and exchange in some fisticuffs.  I totally understand this.  So you should too.

Fifth: There is no “fifth,” but I’m anal retentive and having an incomplete set of count-offs is like someone going into my cupboards and turning all the labels around.  Just wrong.

Consider yourself caught-up.

…Now onto the new season…

~D
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