Tag Archives: performances

Breakfast Farts & Tech

15 Feb

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Today we had our first full run with tech from which we were reminded about and learned, many things.

…Like you do, during tech.

…Things like: computers have made tech zero-percent more efficient to the old reel to reel and manual light slider days. Because human error is so much easier to fix, and people almost always are able to speak to one another without conjunction cables, software crashes and Bluetooth errors.

…Also, water is messy. And it follows almost no rules. Once it’s out of it’s holding confines, it owns the whole damn world of wherever you’ve introduced it. And we’ve introduced it damn near everywhere… in every room…rendering surfaces slick as spit, even after mopping.

…New costumes get ripped by heels and snagged on set pieces, quick changes are fought like battles with small armies, smaller bustles must be found so I stop taking out props with my ass, sounds source from wrong speakers for unknown reasons, light cues are still being built and refined mid-scene, volumes need to be pumped cuz of the air conditioner, the keys need hooks, the doors need jams…our pump is still without water…

…And then: there are the eggs.

Apparently those innocent little clump-bastards which we thought we’d solved in squish and shovel and spit, days ago, were holding out on us. Add a shit-ton of hot stage lights to the mix and after flinging them all over and rolling in them like dogs for the better part of ten minutes, the whole damn theatre (and at least two of its actors) smelled like a sulphur plant had exploded.

…I mean: horrendous. Like a hundred farts got together for a meal of baked beans, cabbage, turnips, and beer, in a 110 degree locked room, with no ventilation.

Computers: we are stuck with, rips can be sewn, pumps will be plumbed…butts can be made smaller…but it’s looking like our friendly little puffs of lukewarm slimy sunshine might be in for a radical recasting session, only days before we open.

Poor bastards….

…But then I think I’d rather eat food-colored tofu by the truckload than roll around in that joy of butt-gas air again, never mind twice on student matinees and command performances.

…See? You never stop learning.

And that’s the truth.

Also: tech is hard, and exhausting, and tomorrow is Monday.

…That is another truth.

~D

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No Bug Zone

10 Oct

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Taking a break…

Am fortressed  in my office, away from all the peoples, as all the peoples I know are currently carrying some version or other of the plague.

Gnome-Idiot cheerfully informed me yesterday morning, (while hovering over my desk and mouth breathing) that she had spent the night hurling into the toilet , and would it be alright if she went home after this stack of paperwork?

…I mentally told her to get the fuck away from me, while verbally assuring her that I totally supported her choice in going home to get better, and that she should feel free to leave as soon as possible.

…This was roughly two days after the WHS Pimp started hacking up lungs n’ things in his office, returning from his day off.  The same day that Ma called and said she had abton of crockpot food she couldn’t eat by herself, and wouldn’t I like to come over while wearing a surgical mask and rubber contamination gloves, to pick it up…as she TOO was dying of some kind of stuffy head-cold.

Three totally different strains of plague, now surround me.  The battle has been fierce.  I’ve forced vitamins and liquids until my bladder is near to exploding. 

…So far, so good.

…Of course, now that I’m claiming that, I am prob’ly doomed to get one or all three in the next few hours.

Problem is, I don’t have time for that yet.

…I know the show is closed and all, but along with the final visit of Corp next week, at the office, I have two shows to see, a script to peruse, an Ab-Fab sleepover with Marty to attend, a Wedding, and The BFF’s way-belated BD-AWESOME-GIFT-OF-AWESOME to shop for, bills to pay, laundry to do, and TP to buy.

I’m booked.

…Also, I don’t WANT to get a cold.  Not any three of the current varieties seem very appealing.  So, I sit here, treating my appendages as germ-fields-of war, every paper pass back-and-forth with the rest of the office staff.  My hands are now chapped, cracked and dry from antiseptic overuse, I just shot my last Emergen-C this morning, and in a panic last night, I started chugging that awful Gollum juice toddy, in hopes to add it as another form of preventative.

…Surely, nothing could survive this onslaught of prevention, right?

(she hopes, heartily.)

…Providing all stands germ-free, my week of self-imposed quarantine will end tomorrow…as I watch Marty kick some ass in “Henry V,” and move directly into swilling “medicinal” alcohol…in the form of a lot of wine…until I pass out.  Waking up (at whatever o’clock that turns out to be), I then begin my quest of shopping and bill paying…and somewhere in there: some laundry.

…Which will bring me to the half-way mark of my weekend.  I’m pulling focus on one step at a time, at this point.  So as to not tempt the bugs too much.  If they think you have it all signed, sealed and delivered, they hit you even harder (I find.)

…So shhhh.  Don’t tell.

…Meanwhile, I’m off to face the “inbox” once more…and consider the options of Children’s Theatre, around the holiday. And, the calculated percentage of odds riding against mounting an entire show without grumbling curse words when I fuck up a line…or being a surly bastard to small people seeking hugs and smiles during tech week.

~D

General FYI

28 Sep

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I try not to “chug” Jameson.

…First of all, it’s “crass” and rude.  One should only “chug” bottom-shelf. But it’s been a week.  Plus, WHS Pimp has YouTube’d video’d me to a duel.  He was doing Jagger shots, with Red Bull chasers. I figure, I already pull ahead by doing a legit booze challenge with a “medium shelf.”

…At home (alone) after a particularly well received Friday performance, (after a particularly shitty week at work), I am two full glasses of Jameson, down.  Two swigs, like they were water.  I recorded the last to turn in (as WHS pimp did) his own.  I feel that I “win.”

…No “chaser.”

…Mine was two full tumblers. Straight. After a week we have shared. From hell.

….So, maybe, I’ll give him some lee-way.

…Anyway.  I am writing this now: toasted. As I deserve to be.

…The show tonight was well received.  We made people “gasp” and “laugh” and “yearn,” and I am home, directly after, reviewing my week.

It was the day in the life of an actor.  In that it was repleate with shit having nothing and everything to do with it,  And it was real,

My whole life has suddenly become, “real.”

This means something like: ” there are consequences.”

Decisions were made this week, which equal “that.”  And  decisions were NOT made, and equaled “that.”  This is what it is to be a human, in today’s era.  I kinda suck at it (is what I’ve learned from this week,)  But never-the-less, here we are.

…From all the “shit” accumulated…the fact that WHS Pimp still exists (however short his voluntary term is), I consider, the ONE  “blessing” in disguise.

…For now, else, we wait.

…As I do my final show in however many months it turns out to be.

Consequences.

…They are a bitch.

…But, perhaps, a necessary lesson.

~D

Haunting Silence

7 Jul

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Killer audience today, many family-friends in the house, with delightful eats after.

…And then: silence.

The silentist kind of silence. 

…The kind that comes after a week of non-stop comings and goings, with BFFs and a house full of people eating, drinking, playing, and sleeping wherever they could find a perch, with shows in between to keep us honest, fourth of July Holidays, cast teas, birthdays and more.

I was fine for about two hours, then started wigging.

…Silence after that much action, and noise, after that many humans have crammed in all around you, is weird and unsettling.  Tried to read, but it didn’t take.  Movie helped a bit, a Cecily invasion, helped more. 

…And now, far passed the time I was planning on, am finally in bed.  Instead of tossing and turning, the chat times will give me better sleeps for the fact that I’ve chased the ghosts away from the house, with laughter, and it doesn’t feel as empty and final as it did coming home to the FB mssg that The BFF and Fella had landed in New Orleans, and the ‘ventrue has begun…over there.

…Meantime, I do have my Earnest fam, and  tomorrow around noon, a meet-up for a sort of Q and A with our Director’s College class (who were in the audience today.) So: things to look forward to.  Other than the fact that it is Monday. 

…And I haven’t gone to sleep yet.

Retro-activate date sequence now: and…”go!”

~D

Anticipa…….tion

21 Jun

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Tomorrow, at noon, JM picks me up for the carpool and we motor north for our first read through, where Earnest will be…well…a lot of other people (and I’ll be quite a few as well.)

…And then Earnest, JM and I will return for our evening performance.

There are flip-flopping nerves involved.  Because neither of us are really farce people (as actors), he’s terrified of the 60 characters with varying accents he will be playing, and I’m terrified of just plain sucking.

Actors are so lacking in self confidence, it is amazing how we even get out of bed in the morning.

Even being part of a 5-out-of-5 critically acclaimed show, doesn’t seem to lessen our nerves about tomorrow.

…And meeting new people.

…And reading with them for the first time ever. (As we were all individually pre-cast)

…And the strange knowledge that ‘tween this and about three weeks to opening, we will never be in the same room at the same time again. 

Earnest is getting married directly after our current show, and Honeymooning going into the second.

…So that leaves the rest of the us’s to work around a total weight-lifting role, until he returns to us.

…And then, as it is a travel show, the fun of teching and working it twice, for two different theatres.

Have done a tour only one other time before.  I thought (at the time) it would totally throw me, but the adjustments were actually a really awesome challenge in discipline. In that case we went  to many more locations, with only a few hours tech adjustment before the show, and it will always be one of the most amazing performing experiences I will ever own.

…And with this show, I’ll be back in one of my fav periods: Noir…with all the ridiculous open-house homaging one can possibly fit in.

…Which just brings to mind what an incredibly varied and amazing season I’ve had this year.

A very thankful, tired, Gwendolen smiles in contentment.

…Now: off to bed.

Long day ahead of me, crammed full of fun.

~D

Next! (And, In German)

19 Jun

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Tonight, I start work on m’next script, as first read has now been settled for this Saturday before “Earnest.” For it I’ll be playing three rolls in fast-action farce: A German spy, a bookish British smart-tart, and a Scottish country lass.

Circa, London 1935.

…Currently (of course) I’m living in posh period Brit, 1895. So that’ll be a fun mind fuck once we really get running in rehearsals while still finishing “Earnest” performances.

But I’m totally good for it. 😉

…Homework right now is working on the accents so I have something decent to use for the read on Saturday. Never having done a German without Jewish or Dutch influence, means that’ll be a whole new bag to play with for me, as well as digging out a comedic Scottish that you can still actually understand.

Tons of fun ahead.

Tonight: am focusing on Annabella Schmidt…the German spy…the model for which I will (naturally) be using, being Marlene Dietrich. I want her vocal pitch so low she sounds like a man in drag, and her accent so exaggerated she sounds like any Noir period spy supposed to be based in Germany (having prob’ly actually been born in Jersey.)

…It will be awful-beautiful.

I almost can’t wait.

So I’m leaving now to go work on it.

First bus stop on the homework train is this:

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…All aboard!

~D

Rye Bread & Worcestershire

15 Apr

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A helluva day. 55 contracts processed and assigned…first food at 5pm.

Am snockered.

…But I promised something from behind the curtain for today’s post, and I’m good for it.

Since my day was passed with nary a Cheerio to sooth my tummy, food was frequently on the brain, as I sifted from contract to contract and fed my tummy acids with more black coffee.

…So “food” will be today’s quick peek. Not a glamourous part of the job, but the more you know about theatre, the more you see there IS no “glamourous” part of the job. That’s all in the heads of the people watching from the seats.

…So are the gluttonous ravishings of practical prop foods, and beauty of the jewel-toned alcohols filling up snifters and downstage bars.

But food and drink are supremely important props. They fill an uncomfortable silence with scraping cutlery, and slurping of tea…while being a gigantic pain in the ass to stage hands, and actors alike.

…Because we rarely (if ever) eat and drink the actual foods supposedly represented, due to the fact that apparently since time first began, playwrights give an absolute shit about the mechanics of dinner scenes and food allergies and non-alcoholic booze, and the disgusting practice it takes to achieve them.

How do you keep ice cream from melting under stage lights for upwards of 45 minutes?

What does one do with gluten allergies for one quarter of a cast?

Is there anything more disgusting than watered-down, warm, flat Pepsi in a glass decanter?

…Yes there is.  It’s called “Worcestershire gravy.”

Citrus-spray to stave off browning of apples cut two hours ago.

Semi-frozen cakes to keep them from crumbling all over the place.

What does one sub in for cold milk, to a non dairy drinker, which has been housed in a non-working refrigerator on stage for an entire act?

What kind of meat do you serve in a diner when none of the cooking appliances are actually hooked up?

How many chews can you get it down in?

Does it phlegm or dry out your throat too much to speak and be understood?

Is it messy or sticky?

Is it awkward to skewer, stab, spoon or cut?

Does it spoil, curdle, or turn unseemly colors under hot lights?

…And: how mean can a techie team be, when they wanna slip in a slice or bit of something sinful, without your knowing until it is far too late?

Most of us have been there and seen that.

…But for those who haven’t: The subbing in and out of food is a natural necessity. 

Lights are hot, frequently the foods are in non-functioning appliances on stage, which only ups the temperature if anything. And actors are, by reputation, finicky eaters: famously on restrictive diets, non-dairy, and/or vegetarian, and now: gluten-free, while being allergic to everything under the sun.

…Which is why one of the first questions asked at the first rehearsal is: “what (if any) food allergies do you have?”  This ties in life-choice foods as well, of course, and from there: the SM and props department, will have to come up with the correct looking foods, refashioned and dressed up to look like totally other foods, which we actors will be presented with come tech week and told to eat and drink. 

Period.

…And we do.

…Which is sometimes a pleasant surprise. (ie: the bakery-donated gluten-free New Years cake we eat in “Anne Frank.”)

…And sometimes not. (ie: the time they ran out of powdered gravy mix and doused my rye bread “meatloaf” in Worcestershire sauce instead, forgetting to tell me, for “Murder at the Vicarage.”)

…If you count smoking as a prop of consumption, I’ve had my fill with that lot as well…from grass-tasting peat, to something resembling catnip, to vapours, to pepper herbals, cloves, and god knows what-all, so long as actual tobacco wasn’t part of it, thus a patron-consumed health risk.

I’ve eaten delicious Greek yogurt on white bowl-forms, masquerading as ice cream, a la mode with an actual slice of apple pie.

…I’ve had gallons of teas, juices and flat sodas as different liquors, combining in truly odd tastes to pass as cocktails.

…Spam burgers with skinned apple slices as fries.

…”Crimes of the Heart” put me off Lemon in any form, for upwards of five years, from doing that one damn lemonade-making scene over and over and over again.

…Stale challah bread.

…Plenty of raw veg.

…A glass of powered, lukewarm, milk.

…Brownie pieces in lieu of boxed chocolates (required, with not enough time to chew them properly.)

…Tic-Tac pills.

…Kool Aid cough syrups.

…Whipped cream mashed potatoes.

…The list goes on and on.

I keep waiting for the day when I’ll sit in front of a full Italian meal of meats and pastas stood in by  bleached Twizzler ropes and cake sprinkles topped with cookie-chunk meatballs and lumpy, iced-cake “lasagna.” 

….It’s only a matter of time.

…Especially when the only “food allergy” I ever put down on that form is “fish.” 

…Which even the evilest-minded SM would never in a MILLION YEARS attempt, under hot lights, with actors.

The End.

~D

 

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