Tag Archives: rehearsals

Weird Shit Actors Say

18 Dec

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The current theatre I’m working at is one of my home base hubs…and so are the places we go to in the area after rehearsal and performances. We have become known…(because, frankly, how do you miss us)…at these places, not necessarily by name but by vocation. To the bartenders and waitstaff, we are those theatre weirdos, who pop in, take over the place, drink too much, over tip, eat whole meals at 11 pm, and go along our merry way.

…They know the “regulars,” and track us from show to show…some sincerely not giving a shit, but earning their tip by asking after “how it’s going,” some who have actually been inclined to attend, “Holy shit, that part where you walk off and blow your own head in…that’s freakin intense!”…Some just nod at you and bring your usual with no comment, and know enough not to ask if you want another round…it just appears as if by magic.

…Then, occasionally, you get the guy or gal who hasn’t yet worked our table before…and I imagine what must go through their heads when they are indoctrinated…hearing our conversations for the first time. We are only on the surface, “normal people.” Its not like they haven’t served nuts before, but we are a special brand of them.

Because of things like this:

Normal People (Meeting someone new): “Hi, hi — nice to meet you — where you from, what’s your wife’s name…oh, you’ve got kids?”

Theatre People (Meeting someone new): “…But then Dad was an alcoholic mess, so naturally, I did jokes and funny voices to make mom laugh…and people would be like, ‘oh Anne, he’s so funny, I bet he turns out to be a comedian or something…'”

**

Theatre People (Ordering food): “I don’t do meat, or animal byproduct, or gluten, or nuts. So, I’ll have the house salad with no dressing or croutons, or almonds. And a double Vodka on the rocks.”

Normal People (Ordering food): “Steak. Beer.”

**

Theatre People (Talking politics): “…No but it’s a classic case that Freud would wet-dream over. He’s obviously got some serious mother issues to work out, so is taking his total lack of control in that relationship to like the zenith level, by making all women pay by taking away their own basic rights, so he can feel empowered over the fact that she started dating after Daddy left or whatever, and he didn’t like the fact that mommy was gettin it on with Mr. Frick, across the street. ‘How do I stop her? By stopping all of them,’ he thinks…penance for ‘slutiness,’ paid in full…”

Normal People (Talking politics): “Well…I like my shot-gun, so: I’m voting for that guy.”

**

Normal People (Talking about the Holidays): “…And Suzy had that bronchial thing that was going around, so we had to stay home. I did a ham…baked a bit, but..it was a quiet Christmas.”

Theatre People (Talking about the Holidays): “We had a double header on the 23rd, then the 24th, came back for a pick-up rehearsal for the other show on the 26th, then musical work for that special New Years gig, on Wednesday and Thursday. I haven’t actually been home except to sleep in like a week. Also, I think my fish died, but I don’t have time to deal with that, so am just avoiding the living room in general right now…”

**

Normal People (On finances): “So we are working the budget really closely with our accountant, because we’ve decided that maybe we’ll refinance next year, and use that capital to roll back into the kitchen revamp and finishing the basement into a fourth bedroom…”

Theatre People (On finances): “….Yeah, I knew I’d over-draft by Tuesday, so I did the whole, ‘go take out $200 from the versateller before it hits so I only get feed once’ deal…like yuh do. Anyway, this round’s on me.”

**

Theatre People (Regarding job interviews): “And so then he asked me what I was, and I’m all like, ‘what do you mean?’ And he’s like, ‘well I can’t decide if you’re some kinda exotic ethnic thing or just like…part black?’ And I’m like, ‘dude, I’m whatever the part needs me to be. In fact, I can be taller, shorter, blond, even Cajun…if that’s what you want…”

Normal People (Regarding job interviews): “…And then this middle aged white guy walked in. So, that was over.”

**

Normal People (Talking relationships): “I dunno, it’s just so complicated and unnecessarily chaotic. If we love each other, why can’t the other stuff just figure itself out?”

Theatre People (Talking relationships): “No! NO! No! That’s just too simple. I mean, sure, you can play it that way…if you want to, but there’s like 150 layers under that basic set up…so much more ‘complication’ to mine there…I mean, I love you, but am like obsessed with her for some reason…which I mean obviously goes back to that time in the third scene where she slaps me…but my devotion and love for you is different…calmer, like. See I think I idolize you, and deep down I realize I just don’t deserve you, so I go with the gut reaction of the mirrored image of myself: her. The ‘wandering whore,’ so to speak. It’s nothing against you personally.…”

***

Normal People (At the end of a long night): “Whelp, that’s me: done in. Off home to do the husband/wife/mom/dad stuff…maybe night cap with a bath…”

Theatre People (At the end of a long night): “So…the after party is at yours then? I’ll grab a bottle and some bread or something on the way…oh, and hey, can I just crash on your couch or whatever? If I have to wake up to someone else’s early morning sexing in the next room one more time, I swear to God — P.S. I love how you’re single. We should get drunker and fool around. Think about it…”

…And so it goes. Entertainment and intrigue on and off the stage.

…You’re welcome, server “Mary Beth.”

You, are welcome.

~D

…And Then Some Vampires Charlie-Angel’d Me

29 Sep

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This show? Is fucking ridiculous.

…Seriously. How I am getting paid to do this is like one of those jobs people get that we’d all kill for. Like house sitting in the Hamptons, or travel writing, or video game testing, or secret shopping, or flavor-tasting Ben & Jerry ice cream. All these jobs pay you to do them…like its some sort of weird convergence Bermuda-Triangle-mix-up of stuff you’d do for free anyway, (or even pay someone else to let you do)…but somehow real-life hasn’t caught up, yet.

…I’d fear for the karmic “audit” to come, if it weren’t so goddamn difficult to do this show. But be that as it may…we are talkin’ some serious performance bang-for-your-buck.

….With the final completion of staging this weekend, not only do I getta fly around on office rolley chairs, and mime-shine flashlights up my butt, we’ve also got chip-eating product-placement, girl-on-girl action, a slideshow with monkeys driving speedboats, a conversation about being rice krispy treats, gollem and hobbits, flash-dancing, half naked actors, air guitars, multiple dream sequences, The Supremes, Vogue fashion pic spreads, and vampires Charlie’s-Angeling me.

In a one-act.

…That’s right, all that and so very much more, in a buck thirty.

…Seem a little mind blowing? Now add singing and dancing. Yeah, that face you just made? I am living it.

…Meanwhile, we are bonding through this wacky shift of insanity, into a strange little family who feel uber safe trying every single kind of physical, and verbal experimentation we can possibly come up with. Apparently, this makes us hilarious and so “fucking adorable” that our queen of choreography would like to “squeeze us to death.”

In a good way.

…I think.

…And with that, our sister-in-Rep show takes the lead next week for their opening, as we keep plugging away on our end, trying to corral all the duck-pigs into the play pen. Which is not now, (nor ever will be), easy.

It’s not that kinda show.

C-learly…

~D

It’s A Shitty Patch

8 Apr

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It’s a full week.

…Sleeping is spotty at best, out of control anger management issues, face breaking out, paperwork hell at work, 2 a.m. uterus cramping contractions that last for hours, rehearsals, hair and nail appointments, shopping for the show, interview podcasts, costume fittings, and family driving up for the services and wake, which I will be spending in back-to-back tech runs this Saturday and Sunday.

Theatre, ER Staff, Holy Orders, and the Military are the only professions I know of, where the expectation to show up and work through any contingency is a requirement. Even death.

…Everyone I know has performed while running a fever and puking, despite horrible stresses, sisters weddings, family reuions, ended relationships, and every major Holiday, at some point. Some then push it further through family losses, broken bones, and mental breakdowns. If theater were the Girl Scouts, I’d have earned another badge this week, by the completing achievement of “all of the above.”

…It’s a shitty badge, but for the people who wear it, at least we know we aren’t alone. There were those who came before and those who will after. It’s really the only comfort you get, because otherwise you sound like a giant mal-adjusted asshole to say, “yes, of course I went to rehearsal the day he died. What else would I do?”

…It was my job, this was my team, we had a run-through for tech, which isn’t an “option” on a fully booked schedule, it’s a demand. And so are my fittings Saturday morning, the quick change rehearsal to follow, then the Q2Q, then notes, then the same the following day. Tickets are pre-sold, Preview is in one week, and we can’t open a four-person farce without all four people.

…Which doesn’t help the stress any either, I can tell you. Because nothing at all seems funny right now, and that is also one of those, “tough shit” things I’ve gotta deal with. And I am. Frankly, better than I thought I would. Of course, it isn’t Saturday yet, when it all becomes real because I can’t push whole live people onto a back burner when they’re waiting in the car to go to a funeral while I’m trucking it to the theatre to try on my wigs and teddy with knife rig adjustments.

…I’m sure that at that point, even I will be painfully aware of how fucked up my priorities are. And I will feel like a total asshole. As I should. Because in all the professions who fight on despite circumstances like this one: ours is primarily esthetic make-believe. We aren’t saving a life, putting ours in danger, or making a humanitarian effort. At the end of the day, I’ll have done it for a farce-comedy with dick jokes, that opens in a week and one day.

…From a moral ground, I can’t back that choice either. But it’s the way of the theatre. It always has been, and always will be. And so has been my way, for over 25 years.

…This is one of those instances where, If you have to explain it to a person, no explanation will be acceptable. And I wouldn’t expect it to be. All I know is: it’s what I have to do.

I don’t like it.

Nothing is funny right now.

…And not a single patron will care, or even know, what it took to open this show next Friday.

I’ve got a job to do and I need to just hold my shit together and do it.

…So I will.

WE will.

Because: That’s the Theatre.

~D

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

Beavering Away

29 Oct

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So, I’m popping my Beaver cherry. 

…And with that, as many gauche and explicitly  inappropriate  references to the subject that I can make (or anyone else can, for that matter) will follow.

Children’s theatre.  For the Holidays.

…Friends I know run it. Friends I know do it. So I thought, “Whelp, at least there will be friends…that I know…in it.” Thus began my first venture into the world of children’s theatre.

…Not that I haven’t done theatre WITH children (for, I have), or performed FOR them in the past (Hello, ridiculous 9 am student matinees)…but this would be the first time I had ever began a show whose goal audience IS, “children.”

As one of a handful of actual adults in the upcoming “Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe,” I’ll be attempting to embrace the wholesome atmos being a good and wise example, (whilst little people are watching)…and making fun of it as wrongly as possible, when they are not. 

Why? 

…BECAUSE I’M PLAYING A FUCKING BEAVER.

(Totally different from a Beaver fucking, P.S. You can tell, because I’m a “Mrs.”  That means there is a “Mr.”  We already have two beaver kids, and everyone knows…sex after that for married mammals is non-existent.  Which is prob’ly why they bicker so much in the script.  Sex antagonism.)

…First off, the “Mr.” is out, TOTALLY ignoring them all by working on his damn dam all day.  (A useful excuse if I ever heard one.)  I mean, it’s been ice and snow in Narnia for like what…five generations or something?  Am I right?  What the hell is he daming up?  There’s no stream flowing through there.  There’s no mud to pack.  Shit is FROZEN, bro.  Has been forever.  Prob’ly always WILL be.  But yeah, you go out and keep “working” on that dam, dude.

…Meanwhile, the “Mrs” is stuck inside that frozen hut all day, dealing with never-hibernating children.  Constantly hungry.  Constantly cold. And housebound. Everyone’s all freaky-deaky about the White Witch and all her secret followers, so even sending the kids outside to play and get the hell outta your fur for five minutes is basically just inviting the Child Protective Services to come knocking on your hut, being all:

CPS Rep (prob’ly a Kangaroo): “Uh, yes, Ma’am…we have report of child neglect from a few of your neighboring Oak Trees and local Ground Covers. They feel very concerned that you aren’t taking proper precautions to the White Witch Warnings.”

Me: “Oh, really?”

Kangaroo: “Yes, Ma’am.”

Me: “Well, let me ask you this, Mr. Roo …or-whatever-the-hell-your-name-is…have you ever been in constant fucking demand in an ice-bound hut, with no ventilation for three decades, going on four…while early onset beavopause, hot flashes night and day…running off and on like a sunofabitch, as your body keeps packing on winter weight you’ll never lose the whole of your fucking life, non-stop, while your children scream at you all day long about how bored they are of eating twigs and frozen bark, and your husband is out, every day, futzing with some goddamn dam, useless as a tick on a dog, without so much as a stream trickle to keep at bay, as even his PISS freezes before it reaches the ice-packed ground?!”

Kangaroo: “Well…no. I can’t say that I have.”

Me: “Alright then!”

…So begins the character motivation work.

Now that we know the dynamics of “home life,” we can begin to delve into the curious fact of there being but TWO Beavers (and corresponding children) in all of Narnia to begin with…which begs answers to questions like, “where did we even come from?” And, “If it’s so shitty in there, why don’t we just leave? Cuz clearly everyone else did.”

…Not to mention the supremely convenient, total-rip-off-of-entire-character-existence, by J.K. Rowling, in this whole business.

Seriously.

Make us human and call us “Weasley.”

Think about it for a hot second.

We’re Bohemian, country bumpkins with weird accents . (Check.)

We are the natural defenders and protectors of the “Chosen One(s).” (Check.)

We are responsible for explaining all the main plot, concepts, and obstacles, to the completely ignorant main characters. (Check.)

Our home is demolished by evil bastards in vengeance. (Check)

Our kids are almost killed by a total mentally evil and fucked-up Witch. (Check.)

…Only real difference is, the Weasleys have super-awesome magical powers…while, as Beavers, we have…

…Buck teeth.

And…

Yep. I got nothin.’

Wow.

Did we get the shaft on that one, or what?

So…to round things up:

We are the only surviving animals in our class, left in this place of total frozen devastation, waiting indefinitely for a prophecy to come true, which if/when it DOES, will mean CERTAIN war…which we will fight, with the use of nothing.

Good plan.

Totally logical.

Don’t see how it could POSSIBLY fail.

…I mean, it’s like work here at the office, really, when you think about it.

Frozen wasteland of crap, surrounded in devastation.

…And look how well THAT turned out for us!

~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

Sometimes No News Is Better

16 Sep

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It’s been several days since a real blog post, for good reason.  Not because I haven’t written them, but because one tires of the negative.

…I’ve been writing for a week, just to get it out. 

…Even though it feels like the never-ending-buffet-table of excessive “I won’t go away no matter what.”

…So my frustrations have accumulated and sit there, in the draft box, waiting for day-never.

You all certainly don’t deserve to have it show up in your inboxes.  Bills are bummer enough.  And as nothing seems to be going right at the moment, and everything from the office, to theatre, to finances is screamingly fucking frustrating beyond explanation, I have yet to find the spin on these matters wherein I can turn it into something I can make fun of.

Everything is just shit right now.  Period.

…What I’m walking into at the office tomorrow, god only knows.  I haven’t the faintest idea what to expect, which could equally be said with tomorrow’s rehearsal. 

I’ve yet to get approval from Corporate on the minion I picked, who after passing the drug test, still needs to give a two week notice to her current employer, which means she won’t even be here before I host the Corporate top-brass take-over, as well as do contracts on a fourth road show. Meanwhile I’ve already spent a week at a makeshift table by the trash can, in the warehouse, because the offices were three days behind on the fact lift by Monday. As of Friday, we were at eight days behind schedule, without even a toilet to pee in, let alone doors, or carpeting.

…We won’t even discuss the theatre fiasco, it would take too long and work me all up again.

…Meanwhile, I may (or may not) still be employed by next Friday, which means I may (or may not) even give a flying shit if I have an office door, OR a minion by then…but either way, at the moment, I’m mostly irritated because I’m home right now, after only a 3 hour cue-to-cue/tech, and can’t even toss back some whiskey so I can shut my head up from all this stress, and get some sleep tonight.

…I have this stupid personal rule about “not drinking when I’m depressed.”

And I have to tell you: the thought of being a teetotaler for the next foreseeable future is ALSO really pissing me off.

In short: I’ve got nothing amusing to share with you. Or positive. Not even a joke at someone elses expense, or a bitchy one-liner you can make a meme of, later, featuring cats in people clothes or Victorians talking about penises.

Out of a week’s worth of blogs, THIS is the least depressing one I have to give you.

…So it’s good I’ve moved onto other arenas besides “post-a-day” then, ain’t it?

It’s technically now Monday.

If I make it 24 hours without breaking something or sobbing in a bathroom, I’ll be very surprised.

Place your bets, now.

~D

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