Monday, December 28, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I know I have talked about working on new material in earlier posts and once again I encourage actors to do it if and when they have the chance. Having the opportunity to work on a new piece more than once, as it changes, has been particularly enlightening and has brought some challenges to me as an actor - and lots of rewards.
But what I really want to express in this post is the importance the audience plays on our work. I mean, ultimately, that is why I want to do the work, to share it with others. While the process leading up to the opening has always been exciting to me, so much more can be discovered once the audience is in the seats - particularly in comedy and musical comedy.
Our opening weekend of OPA! is a prime example. Finally having an audience helped us to find the rhythm for the piece, helped us to see the moments that are working and others that might not be. However, as I have mentioned to the producer, just because they aren't laughing, doesn't mean it isn't funny. Sometimes, if actors haven't been holding for laughter than the audience will begin to hold them because they want to hear the actors. Sometimes, as in OPA!, the audience is dealing with listenting to an accent and some of the humor may pass before they laugh. Sometimes people are smiling quietly and that is ok too. The temptation for actors is to begin to push the comedy or force a moment or change things altogether if the audience doesn't laugh. For the most part, I think that's not the right way to go. Certainly if the audience isn't laughing, and you have another idea or you're not feeling it's very funny either, than maybe it is worth a tweak. But often, if you trust the moment, if you don't rush it, it probably is funny even if the screaming laughter isn't coming.
(There was more to say, but clearly I did not finish it - now it's three months later but still thought I'd post it)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
While lately I have been attempting to embrace my quirk, well...quirks, I have come to realize that much of my talent lies in being able to do lots of stuff - maybe none of it GREAT (that is for others to decide) but between the looks I have: give me a mustache and I can play a Greek; give me a beard and my decent Persian accent and I am from the Middle East. I can play drunk convincingly well, do decent accents, sing from upper bass to tenor and so on. And yet all of this seems to make me almost unmarketable because I fall between two many lines. I am not "enough" of one type or one "strength" to land anything.
All of this comes from a great many auditions in the past two months where the feedback has been remarkable, to the point where I am often in the room for over 15 or 20 minutes doing everything under the sun, and being told how great I am at ALL of it but then never getting a call to do ANY of it. And I can only assume it is because people come in who can only do one of the things I do but they do it REALLY WELL and probably a bit better than me. Or they don't do it any better, but their type is closer to what that character would be - fatter, taller, younger, older, hotter, more Latin looking, less ethnic looking - you get the idea.
It's not like a lot of this stuff is new to me. I remember in college someone came from The Barn Theatre to audition the juniors and seniors for possible summer stock work. I sang from EVITA and nailed it, did Doolittle's monologue from MY FAIR LADY and nailed it and then did something else too. At the evaluation they said I blew them away with my voice and had them rolling with the monologue but that I gave them "mixed images." They said they wouldn't know what track to put me in because I fell "in the cracks." Those were their words, not mine. I remember feeling completely confused because I had assumed my versatility would be needed in stock where you might be asked to play a host of roles and ensemble parts in a varied season. I still think that I am right on that as a general rule, and maybe they were just blowing smoke up my ass cause they thought I was crap, I suppose I will never know. But it is interesting to me at this stage in my career that I feel like I am getting SO close and giving the auditions of my life (especially vocally) and yet I just can't get anything to land.
I have also been told by managers and agents that knowing your type and doing everything you can to fit into a specific "mold" or "track" is imperative to knowing where you fit in the business. Trouble is, I feel I could fit all over the place. Does that mean I don't fit anywhere? And if I don't fit, then what is the point?
I am on the verge of being forced out of the business of acting for the first time in my life. Now I have left before...twice before...but I made the decision to leave each time for different reasons. This time I don't WANT to leave, but debt and bill collectors and to be honest, a way of life is demanding that something come thru or I need to get a real job again and leave the biz behind. And when people say "just wait tables." or "take temp work," I want to scream! I DID THAT 20 years ago (well not wait tables but you already know that story) and to be honest, I can't afford to do that. I created a life for myself that I am TOTALLY willing to give up if I can be a working actor. But if I CAN'T be a working actor, then no, to be honest...I won't give up dinners out and vacations and cruises. I realize you can't have it all which is why I gave it all up two years ago.
A former student and friend (who also cast me in a couple projects which I am FOREVER grateful for) said to me that maybe I don't want it bad enough. I don't want to believe that, but maybe his is right.
I am sure that some of this seems to be free-flow thought with no rhyme or reason and I am certain that some of it is tied to earlier posts and may seem redundant. For that I apologize. All part of the actor's lifetime I guess...
What is in store???
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Clip from dress rehearsal of The US Premiere of this musical version of The Comedy of Errors (this adaptation includes original music by Guy Woolfsenden and lyrics by Trevor Nunn). Directed by RSC director Maurice Daniels with musical staging by Beverly Fletcher. This clip is the song, He Beats Me! sung by me as Dromio of Ephesus
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I was talking to a bartender recently about how my mother (who's parents owned a restaurant) made me promise, that as an aspiring actor, I would NEVER wait tables. She told me it was one of the hardest gigs in the world and that I should do anything but that. I made the promise, and have kept all of these years. But of course the conversation made me think, again, of all the things we as actors do to make money when we aren't fortunate enough to be in a show that's "paying the bills."
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
If we have had any lengthy conversations about the theatre lately (and especially musical comedy), then you have already heard my rant - if not, well, I thought I would put it all down in an effort to "let it all go."
Monday, May 11, 2009
Having had the great opportunity to be involved in reading two characters in a "re-worked" script tonight, I'm feeling particularly grateful. First off, I love the piece and was fortunate to be involved in a staged reading of an earlier version last year. Second of all, I am working with people I admire and respect.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Since I've been sick for the past few days, I thought I would write my thoughts about being sick and auditioning. Please note these are NOT my thoughts about being sick and performing - that I will save for another time.