Friday, May 25, 2012

Did you miss me?


I know it's been a while.  Lots of things have happened for me, for you, we should discuss it all.

But not here, lets go someplace ....better.  Like my new blog!

I know, its a big word and its in a different language ( The blog name, not the whole blog (It means "Always an Adventure" in Latin)).  I combined my two blogs into this one.  The theatre will still be there, the adventures will still be there and hopefully, so will you.

So join me won't you?

Thanks! :)


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tell Me on a Sunday- Memories

If I learned anything from Cats, its that memories are "the time I knew what happiness was"  so "let the memories live again".

Why am I quoting Cats?  That was a terrible musical...or maybe it was because I'm not on whatever drugs made that musical about singing and dancing cats seem like a good idea.

Let's try it again....

Memories....."like the corners of my mind.  Misty, water-colored memories"

 I mean, do you have any habits or rituals that you do when attending or having attended a theatrical performance.  With the express purpose of helping note that you attended the show.  In order for them to avoid becoming "misty, water-colored memories"?

I am a terrible diarist or journal-er (possibly, blogger as well?) as I have a hard time tuning in to write on a regular basis.  Plus, years of getting my diary "given to me" for my birthday by my brother, had trained me not to write in them.  I am not someone who makes scrap books or is organized enough to find things after I have put them in that "I- will -never- forget- where- I- have- placed- this- it -is -so- obvious" spot.  So to make sure that I don't forget  where I have put something and to make sure I don't forget what I saw, where and with whom, I have a book where I keep the covers of the playbills and tickets of shows I have seen.

At every show I make sure to grab two programs.  One immediately gets read and folded as I try to get all the information out of it on the performers before the lights go down.  The other program goes in my purse, carefully saved in my calendar so it doesn't get bent or crushed.  My ticket also gets slipped in next to this program.

Once I get home I immediately pull out my book and open it up to the next open page.  On this page goes the program cover (cast list as well,  if I want that for some reason) and the ticket.  Then in the margins I write down who came to the show with me.  This way I never forget who I saw this show with and what date and time I  saw it.

This habit came about because I love seeing shows and I would get frustrated if I couldn't remember exactly when I saw a show.  This subject comes up a lot for me and not remembering this was unacceptable.  As well, I usually see very interesting shows with very interesting people and I would like to remember what I saw and with whom.

I am now at the end of the book I am currently using and I am excited to start a new one.  These books track not just theater, but my theater preferences, shows when I was going through an "adventurous" theater period in my life, notes what shows my friends like to attend and how far I have traveled to see something.  Currently, Las Vegas or San Francisco are as exotic as I have gotten...I swear, New York and London will one day grace the pages of my theater book. 

Do you have an theater habits to remember shows you have attended?  Do you note it in your day planner?  Buy the swag at the shows and wear them proudly?  Tell me!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Thesaurus - Missed Cues

I thought that today for Thursday Thesaurus I would explore the word cue….mainly because I’ve missed mine on this particular blog post a few time

 Cue -The words or actions at which an actor is expected to deliver a line or a crew member is expected to perform some task. Not to be confused with:

Cue - Long wooden stick that the billiard player holds to hit the cue ball

Kew – Famous English Garden

Or with
Queue - a line of waiting people

Like this one from San Diego during Comic Con

Anyways…where was I? right…theatrical cues

Cues are important to the show because they prompt everything. If you the actor miss a cue, then that might make the lighting and music cues be delayed, effect set changes or just plain confuse the other actors :) So you can see that missing a cue is something that is frowned upon. If you have done theater or seen a performance, was there ever something that happened that you thought (or knew) was a missed cue?

 I remember seeing a show and the actor said a line, and another actor was supposed to some on stage and they were supposed to have a conversation. Except when the first actor said his line the other actor was nowhere to be seen. The actor starting filling time (about 30 seconds) when he grabbed something out of his pocket and acted like it was a cell phone and had the conversation that was supposed to be happening onstage all by himself.

Actor 1: Actor 2, I just wanted to let you know I was sorry. (Pause) I am so glad that you accept my apology and I appreciate your kinds words of how much you love me. 

It was awesome

This especially near and dear to my heart since I am currently in a show and there are a lot of cues that depend on me. So forgive me while I go study my script again…

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Don't tempt Fate

So, I heard about this audition a little over a month ago and thought that maybe I should go.

Never mind that I haven't performed in a full show in over 11 years, or that I didn't know any of the songs, any audition songs, can't dance, and had about 1 day to get anything ready for the audition.  It still seemed like an adventure that I should go on, if for no other reason than because of how badly it could go.

Which is how I ended up going to this audition on the last day of auditions, in the very last audition slot and with a song that I knew, but that I had never heard played on the piano.  So I had no idea if the key that the music was in was a key I could sing or not.  Cause really, preparation, whats that?

The day of the audition I had milk with breakfast (A no no), I warmed up by singing along with the radio at the top of my lungs and got lost on my way to the theater.

As I walked in, I had no resume, no head shot and had to tell them I had no idea what the music I was holding sounded like on the piano, since I don't own a piano.

I audition and go on my merry way.

The next day I get called back for a call back.  Right before the call backs I get super sick.  I have to call to tell them I can't make it and the part goes to someone else.

Fast forward to last week.....

I get a call from the theater.  The person they cast is unable to fulfill the role and would I be interested in filling it?

So now I have a month to step into the role, learn the lines, choreography and the music for this show.  Everyone is off book and ready for fine tuning...I have had the script for 48 hours.

This can only end badly, right?

Lesson learned:

My husband should have bought me a piano. (My husband thinks this is not an actual lesson learned, but that just makes it obvious he needs to learn this lesson).

This theater was clearly desperate. (if your hopes rest on my the gods help you, clearly you are in trouble)

Don't tempt fate! (those three witches will get you every time!)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tell Me on a Sunday: Let me Entertain you

People have their preferences for everything in their life.  There are preferences on how you like your food, you laundry folded and how to drive you car.  Theatre is no exception and peoples preferences are as varied as there are people. 

There are some people that only like "happy theatre.  They want to go to be entertained, but they don't want to see anything too sad.  Musicals and comedic plays usually fit this bill.  
Some people only like theatre that is dark and edgy.  They want to see something that defines the "art" of theatre.  Something that pushes the envelope, gives them something to think about and possibly makes people squirm in their seats.

Personally, I like all theatre.  There are things that if I could, I would choose to partake in very occasionally, like any kind of existentialism.  Or anything with an actor chat back immediately following.  My comfort zones are musicals...mainly because there is so much going on.  I can focus on the performances bu I can look at the lighting, the dancing, the costumes and the orchestra.  Do you not watch an orchestra?  You should, sometimes they are one of the BEST things in a show.  

I made myself a promise two years ago that any theatre ticket I could get I had to attend, barring a really good reason to not go.  This way I am trying to stretch outside my own comfort zones.  Because of this I have seen some theatre that I loved and never would have attended- Riverdance comes to mind in this. It was really amazing and held my attention the entire time.  There are some things I've seen where I had to ask myself "What the hell am I watching?" - Peer Gynt comes to mind.  Sometimes, the shows that I think I will love, I have hated.  Yet everything I have seen has been something that was absolutely worth seeing.

 We all go to the theatre to be entertained, but we all have different ideas on what that means. So tell me: do you only like to go to something that may have a happy ending?  Do you like going to shows that might end on a down note?  What are your preferences?  

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Makes me want to weep for America

So occasionally when I want something interesting to read, I will go to the local college bookstore.   I know that is odd, but some of the best and most re-read books in my library are books from my college classes.

As I wandered the aisles in came a young lady who walked up to the clerk stocking the shelves with her book list in hand.  After squinting at it for a moment she looked up at him and asked in all seriousness," I need some book called Hamlet, do you have it?"

To quote the Ghost in Act V of Hamlet, I found this exchange "O horrible, O horrible, most horrible!" 

 I live in an area with really good schools, so there is no reason that she should have never heard of Hamlet before.  At least she would have heard of William Shakespeare, who when discussed, usually has his other writings make some sort of appearance. Especially Hamlet, since it's one of his most famous and oft performed and adapted  plays.

Sure, I get that the arts are being cut in our schools. Are they being cut this much?  I know it has been a while since I was in high school, maybe I don't know what they cover anymore.  Am I expecting too much from students who have graduated from high school to have heard of Hamlet?  Not to have read it, not to have seen any of the movie versions, just heard of it?

For goodness sake there are 9 comic book versions that I find with a quick Google search, not to mention a Hamlet for Kids (claims it is good for ages 7-12).  Side note, that seems young for a play that deals in revenge, incest, madness, treachery and moral corruption.  But like I said, it's been a while since I've been in school.  Maybe 7 year olds are ready for these themes these days?

Possibly I'm overreacting and this is not the fault of the educational system.  Maybe this girl is an exception and truly has never heard of Hamlet.  Even in that case, I don't think I'm being overdramatic to say that if you can graduate from high school and not even have heard of this play in some reference or another, then that is the true definition of tragedy.

Even sadder, this might be the first thing that pops into mind when someone says " Prince Hamlet".

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tell Me on a Sunday: Swift Kick in the Pants

So they are making a movie of this musical called Les Miserables....maybe you’ve heard of it?

While I (think) I have made my feelings clear on this particular musical, I wanted to broach it about the casting of this movie. Now, clearly, I do not have (any) emotional investment in this musical or who is portraying any character. There are some amazing songs that I do love to hear (outside of the musical, I won’t pay a gajillion $ to wait for hours to hear a few songs), so I do care about who is singing, but not that much.

Casting news has trickled out and here is what is known so far:

Hugh Jackman - Jean Valjean
Russel Crowe - Javert
Anne Hathaway - Fantine
Sacha Baron Cohen - Thenardier
Helena Bonham Carter - Madame Thenardier
Amanda Seyfried - Cosette
Taylor Swift - Eponine

If I give you a moment to look over the list again, can you guess which person is causing the uber fans to have panic attacks and sling vicious vitriol across the Internet?

If you answered Amanda Sayfried, I would understand, because Mamma Mia did no one in that film any favors. But apparently she is opera trained, and from what (little) I saw of the last musical, she has a pretty voice.

But if you answered Taylor Swift, win (your prize is being right, ta da!)

The reaction has been amazing to me. People have been FREAKING THE F*CK OUT over this.

So, I decided to compile some of the most oft given reasons for the overreaction and add my own opinions to them. Who would have guessed that theatre fans are overdramatic?

Reason #1 - This role should have gone to Lea Michele
Lea has an amazing voice. She is a fantastic theatrical/musically trained actress. I own many an album that she is singing on, and most of them are Glee soundtracks.
She also makes the worst singing faces on the planet and while that is ok on the stage (where you're far away) and on Glee (where standards, continuity and plot are things that are not necessary...sorry thats a different post), I think this might not work on the big screen (see New Years Eve for more proof) for three hours at a time. Plus, she’s kind of busy taking over everything else in the world. She’s probably tired...

Reason #2 - Taylor can’t sing
Whether you like her or hate her, Taylor Swift is a superstar performer and singer who has won a bajillion awards in the last few years, including Billboard’s 2011 Woman of the Year and according to 2010 Nielsen SoundScan is the most successful digital artist in music history with over 34.3 million digital tracks sold. Clearly, some people are listening to her...

I grant the haters out there that she has never attempted something the magnitude of Eponine, but here’s her chance! The song is written as it’s written, it’s not like she’s going to turn it into a country song.

Reason #3 - Taylor can’t act and can’t bring the depth needed to the role
Valentine’s Day is referenced a lot in this reasoning, but I think she played the role of a bubbly, head over heels, slightly obnoxious teen in love pretty well...cause that's the role. That's how she was directed and that's a subject matter she knows.

Some country songs and hers more specifically, are filled with girls in love, over romanticizing everything, wanting people they can’t have, and living in an imaginary world where their love conquers all.

Which is sad, because Eponine is ....all of that. Eponine is in her late teens, in love with a man who doesn’t love her, imagines her world as something it’s not when thinking of him and is over dramatic to the end. Huh...maybe this is something Taylor could do. It seems to be in her wheelhouse, yes?

I promise that my complete and utter hatred of this musical is not the reason I defend her. I defend her because I think these reasons are ridiculous. If you vow not to see this musical because she is in it, then fine, that's your call. Even with my hatred of this musical, I will see this movie. It is bound to be an interesting and unique adaption of the show. Much like how Daniel Day Lewis was different  than Antonio Banderas’ portrayal of the main character in Nine, so will Taylor be different than any of the actresses that have played Eponine on stage.

To be clear, this is not a defense of Taylor in the role.  It's more to point out that she's not the worst choice in the world.  If she happens to bring a fraction of her music fans with her to the movie, is that so bad?  A few thousand more people giving money to a musical film that, if popular, may convince the studios to make more movie musicals?

If she's terrible everyone gets to say "I told you so", but until then can we give her and the project itself, the benefit of the doubt?   And in the end, many people auditioned for this role, Taylor got it. Get over it. This movie is directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) I think the guy knows how to make a movie.

What do you think?