Rehearsals Have Begun!

Blocked all of Act 3 today and ran it at rehearsal.  It’s a shorter act, but its a fucking doozy.  Not only are the emotional valleys for each character huge but as Mae (and really Mae and Gooper) the wheels never stop turning.  Each obstacle MUST be overcome to get the farm.  Things constantly get thrown in her way and the desperation grows…and it’s a blast!  I’ve never played someone so bitchy and so desperate.  Desperate enough to scream her head off at the end and start to lose her mind, which luckily is somewhat saved by her husband, but you can see finally see how much she is eaten alive with the idea of Maggie and Brick getting the farm.  She is a beautiful downward spiral and I can’t wait to do it every night.

The other fun part are all the moments I get to have with Gooper.  We just started but Mae and Gooper have a symphony of pokes, hits, and looks that tell all.  They have full conversations, they give hints and they direct each other on what to do next.  We have worked some out but the rest need to be discovered.  But for now, it’s ridiculously fun to smack each other and glare and poke and clear your throat and get the reaction from the other.  Sometimes it works perfectly, other times we both break out in laughter at how ridiculous we’re being or how funny the face your partner just gave you was.  That and the constant jokes about me having a litter of children.  Madame Director finds it quite funny that small Marty is having very tall Goopers children.

For now that’s all I can give.  I haven’t dug in enough yet, but it’s early…

Also…walking around pregnant for 5 hours was terrible.  I didn’t want to do the hand on the back too much because I felt it was too generic and after 3 hours the muscles in my back screamed “SUPPORT ME DAMMIT! RUB ME DAMMIT!” and I understood.  Then I sat down for the first time in an hour after standing like that and it was the most magical moment.  So, while generic, I get it, and I’m doing it.

I was drained after rehearsal and loved every second. Unfortunately I have to leave Tennessee Williams land and go back to Improv land as our first show is on Wed!  More about that tomorrow sweet readers!

Car trips

Tonights rehearsal started an hour and 45 minutes late because Madame Director, the Stage Manager and I were all caught in traffic.  It took us 1.5 hours to go 20 miles.  We decide as a group it if hits 8pm and we aren’t near Seattle we’re stopping at the nearest bar and getting a drink.  The traffic cleared up and an hour later we hit Seattle.  We couldn’t decide if we were pleased or not…

Usually these trips up to Seattle for rehearsal go quickly because there is plenty to talk about.  Gossip about other theatre people, costume designs, books we’ve read, animal impressions etc.  There is always that quiet moment in the car though…the moment when no one has anything to say.

And then that moment lasts.

And then you don’t want to be the one to break the silence because you don’t want to just have that one sentence comment and then MORE silence…

But it’s SILENT IN THE CAR AND YOU HAVE 20 MORE MILES TO GO.

This is where I start making little boops and beeps and I don’t even realize it.  Seriously, if things get too quiet I can’t stand it and start making my own sound track. To some I’m sure it’s endearing and hilarious.  To others, they give me one of those looks.  

In tonight’s situation we got through all talking topics in the first 1.5 hour/20 mile stretch.  So when traffic cleared and we had 42 more miles to go it was silent.  I realized that if someone didn’t do something it could very well be silent for all 42 miles.   I started to freak out and do my boops and beeps. They started slowly and quietly and just as I was about to explode in a full orchestral arrangement someone broke the silence, which in the end was probably for the best as I was trying to combine the Pines of Rome and Die Valkyrie into one big number.  

Needless to say rehearsal was productive, but a little wacky.   The highlight of the night was the cat on a hot tin roof the SM made out of cheese wax.  

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But we got the blocking done….and then we got into the car for another hour…

 

 

The Power of 12…

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Above is a picture taken of the streets of Seattle during the parade today.  At one point it was said there were around 700,000 people on the streets (more than the population of Seattle) and that didn’t include people who were filing into the sold out Century Link and Safeco Stadiums.  Estimated guess? 1 million Seahawks fans came out to support our team. 12 Man power right there.

While watching, the announcer brought up the fact that this Super Bowl was fated in the stars….or at least in the numbers.

I’ve never been one for Numerology but this is down right cool and as a 12th Man, I’m agreeing that this was in the stars.

This was Super Bowl 48…  4 + 8 = 12

At 12 seconds into the game the Seahawks scored a safety, their first points of the game.

At the 12 minute mark of the first half the Seahawks scored their first touchdown

12 seconds into the 2nd half Percy Harvin scored a touchdown after he ran the ball all the way down the field.

The Seahawks scored 43 points… 4 x 3 = 12

This was the 12th Playoff win for the Seahawks Franchise

This was Peyton Mannings 12th Playoff loss

The Seahawks became an NFL team 39 years ago… 3 + 9 = 12

And finally Russell Wilson threw for 206 yards…206 is the area code for Seattle.

I’ve been told that Numerology only really works because we LOOK for the numbers and make them work in our favor…but…this time…well I’m agreeing that this was meant to be.

And don’t worry…WE AIN’T MAD BRO!!! 🙂

 

 

Extended Edition Highlights!

On the end of the first extended edition disc and onto the second.  I want to share highlights that make me happy for those of you who aren’t nerdy enough to spend your Sunday evenings in complete glee learning everything you can about The Hobbit.

Neil Finn didn’t write The Misty Mountains that is in the movie proper but he did write his own version for the end of the movie because Fran and Phillipa didn’t think the original was upbeat enough for the end of the movie.

The lightning effects in the Thunder Battle is the light guy going mental on the light buttons for the work lights in the studio.

When the dwarves got wet in their costumes at the end of the day it was around an extra 100 lbs they were carrying!!!

“I have a nipple down here, but not up here…wait, there’s a nipple! You turn your back and someone gives you a nipple.”

The Goblins got bored one day and did a flash mob/dance routine for the cast and crew during a lunch break.

Peter Jackson secretly encouraged Kirin (a size double who was also in LOTR) to dry hump Mark’s Hadlow’s leg for an entire scene (when they are in the Misty Mountains capture by Goblins).  Barry Humphries on the subject “This is above all a family film and any depictions of perverse sexual activity can only be described as educational.”

Katie Jackson, the most adorable little girl from the LOTR movies gets to play a grown up Hobbit. It’s magical and adorable.

On the day when they filmed the Hobbiton party scene Peter Jackson drove to work in the ORIGINAL Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car. The kids weren’t too into the car, but the adults couldn’t get enough of it 🙂

I learned all about scene 88 and all the wonderful things they called it, Big Paul, the “fun run”

Richard Armitage bit through his own lip in the Battle of Moria.  This was noticed when Andy Serkis noticed that Thorin’s make up had changed…and then they discovered it hadn’t changed, it was real blood.

Graham McTavish got interviewed by his own daughter on the Battle of Moria, and it’s adorable.

The Hobbit was digitally supposed to be 800 shots…it was more like 2400

Tears of Acting

As most of you know I have an obsession with all things Tolkien.  Yesterday the mailman FINALLY delivered my Hobbit Extended Edition.  Yesterday I watched the extended movie and today started the Appendices in all their glory!  I’m laughing at cute actor moments, being blown away by the camera techniques and my jaw is dropping at the artistic ability of Weta Workshops.

And then it happened…

If you don’t know, in the scene near the beginning in Bag End with all the dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf they were on two separate sets. See, in the original flicks they could get away with good old fashioned filming where you could put Frodo a certain number of feet behind Gandalf (like at the beginning after “A wizard is never late!” and they are going through Hobbiton on that cart) and Gandalf looks bigger than Frodo.  But this was filmed in 3D….so you can’t use good old fashioned camera tricks.

For this, all the dwarves and Bilbo were on the actual set and Gandalf was alone on a green screen set.  He had pictures of each of the dwarves around the table that lit up when that actor was speaking so he would look in the right direction.   They had SPECIFIC blocking to make sure that they could avoid someone’s arm coming through Gandalf’s stomach but it was still hard.  Ian McKellan sat for HOURS on a set, acting his ass off with an ear piece in his ear to a giant green room.  They had to stop and go back many, many times.  He had to believably interact with people that weren’t there.  People who were having a “gay old time” playing together on the real set.

And then it happened.

He was in the middle of a line, forgot it and had the most beautiful moment of frustration.  His hands clenched, he bent his head and he started to cry from frustration.  As he mentioned, unfortunately his mic was on so everyone heard some soft whimpers and then he pulled himself together and kept going.  The great Ian McKellan reminded us how human he is…and I love him all the more.  I have had this moment.  Every single actor friend of mine has had this moment.  But, for some reason, seeing Ian McKellan have this moment was both breathtaking and relieving.  Knowing that things I struggle with as an actor sometimes he struggles with too.  Knowing that you are always working, always learning, always failing, always winning.  It was absolutely beautiful.

As they mentioned in the commentary, this is something an actor is supposed to do and he didn’t feel he was completing that task.  Even though he was by himself, attempting to listen to an ear piece, interact with people who aren’t there and hopefully giving them something to react off of with his voice…it’s still the actors job.  But these circumstances are pretty incredible, and it’s Ian McKellan…it’s not like he was slacking off! And yet there he was, with his head in his hands breaking down in frustration.

Through other wonderful events which I won’t ruin because you have to see the extended edition to know about them, everything was made right.

I will fully admit that I have been frustrated at myself during Stardust.  I have failed many times.  I have left being very upset with myself and working on it at home and then failing in rehearsal.  And today I found some comfort in Ian’s problems.  Knowing that every good actor is continually going through those moments somehow puts it into perspective for me.  I’m sorry that he emotionally had to deal with that, but feel blessed that I got to see that great actor be on the same emotional roller coaster as so many actors are.

Karaoke Therapy

Last night after rehearsal the cast went out for drinks and karaoke since we aren’t going to see each other for a few days.  I might have had some drinks…and then I might have totally gotten some personal issues off my chest and spilled my heart out to 2 of them.  It was amazing.  And after that I ended up having a fantastic time, sang 3 songs and made new friends!

I forgot how nice it is to get issues that have been bothering you off your chest.  I’ve been holding them in because I didn’t want to bring anyone into my problems (they are mine, not yours so why should I bother) but sometimes damnit you just have to look at someone and say “THIS IS FUCKED UP AND HERE IS WHY AND I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT!” And then you put your little soap box away and you feel much better because a 10lbs weight has been lifted from your chest.  So thanks, R and Eddie…you made last night so much better.

And since that was serious here are things I said outloud while working today:

“No sir, I cannot explain why some women have sex with animals”

“No sir, our program won’t work for you…BECAUSE SHE FILED A HARASSMENT SUIT AGAINST YOU AND YOU CAN’T CONTACT HER OR BE WITHIN 50 FEET OF HER!”

“Oh, no, please sir, please tell me how hot this woman was…no, keep going…I LOVE reading 3 paragraphs where you describe her physically.  It’s very helpful when solving your love problem….oh wait, you’re just physically in love with her…PROBLEM SOLVED!”

“Oh you liked our newsletter about not waiting for a man! Good!…wait….wait…you think that cheating spouses should be stoned to death?!?!…You wish we could go back to the olden days so you can physically punish someone when they stray from their marriage?  Oh dear god…”

Dance Move.

You guys….in one of the dances I get flipped a full 360 around Eddie’s arm.  I stand there, he grabs me, we do this thing and then my legs are in the air and then they are on the ground again.  It might possibly be the coolest thing I’ve done in awhile.  I’m so excited about it.

I probably shouldn’t be mackin down on these tortilla chips right now considering I have to get flipped every night, but…oh well.

Had a private solo rehearsal and did pretty well. I feel great about my solo and other than that fucking D sharp I feel good about other songs as well.  So….FUCK YOU D SHARP!!!

Phew that’s out of my system.

In other news The Hobbit Extended Edition is out. I’m currently waiting for it to arrive.  It’s like fucking torture.

It’s late…bed time for this little “Joy”.  🙂

WAIT…I CAN DO THIS!

Tonight at rehearsal I had the most wonderful revelation!!!

First we started with blocking half of Act 1. After a week of musical rehearsals and one dance rehearsal we finally got to the acting part…thank god!  I finally felt confident and like I knew what I was doing.  I know I can act, take notes, have great blocking ideas and roll with whatever.  So when I entered the first time and started talking on stage I felt like I was home.  (It helps that our set is gorgeous too!). Solving problems, making great jokes, working off other actors, having an open focus to know when to steal and give focus.  I was rockin it!

So the first couple hours were great…and then we went back to choreography. Our first dance rehearsal was fine because it was just learning moves…tonight we added us singing and doing moves.  I will fully admit that this is the part that terrified me the most.  Other than solos we sing back ups for every song.  It’s a lot of “oooh’s” “ahhh’s” “sh booms” “yadadadadada’s” etc.  I was worried about remembering exactly where to sing, what to sing and what note I’m supposed to be on.  So we started with an easy one and after getting the choreo down we added singing.  

Enter Fear.

And then….while doing the moves and singing I had a realization:

THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE MARCHING BAND!!!!

And then it was all butter after that.   “Oh! The key change happens when we do this move!”  “Oh I change notes every time I do this move” and BOOM I was golden!  Strapped with confidence I OWNED the last time we ran through the song.

So, ladies and gentleman, you should be pleased to know that I am now a confident actor that sings and dances at the same time in different keys, on different notes and different generic back up words.  My confidence will last until I have to sing my solos….

The Dark Side

As my sister so perfectly put it, I have ventured over to the Dark Side because I’m in a musical.  It’s my first  musical ever.  Thing is, I’m not big into musicals.  I tell my students that I hate musicals on a chemical level, but that’s mainly to see their faces go from being happy to total fear and shock as they face someone who might possibly not enjoy random people singing and dancing on stage together.  Some musicals I do quite enjoy, but most of them I’m really not into…but that’s a story for a different blog.

Tonight starts week 2 of rehearsals and I gotta tell you…right now…I’m kinda loving the Dark Side.  Yesterday we had dance rehearsal where we learned the Shim Sham from the 50’s, then Hawaiian Christmas music was playing and 2 people played kazoos to it while another 2 of us blew bubbles and the rest pranced around like there was a drug in our system.  I took a moment in between blowing bubbles and having Bax hanging upside down screaming “BUBBLES!!!” to reflect on where we were in the process at this point during Henry.  We had started blocking and were having lots of intellectual conversations about text.  The actor in me wants the text work and blocking, the 4 year old in me wants more kazoos and bubbles.  We then had our music rehearsal and hot damn those are just fucking fun.  It’s all 50’s music!  Rock and roll and 3 part women’s group songs and Christmas music!  No annoying ballads or stupid songs to help the story “move along” just fun awesome songs from the time that make you smile and want to sing and dance along.

I think the reason I’m liking the Dark Side so much is because I get to play with my friends (Louie and Bax and I are pretty close) and the fact that the musical was written for us, with us in mind.  Some of the lines sound exactly how we sound (I have one that is “I was DRUNK when I said that!”) and Louie and Bax helped Madame Director with some of the funny bits.  So it’s actually well written and adorable and not annoying to listen to or watch.  We also cover at least one very serious bit of history, which makes me happy.  I really do hate musicals that are all fluff…or mostly fluff.  Although, I guess there is quite a bit of fluff in this one, but it’s the cutest most adorable fluff you’ve ever seen!!

So with a very grumbly attitude I will here admit….I like being in a musical. For the moment Dark Side…you’re winning.

The Next!

Here I sit, post rehearsal number 2 for the Christmas show with my shitty wine and importing the show CD onto my computer. Last night was the first read–the part I feel good about. Tonight was the first music rehearsal–the part that terrifies me. There we were all sitting around the piano attempting to learn mostly 4 part harmonies, on some songs 6. When the parts were all played individually…oh yeah I got that.  When we put them all together most of them were there, some of them got lost.  Although we did have one song where the music director stopped and was impressed at how much we remembered of one song because it sounded so good…others not so much. I keep singing the wrong note on one part of “Sincerely” because my fellow actress and I are only 1 step apart and I like blending. “Mr. Sandman” and “Jingle Bell Rock” were pretty good for me though…at least I thought so.  

I’m certainly glad I feel solid about the acting and memorization because I am going to have to start spending some serious time every day with the music.  Makes me wish I had saved up more money to get my piano.  I’m $200 away but maybe in the next month I can work that out.  In the mean time I have my sheet music and the CD, which I have a feeling will be on constant play while I’m working throughout the day.  It’s not even Halloween and I’m learning Christmas songs! 

Speaking of Halloween…TODAY WAS EPIC.  I was helping the DM get stuff for his Rambo costume and found out that I fit in a costume that is a child’s large.  So I’m going to be old school Batman.  It’s pretty ridiculous but was super cheap because it’s a kid’s costume!  The cherry on top was when we were at JoAnn Fabrics getting some stuff and we found a Star Trek fabric.  We both squealed like kids and I bought enough to make a dress out of.  STAR TREK DRESS!  I’m so excited.  But before I make that I have to make The Hubby his Pikachu costume.  This year we are both sporting onezies.  Cause we’re cool like that.  

And now I will combine both holidays as I start to sew for Halloween and listen to Christmas music….