Friday, August 22, 2008

Opening Night!

Well, tonight is opening night for Quilters and I do believe we are ready!  In fact, we had our invited dress rehearsal last night and it was amazing!  Everyone really got into their parts and the audience was right there with us the whole time.  It was a wonderful experience, especially for our newbies.  I'll give a full report (with pictures) later, but I just wanted to do a quick post to say that it was wonderful and I'm having a blast!

Here's to opening night!  I hope it goes even better than last night did!

Friday, August 15, 2008

my fault!

Boy, yesterday was a bad day all around.  The story about the show ran in the paper and two of the actresses names were misspelled.  Totally my fault.  Typos and trusting information that I shouldn't have trusted... rookie mistakes in the PR game.  I could chalk it up to being stressed and crazy because the show's about to open, but I'm not going to do that.  I didn't do my job right and now two of the ladies in the show are disappointed because their names were misspelled in the paper.  I don't blame them - they have a right to be upset.  I've sent a correction to the ones that haven't printed the release yet.  Hopefully they will do something about it.  I also sent an email to the entire cast and crew making a public apology for misspelling the two names.  I feel just awful about it.

And then last night's rehearsal didn't go well for me at all.  Everyone else was exceptional, but I stumbled over lines, dropped props, tripped over my skirt and broke character during an important scene.  I was a mess.  I think it was because I broke one of my rules and was thinking about other things.  For one thing, I was upset about the misspelled names.  Also, work has been fairly stressful.  Add to that the fact that I haven't been sleeping well and you have a disaster waiting to happen.  I'm determined to focus tonight.  We run with lights for the first time.  I hope we see some magic!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

running the show

We've been running the show from start to finish in the last few rehearsals and I have to say I think it's going well.  There are still a few things I'm concerned about.  We'll be rehearsing with lights for the first time on Friday, which is always a pain but great once we get through it. 

I have no doubt everyone will shine when the audience gets here, because we had a few people watching late last week and they did so much better, but rehearsals should be just as energetic and animated as performances.   Tonight we're working music and several scenes that are just not working yet.  I'm so glad we're doing that!  What we really need is to run lines once - just lines.  I think most of us have our blocking down, but those lines are causing trouble for some people.  Oh, and picking up cues. 

I do have a couple of funnies to share. 

There's a childbirth scene and I'm playing the midwife.  The "pregnant" girl actually has a quilt block under her dress as the baby - a quilt block that I use in the next scene.  Well, we did the show with costumes last night and she tucked the "baby" into her bloomers so it wouldn't fall out.  When I reached under the blanket and her dress to get the baby out, I couldn't get it because it was in her bloomers.  I had a second of panic as I tried to find it without grabbing anything personal and she struggled with it to get it out so I could grab it.  Finally, after several seconds and after all of us losing control and laughing, I got the baby out.  I begged her not to tuck it into her bloomers again.  She agreed.  It was funny but a bit uncomfortable for everyone!

The other funny involves a scene where we are all naming our children, all at the same time.  We each have 12 names and we start at different times.  I know the first five names I'm supposed to say, but for some reason the ones in the middle just fly right out of my head.  Since we are saying them at the same time, it's less important if we get them exactly right, so I've been just saying names that come into my head at the time once I've given the next person their cue.  One night I named the Beatles and other musicians from that era.  Last night I named all my high school boyfriends.  This morning on my commute, I finally got all the names right!  Hopefully that means it's in my head now, but I'm not holding my breath.  Maybe tonight I'll name the characters in my favorite books.  I'm sure I can come up with 12 of those!


Seriously?  Is it always like this?  No matter what environment I'm in, it always seems to spiral down into some kind of chaos.  Is it me? 

I am seriously speechless and even if I wasn't, I couldn't go into any additional detail.  ARGH!

Friday, August 08, 2008

always plotting

Yes, even when there is no writing news, I'm always plotting in my head.  Yes, even though I'm concentrating on lines and dance steps, I'm still thinking of Draha and it's adventures.  When the show is over, I should be able to finish that first outline without too much trouble at all! 

There were a few things I didn't know, but I think I've figured them out now.  I had a couple of problems that needed solving and I think they have been solved.  I have finally figured out where each portal will be placed in each world, and I know what they will look like.  I'm struggling a little with the symbol for the portals - because they will all be different, there should be some kind of identifying mark that isn't too obvious but can be seen by Cindy and Justin.  I'm either going to make the symbol the same thing, something I make up to go along with the culture of Draha that I'm creating, or a symbol that means what each island represents, probably also made up but possibly some kind of hieroglyphic or celtic symbol just to give it a little significance in reality.  I want it to be (or seem) old, ancient even.  I'm also dealing with the language issue.  I've always found it suspicious in books when people or creatures from other worlds or dimensions speak English, just like the main characters do.  Maybe Cindy and Justin have some special gift for understanding all Draha languages or something, being that they are the chosen two.  Or maybe that's even more cheesy than everyone speaking English.  I dunno... something to think about.

Do you know what else I love?  Back story!  I'm having a marvelous time creating back story for each of the Guides.  There's one on each island and they go back generations, knowing this is their job and waiting to be called into service.  It's a fun exploration of family and duty.  I've been making notes on all this backstage and while waiting for rehearsals to start.  I love when I know my lines, because I have so much more time!

So yeah, September will be a big month for Draha.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

First off book rehearsal

Yay!  Last night was our first off-book rehearsal!  I didn't have to call for lines at all, which was kind of a shock to me because I thought for sure I'd need it for one of the scenes.  That just goes to show you that we use the script as a crutch sometimes and it needs to be ripped from our hands for us to realize we can go without it.  We did Act 1 last night and it was about 1 hour and 20 minutes long, which is actually pretty good considering all the calls for lines and all the big pauses we took between scenes.  Oh, and the fact that none of us picked up our cues fast enough!  But I think it's really good considering we have 16 days left and most of those are rehearsal days.  Some of the cast members are getting nervous, but I'm just getting excited.  I love this so much!

Tonight we do Act 2 without our scripts for the first time.  It will be a little more challenging, even though it's shorter.  There are some pretty complicated parts, especially concerning who strikes what and when. 

Oh, and we tried our costumes on for the first time last night and they have to take mine in 2 inches!  I had no idea I had lost that much weight!  They also have to take about 2 inches off the length because I'm short, but that's okay.  I tripped over the skirt a few times during rehearsal last night, so I'm all about making it shorter.

Wednesday we are going to try to run the show from start to finish.  It will be the first time we've tried that.  I love that particular rehearsal - everything really starts to come together then, you know?

I think I've figured out one reason I love theatre so much, and I may have said this before but it bears repeating.  You have a chance, in that one moment, to experience something with a group of people that you will never be able to repeat.  That one moment in time, that one performance, will never happen again, and the audience has the same unique experience that you are having in that moment.  That's why recorded theatre is never the same as seeing it live.  It's one of the few times in entertainment that you can't rewind the Tivo or whatever if you missed something, so you have to pay attention all the time.  In a world of entertainment on demand, live performances are the only real unpredictable entertainment, the only real experience that you can never rewind or duplicate.  There are other reasons, but that one is key, I think.

Monday, August 04, 2008

painting sets

We had a work day on Saturday.  I fought a cold or something all weekend, but when I woke up on Saturday I was feeling well enough to go down to the theatre and paint.  At least I didn't have a fever like I did on Friday, so I wasn't contagious or anything.  So Noah and I worked for a few hours and it was a lot of fun.  We got almost everything finished, including cutting some fabric for a scene where we all needed this black, almost sheer fabric to cover ourselves to symbolize the effects of the fire.  And Noah helped build the fence!  He had a great time, and even asked me if he could help when we do this for every show in the future.  I'm not sure how long that will last, but it was nice that he asked.

But about the set - it's basically a black box with some brown pieces (stools, ladders, etc) and the color comes from the costumes and the quilt blocks.  I think it will be very effective.

Play selection is still going on, although we should have picked something by now.  One play we considered for this season is now on another theatre's slate for next season, which is sad because I was going to ask them to reconsider.  I'm going to go see it at the other theatre because it seems very funny and fun.  I might even try out!  But for play selection, I read "A Doll's House" (again - we read it in school) and I think we could really do it justice.  I'm reading a play called "Sealed for Freshness" right now, which seems funny so far.  We've had a lot of comments about how dark this year's slate was and how people would rather see lighter shows, so I think we are going to focus on funny a little more next year just to help counterbalance the darkness of this year's shows.  It's true, when you look at it, all the shows dealt with death in some way.  Even our comedy, "Dearly Departed," was about a funeral and had some truly dark moments.  We're trying to put on quality shows that make people think and really challenge them, but I think there is some merit to putting in one "fluff" show to help cheer things up a little.  Our committee is having this discussion right now and there are people who strongly support both sides of the argument.  I stand in the center, because I see both sides.  There's no use in putting on four heavy shows a year if nobody comes to see them - and if nobody auditions!  So that's our current problem.

Rehearsal tonight!  We've shifted to a Mon-Fri schedule and have dropped Sundays, which is good.  Only 17 more days until opening night!