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Thursday, June 13, 2013

La Vie en Rose...final post

This might get a little sappy and sentimental but it is necessary...........

After class yesterday and reflecting over the whole experience with all the members of the class I realized how bad ass these last two terms have been. I really would like to thank everyone that was involved. This started during winter term and that class was just a great start with Chris, Davey, Megan, Mike and Emily thank you for all the help on the script along the way and the criticism that was able to make it as well as it turned out to be.

Then the new additions this term Mike, Alex, Abbey and Tucker made the second have of the process just as cool. All the plays turned out to be great. Chris and Tucker put out a hilarious story of Mr. Billner and his cross dressing-fake bird chirping-squeeking boob day, Alex and Mike's Future Future Dear God turned out to be something completely different than I think anyone imagined when we read Mikes script last term which was really funny and then Alex added in his sense of Americana humor that was perfect. Abbey and Megan Crossroads might have had some confusing moments but I still really enjoyed watching it and reading through it last term. Botis is still one of my favorite characters and the whole little world the play was operating in was fun to play around with. (Abbey thank you for showing us how to properly stab people while on stage and the constant encouragement to stay involved in theater, I'm sorry I made you cry!)

Mr. Beaton, you did one hell of a job figuring out how to make the little conversation that was my script and make it action oriented an entertaining. The contrast between the death and the song at the end of the play was extremely beautiful and I am very thankful for the interpretation you put up on stage. ALL OF THE ACTORS FUCKING KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK! Joseph, Brian, Anna, Erin and Caleb thank you so much for bringing the characters to life it would not have been the same without your effort and energy!

And last but not least.....Thank you very much Liz for the opportunity to do this. You gave us the perfect amount of freedom and direction and the last two terms have been very cool and extremely helpful for the future. It's always awesome to have someone who can give you complements for your work and then tell you everything that is shit about it because you want us to grow as writers or actors or directors instead of blowing smoke up our ass. It's hard to call this a "class" but it was one of the best experiences since I've been in college....thank you (and thank you for making me spend the summer as a kitchen wench, I can't wait!).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflections on the Proccess

After watching the plays run for about eight days in a row it was a lot of fun to see the change throughout each performance. The actors kept building on the performances from the night before and cool new things were brought out each night. The audience definitely plays into this. Some nights they don't like to laugh and some nights they do. Some nights they were really into La Vie and some nights it felt like people were just saying to themselves, "stab this gal already!"

By Sunday though everything was completely different than Wednesday. It was more polished, the actors changed things around and found what was working which really contributed to the pace of the play while being watched. Its funny to look back on and think of it starting with six people sitting in a circle and reading their lines. I had never done anything like this before so every step of the way was new and I had no idea what to expect out of it which was great because I had a lot of fun going through the process.

Looking at the Festival in its totality really blew me away. There are about twenty people (maybe more) all working for the 5 performances we had and it all went together great. There were a couple of hiccups along the way in the form of broken ankles and directors needing to act in the lead roles on opening night but it all turned out to be very good.

I'll never forget the night that "fuck the children!" was screamed out and the audience was completely silent...that was just way too good.

Final Post

 Directing Rose was a fun but stressful experience made even more stressful by the fact that it was not only a production but also a class, and as a class there was much more work that I had to accomplish.  These blog posts are part of the work I had to do for the class, as well as keeping a journal and typing a final reflection paper on the experience.  I am going to write a reflection paper, but keeping a record of the rehearsals and posting a blog weekly like I was supposed to was something that I didn't succeeded at.  I was busy with all the other work for the play, and also because it was a play I had trouble remembering that there was classwork that I had to complete.  Theatre has been my form of escapism and I thinking of it as being a class made the experience less exciting and pleasurable.  Having to also work nights and be in The Misanthrope, and my time and energy for getting things done other than the technical necessities of the play was too much to handle.  So I admit that I didn't complete all the work that I was assigned, and I deserve the grade according to that, but as for directing the show, I am happy with the way it turned out and thankful to have worked with the people that I did.  I want to make one final thank you to my actors for their hard work and patience and for putting on a terrific show.  I also want to thank Ricky Zipp for writing a great play and being great to work with in making it come to life.  I'm thankful that my first directing experience was a positive and enjoyable one and I hope to have more in the future.  Thank you all for seeing the shows, and putting up with me. Thank you.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Big Pink Door

La Vie en Rose translates to "life in pink" and is a reference to the phrase "looking through rose colored glasses".  This is great juxtaposition as the title is very lovely and romantic, opposite of course to the content of the play which is quite tragic.  This gave me some really creative ideas for the play.

As everyone could see the hotel door that we had in Rose was pink.  It wasn't quite the shade that I wanted, but the techies are in control of that sort of thing and it all worked out anyway.  I was hoping for a light red or a faint pink for the door and when I first saw that it had been painted with the very prominent hot pink I was very surprised.  I did love the door though, hot pink and all.  It gave the play a kind of surreal, symbolic quality while everything else, with the exception of the Bellhop's orange OSU marching band uniform, was set in the drab colors of the depression.

Speaking of depression, I was worried for my choice of the final moments of the play.  Again working with juxtaposition, I wondered how my choice of playing Lois Armstrong's version of La Vie en Rose while the Bellhop covers the dead Anne with a blanket.  I thought that the trumpet music, which in the right setting is happy and lively, in this case would be sad and melancholic with the final image of the play.  Ricky Zipp was very happy with the choice, having mentioned that he listened to the song as he wrote the play it seemed like the right choice.

 It's hard to see if your play has the affect you want it to when you direct a drama.  In a comedy you get laughs, but in a drama how can I know if they liked it?  Well, Ricky and me liked it and got some good comments from the audience, so that's good enough.  It was fun making the play happen and getting to work with Ricky.  Hope I get the chance again.       


Notes and Shared Energy

  The easiest and the most difficult part of directing in the One Acts was watching all five of the productions.   It was easy because I was finally in a position where I didn't have to do anything.  The rehearsals where over and I had placed a lot of time and effort into creating the production and now all the responsibility of the show was now in the hands of the actors and I could relax.  This was also the hardest part because now I simply had to observe with no control over the show, and watch the fruits of the labors of the cast, writer, and myself be received by an audience for five times in a row.

 I had made the decision early on during the rehearsals of La Vie en Rose that I wouldn't give any notes after any of the productions, which is a decision influenced by my athletic background.  Rehearsal is the time for preparation and the show nights are game days, and you don't coach on game days.  All that is done before hand and it is up to the players to decide the outcome.

Now I'm going on record saying that I was very happy with the productions of Rose, and that my actors all did great.  I'm happy that all the actors worked hard and put in all the practice and effort that made a wonderful show that didn't require me to make any changes or remind them to do anything.  It was my philosophy that with enough rehearsal time the cast would be confident enough in running the show that any problems or subtle changes, good or bad, that happened to the show during the productions would be noticed and addressed by the actors.  I saw this as a learning experience for the actors with less performing experience than others, and for veterans to not hear any more notes and take care of things by themselves.

Though they were great performances I did notice a few things that I would have liked to change, and though I didn't give any notes on the production there were a few things that I could have said.  I'm happy I didn't though, and I believe that proper prep and planning and no notes during the show is best way to go in the future.  There are some things that can't be changed however.  No matter how many notes I can give, I can't change the all important energy of the show. 

I noticed that the One Acts have a shared energy and that the tempo and dynamics of one show had an effect on the other shows.  This is all part of the collaboration of theatre.  In a single show, the energy level of one person can have an effect on everyone else.  If you're in a show or have seen it multiple times you can notice the differences that a change in energy can have.  Sometimes lines are dropped, sometimes the pacing is slower, sometimes lines are delivered drastically differently, and dozens of other little things that make the show what it is can be changed from a previous night.

I saw that these things happened in my show, and also in the other shows in the One Acts.  I wasn't thrown off or displeased by this however, since I knew going in that each night would be different and that shared energy would be a cause of that.  The show's were still great, and it was a good learning experience for me to see all the performances and see the differences from the other side of the stage.  I'll take this new knowledge into my future performances as an actor, and hopefully as a director as well.    
  


Future, Future, So Long...

This has been a very emotional week for me, which is funny because I am not usually that emotional of a person. But with graduation just around the corner and after having attended the cast party this last Saturday day it really hit me that I will be moving on and saying goodbye to so many of my old friends here at OSU as well as having to say goodbye to my new friends (so many whom I met in the making of this production). I am excited for the future but graduating will be bittersweet to say the least.

I have learned so much from all of you. Alex you are a great leader, and your talents are seemingly boundless my friend. We got to collaborate again one of these days! Zipp you are an awesome writer and you always call me out on my bull-crap, which is greatly appreciated. Mike you are an awesome guy with crazy powerful intensity man and that really translated into Ricky's play. Seriously man you are a great director and though I have never seen you act I am guessing that you are awesome. Abbey you are a pro that knows what to do in like every situation. I wish I had your know-how! Megan you are a great writer, who has a really unique style!. Chrispy, I am not saying bye to you because I am going to see you in Vegas my friend. But in case I don't you are awesome man! You always make me laugh and you are extremely talented. Tucker, you are like the nicest person ever! And I have heard that you are a tremendous actor from other Seus kids so it must be true.  Liz, you kick ass and everybody knows it.

Thank you guys so much! I am going to miss all of you and wish you all the very best! But I think I will miss you most of all scarecrow! (Sorry had to do it).
See you in the Future, Future.
Cheers!
-Miking

Monday, June 10, 2013

Goodbye?

Great advice.

The last show was yesterday.
It is over.
The sets are put back.
The props are up.
The crossroads taken apart and spilt forever between Megan and me.
The Crossroads
'Styx River' went to Megan and 'Damascus Road' came to me.
The cloths are washed, on their way to the dry cleaner, or in the case of the red skirt worn by the character Shax in the actress Alycia's closet.
And 'The Box' was destroyed by the very man who it tortured.
           
    The Red skirt and 'The Box'
It was wonderful.
The last show was so alive.
How I will miss these wonderful people.

The Bench and Bare feet.
The 'sweet sorrow' of it being over has not yet sunk in.
And the what could I have done better have yet to be banished in to the darkness of yesterday.
It was over before I could get tired of it.
That is just what I love about theatre.
That is just what makes theatre so hard.
However there is always another show around the corner.
But I will alway remember this show.
It is time to move on down the road.
So....