Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mr. Hardy: Joe Cullen (No relation to the sparkly blood suckers)

Joe didn't need much direction coming into his role as Mr. Hardy. He had a character laid out immediately, he has excellent comedic timing and memorized his lines by our first rehearsal! I have rally enjoyed working with him, not only is he hilarious onstage, but offstage too. He is an all-around awesome guy that has been very easy to work with and communicate with (When his phone isn't broken that is). When first seeing him in auditions I knew I wanted him in my show in one capacity or another, he is not afraid to look stupid and take risks onstage which is invaluable when working on a show like this. Some notes that I have given Joe this term have been:

"Stand up tall"
"Keep doing what you're doing"

I didn't have a lot of notes for him, it was generally keep doing that, or do that again. Thanks for being awesome Joe!

Nurse Ratchet and the HARDy Boys

Risa is a straight gem. She is hard working and fun to work with, one challenge we have faced however is her low level of comfort portraying a sex crazed woman. Nurse Ratchet is actually described in the script as a sex maniac and has multiple overtly sexual puns and jokes that can Risa can be uncomfortable with. Some of my favorite notes I've given her are:

"Hot dogs = Penis. Make the sex joke"
"Touch them, make it sexy"
"Be creepier"
"Make the sex jokes overtly obvious"
"You don't have to shake the chloroform bottle, just tilt it onto the rag"
"Good towel whip Risa"

Overall Risa gets better and better each night, she takes the notes I give her and her character work ethic is awesome. It's been a blast!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tech Weekend - Funeral Tea

Have you ever watched one of those "reality tv shows" in which someone's skills are put to the test whether it be singing, baking cupcakes, or finding the bachelor of your dreams? In each episode, someone is eliminated because they don't have what it takes and with each episode the obstacles become greater and greater until someone eventually comes out the winner with an insane cash prize?

In my experience, tech weekend can put a show to the test. Thankfully in our One Act Festival there is no elimination round but, like these tv shows, new challenges are added that effect your play. The first portion and usually the longest is the initial day. We add lights and sound cues which are programmed into their respective boards and we practice for the first time marrying the technical aspects with the human component. It is during the run that the consistency of the show is often revealed because an actor can be asked to do a sequence over in order to make sure everything is aligned as it should be for the play. Most of the time, the actors do not see what the light looks like around them and yet they must adapt to the mood that it is creating. In order to accomplish this, the show must be in a stable place so that the actors can accommodate. Likewise, the sounds that they are hearing have to be met with the correct projection of their own voice, even though they had never heard it over the system before. So yet again, the show must be in a good place so that these components can be accounted for readily. In our case, both the lighting and sound were on the same day as dress rehearsal.

Dress rehearsal for this particular show involved putting on their costumes for the first time to be performed in and doing their hair and makeup. Because my cast has just attended a funeral service, my costumes, hair, and makeup were more complex than my colleagues plays. However, there were many accomplishments in this process. Three of my ladies learned how to do a smokey-eye, one learned how to create old age makeup and one even learned how to apply makeup for the first time ever. As always there were mishaps, the biggest of which being one of my ladies had her skirt rip (twice!) but my costumer managed to repair it before they even went on stage.

With the tech and dress, my cast had a lot on their plate. But after watching them begin to use these elements to enrich their storytelling. I can see where this play is headed. It is from this launching point that the show changes rapidly because everything that once seemed chaotic begins to fall into place. It's an exciting place to be.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Tech weekend-
This weekend we celebrated Memorial Day Weekend by gearing up for our performances this coming week! Saturday we ran through our set changes and we added lighting to our shows. This process has been such a fun new challenge! For my show I've added a dark red light change to signify a huge change in character for Victoria. It turned out looking great and it adds so much to the scene. Today, Sunday, we had our first full dress rehearsal and added our sound clips. My actors look great in their costumes! I can't wait for us to have audiences. We still have a lot of cleaning up to do between now and opening, but I'm confident that all of the shows with be spiffy and in great shape for opening night Thursday. All of the directors have worked so hard this term and I am so proud to be a part of this festival with them. These shows will be great! Come and enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Dark King Kills Unicorn-

Well, here is my first blog post about our little show Dark King Kills Unicorn by Reina Hardy. Unfortunately it has taken me this long to be able to get around to getting many of the ideas that I have had over the course of our rehearsal process. We are nearing the final stretch and thing have started to come together to some degree. I think that for this first post, an summary of the play itself.

Dark King Kills Unicorn is part of our Spring One Act Festival. The play itself is a comedy about the confrontation of a dark king named Draegerman and a Unicorn simply named Unicorn. Set in an unknown fantasy world, the two characters talk about what started the current war between countries and love. As tensions between the two escalate, the truth about what started the war and their past comes out and the two come to blows with one another. The Draegerman standing triumphant over the body of the Unicorn is joined by another Unicorn simply known as Other Unicorn, this one being female. The two exchange words over the body of the fallen Unicorn, until the female Unicorn flees, fearing for her life. Regretting his blood rage that resulted in the Unicorns death, he spends his final moments of the play, lamenting a life he could have had.

Friday, May 27, 2016

My Hardy Boys

Just a little bit about my Hardy boys. Joel Schmidt and Gabe Nielsen are two best friends, they both went to high school together, and were in multiple shows together. They have an amazing chemistry that was exactly what I was looking for with the Hardy Boys. Joel is a funny, kind, freshman enrolled at LBCC, him and I have been friends for almost a year now, starting with his proposal, which I promptly declined. Gabe has a lovely old soul, he is a hard worker who wants to see the show be a hit! Both are energetic and have a great grasp of physical comedy. Honestly they have been an absolute dream to work with! Some of my favorite notes that I have ever given them are:

"Joel, if you say, 'no it hurts'... then act like it hurts!"
"Gabe, are you a Hunchback? No? then stop being one. Also, are you a t-rex? THEN STOP"
"Joel, where are you looking, the audience is over here."
"Gabe, grab your crotch."
"Joel, you're Frank... Not Joe."
"Good job going down on yourself"
Disclaimer: This is from one of my first meetings, finally able to post them!

I have erased my first sentence now a solid 15 times. I am sitting at my desk in my room, trying to decide what to write on this Blog.... Now I am eating an apple. Beginnings are always hard for me, the commitment level required to start something and see it through, either gets me excited or causes me a small amount of nausea.

Commitments that make me queasy: running, of any type. Eating a grapefruit, I generally avoid that. Cleaning my room, I get stressed out with the stuff vs. space ratio and how I always have more stuff than space. Buying jeans, I can never find the right fit, always struggling with the gap in the back!

However there are commitments that get me excited! I love swimming, losing yourself in the water and completing a good set is one of the finer things in life. Writing a good story or journal entry. Shopping, for anything really, organizing my grocery lists is a low key passion of mine. Reading my Bible and talking about God. And finally directing, acting and impacting peoples lives through performance art!

Signing up for the commitment of directing a show for the 2016 One Act Festival at OSU got me excited out of my mind! This year I am directing, The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of where Babies Come from, by Christopher Durang. The Hardy boys are two 20 year old men who have never been educated about sex, babies, or how any of it happens, and how their ignorance is a detriment to them. Durang, takes a hard topic, like the lacking sex education programs in America, and puts them in a campy over exaggerated setting, causing us to laugh uproariously, and hopefully, think.

Casting. My cast is top notch. J and G who play the Hardy Boys are friends from high school and have an amazing chemistry and are so willing to take risks and go above and beyond during rehearsal. R is a beautiful lovely soul and asking her to play a cougar type character is a very funny juxtaposition. Finally J#2 is playing Mr. Hardy, J#2 is the kind of actor all directors dream of, someone willing to work until it is right.

Scheduling is HARD. Trying to fit four different people onto one rehearsal schedule is challenging and frustrating, however I now have a beautiful calendar that I slaved over and I'm severely proud of it.

Finally scene working. I had my first rehearsal the other night, J and G were awesome, G came with most of his lines memorized already, and J had some amazing ideas that I hadn't thought of that added another dynamic to the story. Chatting with them, throwing around ideas during rehearsal, laughing, and working hard, is something that I want to strive for every rehearsal.
My rules so far:
1. Be over the top! I'll tell you if you go to far.
2. Speak your mind, I love new ideas, and am not afraid to say no if I don't like it.
3. Don't be afraid to "get physical" in the movement sense.
4. J stop walking so much, plant your feet, quite "Posing for the camera."
5. G, plant your feet, stop slouching and get rid of your T-rex arms!

Overall it was a wonderful first rehearsal and for HW I made them watch Africa Screams with Abbott and Costello for inspiration on their on stage relationship.

I am glad I got through this first blog entry. *pat myself on back* *cookie for reward* *Maybe pop popcorn*

Knockers- Meet the Cast & Crew

Note: Some of the "Knockers" journal entries are not posted when these events actually happened. I've had some technical issues and haven't been able to post until now but I've been keeping notes in a separate document. Now I am able to transpose them here.

Though we take our show seriously, we don't entirely take ourselves all that seriously. To show you just a few of the reasons (with more to follow) why we are such a lively, unorthodox bunch, they would like to introduce themselves. I hope you fall in love with their charm just as I did. 

Anahelena Goodman-Flood- portraying Esther

First Year, Recreation Resource Management. 

Reason for doing the show: I dig theater, and One Acts are a really accessible opportunity for people like myself who have not been involved in other productions. 

Fun Fact: Anahelena has no rhythm.

Elena Ramirez- portraying Alma

Sophomore, Ethnic Studies w/ minor in Anthropology 
Reason for doing this show: Because PJ sent me a facebook invite for the auditions and I made the cut haha. 

Interesting/Quirky Fact: I can lick my elbowwwwww

Steven Evans-Renteria- portraying Thomas

19, Hermiston OR, I can play 14 instruments and have an almost three and a quarter octave range. Doing the show because I needed to work on my acting chops, Music Major.

Jesse Johnson- portraying Drew

Jesse Johnon is an OSU Sophomore majoring in Math and Physics. He was in OSU's production of Rosecrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, his first time acting in several years. He also enjoys DnD, and movies.

Costume Designers

Emily Upton

Emily is a full-time student at Oregon State University working towards a major in Apparel Design and a minor in Theatre Arts. She was homeschooled her entire life all the way up until college. She has worked in costuming for four years and is currently the Costume Shop Assistant at OSU. She has over 13 years dance training in ballet, jazz, hip hop, modern, lyrical, and tap, and is an avid pursuer of her hobby of cosplay, where she creates her own costumes and props and attends conventions around the Northwest, showcasing her work and hosting panels.

Ruth Drake

I've been studying apparel design here at OSU for two years now, but since i transferred in I have enough credits to be a senior. I'm costuming this show due to my love of costuming and the past experiences I have had as a costume designer in last years one act "The Answer" and this years student run production of "Desdemona" have been amazing. I'm hoping after I eventually graduate to continue learning about costume design in an MFA and hopefully PHD program and eventually get a job in theatres or even in film as a costume designer.

 Directors note: Having seen their work, Emily and Ruth are not only great costumers and designers, but they are great makeup artists as well. Seen above is some prosthetic work of Ruth's and is not actual scarring.

Accents - Funeral Tea

As I mentioned in my first post, part of my development of this world would come from accents. Although the playwright suggests a British or Cockney, I wanted to make a deliberate choice by using them. I wanted these women to sound like they were from the lower class and longing for attention.One can see that they are of such status because they comment on their outfits saying that they bought them especially for the occasion. To me, this illustrates that this is not only a special occasion but that it is something that they are not used to. Due to this, the funeral causes them to be spoiled because, as the niece of the deceased, Miss Starkie, puts it, "All provided for... all provided for in Uncle Jacob's will" I believe that part of the subtle humor of the piece is that they look prim and proper but their speech suggests otherwise.

Not being British myself, I had to not only learn how to speak in a Cockney accent but also teach it to my five girls and have them perform it in about a six week time span. As if this wasn't enough of a challenge, I decided to set a personal goal: to speak every line in the play in their accent. I figured that in order to teach it, I mus challenge myself but I also must know it well enough to correct them. It took me about a week of youtube searches, how-to guides, articles, to boil down a digestible and obtainable version for my cast. I chose to devote one of our rehearsals to go through the accent, having them take notes and repeat after me. Since I am considering going into education, I have found this experience enlightening in itself.
Over the past couple weeks, I have continued to study. The best tool that I have been given was by a cast mate of mine over the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead performances has been a disc course of how to speak use a Cockney accent. With performances so close ahead, we have reached the point where I have picked on each cast member with words, phrases, or even the musicality of their speech. The next task that we have ahead of us is to make all of our accents sound like an ensemble rather than individualized by really listening to each other. After all, so much of acting is made up of the moments when one is listening.

Until next time,

Sedona Garcia

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We open in one week!

Hello everyone,
our one-act festival open one week from tomorrow! I can't believe how fast this time has flown by. This week running through all six shows has been so fun! It's been great to see what all of the directors have been working on and to see all of the shows in full. This festival is hilarious, I can't wait to have an audience. My cast has been working hard to make this show their own. Now I have been giving very detailed notes, which is a good sign. I'm getting picky to be able to make our show as best as it can be. Audiences are going to love this festival and I'm so proud of my actors and fellow directors on all of the hard work they've done this term!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hey everyone, we start company run throughs this week! I am extremely excited to be able to see all of the one act plays we have prepared in action. Rehearsals for my show, Cake Top Follies has been going well! We had our first rehearsal with my actors eating REAL CAKE on Friday. It was super fun and messy, which is exactly what I wanted. It's a hot mess, literally. We still have work to do cleaning up certain beats and the physical comedy between the two sisters, but I'm excited to start putting it all together. It's been great to work with my actors and I'm excited to see the show take off without me. This week will really solidify their blocking choices and things they have been experimenting. I'm excited to showcase the final project in less than two weeks! Time has really flown by, and I'm very proud at how far my actors have come through the process.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Knockers- Description and Casting

Note: Some of the "Knockers" journal entries are not posted when these events actually happened. I've had some technical issues and haven't been able to post until now but I've been keeping notes in a separate document. Now I am able to transpose them here.

We finally begin! We're about tho get our first look at the next eight weeks!

Knockers was written by Chris Sheppard and Jeff Grove

Allow me to give you a brief description of what I'm looking for before we go over casting.
Knockers begins with Thomas, sitting in his living room when a knock comes at the door. On the other side are Esther and Alma, two missionary women for the Church of the Eternal Spirit here to get Thomas thinking about where he "might spend eternity if [he] were to die tonight"! Thomas eagerly invites them inside to sit and discuss their church's policies since he is currently "between religions". Alma and Esther are very pleased to have such a wholesome man interested in their congregation, however... it seems Thomas is a bit too interested. In fact, he starts making them look like the less righteous ones. Thomas, having thoroughly interrogated these women, invites our fourth character into the scene. His "wife", Drew. If you want to know the rest you'll just have to see the play.

For Thomas I am looking for a nice, rational, charismatic guy. I want him to look like he just got home from his job at the office but still have energy to have a lovely conversation with complete strangers. I need his speech to be level and inviting. His smile to be genuine and his focus directed. I also need someone who can produce subtle changes and carry a large amount of energy.

Esther is somewhat the opposite. Esther is conserved physically, we may have to age the actor with makeup, but she is liberal with her tongue. While her words and messages are conservative, she is not afraid to speak her mind and tell you straight up when she disagrees with you. I need someone who can play aggressively delicate. A strong woman who, by choice, holds herself subservient and withdrawn from worldly pleasures. My idea of her is actually based off of a professor of mine both physically and emotionally.

Have you ever seen Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg? You should because my inspiration for Alma comes directly form Sister Mary Robert. I want someone who is petite in behavior, fickle, and easily persuaded. But she's got this bit of sunshine in her that, even in her conservative, mini-me, Esther wanna-be style, you can still look at her and think, "How cute is she?" I need an actor who can be indecisive and try too hard at the same time.

I'm looking for the same types of things in Drew that I'm looking for in Thomas. Average, like able, charismatic, a real wholesome, family man. Someone who is excited to see you and open to welcoming you into his home. He and Thomas get along very well and are eager to expose themselves to the holy, virtuous, saintly lifestyle.
I need an actor who's willing to put himself out there... way out there.

Auditions Day One: I have my Alma. She is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm fairly certain on my Thomas but I'll see what tomorrow yields. No Drew or Esther decided yet. Not many people showed up and I'm slightly nervous.

Auditions Day Two: Way more people showed up today! I was right to wait. Esther came right in with her first reading. She delivered what no one else gave upon a simple direction. I'm now certain on my Thomas. He once again proved to be exactly what I was looking for right off the bat. I know the least about the character Drew right now (still haven't received the full scripts) so I had all my Drew candidates read for Thomas instead. I found someone who fits those requirements and who I feel like I can trust going into the unknown. The other directors give him a good rap and say that he's been good to work with in the past.

My cast is set!

Knockers- Introduction

Note: Some of the "Knockers" journal entries are not posted when these events actually happened. I've had some technical issues and haven't been able to post until now but I've been keeping notes in a separate document. Now I am able to transpose them here.

Hello and welcome to the world of Knockers!

My name is PJ Harris and I would like to start by telling you a bit about myself. I am a second year Theatre major and Music Performance minor. Coming to OSU I was expecting a completely different experience than what I got. You see, my roots lie in musicals. It's where I first learned to act and sing, so you can imagine my surprise upon getting here and realizing that OSU virtually doesn't do musicals (of course, I did get the rare opportunity to be a part of this winters production of Kiss Me Kate which was a wonderful treat and refreshing experience as a performer).
This has left me to focus on other styles and mediums in the theatre arts. I've been able to greatly improve my auditioning ability and do away with those cold read nerves. I've been given an environment to experiment and develop my stage makeup and stage wigging techniques. But the most enriching experience I've had was to get into directing. I find myself lucky, being the youngest and least experienced in the directing track, to be allowed into such a program and learning space. It has really given me a greater understanding of the world of the theatre and is currently the option I am pursuing going forward with my education.

I chose the Knockers script for a few reasons. My number one priority for choosing a script was that it involved either a non-heterosexual or non-cisgender character and represented them fairly and not as a token or stereotype. At least one (if not all) of the main characters had to meet these requirements. This comes from my activism work in the LGBTQ+ community. I work at OSU's Pride Center and find that advocacy to be one of the most important things I do.
There is an enormous lack of Queer representation in scripts and I'm not going to wait around for someone else to bring it to the table. My second priority, which is flexible depending on how much I like a script, is that it be a comedy. I have previously found success in directing comedies and not so much success in directing more serious scenes. I figure while I'm still finding my footing as a director it would be best to play into my strengths.

Knockers has both of these things and I am very excited about it. To be honest with you, I'm still waiting to read the end myself! My script was found through a company on the internet and, until the physical script gets mailed to us, I can only read 75% of the play. But that's OK! I am confident that I have what I need of each character to cast each character appropriately.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Hey everyone! Just checking in to update you all on rehearsals. Today we had a fantastic rehearsal for Cake Top Follies! We have almost all of our props and are finding new things to play with and explore each rehearsal. Both of my actors are almost completely off-book and are really having fun with the show. These girls are open to try anything new and I love it! I'm looking forward to having three rehearsals next week and solidifying all of their blocking. It's been a fun journey and I can't wait to see the final project come together in the next few weeks!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Introduction - Funeral Tea

Hello all!

I'm Sedona Garcia and I would like to use this post as a way to introduce myself as well as my play. I am a junior here at Oregon State double majoring in Theatre and History and after I graduate, I am looking forward to having a career teaching my love of the liberal arts to future generations in either high school or college. If you have attended any OSU shows this season, you may have seen me as Benvolia in Romeo and Juliet or in our musical Kiss Me Kate as an ensemble member. Presently, I am in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead playing Gertrude and serving as props manager. When I have spare time, I enjoy playing or writing music, working on diy projects, listening to books and belting in my car. I consider myself blessed by having the opportunity have direct my own show and strive have a clear vision and execution into this posh and quirky comedy.

The show that I will be directing is titled Funeral Tea written by Pat Wilson. Essentially, the plot is that four British women spend so much time trying to elevate themselves that they forget the location of the urn containing Uncle Jacob’s ashes which causes them to wonder if they may actually be drinking him in their tea.
The concept that I have envisioned  for this play is that it should make the audience feel like they are witnessing teatime with Cinderella’s stepsisters. The characters in the play are supposed to have cockney accents, which distinguishes them as being low-society, but they posses the ego, vanity and pretentiousness of people in high-society. This give the audience the impression that the characters are putting on a false a poorly done display of grandeur for the sake of elevating themselves, making them look just as ridiculous as Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters in their gaudy outfits, attempting to look more graceful than they are. The best real-life example I could draw from for inspiration for this were the over-the-top outfits at the Will and Kate royal wedding, particularly the hats. I want the hats to be the focal point for the characters costumes and for the hats to match the character’s personalities in terms of both size and frill.

Currently in my process, I have just finished blocking the entire show and starting working with the cockney accent which I will go into detail more in a future post. 

Until then,