Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Rehearsals for West Side Story began this past Sunday. I only have a few random thoughts to share thus far, so in the spirit of Diesel's Sock Drawer, here goes:


Galveston isn't that far. With 5 o' clock traffic it really only takes about an hour if I take the Beltway. Of course, this costs me three extra dollars, (I don't take it on the return trip since it is 11 pm and there is no traffic on the Loop) which doesn't sound like much, but when you consider the fact that from first rehearsal to closing night there are officially 53 dates on the schedule, that's $159 bucks, which might be the entire paycheck I will receive for this gig.


That's right, I still have no clue what the company is paying me for almost a quarter of my year spent in rehearsals and performances. The current minimum wage is $6.55, so at that rate, I am looking at a little more than $1000. WOW! If I made that much every 12 weeks, I would be in that illustrious category of sub-poverty. Nice.


Of course I am not doing this for the money. If I were looking for the most lucrative thing I could do with my acting skills I would turn to prostitution. This is merely paying my dues. Taking the low paying gig in a different city at a relatively new theatre company is part of the process. Most do it in college or instead of college. In all honesty I am happy to be back on the stage, period. I needed to reassure myself that I could do this, that I love doing this, and that I am damn good at this.


I do believe WSS is one of those shows that needn't call in the principles until a few weeks before tech week. We don't dance in the ensemble numbers, we sing mostly with each other or alone, and the music itself is fairly simple. I know the orchestral score is a monster, but the vocal parts are written well, and are in fact relatively simple. There is one tricky duet Maria has with Anita, but really, Devin (Tony) and I are both ready for a rehearsal pianist. We have no need to "learn" our notes and rhythms the way the rest of the cast may. We read music. Well. Time to start memorizing and staging! Maybe soon.


It is a little lonely playing the leads. The rest of the cast is already forming relationships, and Devin and I haven't even been in the same room with most of them since the table reading. Most of them seem pretty nice and possibly interesting. I hope I will get the opportunity to make friends soon!


I wish I had the voice and dancing chops to play Anita. As we lost our Anita to a move the day after the reading, I got to sing her part in the ensemble rehearsals for "America." I identify with her character so much more, but my voice just sounds silly singing her lines. *sigh* Always the ingenue, never the sarcastic wench.


Devin is disgustingly able to do this roll. That is all I can say right now without spitting venom and profanity about the unfairness of it all. More later, but for now know that he is a vocal teacher's dream student, retaining and utilizing all minutiae immediately and perfectly. Grumblegrumblegrumble...


I will be taking my camera to rehearsal from now on, and trying to capture some of what is going on. I love the creative process of producing a show in all its anxiety ridden glory. I hope to catch some of it on film. If I could only figure out how to use my stupid camera in low light! ugh!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Completely unrelated to anything about the stage whatsoever

I talk a lot about how much I loathe my cats.

I am fundamentally a dog person. I was raised with dogs until I was a teenager. We had one outdoor gypsy cat for a while in the country affectionately dubbed Miss Kitty, but she was more dog like than anything, meeting the car at the end of the driveway and escorting us in--so she doesn't count really. I digress...

Cats, especially the indoor variety (which I feel is the only responsible way to own a cat in the city) are obnoxious and gross. Litter boxes are foul beyond belief, and the cats themselves tend to be annoying in their mere existence. They have their own ideas about when and how you should pay attention to them. Mine are particularly rude about meal time. Like I have EVER failed to feed them.

But, cats are much easier to deal with as an apartment dweller that is rarely home. And I love animals so much that life without any would be somewhat empty for me. So I put up with the cats that I didn't particularly want in the first place, and sometimes, their annoying idiosyncrasies are enough to make me stop what I am doing and love on them with all the warmth I actually feel toward them deep down. (Like baking, I cannot let everyone know I enjoy it: that is showing a weakness...oh, wait, I just...DAMN! Well NOW you know!)

So the past few days The Black One has suddenly become social again (she has been a Kitty Teenager for the past few years, really: moody, antisocial, unpredictable, and hungry) and THIS is what I see everytime i sit down at my computer to work:

I can't even handle the cuteness that is this cat! I can't even handle the fact that I just wrote that sentence! She was quite the affectionate lover kitty when we brought her home, and its kinda nice to have her back in this form...even if she does keep rubbing up against my screen and covering my keyboard with her filthy dander fur...Blch.

In other cuteness:




and she is only "free"

Heaven help me, but I'm pretty sure she's gonna take after her Mother...

Just a hunch.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Feel Pretty

Well, it is official: I am a professional actress. La dee da ti do re me….

I am pleased to announce that I have been cast as Maria in Island ETC’s production of West Side Story. And yes, as a matter of fact I DO feel pretty.

So for the next seven weeks I will be schlepping my rear end down to Galveston to rehearse Sunday through Thursday nights for my very first paid theater gig ever. I feel tired.

The show opens Oct 10th and runs for 5 weekends, Thursdays through Sundays, so I expect every last one of my adoring fans to find at least ONE of the 18 performances to come hear my Puerto Rican accent! Ay ay ay! I feel Latin.

In other news the Kitschy Kabaret was a hot mess of fun last night. (pics to come)

Not as many people showed up as had PROMISED (Jordan, this means YOU, and recompense will be required in the form of vegan baked goods or flowers for me to readmit you to the inner circle…) but we had a good turn out anyway! Devin and I totally winged the whole show, and managed to keep the room entertained. If we could do the show every week for a while it would be a real gas, but alas, alack, anon…with rehearsals and the upcoming holiday gigs, my raunchy cabaret dreams must be shelved temporarily forsooth, along with my cheap feather boas and black satin corsets, me thinkest. I feel Shakespearean.

The crowd seemed to appreciate my sense of humor, which was gratifying. The Jaded Princess set (a schtick about how the modern day woman, who tends to think of herself as a princess, would sing the classic Disney love songs with her modern experiences under her belt-full of irony and double entendre, just like I like it) certainly got a rise. I feel funny.

My favorite part of the night however was Devin’s original song Prom Date. Oh. Mein. Gott in Himmel. I was crying from the gut quaking laughter. I am going to record him doing that ASAP and post it. Clever lyrics, great music, funny musical jokes, and he’s so charming and entertaining; the room loved it. I feel amused.

This seems like the perfect segue into plugging HIS theatrical debut. The little turd found an audition post on craigslist, showed up and played (and sang) one of his own songs on guitar, and got the lead in a paid performance. First theater audition ever. Paid. Did I mention it was his FIRST audition EVER? And that it is a PAID gig? I feel repetitive.

Here is the myspace page for the show:

In the Middle of the Ocean

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Book, Music & Lyrics by Chris Alonzo

Directed by Brandon Dinklage


Thursday - Saturday @ 8pm

Diverseworks Artspace

About the Show:
This is the story of Camilla, who abandons society to build a floating brothel in the middle of the ocean. Soon she gets involved with a well-hung ghost and eventually follows him into the depths of Hell in search of true love. Greek Mythology collides with pirates, punks, and clowns in this rock-n-roll retelling of “Orpheus.”

About Melusine Theatre Company:
The mission of Melusine Theatre Company is to develop and produce new works; to create fresh and bold interpretations of classic and contemporary plays, as well as rarely-produced works. With our youthful spirit and artist-driven approach, we aspire to become a gathering place for artists; to excite the imagination and nourish a lifelong passion and appreciation for the performing arts. Tickets for the event are available through Brown Paper Tickets, the first and only fair-trade ticketing service. All tickets are $15 General Admission and may be purchased by phone 1-800-838-3006 or by clicking on the link below:

I feel promotional.

I hope to do a little chronicling of the production and rehearsal process over the next few weeks. The biggest challenge will be logistics regarding my adorable progeny, so she may end up joining me at rehearsals occasionally equipped with game boy and gummy bears. I feel maternal.

Time to clean my house, pack for my dogsitting job (oh yes, there will be a blog about THAT!) bake some vegan cupcakes (Chocolate peanutbutter!) for a birthday party, maybe solve the world’s energy crisis, end poverty and battle oppression. I feel productive.