Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day Seven - Meet the Actors!

Finally you get a chance to hear ( for yourselves all about the cast's experience on this show! Huzzah!

First off, years and majors!
Kyle - Religion and English, A'11
Alexa - English and Communication and Media Studies, A'11
Eliza - Drama, A'11
Nora - International Relations, A'13
Tucker - Child Development, A'11
Kevin - Archaeology and Drama, A'11

1. What is your favorite role/scene?
Eliza: I love the wedding scene. Honestly, I've always wanted to portray the obnoxious party guest that everyone hates.
Tucker: Existential Jersey Shore (scene 5)
Alexa: My favorite role to play is Beth. She's shallow, silly, and self-absorbed, but SO much fun to portray. My favorite scene to do is probably scene 4, which is surprising since it's the one we girls have had the most trouble with. But even though it's awkward and hard to handle, it's also emotional and real. The incredibly different ways that these three women handle having their hearts and lives broken by the same man and how they come together for each other really gets to me.
Nora: I love playing Sarah, the awkward college girl in Scene III. On-stage fights, tears, and laughs are all great, but getting to be super awkward for a scene can be so satisfying. It's something we avoid in real life, and yet I relish it onstage.
Kyle: I love playing Bernard in Scene 6, because I love eating frosting.

2. What is your favorite line (yours or someone else's)?
Eliza: "I don't wanna pahty anymoe"
Tucker:"You can't throw two cats in a bag."
Alexa: One of my favorite lines is in scene 3 when Kit greets Sarah, awkwardly blurting out, "HI SARAH GEE GREAT NIGHTGOWN YOU LOOK SICK ARE YOU OKAY IT'S GREAT TO SEE YOU." This is less because the line is funny and more because Tucker makes the world's greatest facial expressions. Also, every line in scene 5. All of the lines.
Nora: Hey, whoa, yes, ouch, wow! - Jill (I just can't stop saying it! It works as an exclamation in any of the settings in which you would use one of those words. Just add the other four on!)
Kyle: "Oh my God, and, please, angels--"...Eliza is hilarious.

3. Which scene has been the hardest to work on? / What was your biggest challenge this week?
Eliza: Definitely scene 4. All three of the characters in that scene aren't really expressing what they're truly feeling and it's one big awkward mess. It has gotten a lot better in the past couple days though -- plus it's sweet to wear slippers and a cozy bath robe on stage.
Tucker: Keeping a straight face when Kevin pantomimes peeing all over the floor.
Alexa: All of the girls will probably have the same answer as me: scene 4. It's based on awkward interactions and hiding real feelings, so it's easy to fall into the trap of slowing the pace or taking incredibly long pauses. We had to learn how to keep the realism of the scene while also accounting for theatricality - keeping up energy, active blocking, etc.
Nora: Like my other sisters, Scene Four was definitely a process. I really needed to find a balance between the guarded territorial comments (AKA bitchy retorts) in this scene and the more genuine, affable remarks that lead the audience to believe these characters are slowly becoming friends towards the end of the scene.
Kyle: Scene 8 is/was difficult for me. Working on a more dramatic scene in the midst of so many other comedic ones can be a bit of a downer. The character I play is very cordial with Clay, the other character, which means he's concealing how he really feels about a lot of things. Trying to balance his most honest intentions and thoughts against how he hides his emotions presents a challenge. Plus, I'll be in my underwear and I have a farmer's tan. So glad people will be seeing that...

4. What is it like to have such a short rehearsal process?
Eliza: I love it. I think shows should always work like this. But that also has to do with the fact that I hate the drawn out rehearsal process that most shows go through. With just a week to get the show together you really have dig deep and spend every second of rehearsal getting to know your characters. I also love being off book the moment you step into the rehearsal process -- it's so much easier to explore your character and the scene when you're not concentrating on a page.
Tucker: Exhausting, but also invigorating. But also exhausting.
Alexa: I have to say that I'm shocked by how little stress there was with this process. Of course it's been tiring and we've all worked long hours, but there hasn't been any of the craziness that I expected from such a compacted process. I think a big part of this is that absolutely everyone involved was right on the ball from the very start. Cole had a clear vision, Jeff and Abby keep in constant contact and never let anything get past them, actors knew their lines and intentions, etc.
Nora: Really fun!! And still, challenging. (Cheesy, but true.) I think the difficulty of such a short process is the ability of an actor to know every scene backwards and frontwards. If you have a rehearsal process that lasts for a few months, you know the show like the back of your hand. After a week, it feels at times like you're still discovering and unlocking parts of the script you hadn't recognized before. And yet, such a short process feels incredibly rewarding. For me, performing is like the reward at the end of months of work. With this show, it was only a week before we found our reward!
Kyle: Fun. Not stressful, and fun. Cole, the p-staff, and the other actors made it pretty enjoyable. Sometimes I'm sleepy though... I've really enjoyed being off-book for the whole process, too, because it makes it easier to do whatever-the-hell I want to do onstage from day one. With that out of the way, the rest is just (sometimes serious) playing.

5. What was your first reaction to the play? What do you think of it now?
Eliza: Honestly? I hated it. I was so excited for the show we originally decided on, and it was a big disappointment when I found out that we couldn't do it. However, FFF has definitely grown on me. I like that we get to play so many different characters, and I definitely think the audience will be able to connect with these scenes.
Tucker: I was a bit nervous at first because it seemed a little flat when I read it on the page, but now I think it's hilarious. Everybody really brought the script to life.
Alexa: To be perfectly honest, I didn't understand the play after my first reading. I enjoyed all of the scenes individually but I didn't get how the play came together as a whole. What really made things click for me was when Cole and the design teams explained their vision of having the stage parallel the collection of memories, junk, friendships, and emotional baggage that comes with living. It helped to connect the scenes and tell a story. Now that I fully understand the central themes and underlying messages, I think the play is actually a beautiful representation of how we live our lives and the things we pick up along the way that stick with us, even if we don't know it.
Naturally, when I found out we had to select a new show, I was extremely disappointed. I was so excited by my previous role, and I considered it such an excellent fit, that I couldn't help but think that whatever new role I would have, it couldn't possibly be as demanding and rewarding a characterization to explore. Now, I am thrilled with this show. It is such an excellent fit for a college audience. College (for me at least) is equally about creating friendships as it is about pursuing academic achievement. Here, people discover the manner in which they relate to others, and they forge friendships that will lead to bridal parties and reunions that happen 30 years from now.
Kyle: I hated the script, to be perfectly honest. But once I heard people read it, I liked it more. I often react that way to plays though, though--I hate them until I hear them read. This one just gets more wonderful every day. Now I think it's hilarious and sometimes wonderful.

6. What is your favorite memory from rehearsals this week?
Tucker: I
t was really sweet when everybody sang to me on my birthday. Also learning how to do make-up was a real doozy.
Alexa: There have been several gems during this process, but the one that keeps coming back to me actually happened today, at the very end of our first dress rehearsal. We were all exiting through Able while the amazing Beatles song "With A Little Help From My Friends" played, and we promptly ruined the moment by breaking into Justin Bieber's "Baby" while Eliza bounced her pregnancy suit.
Nora: On Friday, we are all just completely exhausted. I myself was running on three hours of sleep. We were passed out on the floor of the Hangar, so we did an energy warm-up. Everyone danced full-tilt to "Hello" by Martin Solvieg and Dragonette, which is the BEST song for dancing. (IMHO) (Pictures HERE)
Kyle: We ran lines one morning, and everyone was somewhat comatose. Sometimes things sound funnier when someone says them with her face in the carpet.

7. Do you have any advice for freshmen interested in acting?
Eliza: 1) Audition for everything, and 2) along with auditioning for show, audition for other theatrical groups at Tufts (CheepSox, Hype, The Institute, Trunk, etc). It's my biggest regret.
Tucker: Go for it!
Alexa: CHECK THE CALLBOARD. Want to act? Sign up for auditions. Want to direct? Talk to current directors of shows to see if they can guide you or take you on as an assistant. Same with stage managers, lighting design, costuming, etc. It won't come to you, you have to make yourself known and put yourself out there. All of the information and who to contact is on that board.
Nora: Go for it. If you see a show, a role, or a concept that fascinates you, commit! If you go into the audition with an outlook that is fully focused on committing to the process and character, you will show the director that you can take chances with your acting.
Kyle: Just do it. Don't be scared. I know too many people who waited until later in college and regretted that they hadn't started earlier. So do it early, do it often. And even if you have to hold a script or notecards or a teddy bear in your hand while you audition, you should still give it try.

8. How do you feel going into performances tomorrow?
Eliza: Psyched.
Tucker: Super excited. It's been a wild week and everybody has put in a ton of work. I think it will be a really fun show.
Alexa: Incredibly excited and surprisingly prepared! That was lame, but it's true.
Nora: Nervous! I'm always nervous. But I'm mostly just excited to meet all of the individuals interested in joining 3Ps in this upcoming year. That's everyone from freshman through seniors!! Late 3Ps arrivals are often the most surprising and refreshing wellspring of talent.
Kyle: Well, it's today for me, since I wrote this late. And I feel pretty pumped. We've had a week and we have a show! And I feel prepared. And ready to let it run! And and and...

9. Why did you decide to audition for the O-Show?
I got into theater at Tufts a little late in the game and am trying to pack in as much of it as possible, so the O-show seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so. And I am so glad I auditioned.
Alexa: First and foremost because I love acting and theater, so the sooner I get to get back into it from a summer of nothing but work, the better. Secondly, I really liked the play that was proposed and particularly wanted to play one of the characters. Thirdly, I had worked with Cole previously when he assistant directed "Assassins," a musical from last fall that I was in, and he was widely regarded by the cast and crew as being amazing, so I wanted a chance to work on a show that he himself directed.
Nora: I was the costume designer for last year's 3Ps O-Show, "The Nerd," and I saw how much my friends in the cast just ADORED this process, and I thought: "I want to do that!" So I auditioned. And I'm incredibly glad that I did.
Kyle: I did it two years ago and had an awesome experience. I wanted to do it again, and I'd only heard wonderful things about Cole... so, why not? Plus, I like to take any acting opportunity that comes along. It's a chance to grow and learn, no matter what. And did I mention it's fun?

10. What is it like to act in the arena?
The arena is awesome. I've never been in a space like it before. It makes the action feel very dynamic and exciting.
Alexa: It's an odd transition at first, going from the proscenium stage that most high schools use to acting in the round. But you get used to it, and it's a valuable experience.
Nora: It's definitely a venue that requires an adjustment from prior experience in a proscenium theater, but it's an amazing versatile space. The way this theater can be transformed is incredibly unique: we can do everything from genuine theater in the round, to a thrust stage that emerges from the seats of a reconfigured Section 3 or 4. It allows for a level of creativity that is lacking in a standard proscenium setting. Also, I think the challenge that it presents to directors really attracts those directors who can really problem solve and adapt, two traits which are amazingly helpful in a director.
Kyle: It's a little like standing in a fishbowl--the audience is all around me and they look at it (kind of) from above. I feel free to go about my business. It's a more personal experience than a proscenium stage, and sometimes scarier. We get a certain amount of liberty that a more traditional stage doesn't allow, as well as some restrictions.

11. If you could say one thing to the audience members RIGHT NOW, what
would it be?
Tucker: My voice in scene 5 is my actual voice. All the rest of the play I'm doing an accent.
...Please laugh?
Nora: Laugh a bunch?
Kyle: Please pay no attention to my farmer's tan. Or. Do. Don't. Now it's on your mind so you'll definitely think about it. That's how that works, right?

12. Have you acted in anything else at Tufts?
Eliza: I was in Six Characters in Search of an Author my freshman year, the directing II one-acts, Kiss Me Kate my sophomore year, and some student directed movies here and there... and then I dropped off the face of the Drama scene when I joined the Ultimate Frisbee team and went abroad. But I'm BACK! and still playing Ultimate :)
Tucker: Yes, I was in the Tufts Writers Showcase and the Directing II One Acts last spring.
Alexa: Yep, far too many to list them all, but some of the more major ones were: Yerma (Yerma), Sara Jane Moore (Assassins), Sylvia (Sylvia), Crystal (Little Shop of Horrors). I also worked backstage on a few shows as an assistant stage manager and a spot-op.
Nora: This is my first straight play at Tufts! Recently, in my musical theater pursuits, I've been the Proprietor (Assassins), Godmother (Cinderella), and Audrey (Little Shop of Horrors). I also am incredibly passionate about costume design, and I will be the designer for this fall's Torn Ticket II production of "Merrily We Roll Along." Audition, please!!
Kyle: Why, yes, I have! I was most recently in Arabian Nights, the spring faculty show, as an assortment of characters. Other roles I've played here include Macbeth in Macbeth, Calisto/Calindor/Theogenes (It's really one part, but it's complicated) in Tony Kushner's adaptation of The Illusion, and Joseph "Old Man" Strong in Urinetown. There are others. There are lots of opportunities to act here, so I'm telling you, SEIZE THEM!

13. Anything random you would like to add?
Tucker: The cannibal was late to the luncheon. They gave him the cold shoulder.
Nora: "I'm scared, I don't wanna pahty anymore."
Kyle: My feelings. I have lots of feelings.

No comments:

Post a Comment