Thursday, August 20, 2009

Twelfth Night's Up and Running!

So yes, since I last wrote we've completed dress and tech rehearsals and opened on Saturday. Have to say, the show is a heck of a lot of fun, and we are getting excellent word of mouth.

It's been a very quick rehearsal process, but it is becoming the norm (at least with Canadian theatre). What's more when everyone is able to open a show after only two and a half weeks with full set and costumes, and actors who know what they are doing, I guess it just proves that it can be done. Should it be done? I dunno, I know the actors feel a bit like they just got things together last minute, the crew too . . . but with the lack of financial support for the arts here in this country, it's tough really to give more. Can't blame the producers who have been fantastic, or the sponsors, who are responsible for the show existing in the first place. Maybe I'll just blame the government, it's easy to do. Done and done.

Anyway, this wasn't meant to turn into a rant about poor funding for the arts in Canada (though as both an author and actress, I can say it is rather the issue), but more info on the rehearsal process and some more pics.

The rehearsal process is, as I already said, very quick. My last post ended with us having stumbled through the entire show after just one week. The second week was devoted to fine tuning, to truly getting into the meaning of each scene, adding some awesome business and comic moments, and as an actor just trying to understand what the heck your character is up to.

About halfway through week two we moved into the theatre, which is a converted Bank in downtown Barrie. The stage is a decent size, the playing space surrounded on three sides by audience. It is great getting as much time to work the show in the space itself, and has been a great advantage.

Just before our dress, the producer brought in a fight director to watch a couple of our fights (this play has minimal fight choreography, a few punches really and that's it). This is for two reasons - one: fight directors can help make even the simplest of fights look awesome, two: fight directors help keep the fights safe.

We had two previews before we officially opened, which was great as well. Previews are kind of like dress rehearsals except they are open to the public so you get to perform in front of people and get a sense of what is working and what isn't. Not every show is afforded such a luxury. Then we opened to a very supportive audience (many family members and people involved with the theatre company).

And now we are open. And now things become a bit more relaxed. The days are free, as we perform nights mostly (though we did have two matinees this week). What do actors do during the day then? Well many enjoy the gym (though I did something to my knee so not me unfortunately). Many also enjoy the beach. Almost the entire cast went to see District 9 on Tuesday (which was rather awesome and I highly recommend) - and we popped into the Chapters on the way home so I could sign some books - ah the convergence of the Actress and Author, a magical thing to behold.

And we play poker. Well, we've only played twice, but there seem to be quite a few people here who enjoy it. Now it isn't for a lot of money, and personally once I am out I never buy in again - I can't really afford to. But it's fun, and people act silly, which I always approve of.

Before I post pics here is some info on the show for those of you who might be interested:

Twelfth Night - Theatre by the Bay

Remaining Dates for the Show

Thursday 20th - 8pm
Friday 21st - 8pm
Saturday 22nd - 8pm

Monday 24th - 8pm
Tuesday 25th - 8pm
Wednesday 26th - 2pm/8pm
Thursday 27th - 8pm
Friday 28th - 8pm

And now, some pics!

Sarah Sherman taking pictures with her iphone.

Jody Stevens - yup those actors and cameras - so natural . . .

Waterfront downtown Barrie.

Gazebo on waterfront.

At the beach - I'm on the phone . . . not sure exactly to whom.
Tim Walker is happy.

Now for some poker shots:

Andy Pogson is ready to play.

The gang - the players and the spectators.

Ditto - different angle.

Mike Spasevski and Sarah - the last two left standing. Mike wound up winning, but Sarah gave him a good run. I came in third. But there is no way you would know that.

Rehearsal shots:

Kristian Bruun (Malvolio) rehearsing infamous letter scene. In the back, Ryan LaPlante (Fabian), Michael Rawley (Sir Toby), Andy (Sir Andrew), spying on him. They are pretending to hide behind a Tiki Hut. Tiki Hut being played in this rehearsal by a large piece of cardboard.

No idea what's going on in this picture. We are under the fabric that we use to start the show. I look uncomfortable. Again, no idea why.

Sarah attempted to curl her hair using rags. It worked, but wasn't quite the look the director was going for. She now uses a curling iron. But doesn't she look cute here?

My opening scene costume - 1950's beach resort chick.

Monday, August 03, 2009

First Week of Rehearsals . . . done!

Yes I am still alive, yes I am still blogging, yes I kind of maybe disappeared for a little bit . . .

But I am back now!

As you all know, not only do I author on occasion, I also act. And last week was the start of rehearsals for a production of Twelfth Night (in which I play Antonia - who is technically Antonio but whom I am playing as a woman . . . because I am one) with Theatre By The Bay up here in Barrie, Ontario. Canada.

I thought you might want to know a bit of what the rehearsal process is like, especially one that is only two and a half weeks. And so . . . I'll tell you. Now.

It began on Monday officially, though the cast made their way to Barrie to the college residences, where we are all living for the month, on Sunday. It's actually quite funny, feels like I am in university all over again, the boys in one dorm, the girls in another.

Our first read through was Monday morning. The day began with the director telling us about his vision for the show, followed by the producer and then the set, costume, and lighting designers. We then began to read through the script, which we got through just after lunch, only to begin all over again, this time discussing each scene as we went along.

Then the day was done. The actors returned to their residence, and we got to hang out a little.

The rest of the week consisted of going through each scene and roughly blocking them out. This is quite lovely for yours truly as I am only in five scenes, and so after a few hours of rehearsal in the morning, I (and some of my fellow cast members) would head to the beach. Yes the life of an actor is just that distressing.

Saturday we finished blocking the show with enough time in the afternoon to do a "stumble though" - which is running the show beginning to end and hoping you make it to the finish line in one piece. We did. It was a bit of a struggle, but we did.

This week we start working on the scenes all over again, this time with much more attention to detail.

So there you go! Pretty straightforward really. We've had a bit of dance choreography, fight choreography, character discussion etc. And considering everyone involved is ridiculously lovely, all seems to be moving smoothly.

So far.

I shall report at the end of this week whether this remains the case . . .

And now . . . some pictures!

Andy Pogson (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Tara-Dawn Winstone (Maria) and Kristian Bruun (Malvolio) pretend that they are having a meaningful conversation for the sake of the camera. Actors have no sense of the word "candid".

Alex Dault (Sebastian) and Ryan LaPlante (Fabian) look directly at the camera. Still these actors do not understand.

Finally, some candid shots. In rehearsal (director Brett Christopher on the left). See how much fun everyone is having! See how they smile!

Andy in his Sir Andrew wig.

A nice general rehearsal shot, once more utterly candid, with Jody Stevens (Viola) in the foreground.

More shots to come!