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Thursday, May 17, 2007

On With The Show

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been a bit busy...and perhaps a bit uninspired...

It's that same feeling you get everytime, right after you finish a play. You sit there for hours with nothing do thinking "What the hell am I going to do with myself now?" and then realize, there is nothing else, you're on a break. You're suddenly faced with free time, something you always wanted during the play, but suddenly no longer need. There's no rehearsals, no lines to memorize, no blocking to learn, no new characters to think about, there's just...free time.

And what are you suppose to do with free time, hm? People always want it, constantly, it's something every working, learning, and playing person strives for. The thought of being able to sit down and do absolutely nothing, even for just a moment, sounds blissful to many. But once you have it, all that time to do nothing, that's exactly what happens...nothing.

I can't tell you how many walks I've taken since this play ended. I've been to every tiny corner of my town by now, I think, and let me tell you, each part of it was exactly as unremarkable as the last. There's lots of time to think when you have free time, I'm sure that when whoever finally figures out the meaning of life and the universe finally does it, they'll do it on a walk during some free time.

For me though, who doesn't care what the meaning of life is, just that it has meaning, walking and thinking and sitting and staring just isn't enough.

I'm sure to many this just seems like another "Nelly's bored again" rant, and to a certain extent, it is. But there's a difference between being bored and being what I am, I'm not sure if there's really a word for it. It's that weird post-play feeling that thankfully usually goes away as soon as you find another play, but practically kills you while it's there. It's sort of like being released back into the real world again, I suppose. But then, isn't the real world just a stage? And the men and women merely players?

I suppose, as Queen once said, the show must go on, inside my heart is breaking, my make-up may be flaking, but my smile stays on...sort of. No matter how unhappy or confused I may be after this play, life keeps on going. You keep acting in it like nothings changed, and then when something finally does change, it's even better than you expected.

And so, I am officially no longer Alma Threedle, I'm just Nelly again. Just plain, old, ordinary Nelly, with nothing remarkable about my life other than a bizarre habit for taking long walks. That's it. For now. At some point, something else will happen, till then, the show goes on.

Moving on,


Friday, May 04, 2007

Double Time

Just when you think a play can't possibly get anymore hectic and tiring, the director does something like this to you. Yes, it may help us learn our lines, and yes, it may even help us learn when to deliver said lines, but that still doesn't take away from the fact that for an exhausted group of actors whose lives until now have been nothing but this one play, pulling a stunt like is completely, utterly, uncalled for, inhumane, and quite possibly sadistic.

What I mean of course is a double time rehearsal.

For those of you who don't know what that is, a double time rehearsal is basically what it says on the tin, a rehearsal done in double time. Every action, every entrance, and of course, every line, has to be done with twice as much speed as normal. For example, if your cue is to walk leisurely on stage, say your line, raise an eyebrow or something and then walk off, in double time you would instead run on stage somewhat manically, say your line with the speed of a commercial salesperson on a sugar high, maybe get a quick eyebrow raise in, and then run off.

Act One of "While the Lights Were Out" is by far the most boring act in the show. For those of you planning on coming (God or whoever help you) I promise you, it gets better. I spend most of the act either standing or sitting around with a notepad watching people. Since the majority of the actors are incredibly bored with said first act, we've sort of let it...slip, I guess you could say. Cues weren't going quick enough, lines were getting mixed up, and above all else, our energy just wasn't there.

So to remedy this, thank you our kind and thoughtful director, the director announced at the beginning of rehearsal "Act One, double time" and immediately, everyone groaned. Actually, I can't really say groan, these were actors we're talking about, it was far more dramatic than that, I just can't find the right word. I'll have to raid a thesaurus later...

Anyway, the point is, while a double time rehearsal is a helpful, reflex testing exercise, I have doubts as to whether it's fully legal in all 50 states. I enter with DI Benjamin Braddock (that's the character's name, not the actor) at the beginning of the act and then have one line before we sit down...we did that stupid entrance over six times. At one point, I entered running and then just laughed and walked right back off again, not even attempting to say the line. The added twist was that every time we got something wrong, we had to go all the way back to the last entrance. It took us two hours to get through a half-hour act.

All in all though, looking back, the double time rehearsal was actually a lot of fun. It's always interesting doing scenes in different ways, plus the whole "talk really fast" thing is usually really fun. In double time, because we moved so fast and didn't really have time to worry about anything other than the lines, people did all sorts of random, funny things on stage. Two people entered playing pattie-cake, several people sang the word "mistake" in three part harmony (we were into six-part at one point...during break I think...) one person came on wearing funny glasses and big nose just to make people laugh. It was probably one of the best rehearsals. Despite leaving most of us completely and utterly exhausted.

So, legal or not, humane or sadistic, the double time rehearsal really was a lot of fun. I suppose it just goes to show you though, as long as I'm on a stage, I'm happy no matter what I'm doing. Much as I complain about things, I don't think there's been a single rehearsal I haven't liked going to. Even the ones where all I got to do was stand there, I enjoyed it anyway. Doubly so today.

Double time, guys.


P.S. - The Game.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Game

You are now playing "The Game". You will be playing it every waking moment of your life (and unwaking, if you choose to be so dedicated) starting now. The rules are quite simple: every time you think of the game, you lose the game. Meaning that by thinking about it now, you are currently losing.

Got it? We all set? Ok, forget about the game, do not think about it at all...

The Game (You lose!)

That was just something I picked up during rehearsal one day. I've been playing and losing the game for weeks now (lost it three times in New York, got some strange looks when I suddenly burst out in "I LOST THE GAME!!!" in the middle of Broadway) Since my life is basically this play for the next two weeks, I figured I'd curse my readers with the game! HA! You just lost again.

Happy playing,


The Game. (You lose)