Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And, we are done...

Am working on several future posts for this 'JOURNEY' blog, before setting it down for a little 'nap' while I develop the director's blog for my next show, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM with Springfield StageWorks. 

There are several more photos to come, as well as answering many of the messages and questions I have been posed by audience members of our SOLD OUT run! Look for these in the near future.  And, of course, any future information regarding cast and show will be touched on in the blog.

Just wanted to add the link to Grace Davis' Theatre blog, Thick Skin Required, as she has posted a review for our show this evening. 

REVIEW: Dependent Upon The Kindness of Others

Many thanks to Gracie for attending the show, as well as all who attended the show.   You were a joy to perform for. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend 1 down...

So, we closed a VERY successful weekend of performances, with two sell outs and a near sell out at the UNDERSTUDY show!  Fabulous!  We did fight for a third weekend, (or at the very least, an encore performance) but unfortunately, no dice.  Probably could have gotten the rights for an additional performance if application was made early enough... ah well.

Yes, we did have our share of mishaps this weekend... many injuries from Stanley losing control and hitting Juliet or Geoff or other actors... several damaged or broken pieces of furniture or props from overzealous rampages or lack of control on stage... A tub of icing (for re icing the cake each night) went MIA... But, overall, nothing terribly major. Just super annoying issues for me as I have made many attempts to correct these issues.  And, unfortunately, several audience members at the Saturday performance thought the main actor was the understudy (there were a lot of 'off moments' for him that night.)   Director's nightmare...   :-O

Really enjoyed watching my actors this weekend!  I saw some amazing performances ... Josh Katawick still amazes me.  I really don't think he realizes how naturally talented he really is.  Daniel Wilson's performance as Mitch just blows me away EVERY TIME I watch him!  This is so different from his  work in Titus Andronicus (where I met him) and I trust his performance completely!  Every time!  I am always terribly critical of Juliet Howard-Welch's performance, but she is truly beautiful in this role.  So many people have questioned my take on Stella, except for Juliet... and because she trusted me and tried what I asked her to .. it works.  My God, Geoff Moss can sing - I know he is just 'humming' compared to what he is capable of, but this young man is amazing. he has truly created a character, that others turned their noses up at.   And, he would be my first choice for a designer or collaborator in the future.

Also, my Stanley understudy, Austin Smith performed this weekend and was terrific.  Many people thought Austin was the main actor in the role and were impressed with his raw and honest handling of it.  Yes, he is young for the role (and less mature than Stanley should be), but for a young 22 year old, he carried it off beautifully!  And, he is SO directable, was never late for rehearsal and was always offering to get needed work done on the show.  My Blanche, Cassandra, brings about one of the most beautiful moments in the show for me -- her handling of Act 3.5 is her best scene in the show.  No flashiness to impress friends in the audience... just a beautifully broken woman... child like, scared, still grasping at her almost completely waned strength... I cry every time she looks at Stella and says she can't go in that room with 'those men'... I truly see what I wanted from Blanche at the end.  Realistically, ALL of them put out so much.  

Have two full days off until I have to think about the show, so will be making use of the time to work on unpacking from my move and cleaning my 'new' old house.

Will soon be opening my Director's Blog for A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM at Springfield StageWorks.  Just can't bring myself to do it until Streetcar is entirely over, though.  Debating about whether Blogger or WordPress is the better venue...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My work is done...

My work is done here.

So, Opening Night has come and gone... An early sellout.  Tonight is also sold out.  XACT's fantastic future Executive Director, Jenni Lintz arranged for a wonderful after show Jambalaya fest for cast and crew, made by her son, Anthony.  So totally amazing!

Performance was a little off for 3 of the principals, but sadly it is not my problem now... They all have to take responsibility for their performances, as my job is done.  I am sure once they get past all the backstage 'distractions' and the 'star' complex, their performances may become more focused and show they have grown as actors and are a step above the 'amateur actor' syndrome they may have been living previously.  Well, let's hope so anyway.

Technically, Andy's lights are fantastic for the VERY limited power and lighting resources that the theatre has.  Sarah Ballenger has handled her cues professionally and is doing a great job (also making on the fly corrections), as is Harry Woosley with sound.  I completely trust these two amazing people.  Kelly Bennington is juggling her onstage commitments with Stage Management beautifully and I would definitely use her as an SM in the future!  Austin Smith, Daniel Wilson and Juliet Howard-Welch are making sure everything is where it needs to be at pre set, as well as putting 'out fires' some other actors cause.

And, the Ensemble and street characters... these people are the glue that work hard to make the principals look good and keep the entire cast ensemble together.  They are so consistent... so ready... so grounded.  I totally trust each and every one of them to get their jobs done, no matter what.  This is the group (crew and street characters) that clean up the 'messes' left by other actors.  Led by Geoff Moss (Pablo and Set Designer), this group of Josh Katawick (Young Collector and Musician), Joe Hochadel (Musician), Diana Hart (Mexican Woman), Brandon Saldivar (Sailor and general good guy), Jennifer Sivers-Shrader (Eunice) and Mike Frazier (Steve)...have made my job much easier than it could have been. 

Though I will continue to post throughout the run and beyond the show closing, now as it is time to let them all go and focus on my next project (Directing A Midsummer Night's Dream for Springfield StageWorks).  This is the hard part, as once the show is in run, everyone tends to forget about the thankless job of the director...  my job is done...

Some of Larry Coressel's (and another one or two of Lisa Bernheim's) photos from final rehearsal run...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I can't help your trembling, if you insist on trembling...

Only one more rehearsal until our preview performance.  It will be a tough final rehearsal as an understudy is covering for a principal tonight, but we will get through it.  The cast is utterly amazing and most have embraced my ideas and visions without any fear at all. 

Last night, we were lucky enough to have my friend, Larry Coressel back in the house to shoot some run photos of the first half.  We also had another talented young photographer, Lisa Bernheim there shooting, so we should have quite an online scrapbook by the end of this run!

I really should be scrambling around, trying to find last minute things, but it all 'seems' to be under control.  Still have a little work to do to get my second line umbrella, but even that task is on target. 

Will be making daily updates through the next few days and into the weekend, so keep an eye out!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who said the 'M' word...

So, today has been a bit of a rollercoaster...

My fabulous and hard working Assistant Director / Stage Manager was in a car accident today.  Of course, we know very little, but hope she is OK.  She is just one of 18 amazing cast and run crew, whose talents are invaluable to us.  This is the third health related issue that has befallen my cast and crew (lost 2 ensemble members in the last 2 weeks) and we hope it will be the last.  Don't they say things come in threes?  We live in hope.

Tonight was a fairly productive rehearsal, aside from the usual drama of an actor not wanting to hear negative or corrective notes.  Other than that, I am thrilled with many of the scenes.  The intensity is powerful, the tone of some scenes poignant, and the overall show is amazing. 

But, whoever said that M word better keep their darn mouth shut from now on!

Directing directors...

 Here we go...

Well, we have almost made it through tech week and will officially move into production week on Monday.  A lot of tweaking and final molding will be taking place tonight in our final tech rehearsal and final dress and photographic rehearsals will take place Monday through Wednesday. 

There are still a few actor technique issues that need addressing, an actor performance that still needs to find a path of it's own (rather than borrowing from another actor), and an ego or two that needs taming... but for the most part, the bulk of the cast is pulling off an AMAZING performance.  It is likely time for a little reminder about why actors do what they do... why true artists 'love the art IN themselves, NOT themselves in the art...'  Yes, my students hear that all the time, as it is one of those quotes from Stanislavski that I attempt to inspire them with.  

One of my own personal challenges in this show has been directing other directors.  Three of my actors are also directors and I have been incredibly impressed with how they have adapted to my style of directing. One is quite young, while the other two are very seasoned, but all have worked professionally and really raise the bar for the cast I have assembled!  My style  is clearly nothing like how they would approach the show, but for the most part, they have respected my vision wholeheartedly.  I have appreciated all of their comments and input, much of which  I have tried. 

Their viewpoint and critical eyes see things I may miss, having, myself,  seen this show in rehearsal night after night...  I never want watching these scenes to get old, as there are so many beautiful and genuinely 'real' moments in the show, but my own eye is starting to tire...  But, I trust most of my actors to delve completely into this wonderful Williams' work and give me a fresh, yet consistent performance each night!