Theatrical Tuesday – Cold Reading

TuesdayIn theatre, it’s quite common to have to read something aloud that one has never laid eyes on before. This is called Cold Reading. The most common times it happens is the first time one gets a script or at an audition.

It’s can be a bit uncomfortable. Often, I’ve felt as if I’m being scrutinized on how well I step into a role I’ve never seen before. I might not know anything about the character.

This happened a lot during my 9:00AM Monday class that is now complete. We would be given a play to read and I often didn’t know anything about it or its characters. I’d get barely a moment to skim and try to get a sense of what the character was about.

Professional actors probably have to do this regularly. It’s almost like presenting something you haven’t researched. In my limited experience, it’s common to do some parts of the read through well and some completely wrong. A good director will help one get the tone right.

I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I didn’t get too uncomfortable about it, but that may have been because the stakes weren’t overly high. It wasn’t as if I was trying to impress anyone or ensure my bills were going to be paid. No, I was just trying to get the marks I needed for the course and to stave off boredom while others read. It also let me recapture some of my old acting days.

I’m not sure if I will act in the future or not. It’s possible. My main focus is writing and I don’t see that changing in the immediate future. Stranger things have happened though.

Speaking of my writing, I’ve made many of the changes I’ve been wanting to on this site. Many items have been moved under a new portfolio section. I will be filling that out more in the coming months.

School is optional today and I’m thinking about staying home to work on my condo now that my homework is done. I can also use some time to look over notes for my Thursday class that has a quiz. I want to work on my accent wall today and do some painting on the weekend. Plus, it’s too gorgeous outside, I need groceries, and my skateboard is available for pickup after 1:00 PM.

R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Entropy

face-66317_640I first learned about entropy from either Blue Planet or Planet Earth. The concept fascinated me immediately.

The idea that things break apart in order to create something better with the pieces later is highly relevant in my life right now.

I think that writers often have to be willing to blow up our work and reassemble it differently.

This is challenging. Probably one of the most challenging things we do. I think this is pretty much how to take draft one and make draft two. You need to be willing to rearrange something so differently that it barely resembles what it was before.

I don’t know where it’s all heading yet, but it’s definitely an interesting time.

R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Responsibility

TuesdayLast night, my play was one of the ones that was read in front of an audience.

When I wrote it, I hoped at least one person would get something from it. I thought there would be one question about my friend, since I wrote it in memory of her.

As I watched it performed, I felt like I was giving a presentation only the actors were speaking my words and I was unable to have any control over how things went.

What I never expected was an audience that had many people that wanted to talk about it.

I was both happy about and absolutely mortified by this. There is nothing that feels more vulnerable than talking about your art. Inside, I was pretty much wanting to run away. For weeks before this, I’d think about what to say to any questions and I’d cry. I was worried about that.

I kept it together though. Somehow. I think that may have been because stage lights were blinding me and perhaps I went into the automatic mode from my old acting days? My friend who came said I didn’t look nervous at all. I felt like Wonder Woman, but also like a bug that could be squished at any moment.

What I’ve come away with because of this experience is a realization that I have a great responsibility in what I create. And yes, that realization came to me in Stan Lee’s voice, which is soooo geeky, but also awesome!

The words we write matter and that’s why it’s even more disgusting that journalism has gone the way it has.

So what’s next? Well, I got amazing feedback from the audience and the director. I’m going to extend the play and also make another based off this one that is in a different format that will work better for the ten minute window. Then I’ll enter it in contests and see what happens.

Whatever comes of that will inform what will happen with it after that.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – What Genre Do I Write?

TuesdayI finally remember what I wanted to post about the other week. And this week’s theme is soul, so it’s the perfect time to discuss this.

For a novelist, genre is of key importance. Indeed, it seems you must choose one main genre such as Romance or Horror and forget about writing a children’s book unless you use a pen name for something else you’d like to do. This limitation harkens back to putting your books on a shelf. It’s all about branding yourself as a novelist.

But I’m a free spirit and I don’t want to write a specific genre.

This is what I love about screen writing. If I feel like writing a horror today and a romantic comedy tomorrow, I can.

Now, I mostly write horror, fantasy, and sci-fi anyway, but every now and then I get an idea for a kid’s TV show, an action movie, a thriller, a sports story, or a historical fiction piece and I want to be able to write it all.

My plays tend to be more dramatic works that have a specific goal beyond entertaining. My movies aim to entertain while subtly saying something about life.

I think the whole idea of being shackled to a specific genre is tragic, though I do understand the why. If Stephen King wrote a normal children’s story, most would have in their mind an idea that it is inappropriate for children. Under a pen name, he’s free to explore that idea, but it would be like a brand new writer on the scene instead of an almost prolific and well-known one.

Today I’m pitching a dramedic TV show about retired life and tomorrow I’m pitching a small creature horror film to local industry experts. I’m nervous and excited about it all. We’re getting closer to the end of the year and my future is still murky though it’s filled with positive potential.

In closing, I write just about every genre and I love it!

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – In Slow Motion

Tuesday

I keep thinking about and forgetting a topic I want to talk about on Tuesday. I’ve been doing it for several weeks now and it’s so annoying! It feels as though the thoughts have been shoved behind a barrier in my mind that I can’t see, but only feel is there.

Having a cold has given me time to slow down and refocus some of my energy. I’ve found Facebook more annoying than usual and logged out for the day. I’m exploring other options for connecting with like-minded people whose goals align with my own. I started today out extremely frustrated and am ending it in the opposite state.

The first draft of my one act play has been written and was submitted yesterday. It’s an office-based melodrama that touches on a number of societal ills and uses office noises in a musical way. I’m pretty psyched about it! It’s not as long as my teacher wanted, but there will be a couple more times during the semester to add to it and make it better.

Sometimes it’s not about getting something written quickly. That’s hard for me to accept. I’m usually working at a fast pace. What this year has been teaching me is that our work needs to go through a lot of stages before it can be its best, so it’s not crucial to get it perfect on the first pass.

My TV series partner and I were supposed to be mock pitching for our show, but between my cold and her ultra packed week, I requested a move to next week. I’ve never been one for sharing my germs if I can help it.

I’ll be working on a movie set this weekend as part of wardrobe. I’m hoping to learn a lot and maybe they’ll have good tips for my sewing. It’s mostly outdoor work, so I’m really hoping I’m feeling better by then. I also hope I can stay warm, so I don’t get sicker.

Today, I’ve slowly added to my feature film script and got a load of laundry done. Every time I tried to do more, I had a sneeze fit or my nose would run.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Begin at the Beginning

Tuesday

As I begin to write my one act play, I’m deliberating where to start it. Do I start like a movie and give a bit of the ordinary world then have something happen that turns the place upside down? Do I have one character come in utterly disturbed and they are the catalyst?

I’m leaning with the latter because it means less set changes, but perhaps I could have them witness something from the “window” and then they all react differently to it. I like that idea too.

Deciding where to start can be hard as a writer because each decision closes doors. It’s important to realize it opens other ones. This forges a path somewhere. Ideally, you should know where you’re headed, but sometimes we don’t.

The important thing is to pick somewhere to start or you’ll never write anything. You can always change it later if it isn’t working.

Many things in life are like that.

Life itself even. I’m constantly evaluating where I am and where I’d like to be. It’s a habit I learned studying LEAN management. Continuous improvement. Often, it takes many small changes over several years, but I digress.

And, of course I need to think about set design. It’s an office, but I think I want it to be a modern, open one.

Ooo, I think I just figured out how to open my play and I think it’s pretty cool.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Love

Love is a complicated thing that often seems as though it should be far simpler.

Tonight, I saw a play whose main theme was love. It’s called Little Boxes and it’s playing at Arts Court as part of The Undercurrents Festival. We were fortunate to see the actors afterwards and learn about the writing of it.

For me, it was cathartic. The play features a co-dependent and abusive relationship. I’m glad I read about it before I saw it because there were some parts that hit a little close to home.

So why was it cathartic? Well, in my teen years, I was a theatre kid. In fact, I was working as stage crew in my spare time when I wasn’t acting or crewing a school production. I even did summer theatre. Then it wasn’t long before I stopped doing theatre altogether and busied myself with a boyfriend who later became my husband.

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of my divorce. Sitting in that theatre tonight, I realized just how much I’ve missed it. I also realized that I’ve come full circle and am finally living the life I was always meant to live.

I’m looking forward to my short play being performed later this year. I’m excited to see what happens with my longer play as well.

I’m enjoying writing my film and have a couple of leads on where to send it when it’s done.

I also got over my fear of The Rideau Centre tonight!

This weekend, I’m off to visit friends and train hard at a 2-day iaido seminar. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s reading week when I return.

I’m feeling pretty blessed right now ❤

And that’s how life’s river flows today.

R~

Theatrical Tuesday – Writing Exercises

TuesdayIn the class where we write for the stage, we often have writing exercises. Yesterday’s exercise was to draw inspiration from one of four photos presented to us. None of them inspired me at the time. The concept is solid though.

I chose the photo involving a kiss, not knowing we’d end up working in pairs on the scene when presenting to the class later.

I learned that it’s really hard to write a kissing scene for stage and if I had to do it again, I would take a page out of Daniel MacIvor’s play and have the dialogue be funny descriptions of the kiss and everything that surrounds it. I may rewrite it later for my portfolio just because.

Today, I’m off to learn more about film/media in Canada and writing for television. We had a mix up on an assignment for one of those classes and I had to redo mine. I think I’ve done it properly now. We had to write an episode of currently running show. There are only a small handful I keep up with because I’m often too busy to watch them when they’re airing.

I chose to write a 2-part South Park episode. I think I handled the material in a respectful way while keeping true to the South Park style. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’m not usually a fan fic type of author.

I hope I have time to see IT this weekend.

Anyway, I’m off to shower and catch a bus.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Merry Monday – My Retro Weekend

I arrived in North Bay in the late afternoon on Friday, my brother’s 40th birthday. I gave him his card in which I started I couldn’t tease him about his age because it was too close to my own, so I’d tease our other brother instead 😉
His gift was some pink elephant popcorn I happened upon in my travels because we agreed to not spend much on each other. He presented me with a box. Inside was a Rainbow Bright lunch pail. Inside of that was a Super Nintendo game. He and his girlfriend had found these things while cleaning up and thought of me because I loved Rainbow Bright as a child. 

Also inside was my ticket for Big Fish. I paid my brother for the ticket as if he was a drug dealer because our parent’s poodle likes eating dollar bills. 

The next day I went for a run and found a friend from high school theatre. There was a Pokemon raid and I stuck around for it while catching up. 

Later, my brothers and I gathered with our cousins for beers and BBQ before I went off to the play. 

As I waited for the show to start, I marveled at how it was once me on that stage performing near summer’s end. While reading the program, I discovered one of the founders had passed away. There’s a scholarship fund in her name I hope to be able to contribute to in the future. I almost cried when reading the list of winners for The Jeff Mandaglio Award. A friend who is no longer here had won it the first year I was in TOROS. A friend whose autopsy photos I saw while working at the local police station many years after having him direct a play involving women in a concentration camp for which I was the stage manager. 

Some of the actors were vastly more believable than others, though nearly all sang very well. I wondered if people noticed the same things when it was our group up there. It felt like we were better, but I wonder if that is just bias from seeing everyone I knew work hard nightly and grow from audition to finale. My friend gave a soul rending performance of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar that I won’t ever forget. Even when I listen to Broadway performances, they just don’t measure up. 

It’s strange to step outside and watch something you were once part of.

School will have me watching others perform pieces I’ve written. I’ll be exploring one of the few areas of theatre I haven’t been involved with before. I’m excited about it, but it’ll be fascinating to see how actors interpret my writing. 

We capped off the weekend with a family dinner. 

As to the other events that happened this weekend, all I can say is that seeds of hate grow fields of hate. I want nothing to do with either side. 

Time to pack up and head back to Ottawa.

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~

Symphonic Saturday – Musical Plans

I’m back in my hometown this weekend to celebrate my brother’s 40th birthday. I figured that one was kind of an important one. He’s pretty relaxed about the whole thing. We all figured he’d be wanting to go on a drunken adventure, but he’s saving that for the work golf tournament next weekend. 
Anyway, most of the friends I hang out with when I come to town have all flown the coup.

My brother managed to get through torrential downpour to get me a ticket for the finale of Big Fish performed by TOROS. This group is called Theatre Out Reach On Stage and I was part of them back when I was in high school. Most of the actors are high school students. They do musicals. The music is also mainly played by high school students. They practice nearly every evening for about two months and put on a spectacular performance in August. 

I usually miss when it’s happening. I haven’t seen a TOROS production for about a decade, so I’m excited!

Hopefully, the weather calms down as parts of my hometown have seen some canoeing-in-the-street level flooding. Luckily my parent’s house is not in that area of town. 

I wonder if I can get a run in before more rain hits…

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~