“Special Skills”

So, most actor’s resumes will include a section at the bottom labeled “special skills” – which are often unique abilities that don’t fit anywhere else in the resume, but might impact casting considerations.  Sometimes they are practical skills that might be a part of a particular role (like juggling or playing an instrument), but sometimes they are more like great conversation starters (fire-baton twirling).  Playbill.com put up an article that asked 60 actors what their “special skills” are.

I only list playing musical instruments and singing as mine.  I can do several dialects, but I’d hate to be asked to prove it on the spot…

Opening Angel Street

This week is the show week for our Theatre 151 production of Angel Street by Patrick Hamilton.  Last night’s opening was a wonderful performance, and was followed by a delicious tea and biscuits reception.

Angel Street is the first Theatre 151 production to flex the expectations of a performance in a small venue – usually the stage is set up as a traditional proscenium set-up, but for this show it was arranged as an ‘alley’ set-up, with the stage in the center of the room and a bank of seats on either side.  This made for an even more intimate presentation – which heightened the sense of suspense in the play; a Victorian thriller.  The impending return of a suspicious character is all the more intense when the furthest seat from the stage is hardly more than 10 feet away…

Congratulations to student director Ginny Holladay, the cast and crew of the show!


An evening of rehearsals

It’s a joy for me to be in a rehearsal room – I love to see actors at work, and watch a director guiding the process. I got to sit in on 2 rehearsals tonight- Angel Street (which opens in two weeks) and Henry V (in initial blocking rehearsals to open in mid-October).

Rehearsing is practicing – trying different ways of moving, of saying a line, attempting to draw out every possible meaning and deciding which ways communicate the most of what could be meant. A rehearsal room has the space to fail, and fail in the most effective way: the way that leads to discovery. And that’s why a rehearsal room is a place of trust – in fellow actors, in the director, in the crew; trust in the fact that we are all there, together, serving one another, serving the text, and that our valuable failures here results in work that ultimately serves our audience. Otherwise, it’s hard to have the freedom to fail well.



An unusual celebration…

Today, we are having new seats delivered for the theatre.  We’ve called in all theatre majors to come in to the theatre today (any time they aren’t in a class) to help us assemble the new seats.  As this is being typed, the party has already begun.

It my seem like an unexciting event (and way) to celebrate -new chairs, an ‘all-day’ work call.  The fact is, the seating upgrade is part of a significant set of renovations happening in our Blackbox Theatre space, and it has started with one of the ‘unsung’ aspects of an audience’s theatre-going experience: the seat in which they sit.

We are happy to have a brand new set of Wenger adjustable seating risers and audience seating that our patrons will be able to enjoy when they visit us for our shows this semester.  Previous seating made it a challenge to comfortably view our productions, especially if they lasted for longer than 15 minutes.  We felt your pain (trust us).

So we celebrate, in the way theatre people know how: by gathering together as a community, and working together to bring our audience comfort, and enabling them to engage each production, without suffering.