Week 2 of HENRY V!

It has been so rewarding watching the storytelling deepen.  Hearing the language used more richly.  Seeing the physicality of the actors become more specific.  Today, I’m thinking about what it means for a show to grow.  Too often when one is learning the craft of acting and they are in an educational production of some kind the actor may think growing is “trying something different” or “saying my lines differently” or “getting bigger” or “getting more laughs” etc.  If acting is living believably in imaginary circumstances then the growth of a play becomes simply living deeper; richer.  The audience is the final ingredient in understanding the story you are telling as a theatre artist.  They inform us. We grow in our understanding of the story.  Notice I don’t say the audience controls the story.  The play and the production are 2 of the 3 elements that make a theatrical event.  A production should be like a tree, deep roots to support the beauty above the ground.

In honor of SAINT CRISPIN’S DAY (which is today!)  I give you the St. Crispin’s day speech from Henry V. Read it.  OUT LOUD.  Live it.  You are King Henry.

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

A different kind of performing…

Most people consider the task of ‘acting’ or ‘performing’ to be to create a sense of realism – to act as a real person and establish the illusion that ‘this is happening right now for the first time’.  Stanislavski, and many others like him.  This is the traditional view of what it means to be an actor or performer.

Director/ writer/ theatre artist Robert Wilson (along with several other contemporary theatre artists) look to break the theatre away from this sense of the ‘real’ and, in their work, seek to establish a heightened sense of theatricality that, they believe, open the doorway to a more poetic sense of meaning.  Highly visual, highly stylized.

But to perform in a work of this genre, an actor cannot apply the kinds of methods that serve the more ‘realistic’ performance of a traditional play.  The New York Times interviewed an actor, Helga Davis, who is currently performing in the revival of Wilson and Philip Glass’ operatic work Einstein on the Beach at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Here is the article.

“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…

Mayfair Affair — Production Pictures

Hey , check out our production pictures from the Mayfair Affair.  If you would like to purchase prints or downloads from this production CLICK HERE.

Pining forSam Ingersoll

Saaaaaaaammmmmmm Innngersollllll !!

Who else is here?

No she can't stay here.

Nooooooooooo !!!

I thought I heard someone else here?

My SETC Experience

This year was my second year to attend SETC, and it was different for me in more ways than one. The biggest being that I passed State Screenings in December and was able to audition for about 80 different artistic directors from many theatres around the country while at SETC. Last year I didn’t pass State Screenings but I was still able to do Job Contact at the conference, which was very beneficial for me. It was good to be able to take in the craziness of the conference and get myself mentally ready for this year. Coming into this year’s conference I felt a lot more prepared and knew what was expected of me. I was really thankful that two of my best friends, Scott and Marie, were also passed on to SETC auditions and it was great to be able to bounce ideas off of them and journey through the overwhelming (but rewarding) process together.
I was thankful to audition on Thursday, the second day of the conference. My audition wasn’t until 3pm, so I had the entire day to focus, go over my monologue, and relax. The way the auditions went were that the auditionees went into a large ballroom 40 at a time and waited in chairs on the side of the room while one person went on the stage to do their monologue and/or song in front of many tables of artistic directors. I won’t lie, it was quite intimidating. The level of talent and dedication around me wasinspiring, and I felt like a “little fish in a big pond.” I feel confident that I gave my very best efforts that day, and the fruits of my labor paid off in 4 callbacks, which I went to later that night. I met some truly wonderful people and learned about several great internships that theatres around the country offer. The knowledge I gained from those callbacks is invaluable, and even if I don’t hear back from the ones that interested me most, I’ve made connections that I wouldn’t have made any other way!


Better Prepared the Second Time Around

This was the second year I was able to attend SETC and participate in the Professional Auditions. Because I can’t do anything easily, I also decided to indulge my masochistic side and participate in the Graduate School auditions in lieu of my upcoming graduation from Belhaven. Thankfully, I was scheduled to do my Professional Audition the day before the Grad Auditions (how some people did them both on the same day, I don’t know). All in all, this year was vastly different from last year. Because I was able to participate in the professional auditions the year before, I knew what was to be expected and was therefore able to prepare a little bit better (knowing to project more, picking a better audition piece, mentally preparing for any callbacks etc.) I was, however, surprised by the difference between the professional auditions and the grad school auditions. The grad auditions were set in a lot smaller setting, a little bit more relaxed–overall not as “intense” as the professional auditions, you were allowed two and a half minutes to perform two pieces (a classical and contemporary), the stage was smaller, and there were definitely fewer auditioners and auditionees. After all the auditioning was done, I had been given four callbacks from the Professional Auditions, and nine from the Grad School auditions. Thanks to last year’s experience and knowing what to expect, I feel I was able to enjoy the callback/interview experience a lot more. As of now, I’ve applied for  the University of Arkansas’ MFA acting program and should hear back from them next week, as well as several internships in Sacramento, CA (with the B Street Theatre Co.) and Norfolk, VA (with the Virginia Stage Co.)