Wednesday, January 25, 2012

BE GENTLE, IT'S MY FIRST TIME (the actor speaks about acting, rereads his words, dislikes them, but leaves them as is) By Derek Van Barham

This has been my first experience working with The Ruckus. It has also been the first time that I have worked on a new script, and had the playwright around for much of the rehearsal process. It's been so exciting to really discover the world of the play as part of an ensemble. With the playwright there, I could ask questions about the meaning of a line and get an answer directly from the source. Its valuable to be able to discuss the script and see how one line can have a different meaning to each person in the room. Having done a lot of university productions of classics and well-worn territory (things like Earnest and Streetcar), it's been great to really create and originate. There are no models for these characters, no precedents. The script has such imagination. I like imagination.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rob Grabowski on Killing Time and Taking Names

There are no small parts, just small actors. Someone famous said that once. I think Matt Le Blanc. And when it comes down to it I have one of the smaller parts in "Little Triggers." And there's nothing wrong with that. But to discuss the process of acting, finding you're character, etc with a smaller role can be tricky. So I'll let Kevin, Derek or Neal discuss the finer points of acting.

From me you'll get some tips on ways to pass the time.

In Act one, once my scene is done I have roughly 40 minutes to myself. Try one of these suggestions next time you have 40 minutes:

-Reading: Reading is dying in America. Prove the news wrong by bringing a book or a kindle along. Thanks to rehearsals I'm almost done with "An Object of Beauty" by Steve Martin and looking forward to "Neverwhere" by Neal Gaimen and 'Being There" by Jerzy Kosinski through the run of the show. These books have been sitting on my shelf for months! MONTHS!

-Nap: grab a quick twenty winks! Helps get rid of those nasty bags under your eyes.

-Write: I just say you're writing stuff. People will be impressed.

-Re-Cast popular TV shows: One of my personal favorite games. Pick a show (Cheers, ER, ice road truckers) and re-cast it using friends or family. But never other celebrities.

-Make Fun of the Actors on Stage: Make fun of someone not in the room. We all do it. Including your co-workers when you leave a room

-Flirt: practice your flirting skills like Swiveling your hips, wink seductively, pulling your what-nots out smoothly, etc

-Leave Early: British stage rules state that if you're done before intermission you can go home. Do it so you catch the beginning of Conan

In Act two, I have scene where I'm under a sheet for 20 min. Try one of these suggestions next time you're under a sheet for 20 minutes:

-Shopping List: Go over what you have in your fridge and cupboards and what you can pick up on the way home

-Sweat Lodge: It's gonna get hot under there. Use it to your advantage! Drop a few pounds and clean our your pores

-Nap: See Nap under suggestions for things to do with 40 minutes

-Consider the big things: Take a moment and ponder about Life, The Universe and Everything!

-Coin Tricks: no pressure cause no one can see your hands

-Card Tricks: see above

-Ghost noises: self explanatory

-Enemies List: Make a ist of your enemies. Always useful to have especially when the assignation attempts begin to happen.

Hope that helps faithful readers!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vortex: A Chewing Gum Retrospective by Neal Starbird

Vortex is a chewing gum in the 5 line from Wrigley. It is promoted as a "juicy green apple." The first two words are appropriate, but probably more on their own than together. The "apple" is a bit of a stretch. I should say here that I'm not a gum man, so take this for what it's worth. I would say that this gum should be avoided, except that I have found myself encouraging friends and colleagues to try it to great satisfaction, so perhaps you should as well.
The effect of Vortex is fascinating. First there is a flood of fake green apple flavor. Unfortunately, it is sweet like crap wine instead of being in any way tart. I have to admire the folks at Wrigley for being able to squeeze so much flavor into the gum. The flavor of most sugar free gums fades pretty quickly leaving you with a chew toy to gnaw on for a while (did I mention I'm not a gum man?). However, the cloying fauxpple flavor of Vortex just seems infinite with but one minor change. About 10-20 seconds after chewing begins, the original taste moves somewhat to the upstage so that you can receive a full frontal assault of spearmint. You can still definitely taste the lead-off flavor, though, because the spearmint camps out mostly in your nasal cavity while the fauxpple pummels your soft palate.
You probably are thinking "sounds pretty gross, but I'm sure I could get used to it after awhile." That's what I thought too. I believe that is what everyone has thought that I have seen try this product. It's on their faces when they first lift the stick to their lips. "These others are little bitches. I'm the only real man in this room." And then you see the expected look of annoyance at the suitable-only-for-young-children fake apple flavor, and then the tell-tale discomfort as the spearmint gas starts pumping in their sinuses. Then the grimaces as they come to realize the full, discordant cacophony at play in their passageways. They try to tough it out for a few seconds, desperately believing the assault will wane or they will become acclimated to the effects. Finally the panic as they surrender and head for a trash can, or fumble for the original wrapper, desperate to get rid of it and aghast that it could possibly have been released to the public.
After some deliberation, we decided to go with a different gum for this production.