Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Auditions for the Week of 9/26/2010

USF College Players
The Wild Party
Seeking M. Auds. 9/26 8:30p-9:30p and 9/27 8:30p-10p. Email HS/Resume to director.mike.ward@gmail.com

New Conservatory Theatre Center
Regrets Only
Auds. 9/27-28 7pm-10pm. HS/Resume to jovan@nctcsf.org

Symphony Silicon Valley’s
Hello Dolly and My Fair Lady
Auds. 9/26 9:30am-12:00pm. Email sslater@symphonysiliconvalley.org

The Pear Avenue Theatre
Death of a Salesman
Auds 9/28-29 7pm-10pm. Email HS/Resume info@thepear.org

Jewel Theatre Company
Of Mice and Men
Auds 10/2 1p-4p and 10/3 1p-4p. Call Mike (408) 464-3903 between 10a-8p

San Leandro Players
Charley's Aunt
Seeking F 18-25. Email lisekarler@yahoo.com

Bus Barn Stage Company
Angels in America: Milleneum Approaches
Seeking M. Email barbara@busbarn.org

Stanford Savoyards
Princess Ida
Seeking M. Email greg@planetbeagle.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Opening This Week 9/26/2010

SF Playhouse
The Sunset Limited
Runs 9/28-11/6

Town Hall Theatre
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Runs 9/30-10/31

AlterTheater Ensemble
Intimate Apparel
Runs 9/30-10/24

Galtean Players
Runs 10/1-10/24

Stage 1 Theatre
Runs 10/1-10/16

Review: City Light's "First Day of School"

City Lights first production of the season kicks off their attempt to "bring sexy back." And does a great job. Billy Aronson's "First Day of School" is a great modern farce on today's marriage and our attitudes towards marital sex.

It's the first day of school and the PTA bagel brunch has been cancelled. Married couple Susan (Diahanna Davidson) and David (Tom Gough) realizing they have the day free try to come up with an activity to spend their day. After a few suggestions David casually throws out "How about having sex with other people?" After debating a minute more it's decided that Susan will go after Peter (Rich Miller), the local artist and David will attempt to go after Kim (Mandy Manousos), a very involved PTA mom.

There are amazing performances all around in this small ensemble cast. Tom and Diahanna deliver their characters with just enough cheese to remind of the classic television shows of the 1950s. Mandy's portrayal as an over-involved PTA parent is amazing and hilarious. Rich's shy awkwardness as Peter was quite believable. And I adored Courtney Walsh's use of movement and awkwardness as an uptight lawyer. This cast does well together but everyone manages to still hold their own. I didn't feel anyone overshadowed each other.
                                               (image courtesy of City Lights)

Something I really appreciated: complete facades. When doors and screens are opened it doesn't lead into some darkness or plain set. I loved that the set was fully dressed.

Overall, I would definitely recommend catching this hilarious show.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Auditioning for Teatro Vision

So I'm going to start with an update on Foothill auditions: I did not get a callback. I'm a little uncertain as to why and am debating on emailing the director and politely asking for a critique on my audition.

Onwards! I attended South Bay Regional auditions back in June and was very lucky to get an email from Teatro Vision inviting me to audition for their production of Bless Me, Ultima. I quickly emailed them back and set up an appointment. They asked me to prep 2 contrasting monologues, preferably one in Spanish.

I do not have monologue prepped with Spanish in it and didn't give myself enough time to learn one. Instead I used a monologue from a play I did called Miriam's Flowers by Migdalia Cruz. I played Delfina and used one of her many monologues that had a Spanish/Latin feel to it. I also decided to do Goodnight Desdemona (again) because I really needed a contrasting piece.

This was one of those low-key auditions I'm beginning to enjoy. Auditions were held at Hoover Theatre and we had 15 minute time slots. I met with Dianne Vega and Elsa Alvarado to perform my monologues. They both went very smoothly and I felt relaxed for the first time in a long time. I attribute this to knowing my monologues really, really well.

Elsa, who will be directing Ultima, asked if I spoke Spanish. Unfortunately, no-or at least not that well. I took 3 and half years in high school and both my grandparents spoke fluently  but I am far from mediocre. I usually understand better than I speak it. But I remain hopeful. Once I translate what I'm saying I can get it down well, I think. She also asked if I had seen any of Teatro's productions. Much to my embarrassment, I told her no I hadn't. To be fair though, I have only recently made it a priority to catch more theatre.

Teatro's production doesn't go up until next Spring, so it may be awhile before I hear back from them. But it was good practice overall.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Auditioning for Foothill College

I auditioned for Foothill College today. They will be producing The Winter's Tale. I had not read Winter's Tale previously and the audition had asked for a Shakespearean monologue and cold readings from the play. For the monologue I opted to do Mariana from Measure for Measure. Actually, this is my only Shakespearean piece I have down. I'm hoping to get a new dramatic piece and a comedic piece at some point.

Since I pretty much had the entire day free I spent it in the student center reading The Winter's Tale. I read the wiki on it for a summary and then read all the parts that had women in them. I took a shortcut because it's honestly really hard for me to translate Shakespeare well in that short amount of time.

I arrived at the audition to learn that in addition to the monologue we might be asked to sing. This is not good for me. I'm not really a singer, and certainly don't prepare anything (which I need to start doing).

During the audition my monologue went very smoothly. I was quite proud actually. Marcia Frederick, the director, asked me if there was a particular part I had in mind and I immediately answered Paulina. (Although I would be happy with any part.) So she had me read Paulina's monologue from Act 3, scene 2. I was also, unfortunately, asked to sing. Since I had nothing prepped I struggled to think of something I actually knew the words of. Finally, I blurted out with "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Really, that was the best I had. I got through the first stanza ok and then struggled through the second. Luckily, Marcia cut me off.

Once I get my cold reading piece(s) I do my best to score them. I try to set a tone, objectives, character choices and substitutions. This is why it's important to read the play beforehand if you get a chance. It makes all this work go faster.

Since there were quite a few people at the audition and we were doing monologues plus cold readings, I spent more time than I should have socializing. But it was nice to chat with people on upcoming projects. I also spent some of my time talking to the Stage Manager about Foothill's conservatory. She was great and asnwered all of my questions.

When it was finally time for me to perform the cold reading I have to say I did the best to my ability, but I think I still screwed up. All the prep work I put into it while waiting didn't seem to show itself when it came down to it. The monologue read as quiet anger. Marcia thanked me when I was finished, double checked the information on my resume and then told me I was finished. I was pretty bummed. I wondered if I should have made a different choice, like maybe I should have been loud angry. And then I wondered why if I had been doing it wrong she didn't correct me? As in, ask me to read the monologue differently. I left the audition feeling confused and wondering if I would be called back.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Auditioning for Broadway West

I auditioned for Broadway West’s general auditions on Monday. This season they are presenting I Do, I Do; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Hay Fever; StarSpangled Girl; and The Last Night of Ballyhoo. I was lucky to hear about the auditions in advance from the director of Cuckoo’s Nest, John. I worked with him at Shady this last season, again one of the perks to sometimes taking a tech job instead of acting job.
Since I knew I already wanted to work on Cuckoo’s Nest as Ratched, I spoke with my mentor and he helped me pick out the play Doubt by John Patrick Shanley and told me to look at the character Sister Aloysius. Once I bought the play I figured I could piece together a monologue from the dialogue between Sister Aloysius and Sister James. I am not very good at this sort of thing so I had a friend of mine, who is not only an English teacher but also teaches Drama, look over the play and give me hand. With his help I was able to pull a monologue out by cutting Sister James’ lines.
The audition called for a monologue and song. But since I’m not the musical theater person yet I practiced a second contrasting monologue in the hope I’d be able to perform it. I choose Good Night Desdemona since I had been able to find and work a new comedic piece.
To be honest, I really could have spent more time on these monologues. I had them memorized but my substitutions and objectives were still muddy by the time auditions arrived.
The Broadway West company is a great small, intimate space. And they were very lax on their audition process, in a good way. I arrived early and ran into people I knew who told me a bit about their experiences working with the company. Everyone had great things to say about the company. Also, they were very generous on time and introductions. I was introduced to all the directors and assistant directors; the time slots were about 15 minute increments; and they allowed me to do my two monologues.
And while Broadway West treated me well this is probably one of the worst conditions I’ve ever gone into an audition. To say I was a bundle of nerves is a massive understatement. I was nervous for a few reasons. I didn’t like auditioning for someone I know. In most cases this is beneficial. If you completely mess up your audition you can hope the director remembers some of your previous work and just thinks you had a bad night. However, John has never seen me perform and I very badly wanted to impress him, especially since I seriously want to be considered for his show. When I was being introduced to all the directors, I learned that in addition to John, Bryan was also there (he’ll be directing The Last Night of Ballyhoo). I had auditioned for Bryan previously during Shady auditions, but I’m not even sure if he remembers me from it. So there was yet another person to impress. While waiting to audition I spoke with my friend, Jim, who informed me that lots of women coming through auditions were interested in Cuckoo’s Nest. This bit of news also didn’t help my nerves.
 I really tried my best to calm my nerves. (I am thinking about enrolling in some meditation or Tai Chi classes to work on grounding techniques for situations like this.) But by the time I got onstage, I had already suffered from dizziness and nausea and just wasn’t feeling well. However, I was able to get through my monologues. I got all my lines right and didn’t drop or make up anything. I’m sure, despite my best effort, I was visibly nervous. What I was most disappointed in myself about is how I lost the nuance to my acting. I never got over my nerves. Usually, if I’m nervous at some point in the monologue I relax and start really getting into character. (Yes, I know I should be in character before I start my piece but my nerves don’t always let me.) I’m not really sure how I did overall. By the time I got to my car to leave I finally fell apart, crying. I was just so frustrated with myself. (And I felt stupid for getting myself worked up.)
About the only good news I’ve heard thus far is John saying my monologue was, I’m going to assume he meant the Doubt piece.
And now comes my least favorite part-waiting. With a general audition you wait until the show comes up and hope you get a callback. Which means it could be months before I hear from anyone.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Opens This Week 9/19/2010

Broadway San Jose
Burn the Floor
Runs 9/21-26

California Shakespeare Theater
Much Ado About Nothing
Runs 9/22-10/17

City Lights Theater Company of San Jose
First Day of School
Runs 9/23-10/24

Climate Theater
Faux Real
Runs 9/23-10/9

Imaginists Theatre Collective
To the Actors/A los Actores
Runs 9/23-10/9

Solano College Theatre
Runs 9/23-10/10

The Revolutionary Arts Committee
The Longest One-Act Ever
Runs 9/24-25

Pear Avenue Theatre
Our Town
Runs 9/24-10/17

Custom Made Theatre Co.
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Runs 9/24-10/30

Not Quite Opera
Absolutely San Francisco
Opens 9/24

Cinnabar Theater
Travels with My Aunt
Runs 9/24-10/17

Sonoma County Repertory Theater
Fat Pig
Runs 9/24-10/24

African-American Shakespeare Company
Runs 9/25-10/16

The Western Stage
Runs 9/25-11/14

South Bay Musical Theatre
The Music Man
Runs 9/25-10/16

Auditions for the week of 9/19

Notes about audition postings: This is just a quick overview of info I've received on Bay Area auditions. For detailed information please subscribe to Theatre Bay Area or bayareatheatrebums. Please do not email me for more information.

Woodside Community Theatre
The Drowsy Chaperone
Auds 9/19 6:30-9pm. Email: auditions@woodsidetheatre.com

StarStruck Theatre
Auds 9/19. Appt call (510) 659-1319 or sign up online.

Broadway West Theatre
General Auditions
Auds 9/19 1-4pm and 9/20 7-9pm. Appt: (510) 638-9218.

Lamplighters Music Theatre
The Yeomen of the Guard
Auds 9/19-9/21 7-10pm. Email auditions@lamplighters.org with 1st and 2nd choice times and phone number.

Berkeley Playhouse
Little Shop of Horrors
Auds 9/20 4-5:30pm. Register berkeleyplayhouse.org

Bay Area Children's Theatre
Little House on the Prairie
Auds 9/21-22. Email HS/Resume to nina@bactheatre.org

Foothill College Theatre Arts
The Winter's Tale
Auds 9/21-9/22 7pm. Callbacks 9/25. Call for info (650) 949-7268.

Stanford Savoyard
Princess Ida
Auds 9/23-9/25. Email stanfordsavoyards@gmail.com.

Mary Sano Studios
My Kanrin Maru (working title)
Auds 9/24 4-6pm. Email HS/Resume to nonoko@gmail.com.

Coastal Repertory Theatre
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Auds 9/25 11am-3pm. Callbacks 9/26. Call for info Michael Lederman (650) 726-0268.

Pleasanton Civic Arts Stage Company
The Princess and the Pea
Auds 9/25-9/26 12pm-5pm. Appt rennals@sfshakes.org

Bless Me, Ultima
Auds 9/25 1pm-4:30pm and 9/27 6:00pm-9:00pm. Email dianne@teatrovision.org.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Auditions for the week of 9/12

Notes about audition postings: This is just a quick over view of info I've received on Bay Area auditions. For detailed audition info please subscribe to Theatre Bay Area or bayareatheatrebums. Do not email me for more information.
Berkley Playhouse
Narnia (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe)
Auds 9/13. Callbacks 9/20. Email resume/HS to casting@berkeleyplayhouse.org.

RasaNova Theatre
Dancing on Glass
Auds 9/13 5-7pm. Callbacks 9/14. Email resume/HS to drvidhusingh@gmail.com

Hapgood Theatre Company
The Complete Works of William Shakspeare (Abridged) & Imaginary Love
Aud 9/13. Email resume/HS to jmiller@hapgoodtheatre.org

Sierra Repertory Theatre
White Christmas & The Andrew Sisters Christmas of Swing
Auds 9/14. Email resume/HS/role desired to artistic@sierrarep.org

Ragged Wing Ensemble
Youth Ensemble auditions
Auds 9/14 6-8pm. Email Amy Sass, info@raggedwing.org

San Francisco Opera
Cyrano de Bergerac
Auds week of 9/20. Email resume/HS/body shot by 9/17 to Sean Waugh, swaugh@sfopera.com

Ross Valley Players
Pride and Prejudice
Auds 9/18 2-6pm. Callbacks 9/20 Appt: (415) 507-1621

Woodside Community Theatre
The Drowsy Chaperon
Auds  9/18-19 6:30-9pm. Email auditions@woodsidetheatre.com

The Retro Dome
Santastic and The MeshugaNutcracker
Email resume/HS/cover letter of availability and interest to contactus@guggyent.com

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Auditioning for TheatreWorks

This last Friday I auditioned for TheatreWorks general auditions. It was my first time auditioning for this company but I had heard many good things about them and much more about impressing Leslie Martinson (TheatreWorks casting director).

Overall, I think I did alright. I didn't bomb the audition, but I certainly could've done much better. Honestly, I did not prep very well, which is an awful thing to not do. I had over a week for this prep, which was plenty of time to either find new monologues or go over the monologues I currently have in rotation.

Since I waited for the last minute I felt I had no choice to use the monologues in my repertoire. Unfortunately, my rep is pretty limited and a bit outdated and wasn't quite appropriate for this audition. The pieces I used were Carol from David Mamet's "Oleanna" and Constance from Ann-Marie MacDonald's "Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)". Here's why these pieces don't really work: a) I feel a bit too old to be performing Oleanna anymore. The character is in her early 20s and  I feel I make a barely passable 20-something. And b) the pieces don't contrast very well. Now part of this is my fault for not working them earlier in the week to make clear character distinctions to show my "range." But if you look at the pieces I think that both can be done as strong women in different settings. I've finally started to understand that contrasting doesn't necessarily mean one comedic and one dramatic.

I'm currently in the process of searching for new monologues, but til then I'm stuck with those two. Like I said, despite my lack of prep I was glad Leslie and her assistant at least laughed/chuckled during my comedic piece.

My very dear friend/mentor, Larry Barrott, gave me the best piece of advice, "Just relax." It's so simple and I've heard it before but it really struck me this time. As I drove to my audition I pumped myself up by reminding myself why exactly I was doing this audition. I love acting. It's an escape for me; to pretend to be someone else for awhile. So I just kept telling myself that someone was giving me the chance to play. To use my imagination and play. I had done enough of the work to know that I knew my lines and even though I was doing ridiculous things like making last minute cuts on my drive to the audition, I was finally able to relax and have fun.

One thing I saw this summer was actors having fun onstage. They knew their character well enough that they could play and it made for some amazing performances. It's something I seemed to have forgotten. But I'm glad to finally start bringing it back again.

I won't really know anything about the TheatreWorks auditions unless they want me for a show. So this means I'm out of their running until sometime next year. The way most generals work, from my understanding, is they put on file. When it's time for the show they're producing to come up they either know who they want for the roles, hold additional auditions and then start sifting through the files for additional callbacks. I'm pretty sure they do all three of these at certain points during the process. But essentially since I went to the generals I'm ineligible to go to the individual auditions since they've already seen me. If they have a part in mind for me they'll call me. (Please some clarify and/or correct me if I'm wrong.) Here's to hoping...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shady Shakespeare

My last day working with Shady was today. It was quite a sad day; I actually cried. This whole summer has been an amazing experience for me.

I auditioned for the Shady 2010 season back in Spring. I was not surprised I didn't get cast. I was (as usual) ill-prepared and just always seem to bomb at call-backs. (By the way, are there any cold reading classes out there? I could use one.) But everyone cast was extremely talented and fit their roles perfectly.

A little background for the actor on Shady: typically they run two shows during the summer. Rehearsals run 8 weeks long and you are usually double cast. Shows run through Labor Day weekend from Thursday thru Sunday nights. No understudy roles are available. It pays a small stipend and is performed in an outdoor theatre in Sanborn Park. You are also expected to help build the set, participate in set up during the run, and take down the set. It's certainly a lot of work, but I think it's a great experience as to what it's like to run a small theatre company. Everyone, actors included, work together to create the experience.

In speaking with Shady's artistic director, Larry Barrott, suggested I could ASM for both the Shady shows this past summer. Typically each show has a separate SM and ASM. I knew it would be a daunting task and I honestly had very limited ASM experience. But I figured my responsibility, the SMs, and my theatre knowledge would keep me afloat. And did.

Rehearsal started in late May and I jumped in sometime in early June after I quit my "day job." Early rehearsals were conducted at Independence High School, which has an amazing theatre space. Late June we moved into Sanborn and spent the rest of the summer there.

We had a record breaking year as far as attendance, which bodes well for next year.

Since I was not performing with them I used this time to brush up on my technical knowledge, start my  networking, get some great advice, and pick up some great acting tips from professionals.

There is a slight con that comes with an actor working in a technical profession, which I'll save for a later blog.  Otherwise it has been an amazing summer.

One last thing, Shady also offers a range of classes from children's theatre performance to combat training.

Shady Shakespeare Facebook

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Obligatory first post

I was born and raised in the Bay Area of California and have been interested in theatre all my life. While I chose to study Psychology in college, I did earn a minor in Theatre Arts performance and have been acting since I was in high school. In 2005 I took a break from acting because I didn't believe I was good enough to earn a living from it (a decision I deeply regret). Recently, through encouragement from friends and family I have begun my journey to try and "make it." Unfortunately the institutions I've studied at thus far have left me ill-prepared for becoming an acting professional. Wondering if there were others like me I've decided to blog on my journey as well as throwing in theatre happenings in the Bay Area, and reviews on theatre related books and shows. Hope that this journey proves fruitful. I cannot even guess how this will turn out.