Friday, December 2, 2011

Film Extra: "Tear It Down"

I recently had the pleasure of working as an extra in my friend, Marena's new movie, "Tear It Down." She put out the call that she needed some extras for a day of filming and I was more than happy to oblige.

Marena has decided to make her own movie after realizing that she was coming close to graduation and had no way to get her movie produced unless she did it herself. Marena reminds me of Felicia Day from "The Guild". Felicia Day realized that there weren't a lot of parts available to her and so she set about creating her own webseries. Marena realized that the chances of her script making to the SJSU summer movie production was slim and decided to do it on her own. Marena has written, produced and will star in her upcoming movie and I think that is amazing.

As far the day of shooting, I think it was a fairly typical day of what a person will experience on a low-budget, student film. You arrive when called and wait. You wait while the shots are set up, while the equipment is set up, and while the lighting is checked. Seriously peeps, bring a book or some device to entertain yourself on a film shoot. There is a lot of down time, and remember if your entertainment device is a smart phone turn it off during takes. Marena was generous and also brought us some snacks to munch on between takes. This was supposed to be a rather short shoot as it was only about a page of dialogue. However, due to it being an outdoor shoot things took a bit longer than expected. First off, we were filming outdoors in a public space-SJSU to be specific. That means lots of people walking about and in today's case lots of ground maintanence. There had been a huge wind storm the night before and the ground maitnanece was about clearing out all the branches and leaves that had fallen. Also, something that I don't think was taken into account, the shade. The area we were filming on had great sun until about 1pm and then the shade from the trees started to creep in. This lead to set up shot, talk about something for a bit and realize we lost the lighting because the sun moved. So start again. Also, I never realized the reflector was so bright. I'm curioius to see the final product and if you can see me trying not to cry as the sun pierces my eyeballs. Although, crying would've worked in this case since we were at a "poetry reading."

I have to say my favorite part of the day was when myself and the other extras were doing our background work and pretending to have a conversation about one of the readings we had just witnessed. Our conversations involved how Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickinson should've been star-crossed lovers in different time dimensions and that Slyvia Plath was thier love child. Very exetensial and ridiculous.

Even though the shoot ran later then expected and I had to leave a bit early, I had a great time. I can't wait to see the finished product.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Uploaders

The Uploaders is a funny vulgar, very NSFW web series developed by Jason Salazar.  The premise: eight people decide they want to become famous by creating something spectacular to put on the web. What ensues is deviant hilarity as they each compete for the best idea.

All the talent, so far, is local and many are also theatre actors. Jason and his wife, Sharon run the production fairly raw style with a couple of cameras, extended mike, and some extra lights. They also do all their own editing and set up. I actually really love "homemade" movies. A friend writes and script and convinces other friends to spend a day filming said script. Nothing super fancy and a lot of fun.

I was luckily enough to work with Jason on a recent Uploaders video when he needed extras for an upcoming Halloween episode. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say I had so much fun in this entire experience. I haven't done any film before and have been anxious to get on any project and give it a try. It's pretty much what I expected. Director fills you in on what's happening in the scene, yells action and then cut. And then repeat scene again several times for different angles, etc. If not in a scene you just sort of hang out til it's time for you start and try to stay quiet. Despite it being drastically different from theatre where you rehearse for days and then get one shot a night to get it right, I really enjoyed the differences.

Catch up on The Uploaders series here and be sure to like them on Facebook so you stay up date of future filming and upcoming episodes.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Theatre Review: Eat the RUNT

Photo courtesy of Renegade Theatre Experiment

So two weeks ago I decided to check out the Renegade Theatre Experiment's production of Eat the Runt. I actually remember reading the audition notice for this play and thinking to myself, wow memorizing an entire play and 8 different actor roles. That's amazing. I don't think it's for me though. I still consider myself a novice in acting and while the challenge sounds fantastic I just didn't think I'd be up to personally.

So now that I seen a live production, I have to say I have the greatest respect and admiration for all the actors in this production. Not only was it well executed, it was just impressive knowing that all the actors had to learn everything in the script.

In case you haven't picked up on it by now, Avery Crozier's concept for Eat the Runt was that up to 8 actors could play any of the roles regardless of gender or ethnic identity. The audience selects which actor they would like to see in which role allowing for over 40,000 casting combinations. What you get is a different show every time you see it.

RTE selection of the cast began with each of the actor's introducing themselves with a little quirky/funny sentence about themselves and then each of the character roles were described to us. RTE used an applause-o'meter like device to let the audience decide on who played what parts.

Our casting went as follows:
Mandy Armes - Jean
Robert Campbell - Merritt
Ben Ortega - New Merritt
Alexander Prather - Hollis
Vera Sloan - Chris
David Scott - Sidney
Valerie Valenzuela - Pinky
Katie Vroom - Royce

As much as I enjoyed the way we cast the show I would love to come back and see everyone in a different role.

Aside from the acting, which I thought was great. I also really liked the abstract set. The "art pieces" in the background work well for a play that's never the same thing twice.

Why you should go see it: How often do you get to cast a show as an audience member? This a great experiment in theatre that exceeds expectation. The plot is entertaining and the cast delivers. And if you didn't care for it the first time you can see it a second time and re-cast it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ballyhoo Update

Well, guess what? I got a part! Lala, to be exact. I'm actually really excited about this role. I kind of fell in love with this character at the callbacks and am so happy to be given the part. Rehearsal starts in a couple of weeks and I'm trying to use this time to start some character development and start memorizing my lines.

I'm also thinking of signing up for TheatreWorks general auditions, but I really need to find new material now for it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Callbacks and What I've Been Upto

So let's do a re-cap on what I've been doing since April. I actually have a few back log posts in queue that I'm hoping to get to, but let's give a breakdown.

I worked with Teatro Vision from January through March, performing in their West Coast Premiere of "Bless Me, Ultima." It was a wonderful, amazing experience in which I met some awesome veteran Teatro Campensino actors and got in touch more with my heritage.

As Ultima came to an end I started working on my next show with Arclight, "Much Ado About Nothing." Really working with Arclight feels like coming home. This was the second year I worked with them and juggled Fanime at the same time. I had a great time back at San Pedro Square and playing around with my character, Verges.

As the month of May came to a close I began my work with The King's Company in their production of "Godspell Jr." I was upgraded from Ensemble member to Apostle within a few weeks and had a lot of fun working with this group's first ever performance.

I then spent the rest of my summer helping out Shady Shakespeare. I worked as summer camp counselor intern, teaching 8-11 year-olds theatre and "A Comedy of Two Errors" and then teaching 8 and 10 year-olds theatre and "Julius Caesar" (no, really), as well as giving Shady a hand with set build.

The summer is coming to a close and for the first time in seven months I don't have a show lined up. Which is kind of freaking me out, but brings me today. I had a callback today with Broadway West for "The Last Night of Ballyhoo." This callback was actually happenstance for me. A few weeks ago I was talking with the director Ballyhoo asking him how his planning was going. He then looked at me and asked if I was coming to his audition. I reminded him I had already been the company's general auditions almost a year ago and then he asked me to come to his callback. This is networking people! I was genuinely curious about how his production was going, not fishing for anything, but because we've worked together and auditioned together he knows what I'm capable of. I was genuinely surprised and flattered to be invited to his callback.

I think the surprise had more to do me not seeing myself in any role within Ballyhoo. I had read the wiki awhile back and all that really stuck out in my memory were all the characters are supposed to be Jewish. And while I think I certainly look ethnic, Jewish doesn't come to mind. However, once I was invited to the callback I began doing more research. And while everyone is supposed to be Jewish, after reading the play I really felt a connection with the character Lala. And I felt that since the play takes place in Atlanta, Georgia that the Southern accent would actually take away from any discomfort I felt about ethnicity.

So I went into the callback and actually had fun. My mentor is always telling me to relax and have fun. And seriously, it's some of the best advice I've ever been given. I always try to tell myself before any audition or callback that it's supposed to be fun. I'm getting a chance to use my imagination like when I was a child and hopefully will get paid for it. Either way, I had a great time at the callback. I was there for about 4 hours, but pretty much read for Lala the entire time. I read once for Sunny, but just didn't feel I had the right look for Sunny. Honestly, looking around at all the people who'd been called back I pretty much felt like I was either going to get Lala or nothing. Sunny is within my age range, but she's the "pretty" one. And really, I play quirky characters, which I think suits Lala. The other women roles available were out of my age range. The other young girl reading pretty much read for Sunny the entire time. I felt like we had a pretty good chemistry together and it was fun working with her. I have to say my favorite part of the audition was actually doing the scene with her about Lala and Sunny's big fight. It felt so intense; it was great. I saw a lot people I knew at this callback and that's feeling more like the norm these days. Actors I've either worked with at other companies or have seen perform at Broadway West. Another thing of note that I liked is the way the director makes his adjustments with actors. His favorite line is "Give me three words that describe your character." I like how it clicks in for actors easily to make the adjustments he's looking for.

I still have a few days of waiting before I find out whether I got the role or not, but even if it doesn't work out there's always another audition coming around. And I just remind myself the exposure doesn't hurt either.

Friday, March 11, 2011

YouthAware Audition

I received notice through Bay Area Theatre Bums that YouthAware from N.C.T. was having an audition. I  thought Anees, my current B.M.U. castmate, might be interested in this company/type of work and forwarded the email to her. I started thinking to myself that it wouldn't conflict with anything I would be doing and might be good practice for K.P. so I decided to audition too. But then I was cast in a show and had a massive brain fart and thought the schedules for my new show and YouthAware would conflict. So I cancelled my Y.A. audition. Anees still went and was cast. And then I realized that the schedules probably wouldn't conflict after all but by then it was too late, or so I thought. Later during the week I got another B.A.T.B. audition notice that Y.A. was still looking for actresses. So I resubmitted to audition and was able to get an appointment. Yay!

So today I tok the BART upto the City, after making sure there wasn’t going to be a tsunami, and made my way to N.C.T.’s space. I got ther a bit early and was lucky enough to be seen early. Sara, the program director, is so nice. She brought me into a small studio space and gave me some paperwork to fill out, a schedule and a cold read monologue. She explained she'd give me about 10 minutes to fill out the paperwork, look over the cold read, warm up, etc. And that I'd do my piece first and then the cold read monologue.

I chose to do a new piece from Jeanmarie Williams "Vanishing Marion" instead of the "Oleanna" piece I'd been working on. It's the other piece I've recently been considering for K.P. I wanted to give it a test drive of sorts. The new piece seemed to work very well. I might just switch pieces after all.

After presenting my monologue I then did their cold read monologue from their play "Secrets." N.C.T. is hiring for "Out of the Closet," but there isn't a good female monologue in it so they chose one from "Secrets." That monologue also went well I felt. After I was done with the monologues I sat down with Sara and she went over somethings about the company, the different touring shows, the how’s of the show, etc. I felt like it was going great until we started to talk about scheduling. The last couple of weeks of the tour N.C.T. will perform in the Central Valley. Unfortuantely that’s the same week as my tech for "Much Ado." I’d have to get from Central Valley to San Francisco back to San Jose by 7pm at the latest. Sara basically said I wouldn’t be rejected because of a difficulty in the scheduling but it did need to go into consideration. I understood. Sara did mention about keeping me on file for future projects, which is great.

I'm a bit sad. I really felt like I rocked the audition but my scheduling really might cost me the job. I did have fellow B.M.U. cast mates encourage me to email Sara with some suggestions on trying to make it work. I think I’m going to try that approach. I don’t really see how it could hurt my chances. As my cast mates said it would show I really do want to for their company. Keepin' some fingers crossed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kaiser Permanente Seminar

I’m auditing for Kaiser Permanente's Education touring group at the end of the month. This is my seond time auditiong for them. I tried last year but didn’t get called back. Since I desperately want this job I’ve been preparing it since January. K.P. holds two seminars before auditions start to give a prospect an opportunity to learn more about the company, what’s expected, how the audition process works and gives them a chance to workshop a monologue and get feedback, as well as participate in a mock audition.

I decied to take BART. I hate driving and looking for parking. Unfotunately I didn’t plan well and made it just on time to my seminar appointment. The group was introduced to various program directors who led us through the informational part of the seminar, along with a power point presentation. After a Q&A session we were split into 4 groups to workshop our monologues. In my small group of 5 people only myself and one other girl, Calia, had fully prepared a monologue. I actually recognized her from last year’s K.P. audition. So we each went up and got great feedback from the group and the director, Keinya.

I had mainly been worried because I chose to do a piece off their example list instead of choosing a different piece. I was concerned that so many actors would be doing these pieces that I would not standout. My concern isn't unwarranted, but they did say it was OK for us to use the pieces off the examples list. I have spent quite a bit of time on this piece and don’t want to change it even though I find it really challenging. It’s from David Mamet’s "Oleanna." And I’ve been stuggling to make CAROL, who supposed to be in her 20s, appear younger as well as give the piece some range. Advice given was: pick a specific age, really figure out how that age would respond, don’t play the end of the monologue at the beginning. They also encouraged us to dress young for the actual audition. I had the chance to perform my piece twice. After we worked on our pieces a bit we did a mock audition. It was to give us an idea of what to expect for the auctal audition-which isn't much. You’re called on deck and get a couple of minutes in a quite room to center, ground, and rehearse. Then you’re called in the audition room. You introduce yourself and perform your piece in front of a panel and that’s it. As soon as I was done with the mock audition I got to go home.

I’m really glad I went. I appreciated the feedback and I felt that I would more easily be remembered from the other applicants because I had indiviaul time with the directors.

One of things that came up during the seminar is most people had to audition more than once. Some members auditioned as much as 2-3 times before being cast. Certainly what types they need to fill make a difference and unforutaly they don’t tell you what roles need to be filled. I also think I wasn’t called back last year because I just got it wrong. I picked the wrong monologue, performed it incorrectly and wore the wrong type of outfit. As my professor told me recently “do you research.” If a company or school has a special focus be sure to tailor your audition as such.

I also learned during the seminar that rehearsals for the program start in August, not September. This timing would actually be perfect if I'm cast. It would mean breaks in between shows, but I’m OK with that. And then I would be set for a whole year practically in performance. I really hope I get this job.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Callbacks for Arclight Rep: Much Ado About Nothing

I felt very lucky to be invited to Arclight’s callbacks for "Much Ado About Nothing." I performed with them last year and was glad they felt confident enough in me to not make me audition again.

I had to squeeze my callback in between rehearsals. Luckily we get an hour lunch break in which I hoped would be enough time for them see me. Also luckily the callbacks were being held in the same building as my rehearsal.

As soon as I was free I booked it down the courtyard to the callback. There was a very sweet high school girl running as the stage manager for the callbacks. Elizabeth and David were watching the sides since David is going to be the director. And even though I was half an hour later then my time slot (which I did let them know about) they were also running behind. After checking in I was told they were out of sides for the scene I was supposed to cold read for. But then the stage manager realized that someone else hadn't shown up at all and suddenly I had my sides to work with.

I was asked to read both as Verges and Dogberry in Act 3, scene 5. I found my scene partners: Jim Johnson, who I worked with last year on "Taming of the Shrew" with, and Dee, who I'm pretty sure I auditioned with at Shady Shakes last year. Jim and Dee would also be reading for Dogberry, and Jim would as well read for Verges. We ran the scene a few times, each of us rotating in as different characters. When we felt comfortable with it we took a break and I talked/said hi to everyone I recognized/knew. I also “recognized” a few faces of people I’d seen at other auditions, and one gentleman I realized I had sat next to at the “Working” show. I also spoke briefly to a woman, Karina, who heard me talking about my upcoming K.P. audition. It turns out she also works for them. Small world people. I then went to talk to the stage manager about when I’d be seen. It turns out that when you were ready you were supposed to let her know so she could put your name on a list. No one told me and there were quite a few people ahead of me. I very politely asked if I could be bumped up on the list because I was under a time constraint. She nicely agreed. I did feel bad because by this time it was after 1 P.M. and some people who’d been there since 11A.M. still hadn’t been seen, but I was on a lunch break didn’t have all day. Also Dee was under a deadline, which I think helped get us in earlier as well.

At some point things were running so behind that David came out and apologized. Some actor’s seemed pretty peeved, border lined pissed at how late things were running. I wasn't annoyed because I was actually able to get my times bumped up and had already decided if they didn't have time to see me I was just going to leave when I had to. Honestly, if I had had the day free and spent hours waiting to been seen I wouldn't have been annoyed or surprised. This is same company that cast me sight unseen for Taming of the Shrew because they ran out of time to see me during both auditions and callbacks for that show. All in all, I actually like this company which is still in its start up stages. I just feel I have realistic expectation of how things are run.

Dee was seen first since she was playing as Dogberry in a different group. When she came out she basically said that we'd been playing Dogberry "wrong." David told her his concept for a female Dogberry which was to be more like Professor Trewlaney from "Harry Potter." Luckily I was familiar with the idea and started to make some adjustments. I was able to go in shortly after and we ran the scene with me playing Verges once and Dogberry once, switching in with Jim. David told me right away about how he envisioned a female Dogberry, confirming what Dee had said earlier. I asked him about his concept for this production and he told me it was taking place during the mission era of California. So Dogberry was supposed to very “earth mother/shamanistic” who’d maybe done a bit too much peyote. I gave it my best. When I switched to play Verges they asked Jim to play Dogberry as “Don Quixote” and Verges was his Sancho who tries to explain everything for Dogberry. I really like working with Jim. He’s hilarious. I thought we did pretty well.

David then asked me to look at Conrad in Act 1, scene 3 and a Dogberry monologue from Act 4, scene 2. I found my Don John scene partner and we ran it a few times and then I worked on my Dogberry monologue a bit, trying to channel Emma Thompson. And then I went back to the stage manager to let her know I was running out of time. She bumped me again, thankfully. I did my scene and was prepared to do the monologue but David said they’d seen enough. We thanked each other and I wished everyone I knew “good luck.” David also let me know when I left that there might be additional callbacks. I think they were concerned they weren't going to see everyone before the day ended. I booked it back to rehearsal and made it just on time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Shady Shakespeare Update

Shady has actually been very prompt at getting back to me, which I really appreciate. It really is very hard for me to paitently wait to see if I’ve been cast.

So I wasn’t picked up for Shady this year. Yes, I’m a bit disappointed but not devasted like last year. I felt that I had siginifcatly improved over last year and that just as important to me as being cast. I managed to get called back, which is huge for me right now. Tony says that CSSSA told him if you manage to get 1 out of 5 callbacks you’re doing well in the “biz.”

I would at some point like to email the directors for feedback. I could certainly use some helpful criticism.

So now with Shady out of the picture this means I still have a partial summer to fill up. During the Shady auditions I was invited, by a close friend, to perform in a production of "Godspell, Jr." I asked if they could wait until I heard back about Shady, not something I would normally do. Luckily they agreed. Since their production doesn't start until June, I have a gap between April and then. I am hoping to be cast in Arclight Rep's production of "Much Ado About Nothing" which would take care of that gap, and hopefully kick off August with Kaiser. That would be so ideal. Here's hoping.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Callbacks for Shady Shakespeare

So after running a few errands this morning I finally settled in to watch my BBC version of Henry V. I spent a few miutes reading a Cliff Notes version of it as well as reading the Spark Notes. I managed to get through part way of Act 2, scene 3 before I ran out of time. I was also able to at least read the translation of the French scene between Katherine and Alice in Act 3, scene 4, and really hoped Larry (the director for Henry V) would be using a translation with French accents. I was mainly concerned with trying to figure out all the different characters in Henry V and which roles I'd most likely be asked to read for. As far as Midsummer went I was pretty sure I would be asked to read as a Mechanical and since I'm pretty familiar with the play I didn't waste my time trying to go over it (mostly because I was really crunched for time.) For Henry V I was aiming to read as either the Chorus (I already knew in advance this part was going to a woman), Alice, and possibly Hostess Quickly (although I thought this might be a stretch since I'm a bit young for the part).

Again I made sure to get the space early. I arrived while everyone had gone to lunch, except Larry. While I stretched I spent a bit of time catching up with him as well as discussing his plans for Henry V. He's decided he's going to keep the French, much to my dismay. Everyone started arriving not long after and we were all brought into the main room to given a briefing and sides. The AM crowd, which consisted of people reading for the Imaginary Invalid, was still finishing up. In the meanwhile, we were given our sides for Henry V to work on. My first piece was actually reading for Quickly in Act 2, scene 3. Luckily I had just seen this scene earlier and understood what was going on. I was paired with Tim (Nym), whom I've worked with before; Eric (Bardholph), whom I'm aquainted with from various Shady events; and Rich (Pistol), who I met for the first time today. As we ran the scene a couple of time I brought up whether we wanted to include actual kissing, as it's mentioned in the script. Ultimately, we decided yes. I'm actually ok with doing this for auditions provided everything is worked out in advance. I do not want someone sticking their tongue down my throat or groping me without having rehearsed it at least once. Luckily for me, Rick was a perfect gentleman.

After rehearsing a bit more we decided to take a break. I spent my downtime chatting with people I knew and introducing myself to a few new people. After some time we finally got in to do our scene. About a quarter through Quickly's speech Larry stopped me and gave me some adjustments. I can't say enough how much I appreciate this as an actress. I really hate going to a cold reading/callback, giving my interpretation and then being told "Ok, thanks." I'm always thinking, if my performance was way off from your interpretation tell me. Part of my job as an actress is being able to take direction. I have, on occasion, asked a director if they wanted me to try something different when I can see them making the "Hrm?" face. In this particular case I was told to make Quickly a bawdy, lusty wench not a member of the court. (My bad.) So I made an attempt to adjust. I can only hope I came through the second time around.

We were then told to hang out for a bit and then everyone would be called back in for more sides. After a few more minutes we all gathered around and were given sides for Midsummer. This time I would be reading as Snout in Act 1, scene 2. I actually was paired with lots of people I knew for this group. Since Snout only has one line, two if you're counting a unison line, I spent my time trying to connect with the other actors in the scene and just react to what was happening. I think we all worked really well together. When we went to perform they actually laughed, which I always consider a good sign. I was let go after my Midsummer reading.

And now is the waiting game. Overall, I was pretty please with the work I did. Could have done better? Always. Did I think I sucked/bombed it? Not at all. Having said that I don't have the highest expectations of getting cast. The competition was pretty cutthroat. They called back a lot of really good actors, most of which outweigh me in expereince and training. I'm hoping I'll hear back either way by the end of this week. In the meanwhile, I have scenes to work on for class, a Much Ado callback on Saturday, rehearsal, and my KP monologue to prep. I think I'll be able to keep myself busy enough this week.

Auditions for Week of 02/20/2011

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.

General Auds
Auds 3/21, 3/24 & 3/26-27 Prep 2 monologues or 1 monologue & 1 song, 3 minutes total. Calls taken between 2/18-3/8. Call 650-463-7171, Leslie Martinson for appt.

Northside Theatre Company
Enchanted April
Auds 2/21-22 6:30p-8:30p. Prep 2 2 min contemp contrasting monologues. Call 408-388-7820 for appt.

Novato Theatre Company
Picasso at the Lapin Agile 
Auds 2/21 & 2/24 7p-9p. Cold reads. Call 707-763-6615 or email Jerrie Patterson for info.

Arclight Repertory Theatre
Much Ado About Nothing
Auds 2/21-22 7p-10p. Prep 1-2 min comedic Shakespearean mono and cold reads. Email HS/resume w/pref'd aud day to

Pleasanton Civic Arts Stage Company
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Auds 2/26 12p-5p. Call 415-865-4425 for appt.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Auditioning for Shady Shakespeare

I had planned on auditioning for Shady about sometime last year and started reading up on Henry V (because I've never read it) and picking a new monologue for my second piece. But when Kaiser's Education Theatre Program came along I thought I wouldn't be able to fit Shady into my schedule, and then I later learned that it could theoretically work, but by that point I couldn't request any time off from Bless Me, Ultima rehearsals. Fast forward to this past week and a last minute rehearsal cancel, led me to think "Why the hell not?" Unfortunately I had stopped prepping for the Shady auditions months ago and now had to cram a new monologue and play prep in 2 days.

This year Shady will be producing The Imaginary Invalid, Henry V and A Midsummer Night's Dream. I can't do Invalid because I'm going to be out of town during the run of the show. I'm very familiar with Midsummer, it's one of my favorite pieces, so I wasn't worried about cramming in a review session. However, I knew pretty much nothing of Henry V. I decided I wouldn't worry about a major cram session for it until I knew I was going to be called back. So I just focused all my energy into learning a new monologue.

Shady asked for 2 contrasting Shakespearean monologues no more than 2 minutes each. I knew for sure I would be doing Mariana from Measure for Measure. I had debated on doing Julia from Two Gentlemen of Verona, but I honestly didn't think I could get down just the way I wanted in time. So instead I opted for the Courtesan from The Comedy of Errors. (Both speeches that I used are from the book Alternative Shakespeare Auditions for Women by Simon Dunmore.) I pretty much spent all of Friday trying to get the Courtesan speech down and working on characterization, but by the time my audition time slot rolled around I just didn't feel 100% confident in it.

To be honest, auditions just didn't go as well as I wanted. I managed to get to the space fairly early, and was even asked if I wanted to go early. I opted not to. I wanted to use what time I had to relax and work on my piece some more. Unfortunately I didn't take advantage of my time to really give myself a good physical and vocal warm-up. I was so busy trying to calm my nerves. I also tried distracting myself a bit by saying hi to a bunch of other auditioners I already knew. I rarely get to see these people outside of auditions, rehearsals and performances so it's kind of nice to catch up a bit.

The space was really echo-y. Even with the door to the room shut you could hear auditioners pieces down the hall. Including a woman who was a couple of people ahead of me doing the Julia piece I had contemplated. Glad I decided to go with the Courtesan. When it was finally time for me to go I actually relieved I knew everyone in the room. I like all these people and tried to make it feel like I was just talking to friends instead of auditioning. It helped, a bit. This also meant I didn't have to introduce myself, just let them know what pieces I'd be doing. I decided to do my Mariana speech first because it's my strongest. I had hoped it would help bolster my confidence and get me a bit more relaxed. I took my moment and a couple of breaths before launching into my first monologue. About a quarter of the way through my first piece I realized I was starting to go on autopilot a bit and just saying the words instead of actually trying to be in the moment. Luckily I found my focus again. Then came my second piece. Well...I didn't blow it, but I certainly didn't nail it either. Parts of lines just seem to disappear from my brain. I knew what my intention was so I just started saying things that sounded like the lines I wanted to say and I think transversed a few bits as well. Hey, at least I didn't freeze and just kept going. Since I was scrambling to get my lines correct I felt I lost a lot of the nuance and intention I had wanted to convey. My blurry recollection of the event tells me at least I didn't completely fuck things up. I finished up the piece, gave my thank yous, and then hung out in the hallway while I tried to stop my hands from shaking. I was pretty annoyed with myself and started in on the self-berating. However, my fiance and the rational part of my brain kept telling me that I had done ok. You can't keep beating yourself up over things you can no longer control, just focus on the next thing. In this case, waiting to hear about callbacks. We had been told we'd be notified either way later this evening. So I sat anxiously waiting by my phone and checking my email. Of course, it was until H4773r got his email that I shortly thereafter got mine. I got a callback! Since I'm pretty tired, I'm planning on going to bed early and then getting up early to start my Henry V prep.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Auditions for Week of 02/13/2011

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.

Marin Shakespeare Company
Macbeth, Complete History of America (abridged), and The Tempest
Auds 2/11 10a-3p (AEA) & 2/12-13 10a-4p (non-AEA & AEA). Prep 2 contrasting monologues, 3 minutes total. Call (415) 499-4488 for appt.

Pacific Repertory Theatre
Auds 2/12 10a-2p & 2/13 10a-12p. Prep 1 modern monologue & up to 2 upbeat songs (2 minutes each; 1 song from show & 1 not from show). Call 831-622-0700 x100 for appt.

Douglas Morrisson Theatre
Rodgers & Hart: A Celebration
Auds 2/12-13 11a. Prep 1 Rodgers & Hart song. Email Michael Ryken for appt.

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley
Passion Play
Auds 2/13-14 7p-9p. Prep 2 minute narrative monologue (any genre, must show emotional shift). Email Actors Ensemble of Berkeley for appt.

Arclight Repertory Theatre
Sparklight One Act Festival
Auds 2/15-16 7p-10p. Cold read & prep 1-2 minute contemp monologue. Email HS/resume & pref'd aud day to Arclight Rep for appt.

Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre
The Sound of Music
Auds 2/19 11a & 2/21 7:30p. Prep 16-32 bars, bring music. Email Tri-Valley Rep for info.

Shady Shakespeare Theatre Company
A Midsummer Night's Dream & Henry V
Auds 2/19 11a-5p. Prep 1 monologue. Email Shady Shakes for appt.

General Auds
Auds 3/21, 3/24 & 3/26-27 Prep 2 monologues or 1 monologue & 1 song, 3 minutes total. Calls taken between 2/18-3/8. Call 650-463-7171, Leslie Martinson for appt.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: SJ Rep's "The Dresser"

Courtesy of SJ Rep

A touching drama about life, theatre and relationships during World War II. A small touring company is set to perform "King Lear" amidst a lead actor/theatre manager who is going senile and several bombings and air raid sirens. This play focuses heavily on Sir's relationship with his cast, especially his dresser, and his rapidly declining health.

This play is based on the real life story of Ronald Harwood, a dresser to Donald Wolfit, actor-manager in the 1930s. Dramaturg, Karen Altree Peimme, does a wonderful job of giving the history of this play in the playbill.

While this cast was a decent size, almost all of the acting falls upon Sir (Ken Ruta), Norman (James Carpenter) and Her Ladyship (Rachel Harker). It's quite some stamina for an actor to go nearly 3 hours performing with little to no breaks. Performances were outstanding all around. I think that Ruta did a great job as Sir by portraying a sincere fragility and confusion due to his condition. Carpenter was absolutely brilliant as Sir's caregiver and his heartbreaking situation in the end nearly had me in tears. Harker was wonderful as Sir's longtime lover and her expression of frustration with Sir in Act II was so genuine. Having been both a stage manager and pined after men who were clearly not interested in me romantically made it easy for me to fall in love with Madge (Lynne Soffer). Irene (Blythe Foster) as the ingenue was a perfectly cast. She did wonderfully as the fame hungry young actress, without being overly slutty. For some reason, Caperenter's portrayal of Norman really reminded me of Sheldon from the "Big Bang Theory". Perhaps it's that both characters have that same sort of knack for orderliness about things and objects. And while my SJSU boys didn't have a lot of stage time I still think they did a great job.
Courtesy of SJ Rep

I was incredibly impressed by the set design. I kept being distracted by the dressing room in the beginning. There was so much stuff crammed into one small room/set piece. I wished to be able to go down and explore it fully. And then when it's hauled offstage to reveal the rest of space, a magnificent replication of a backstage area, my jaw practically hit the floor. I loved the recreation. And I loved the use of space when the "actors" for "King Lear" played to an imaginary house at stage right. And the use of doubling the actual audience for the "King Lear" audience was great.

This is only my second time watching a show at the SJ Rep. Previously I had seen Lynn Redgrave perform in "The Bog of Cats" in 2001, so I didn't really remember much about the space. I honestly, as per usual, had no clue what this play was about or entailed. I just knew that some of my local theatre acquaintances were in this production. While I really enjoyed this show, it was...long. Very long. About the first 30 minutes or so it's just Norman and her Ladyship talking about Sir, what happened to him and his declining health. There isn't a lot of physical action or movement, although Norman does a great job of being so flamboyant and a wonderful storyteller I didn't feel too much like spacing out. I had gone as a chaperon for Leigh High School and I have to say this show just wasn't appropriate for the freshmen/sophomore level. There were even some junior high students there. I heard  a lot of comments after wards about how boring it was and they just didn't "get it." Honestly, the language is verbose and the show lengthy. Perhaps, it's because I'm an actress/theatre person that this didn't really bother me. I was drawn in by the character's heartaches and really felt for them. I would certainly recommend this show to an adult audience. I really just don't think that younger audiences will have the patience to sit through or come away with really connecting with the characters.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Volunteering for Theatre Bay Area (TBA)

I recently decided to volunteer for TBA's general auditions. Why didn't I audition, you may be asking yourself? (And even if you're not what I'm about to say will have some relevance to this post.) I had been told by peers and a mentor that I just wasn't ready. I have been out of the performance circle for a long while and my training has really gone down the drain. I was told to go out and get some more training and some more experience, as these auditions are pretty cutthroat. As I respect their opinions I've taken their criticism to heart and decided not to waste my time or money auditioning. But I did want to see what it was like. Having previously attended Southern TBA's I had figured this would be really different. It was...and wasn't. It was certainly a bigger venue, with a lot more people. And volunteering meant I was doing work, not just standing around freaking out over whether or not I'd nail my monologues. But overall the atmosphere was pretty much the same. I'm not quite sure how I expected it to be different....Digressing...back to the subject.

This year's TBA's were held at Berkeley Rep. I've never been there before (I know, it's sad) and therefore I wanted to make sure I arrived early. I agreed to volunteer for the last block of auditions on Monday. I didn't know at the time that Monday was reserved for AEA actors, which basically meant I didn't see a single person or theatre company representative of anyone I knew. It was time to make some new friends. I did introduce myself to an actor who was volunteering that I had seen perform recently. We chatted for a bit about what shows we were going to be working on and then had a great discussion on becoming Equity. I have to agree that when I was a junior in college and thought I would become an amazing actress for a living I was anxious to know how quickly I could become Equity. I now know becoming an Equity actor isn't always the best thing, especially in the Bay Area. Most theatres here can't afford Equity actors, so becoming one is a huge decision because you will lose out on a lot of opportunities. And as for the opportunities you think you might gain with an AEA status, well...that depends. In a discussion in my acting class with my professor, who is an artistic director and attended TBA's, we both saw the same thing. Actors, both Equity and non-, who had little to no experience/training that were auditioning. I had been given the advice that I was too green for this audition and should get some training before wasting my time and energy. And, I whole heartedly agree with this. It was discussed, during class, that the logic seems to be get your Equity status as soon as possible without taking any time to get training. So you have Equity actors that are still rough around the edges. I hope this trend doesn't continue.

Back to volunteering, I made sure to dress semi-casual, since I saw this as an opportunity to network. Although there were volunteers in jeans and tank tops. When I arrived I found Claire, TBA's auditions coordinator, who told me I could either wait in the lobby or go grab something to eat since orientation wouldn't be for another 45 minutes. I opted to wait in the lobby. I watched as volunteers gathered and chatted away, obviously most people there knew each other already. When the auditors took their lunch break we got our orientation, in which it was explained the different positions that were available and what we'd be doing, as well as how we'd get to switch positions later and how we'd have opportunities to watch the auditions. The main volunteer jobs are: covering backstage, in which you bring auditioners from the green room to the stage; timers, you make sure none of the auditioners go over their allotted time (in this case 3 minutes); concessions, there wasn't food to buy but if your an auditor or volunteer you get free snacks and drinks, you basically just make sure no one else eats the food that isn't supposed to; distributors/sorters, you get the incoming headshots/resumes and sort them and then distribute them to the auditors; and finally, leftover sorters, you take all the headshots/resumes that weren't used and make neat piles of them to be picked up by the auditioners after their audition is over. I decided to do leftover sorting, since it seemed the least complicated and then pretty much just stuck with. I did take some time out to watch auditions, but didn't end up switching jobs with anyone because it just wasn't needed.

When the auditions were over we spent time gathering up all the leftover headshots and resumes and sorting those as well. I honestly have no idea where TBA stores them, but they do. Actors please take note: pick up the leftovers. It's just an environmental waste otherwise. Aside from sorting the headshots alphabetically we were also asked to pick out ones that had "writing on them." Note to directors, if you make a note about an actor on their resume, keep them. They just get thrown otherwise.

Overall, this was a great experience. I spent a majority of my time looking at people's headshots and resumes. The headshots for good composition, lighting, what to wear, etc. You really can see the difference between amateur and professional, sad but true. Someday I'll afford professional. The resumes for formatting and what people included. Also, I walked away with some possible new monologue ideas.And it was great to network. I would definitely do it again if I'm not auditioning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Auditions for Week of 01/23/2011-02/06/2011

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.

1 Hour Special Project
Needed male and female actors to imitate 70 year old body movements. Needs to be available from 1/23-30. Email H/S and resume to

Masquers Playhouse
The Marriage of Bette and Boo
Auds 1/23 2p & 1/24 7p. Email Peter Budinger & DC Scarpelli, for appt.

Sonoma Stage Works
Summer Theatre Festival:  The Odd Couple & Treasure Island
Auds 1/22 & 1/29 1p-4p. Call 707-996-6003 for appt.

Role Players Ensemble Theatre
The Foreigner
Auds 1/24 6p-10p. Call 925-837-6560 or Email for appt.

Napa Valley College Repertory Theater
The People's Temple
Auds 1/24-25 7p. Call 707-256-7503 or  Email for appt.

Crystal Springs Players
The Memory of Water
Auds 1/24 7p. No appt. necessary.

Napa Valley College Repertory Theater
Title TBD
Auds 1/26 6p-9p. Call 707-256-7503 or Email for appt.

New Conservatory Theatre Center
The Stops
Auds 1/26 7:30p-9p. Email H/S and resume to Jovan Olague, for appt, put "THE STOPS Auditions" in the subject line.

New Conservatory Theatre Center
Waiting for Giovanni
Auds 1/27 6p-9p. Email H/S and resume to Jovan Olague, for appt.

Dragon Productions Theatre Company
A Streetcar Named Desire
Auds 1/29 10a-2p. Email for appt.

Mountain Play Association
Auds 1/29 9a-12p for non-AEA & 1p for AEA. Call 415-383-1100 for appt.

Pacifica Spindrift Players
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure
Auds 1/29 11a-3p & 1/30 1p-4p. Call Craig, 650-355-7355.

Sunnyvale Players
Auds 1/30-31 7p-9p. For info see Facebook page for info.

Solano College Theatre
The Wizard of Oz
Auds 1/31 & 2/1 6p-10p. Call 707-864-7000 x4518 for appt.

City College of San Francisco Theatre Arts Dept
Guys and Dolls
Auds 2/5 10a-1p & 2/6 10a-2p. Must register as student. Call 415-452-7279 for info.

Pear Avenue Theatre
Raisin in the Sun
Auds 2/5 11a-1:30p. Call 650-254-1148 or email for appt.

2 Actresses Needed
For a video shoot 2/10-12 in Concord. Email for info.

YouthAware Educational Theatre Program
Cootie Shots
Send H/S and resume to

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Prepping for Kaiser Permanente

So I've recently learned that Kaiser Permanente will be having their auditions for their Educational Touring Program in late March. So I've sent off my audition request and have been approved (yay!). I now have 3 months-ish to get my "ish" together. ETP sends out a packet that includes a list of monologue samples. I've decided to do a piece from David Mamet's "Oleanna."

I've auditioned for ETP last year and wasn't called back. I'm hoping to put in some very hard work so that doesn't happen this year. Last year I also did "Oleanna," however I did a different monologue than the one recommended. This year I don't want to take any chances so I'm do the one off the recommended list. I am a little worried about this because I have to figure out how to stand out among all the other actors who'll probably use the same piece.

ETP also offers a seminar in early March. Again I didn't attend the seminar last year, I think I was too busy. This year I plan on going. They offer a chance to present your monologue and I don't want to miss any opportunity for feedback.

This is an organization I want in with for a few reasons. The obvious ones being the steady pay/work and benefits. But working with ETP is more than that for me. I have a degree in Psychology that I feel like I rarely use. I love performing. Why not combine the two with educational theatre? Could this be my calling? I don't know. But I would love an opportunity to find out.

As a note, I have a love/hate relationship with "Oleanna." I've used one particular piece (starts with, "You ask me here...") pretty much throughout college. I enjoy the piece and the play, but I really struggle with it. I've never nailed down a full character analysis of CAROL. The way Mamet writes with his ellipses really confuses my brain. What are these people trying to say to each other? What do they mean? Why can't they finish a thought? When are they being interrupted vs. trailing off? It's a struggle. Once I get my groundwork done, A.K.A. memorized, I'll start in on some real character analysis and then take the piece out to my coach. Hopefully I'll nail it this year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Auditions for Week of 1/10/2011

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.

Marin Shakespeare Company
General auditions
Auds in February, accepting appointments now. AEA: Prep 2 contrasting monologues, 3 min max. Non-AEA: Prep 1 Shakespeare monologue. May also prep short singing, musical instrument or special skills demo. Email, or phone 415-499-4488 for appt.

Sunnyvale Community Players
Auds immediately. Looking for actors ages 12-18. Email Myra
Diamond, for appt.

City College of San Fancisco
The Importance of Being Earnest
Auds 1/14 & 1/21 5:30p-9p; 1/15 & 1/22 12p-2:30p. Prep 1-min monologue. Email John Wilk, for appt.

Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival
General auditions
Auds 1/15 11am-3pm and 1/16 3:30 -6pm. By appointment only. Prep 2 classical monologues. Bring H/S and resume. Call (408) 996-0635 for appt.

Coastal Repertory Theatre
Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
Auds 1/15 11am-1pm. Cold readings, can perform monologue if wanted but not required.

Ross Valley Players
Auds 1/15-1/16. Cold read & prep 1 musical number. Bring music w/full piano accomp in your key. Call or email Maureen, (415) 235-8800; for appt.