Monday, January 2, 2012

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for keeping up with me even if I haven't been keeping up here. So it's a new year and that means resolution time. My resolution is to update this blog regularly. I'm going to aim for once a week on Saturdays, but that may vary depending on when I see a show.

Hopefully I'll be able to add other reviews on not just plays viewed, but plays read, as well as monologue suggestions. I still haven't decided if I'm going to keep up with the weekly review on upcoming auditions, although I'd like to try. For now, just a regular update would suffice for me.

Here's to a great 2012! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!

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.