It's official: On August 15th, a week from this Saturday, I will be performing in my first show with the Village Idiots Improv company. I've been rehearsing with them for a few months, and the artistic director feels I'm ready to go. I feel good about what I have learned so far, and have been able to use my experience as an actor to move forward at a faster pace than someone without any stage experience at all.
It is a very small space they perform in, holding maybe 35 people at maximum. This translates into being very up close and personal with your audience, but in the world of improv, that's not a bad thing. The rehearsals double as an improv class, where one is taught the mechanics of improv, and if you're already an actor as I am, learning more tools to add to your artistic tool box. If you're interested, this is their website, though I have posted it before: www.improvvip.com
On the flip side, I auditioned last Monday for a play and sadly, was not cast. It was something I wanted very badly, as it was "Speed-the-Plow" by David Mamet, my favorite playwright.
I acted in one of his earlier works once before, 'The Water Engine," and Speed-the-Plow, along with "Glenngarry, Glen Ross," and "American Buffalo," are considered three of his masterworks. His style of dialog, known as "Mamet-speak," is very different from other standard play constructions - and very hard to get down right. Why? Because he writes dialog the way people speak, with a lot of stattico (sp?) delivery, and overlapping conversations. Many of his plays are also known for his liberal use of four-letter words, and for his examination of men's themes. He has been criticized for not developing his female characters very well, tending to stereotype them. His works however, are undeniably powerful.
While not being cast, I have to say that there was a great deal of competition. The play is a three person piece, two men, one woman. There was a large turnout for this, as was expected. I know I did well, as I was kept to the very end, and was not sent home early. I also know I did well by the compliments I got from the artistic director of the theatre, (which is not the one I work with, and do PR for) and the director, and the stage manager, all of whom I know well. The stage manager (who is an actor as well, and with whom I have acted on stage with) sent me a very nice note:
"Always good to see you, and congratulations on a very strong read. We were all impressed by how well you worked with the Mamet-speak."
Directors however have a tough job. They have to go with their gut when they cast a show, and see what they think the best fit is. Having directed in the past, I understand this all too well. I'm just glad I made a good showing of things, and oh well, on the to the next theatrical conquest.
spring flowers - I am quite fond of this series of Wildflowers of Canada that came out in 1977 and try to collect as many as I can from my stamp dealer to use for Postcross...
4 days ago