Monday, December 13

My class met up with our brilliant headshot photographer, Janna Giacoppo today to get our Group Shots taken. These photos will be used for our marketing materials for our NYC Showcase in April (as well as our commencement materials).

In the past, classes have taken their group shots in a parking garage, in a studio, on a beach, by palm trees, and even standing waist-deep in the ocean.

Our class has been thinking about our group personality, and we decided to try shooting by the forests of banyan trees on the John Ringling museum grounds.

If you're not familiar with banyan trees, they have aerial roots. Basically, long things dangle from the branches and then when they hit the ground, the connect with the earth and become roots. So you get areas that look like this:

In some shots, we climbed the trees. In some we stood and sat in front of them. And I have to tell you, from what I've seen, they look AMAZING.

We also took some shots on an outdoor stage, in case the banyan shots are too unconventional.

My class did a great job banding together and taking great shots, even though it was really, really cold for Florida (we're talking mid-30s, here... and we were outside in shirts, no coats, because it would look to weird for a group from Florida to be all bundled up in publicity shots).

I'll post some shots when I get a hold of them.



Brunetti Musical Theatre Workshop

One of the things that I have enjoyed most here has been the annual Musical Theatre Workshop, with the luminous David Brunetti.

You participate in the workshop as a 1st-year and 2nd-year. As a 3rd-year, I was able to sit back and watch (without nerves!).

And I have to say, it is truly incredible what musical theatre brings out of actors. The majority of the people who enter my program do not plan to have careers in musical theatre. Many have never sung on stage before this workshop. But they show so much courage in the face of something that terrifies them. And that's incredible.

Here are the songs that they performed:

- 1st-year EW: "Getting Married Today" from Company
- 2nd-year JMM: "Highway Miles" by Peter Mills
- 1st-year FR: "I Am Aldopho" from The Drowsy Chaperone
- 2nd-year SDW: "I Know the Truth" from Aida

- 1st-year LT: "A Way Back to Then" from [title of show]
- 1st-year JC: "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Cole Porter
- 2nd-year JaS: "So in Love" from Kiss Me, Kate
- 1st-year CW: "The Bones of You" by Elbow

- 2nd-year GK: "I Miss the Music" from Curtains
- 1st-year JD: "Someone to Fall Back On" by Jason Robert Brown
- 2nd-year MD: "Joey" by Joe Iconis
- 2nd-year KC: "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin

- 1st-year JM: "Meeting Across the River" by Bruce Springsteen
- 2nd-year AS: "Out Here on My Own" from Fame
- 1st-year BR: "The Cop Song" from Urinetown
- 2nd-year BB: "The World Will Know" from Newsies

- 2nd-year GP: "Keep Breathing" by Ingrid Michaelson
- 1st-year KC: "If You Hadn't, But You Did" from Two on the Aisle
- 2nd-year LB: "Your Song" by Elton John
- 1st-year SB: "The Alto's Lament" by Zina Goldrich & Marcy Heisler

- 1st-year ZW: "One Song, Glory" from Rent
- 2nd-year TS: "Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel
- 1st-year BP: "Quiet" by Jonathan Reid Gealt
- 2nd-year JoS: "Jack's Lament" from The Nightmare Before Christmas


Bonnie & Clyde tech pictures

The show is open now, but I just found these pictures from tech. And you can kind of see the house of my super-awesome theatre (but only part of it... we have a mezzanine and a balcony).


Returning from Silence

I am typing this on my brand new computer. My last computer, the incredible Lady MacBook, passed away. But now that I have a new one, I figured today is a good day to catch up on blogging.

Antigone Now
Antigone Now was a crazy, crazy ride. In about 5 weeks, we did 41 performances of our show. We performed it all over.

Places like:
- high school gymnasiums
- college classrooms
- one high school classroom/hallway
- high school theatres/auditoriums
- college theatres
- our own theatre
- a botanical garden
- a museum gallery
- a museum courtyard (next to a manatee tank)
- a furniture store

I joked that when we started the tour, we were at "beginner" level, and the difficulty kept increasing. By the end, we were most definitely experts.

Challenges that were thrown at us included:
- Small spaces
- HUGE spaces
- low ceilings
- a set that was screwed into a high school stage, which we had to keep jumping over
- a REALLY loud air conditioning system in a high school gym
- a temperamental sound system that sometimes didn't work at the top of the show (which is when we have a sound cue of gunfire that we're supposed to be taking cover from... yeah, that was interesting)
- hot outdoor locations (and we were wearing trenchcoats)
- a tree that kept throwing nuts at us
- one transformative performance space with moveable walls (kind of like the theatrical version of The Room of Requirement from Harry Potter)
- audiences that meowed/laughed/yelled/heckled/texted/popped gum/etc.

And, one challenge that I faced:
Wifey got sick, and with about 40 minutes before call time, I learned that I would be playing her role. I memorized the lines in the van on the way there. I ended up playing her role for 5 performances while she recuperated. And I led the talkbacks for about a week or so past that.

All in all, the tour was a great experience. I learned a lot from it. I had touring experience. I had performed for young audiences. But what I really got a lot out of was the experience of fringe-style performance spaces. Having to adapt our show to each new space on the fly was really neat as a performer. It kept things fresh, even after all those performances.

For sake of comparison...
I'm going to be in Boeing Boeing later this season. It opens in January and runs through April. There will be a total of 28 performances (and I believe that's the longest run in the Rep this season). So 41 performances in 5 weeks? Intense.

I love my class. We did a great job of banding together and working everything out.

My program has been bringing in people to talk with us about the industry, which is awesome.

A couple of weeks ago, it was Steve Rankin, who got his MFA at my Conservatory and now has a successful career in Los Angeles.

This past week, it was a double header: Hal Linden (aka Barney Miller) and Tim Jerome, both of whom have had great Broadway careers.

Hal Linden graciously signed my 1962 Off-Broadway cast recording of Anything Goes, in which he played Billy Crocker. That recording was the first tape I bought with my own money, back when I was in 4th grade. I listened to it so much that I actually warped the tape. I can't tell you how many times I've sung duets with him on "You're the Top", singing along with the late great Eileen Rodgers.

It's interesting to hear people talk about the industry, although it also generally feels intimidating. So much of the positivity that has graced their lives seems to involve crazy luck. I'm praying that I fall into some of that luck myself.

But they've also had some good advice. Steve Rankin talked about how you have to mentally separate people who work in the industry into "buyers" and "sellers", which was enlightening.

Bonnie & Clyde
Last night was the opening of Bonnie & Clyde, which is a huge, Broadway-quality (and hopefully Broadway-bound) musical. I've seen it in rehearsals and previews. It's really fantastic. And the opening was a lot of fun.

Before the show started, the marketing department asked Two-Shots-Up and me to don period clothing from the Costume Shop and pose outside the theatre in front of some old fashioned cars. People occasionally asked to get their pictures taken with us. I had a good time.

I brought a scene into class yesterday, but Head-Of-Program wasn't crazy about it. Several people have been bringing in scenes. I had one a few weeks back that seems promising, but the ending isn't great... Head-Of-Program said he'll look at re-cutting it for me.

Boeing Boeing
Rehearsals for Boeing Boeing, the next show I'm in, begin on December 14th. I have an Italian Accent lesson with Voice Professor on Tuesday. I've been listening to Paul Meier and trying to learn it on my own. But the Director (aka Head-Of-Program) says he wants my character to be adroit with English, and effortlessly multilingual... which means the dialect I've been working with is far too thick. Last year, I studied dialects as opposed to accents (which means I learned how native English speakers pronounce things in other areas, like NYC and the UK; I have not learned how people who learn English as a second language pronounce things...). Voice Professor says it's the same process of study, but it seems different in my head. It seems as though there would be greater room for variation. I guess I'll find out next week.


Best of the Suncoast!

I am pleased to announce that Antigone Now has made it into The Best of the Suncoast! We won the Reader's Award for Best Play of 2010!

Congrats to my amazing cast-mates. :)

My Theatre also won for "Best Theatre". One of our Conservatory's grads won for Best Comedic Performance (for a show he did last year). Our theatre also took "Best Actor" (a Rep actor from last season) and "Most Daring Theatre Performance".

Yay hooray!


Warehouse Theatre Company Interview

Several weeks ago, I did an interview for the Warehouse Theatre Company. And then I completely forgot to mention it here.

So in case you're sad that I haven't been writing much lately, and you want to get a little more Angela in your life, you can check out the interview here:


Antigone Now: Things We Travel With

- 2 vans (one with 4 rows of seats, one gutted to hold our stuff)
- 1 Stage Manager
- 9 actors (or 8, when Wifey was out sick)
- 9 costumes
- 9 metal chairs
- 1 silver trunk (containing gaff tape, rubber gloves, wipes, scissors, and the like)
- 1 container of black face paint
- 1 sound board/sound system
- 1 crate of wires, on a dolly
- 2 speakers
- 1 monitor
- 2 banners (one with the name of the theatre, one with the name of the play)
- 1 microphone
- 1 mic stand
- 1 music stand (for the SM)
- 1 First Aid kit
- occasionally some lighting equipment

We do our load-in/load-out ourselves.


"Message That Still Connects Today"

Yes. Another article about Antigone Now. We're totally famous.


Antigone Now: Education & Outreach

This is a video that was made before we started touring. But I thought it might still be worth watching.


Antigone Now Can Be Performed Anywhere!

If you're a reader of this blog from a distance and have never met me, this video might be the first time you get to hear me speak. So, um, nice to meet you!


Please Vote!

Hello everyone!

There are some local awards that are being voted on at the moment. If you have time, please head on over.

NOTE: You need to fill in at least 5 categories on each page for your votes to count... So here are some of my suggestions... (You know... in case you wanted to vote but aren't good at coming up with things on the fly... or if you live slightly out of the area.)

In Arts & Entertainment, you can vote on things like:
- Best theater company (my theatre!)
- Best play (Antigone Now)
- Best local actress (one of my awesome classmates!)
- Best local actor (one of my awesome classmates!)
- Best category we forgot to include (Best Local Arts Blog: Angela Learns to Act, http://www.AngelaActs.com; OR, Best Entertainment Deal: the free Late Night Series at my theatre!)

In People & Politics, you can vote on things like:
- Best local magazine (Sarasota Magazine, which interviewed me earlier this year)
- Best local website (Angela Learns to Act, http://www.AngelaActs.com)
- Best local blogger (Angela Sauer)
- Best new idea for the Suncoast (bringing back touring theatre productions!)
- Best local college (my program)
- Best category we forgot to include... (Prettiest Blogger... ;) Just kidding.)


Antigone Now Director

Here's the director of Antigone Now, talking about our production.


"Finding Their Voice"

Here's a recent article about the 1st-years in my Conservatory and the training they're receiving:

It's a great read for anyone who is considering going to grad school (especially to mine).



'Antigone Now' Packs a Powerful Punch

Our first review! And the first time that I've made it into a photograph in a review!

REVIEW: 'Antigone Now' Packs a Powerful Punch

'Antigone' Hits the Road

I know I'm behind on posting our tour craziness...

So here's an article on us, so that you can feel caught up until I can do some back-posting.

'Antigone' Hits the Road

The Ode to Man

My friend Angel gave this to me several weeks ago while we were still in rehearsals for Antigone Now, so I thought I would pass it on. It was published in The New Yorker, August 16 & 23, 2010 (page 78).


Many terribly quiet customers exist but none more
terribly quiet than Man:
his footsteps pass so perilously soft across the sea
in marble winter,
up the stiff blue waves and every Tuesday
down he grinds the unastonishable earth
with horse and shatter.

Shatters too the cheeks of birds and traps them in his forest headlights,
salty silvers roll into his net, he weaves it just for that,
this terribly quiet customer.
He dooms
animals and mountains technically,
by yoke he makes the bull bend, the horse to its knees.

And utterance and thought as clear as complicated air and
moods that make a city moral, these he taught himself.
The snowy cold he knows to flee
and every human exigency crackles as he plugs it in:
every outlet works but
Death stays dark.

Death he cannot doom.
Fabrications notwithstanding.
honest oath taking notwithstanding.

Hilarious in his high city
you see him cantering just as he please,
the lava up to here.

- Anne Carson


Master Blog!

I've received yet another internet accolade. The second this week! I feel special.

I got an e-mail saying (among other things):

"We've scoured the web looking for amazing blogs that not only are great in content, but informative and helpful when needed. And we've determined your blog to be such! We like to call it a Master of its category!
Congratulations, and keep up the awesome work!"

They even gave me a little award badge thing. How great is that?

You can find links to my blogs and others that have been chosen here.


Ranked: Best Blogs for Theatre Lovers!

It's always exciting (and surprising!) when this little blog of mine gets attention elsewhere on the web. So I was thrilled to be included on a recent list of great theatrical blogs...

The 50 Best Blogs for Theatre Lovers!

And I sort of got mentioned TWICE!

"Angela Learns to Act" is one of 10 blogs ranked in the "Acting & Actors" category. (See #28)

Angela Sauer is currently working on her MFA in acting, and anyone who drops by her blog can pick up on the valuable lessons she learns along the way.

And the "Blogs at Backstage" (which includes Unscripted, for which I am a regular blogger) is one of 10 blogs in the "News & Views" category. (See #47)

Aspirant actors should stay as informed as possible about the news and trends that impact them the most.


Picture Time!

I just realized that I STILL have not put a picture up for this semester... So here's a photo from our first day of class in August. :)

BACK ROW: Killer, All-the-Way, Iceman, Angela, Wifey, Thrill, Newbie
FRONT ROW: D-Train, O.D., Two-Shots-Up

And here's a picture from our last day of classes in London (after class at Wagamama, with our lovely voice professor, Charmian).

LEFT SIDE: Wifey, Two-Shots-Up, Thrill, Charmian, Iceman, D-Train
RIGHT SIDE: All-the-Way, Killer, Newbie, O.D., Angela


Saturday, October 2

Antigone Now

At this point, we're all just exhausted. We're working through the entire show about three times a day, and it's emotionally exhausting.

It's also really hard on our bodies and our voices. We're well-trained (thank GOD!), so we're being as careful as we can be, but this takes its toll anyway. We sit on metal chairs motionless. We stand motionless. We kneel. And I scream half of my lines. It's intense.

I've been hydrating more than usual (I usually hit 10 cups of water a day) and eating honey. I've been resting my voice whenever possible. I've been lying down whenever I get a chance. But it's tough.

Director said today that we need to be more consistent in our emotional connections during the play. I think that right now, we just really need a day off (which, fortunately, we get tomorrow.)



Friday, October 1

It's October? Seriously? How did that happen?


I read a scene with All-the-Way that I used for a competition when I was in undergrad. Head-of-Program seemed to like it (and thought that it was a particularly good fit for me), so he said to keep it around as a possibility. I have to tell you, I felt AWESOME about that.

All-the-Way & O.D. did a scene that was quite funny, but Head-of-Program thought it was too prop-heavy to bring to Showcase. He also said that he thinks someone has suggested this scene every year, and they always have to rule it out in the end.

Thrill & Iceman did a scene that required too much background information.

Two-Shots-Up & Wifey did a scene (perhaps the only non-comedic scene that anyone has brought in thus far). It was a good scene, but Head-of-Program didn't think it was evenly split between the two characters.

Killer & All-the-Way did a scene that Head-of-Program liked, but he thought it wasn't right for All-the-Way. He said to hold onto it, and maybe try it again in the future with Wifey.

Dude, this is complicated.

We've been having conversations about headshot photography as a class, but it's complicated. We have different ideas about what headshots should be (and how much they should cost). And we all have different schedules. I don't know how this is going to work out. I'm praying that we have a good solution for everyone.

Antigone Now

My notes include:

- The 1st prologue was weak

- After Creon's intro, move with motivation, not just because we're obediently following our blocking ;)

- By "naturalistic", our director seems to mean "struggle to come up with the words you're about to say"

- During the prayer, get more charged as it goes

- The final run (of three) was the best run we've done so far

- We shouldn't be working to make a word into something that it already is (or, as the director put it, "making butter buttery")

- Change the word "mama" to "mother". Change the word "daddy" to "father".

- After the prayer, get determined on the lift
(we all come together to lift Two-Shots-Up in a crazy cool way)


Thursday, September 30

Antigone Now

Voice Professor has attended some of our rehearsals as our vocal coach. Here are some of the notes I've gotten from her:

- On the line "We're through with wailing": grabbing in the throat. Remember expansion in heightened emotion and when increasing volume.

- Be cautious of glottal attacks on initial vowels. It sounds find, but it's stressful on the voice.

- Use final "z" sounds. Especially in lines like, "Crossing rivers and oceans, cities and ruins, mountains and plains...", and "He makes cities where there was swamp and wheat fields where there was forest. He builds factories where there was jungle and mighty freeways where the prairies stretched."


Wednesday, September 29

Antigone Now

We started rehearsal early, in a brand new space.

Because this is a touring show, we have to get used to performing it in all sorts of different spaces. And today, we tried one out.

In mid-October, we will be performing on the second floor of a museum, in what is sometimes used as a gallery. It's a huge, echoing chamber of a room. They will be putting in a platform for us to use as a stage. But we have a much shallower space to work in than we're used to. So we had to change some of our blocking. And I kept wandering off the edge of the stage (which is not yet clearly marked). Whoops!

My notes included:

- Don't fall off the stage!!!

- When doing "Desire" speech, align self with DSR corner of the square

- Back up when doing Creon speech chair rotation.

- x US of Newbie on "Poor Babies" line.

That sort of thing.

We're going to have to do this (to some extent) in EVERY new space before performing. It's going to be insane.


Tuesday, September 28

Antigone Now

Here are my notes from today's run (from Voice Professor):

- Don't give up on your text when someone is cutting you off. Your line is still important. Don't drop volume. Don't anticipate being cut off.

- On the word "lost", don't glottal stop. Make sure to plode the "t".

- My "Aphrodite" monologue was "exemplary".

- In general, using voice very well.

We talked briefly about things that we should expect while touring the show. We are expected to always carry an ID. Some of the schools are doing background checks on us. Luckily, I think we're all pretty safe.

Mad Dog Theatre: Shameless Plug

Hello readers,

If you are in/near/visiting New York City, then you should totally check out Mad Dog theatre company. It was founded by friends (and former schoolmates) of mine, and they're having their first production in November. So happy for them!




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jennifer Logue
September 28, 2010 917-330-4533

NYC’s newest ensemble, MAD DOG THEATRE COMPANY, gets their feet wet with Levey’s All the Way From China World Premiere!

The brand new theatre ensemble, Mad Dog Theatre Company, which is devoted to creating new work, will present the WORLD PREMIERE of Barry Levey’s All the Way From China on November 10-21, 2010 (8pm and 2pm). Performances will be held at The Gene Frankel Theatre located at 24 Bond Street in NOHO (Bond and Lafayette). The production is an Equity Approved Showcase.

The cast includes Kevin O’Callaghan*, Heather Kelley*, and Ghafir Akbar. The stage manager is Sarah Gleissner*. Joel Waage directs (*denotes AEA Member).

One year after his girlfriend was killed on campus, Yale dropout Jack holes up in Austin with a temp job, a guitar and an underachieving rich girl who toys with smack. The anniversary of the unsolved murder brings Jack a stream of fresh torments: renewed media attention, additional police interviews, and, weirdest of all, a Yalie named Ralph who arrives at Jack’s door with urgent information. All the Way From China explores how we hoard or share our grief, and asks how close must we be to a tragedy to be entitled to mourn it. Is grief a process of communal healing or competition for personal attention—and how far will we go to feel included?

Tickets are $16.00 and can be purchased at www.maddogbarks.com or directly from Brown Paper Tickets online or call 1-800-838-3006.

About the playwright
Barry Levey's most recent play, Hoaxocaust!, premiered last year at 59E59 in a showcase for Prospect Theater Company, and has been optioned for commercial production in 2011. Other plays include Downeaster Alexa (Ars Nova, 2009); Yale Law School (Heideman Award Finalist, 2010; Ars Nova, 2009); Citizens of Rome (O'Neill finalist, 2006); and Critical Darling (The New Group, 2005). His work has been developed at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Arena Stage, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and the Baldwin New Play Festival at the University of California, San Diego, where Barry received his MFA. Barry is a New Group Artist, Ars Nova Playgroup alumnus, and member of the Dramatists Guild.

About Mad Dog Theatre Company

Mission Statement

Mad Dog is a group of artists who tell stories. We believe the best way to do this is to make the stories our own. Stories that are funny, ferocious, unlikely, sexy, rough, inconvenient, loud, unsightly, and - ultimately - provoke questions. We are committed to producing new work, and strive for passionate collaboration from inception through performance. We welcome the possibility of creating a monster. If we do, we’ll smile, shake its many hands and offer it some enchilada lasagna.

Who We Are
Mad Dog was founded in 2010 by seven theatre artists and artisans (yes, artisans) who met at the Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory between 2006-2009. Our founding members include experienced (and aspiring) actors, directors, playwrights, theatre administrators, teaching artists and bartenders. We work as an ensemble and encourage each other to wear a number of hats so that we – like our audience – are always evolving. Fifty percent of our founding members were elected to Prom Court.

Contact Jennifer Logue (PR rep) @ 917-330-4533 or maddogtheatre@gmail.com


Quotations: Volume 57

I realized I haven't posted Quotations in quite a while... So here are some that I've found in my notes. Many are from London.

(Disclaimer: quotations are often taken out of context and may not accurately reflect the way they were originally intended)

"Crack is not a vitamin. It is, in fact, a drug."
- Angela

"I do like dirty stories"
- Mark

(after Killer's first try at a monologue about "losing his man card", his fiancée All-The-Way raised her hand)
All-The-Way: I sort of have a question-slash-comment.
Mark: I'm sure you might.

"Be still, good people. 'Tis I, the Protestant whore."
- Blue Badge Tour Guide Seán, supposedly quoting Nell Gwynne

"I saw Margaret Thatcher there once eating a scone. Poor little defenseless scone. Huge, scary teeth coming at it."
- Blue Badge Tour Guide Seán

(after Angela purchased a feather-pen in a gift shop)
Angela: I'm going to see if I can get the feather to stay in my cap.
Wifey: Just don't call it Macaroni.

"Rando Calrissian."
- Wifey, finding a new brilliant way to refer to something as "random"

Mark: He says some quote, it's either Freud or David Bowie, I can't remember which. "We may be done with the past, but the past is never done with us.
Big Show: It's from The Frogs.

Big Show: She may not be a prostitute, but she's wearing a prostitute's uniform.
Wifey: Well, at least you didn't have to pay.

"A lot of actors try to make it fit, and that isn't the point. It's jazz, actually."
- Patsy, on scansion

"Christopher Marlowe never broke the rules, and then Shakespeare came along and broke them all."
- Patsy

"If you wouldn't say what you want to say to Ian McKellan, then don't say it to anyone."
- Patsy, on not giving other actors notes in a rehearsal process

"All women want to be listened to and asked about. If you do that, you can seduce anyone."
- Patsy

"It's like steam-cleaning all the s*** off the text, isn't it?"
- Patsy, on her way of breaking down Shakespeare

"If you bring a plumber 'round and they don't do a proper job, you are outraged. And so should an audience be."
- Patsy, on how actors need to be on the top of their game during each and every performance

"I've worked with actors in America that, if they were here, would be knighted."
- Patsy, on how the UK respects acting in a way that the USA does not

"These plays are not written with a fourth wall."
- Patsy, on Shakespeare

"You've got to believe it will work. There's no point in speaking anything if you as actors have already judged that it won't work."
- Patsy, on your character fighting for their own happy ending

"There is no rehearsal for any of these moments."
- Patsy

"Questions are real."
- Patsy

"It's about experiencing the word enough, and then sending it out."
- Patsy

"Listen to me, all of you. You don't have to make it interesting. It IS interesting."
- Patsy

"You're sort of acting it as an old man. You should eliminate that. Old people don't know that they're old."
- Patsy

"As soon as you decide you can get a laugh on a line and you stick to that, all other options are dead."
- Patsy

"The dialogue you have as an artist with yourself is, 'Is this truthful? Or am I just embellishing?'"
- Patsy

"Judi Dench once said I'm the only one who gives her notes. It's incredibly lonely [to be respected]."
- Patsy

"Some of you might go to LA, but seek out the stage. That's where you learn."
- Patsy

"Believe you're enough. I think that's a great disease amongst you."
- Patsy

"Bring your feet in. Stop looking like Shrek. Or it's the cat in Shrek, isn't it..."
- Charmian

"We have a joke over here that Americans say 'I love you' and 'I hate you' in exactly the same tone."
- Charmian

"If it's difficult to physically say, it's difficult to think and feel."
- Patsy, on heightened language

"[O.D.] can't be the weird one. That would be too obvious."
- Antigone Now Director, while blocking a scene

(Iceman walks in eating chicken.)
Killer: Whatcha got there?
Iceman: It's just a man and a breast.


Sunday, September 26th


There are 2 performances of Red Light Winter today. By the time you read this, you'll still be able to make it the the 8pm performance tonight (Sunday). It's free, and it's excellent. I have a brief cameo in the pre-show, so come say hello.

There was a performance on Friday night that was extremely well-attended. The space only seats about 60 people, so we had a standing-room-only situation, and had to (sadly) turn some people away. I hope they can make it tonight.

It's a seriously great show. Iceman directed it, and it stars All-the-Way, D-Train, and Killer. Come if you can. It's worth seeing.

(Note: This show has nudity and sexual content.)

Rehearsals have been going fairly well, except that half the cast is under the weather.

The show was fully blocked by Tuesday. It's a short play, so we made it through quite quickly. Now, we're mostly just running it and doing work-throughs.

As a 3rd-year, I have understudy responsibilities for the Rep, just as I did in my 1st-year. Our understudy assignments were posted on Friday, which it felt like we'd been waiting for forever.

I'm understudying the Queen Mother/Mother Superior in Las Meninas (bonus: the actress playing those roles is my 2nd-year Acting Professoressa! How cool is that?). I'm also understudying a role in Deathtrap: a Hungarian psychic named Helga. You may have heard about Deathtrap recently, as it just opened on the West End (and there's a decent chance that it will be transferring to Broadway) starring Jonathan Groff (of Spring Awakening and Glee fame). Our theatre magically got the rights to do it JUST BEFORE the rights were locked up by the West End production. So we are the only other theatre (that I know of) that is being allowed to do it this season. So that's kind of cool. I'm really excited for my understudy roles.

And you know what else is kind of awesome? Someone is understudying ME this year! One of the 1st-years is understudying me in two different shows in the season. I've never had an understudy before. Ever. This is crazy.


Monday, September 20

Antigone Now

We've had rehearsals the last 3 days. We've been doing Straight-6s (meaning that we do 6 hours of rehearsal, with a 20-minute dinner break somewhere in the middle).

The show is already mostly blocked, which is great. It's starting to take shape. I had another costume fitting on Saturday. The leads had a photo call this morning.

It's so hard to blog about the rehearsal process. The things I think of are things that mean nothing out of the context of the rehearsal.

Voice Professor has attended a couple of rehearsals as our vocal coach. The notes I've gotten from her include:

- Too choppy
- Falling into vocal pattern
- Watch the vowels on the phrase "our old king"
- Don't get stuck in upper register

But I corrected those pretty quickly, I think.

We've been told that tomorrow a news crew is coming in to shoot some B-roll of our rehearsal for a story they're doing. I just got an e-mail now saying that I'm called from 1:30pm-7:00pm.


Friday, September 17

3rd-Year Class

We have such a long to-do list before Showcase.

I'm in charge of getting the wheels rolling on our website. We might have to purchase Dreamweaver, or another sort of website design program. Or we might end up hiring someone to make it for us. So I'm looking into that.

The Student Rep Board traditionally allocates some funds to the 3rd-years being able to buy some new plays to read for Showcase scenes, provided that the plays then get donated to our Conservatory Library, so that all three classes can benefit from them. We have to figure out what plays we'd like to request.

We're still figuring out head-shots... I hope we can all agree on everything.

We also have to discuss as a class who we might want as a graduation speaker (far in advance, I know... we don't graduate until May). It can be someone we've worked with, or an alum of the program, or even just someone in the business whom we'd like to meet. We have some ideas, but no consensus as of yet.

Also, we have to coordinate how to set up brunch after graduation. All-the-Way is heading up that project.

We read a few scenes to try them out for Showcase. One was pretty good, but needs to be cut. One was way too long. A couple of them were too much exposition.

A sent a few scenes out to some of my classmates last week, but I don't know how right they are for our needs. It's hard for me to read a play and know how something will work out of context.

Fundraising/Late Nights
Next week, there are going to be three performances of Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp. It's a student-produced Late Night event (although they're not always all that late...). Iceman directed it, and it stars All-The-Way, D-Train, & Killer. Two-Shots-Up & I will be appearing in non-speaking roles.

Antigone Now
Today was (finally!) our first day of rehearsal.

We started things off with a short "meet-and-greet", of all the cast, crew, & production team. It was fun. And it made me feel really good about this project.

Antigone Now by Melissa Cooper is an updated version of Sophocles' classic play, Antigone. The theatre is putting it up as an educational outreach project. We will be touring it around the area, mostly to area high schools. In the past, it has been difficult for schools to get the funding to get buses to come see theatre, so we're going to them! We'll be performing throughout the month of October (and rumor has it, the show is quite popular and we might end up booking into November). There will be a talk-back after every performance.

We started rehearsal with a read-through. The cast is:

Antigone: Two-Shots-Up
Ismene: Newbie
Creon: Iceman
Chorus Leader: Wifey
Chorus: Angela, All-the-Way, Killer, O.D., & Thrill

We did a read-through first. After that, the chorus wasn't needed much. We ended up getting out a bit early. A pretty successful first day, I thought.


Saturday, September 11

Our first fundraiser was a book sale on Monday, and it was a HUGE success! Tons of people donated books (thank you!), and we had tons of people shopping and buying books as well (thank you!). All-the-Way and I made some baked goods to sell as well. It went so well that we might end up doing another one later in the year.

Antigone Now
9 of us are in a play called Antigone Now. We just got our scripts, and we had a bit of homework to turn in. We had to answer questions about who our characters are and what drives us. The Chorus (which includes me) also had to say whose side we think we're on. We just got some feedback from the Director (who also directed us in Machinal last year). We start rehearsals next Friday. I can't wait to get going!

I also had my first costume fitting on Friday. I love costume fittings. I pose every time they take a picture of me in a new outfit. The people in the costume shop seem to get a kick out of that. I love trying everything on, and trying to figure out how my character might grow into that look. So much fun.

Intro to Equity
Instead of our regular class this week, a stage manager who is working at the Rep came to talk with us about Actors' Equity Association. We're all EMC (Equity Membership Candidates) right now, and we will all have acquired enough "weeks" to be Equity eligible when we graduate in May.

The SM came with a handout for us! And she had tons of great tips. Here's some of what she had to say...

• Actors' Equity Association - http://www.ActorsEquity.org
- Document Library has every form, code, agreement, and rule. If you have a question about AEA, you can likely find the answer here.
- Casting Call lists upcoming auditions and requests for Photos and Résumés (She said it's unlikely that we'll actually get work from something posted on the website, but it couldn't hurt to know what's going on and stay informed.)
- Member Benefits will link you up with all EYE member perks, from discount gym memberships and car rentals to VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance). You can get your taxes done for FREE by people who are trained by the IRS to know all the ins and outs of filing taxes specifically for actors. (And we can write off crazy things... even manicures and pedicures!)

READ your contracts! Every contract is different. Hold the theatre accountable for what's in your contract, and don't let them get away with anything illegal. (Check rules in the Document Library)
- Also, sometimes there are hidden perks. At our theatre, most contracts get to ship things for free. Take advantage of stuff like that!

• Actors' Federal Credit Union - http://www.ActorsFCU.org
- Great online banking features (which are helpful to actors, as we move around a lot)
- Members qualify for home, car, and small loans for computers, headshots, medical expenses (even plastic surgery!)
- Has reciprocity with other credit unions

• Actors' Fund - http://www.ActorsFund.org
- Al Hirschfeld Free Clinic (FREE flu shots!)
- Subsidized housing for people in the entertainment industry
- Day Job counseling and training
- Conrad Cantzen Shoe Fund (Actors can get reimbursed for up to $40 for shoes every year! Which, if you shop like me, means FREE SHOES!)

Good rules to know...
- Be on time! If you're running late, call or text your stage manager. It's better for you to call them than for them to have to call you.
- We work for 55 minutes then take a 5 minute break OR work for 1 hour 20 minutes and then take a 10 minute break.
- When you work a Straight-6 hour day, you have to take at least one 20 minute break.
- The Rep works on a "LORT (League of Regional Theatres) C Rep" contract. Actors are allowed 48 hours of rehearsal + additional time for costume fittings each week. We work mostly "8 out of 10s" (meaning that we will rehearse for 8 hours over the span of 10. Usually it's in two 4-hour chunks with a 2-hour break. That's a long lunch break, but it's because of the nature of the Rep: we might be working on a completely different show after our break, so the longer break helps us to be prepared for that mentally.) We also work two "10 out of 12s" per show during tech week (musicals have three "10 out of 12s).
- Costume fittings have to be scheduled directly before or after rehearsal or during the rehearsal day for all Equity actors. (That means that all the students -- who are not Equity yet -- get stuck with the not-so-great fitting times.)
- Prop and Costume requests need to go through the Stage Manager.
- The Equity Deputy is the representative of the cast. The Deputy is elected in the AEA meeting on the first day of rehearsal. If there is a problem (of any kind), go to your Stage Manager first. If the problem is not resolved, then go to the Deputy, who will most likely talk to the SM, and then go to the appropriate administrator. (She recommended that at some point early in our career we take on the job of Deputy. It's daunting, but it really helps you learn about the union. And she says it usually ends up being a fairly easy job.)
- Also voted on in the AEA meeting is the length of the meal break, and if the company will work Straight-6s. The meal break can be 1 hour, 1 hour 30 minutes, or 2 hours.


Thursday, September 2

We had a short class.

Iceman and O.D. brought in a scene to read (for potential Showcase use). It was funny, but Head-of-Program cut them off halfway through. He said they were too young for the roles. Oh well. He did say that the tone was great, and that they're on the right track.

I was reminded to get on the Internet stuff.

We got a few more playwright suggestions to look into.

Everyone met at my house and we had a potluck, giving us a chance to talk about some matters at hand.

Primarily, we discussed fundraising whatnot that we're going to attempt throughout the year. We have a ton of ideas, which is great because we have huge goals. It was nice to have everyone there at once, so that we could attempt to get on the same page.

We also started discussing headshots and group photos. Two-Shots-Up has been doing research into it, which is awesome. It's tough, because people want different things out of their headshots. Additionally, we have different ideas of what an appropriate amount of money to spend on headshots is. So this might be a tough thing to get organized. *fingers crossed*


My Fellow Bloggers

My non-demanding schedule at the moment (which won't last for too much longer) gives me little to write about...

So I thought I'd remind you that I'm not the only blogger in my program.

Wifey wrote about our adventures in London here:
Lindsay Sees London

2nd-Year MD (who happens to be my roommate) blogged throughout her 1st-year in the program:
My MFA Journey

And 1st-Year BR has started a grad school blog, so you can follow his journey from the beginning:
An Actor Repairs

So now you can get filled in on the world of my program, even when my posts are few and far between. :)

All good things,



Friday, August 27

Today we had our first class. I don't even really know what this class is called, to be honest. We have it once a week. We discuss issues with showcase, the Rep season, and the business of being an actor. It's just the 3rd-years.

Traditionally, the class is held on Fridays from 9am-12pm (although it often gets shortened). But this year, Wifey and Newbie are teaching a class at a local high school some mornings. So some weeks our class will be scheduled on Thursday instead of Friday in order to accommodate their needs.

So here's basically discussed.

1. We all need to find scenes for Showcase.
- They should be 2-person scenes, and we will each do two of them.
- If someone wishes to sing in lieu of one of their scenes, they may. But they should only do that if they really want to put themselves into the casting pool of trained singers. (Our program is NOT a musical theatre program, so Head-of-Program doesn't seem ecstatic about the idea.)
- We got a huge list of playwrights to look into (which I have decided not to post, as I don't want to give away our leads; people in other grad programs can do their own research)
- The scenes should be from plays that are fairly recent and have not been performed much
- They should not be from shows that are currently running in NYC (or have had recent runs)
- Each scene should have a sharp and focused beginning, drive through the scene, and have a clear ending.
- The scenes should be well balanced and good for both partners.
- They should not be dark and dramatic, as that rarely plays well in a 3-minute scene.
- Look to show your range, but don't try to take leaps. We want to show what we're good at, not what we'd like to try.
- Not too dense.
- When asking for advice from people, ask for HONEST OBJECTIVE RESPONSES.

2. We have a lot of responsibilities to take on as a class
- Website for the class, including headshots/résumés (they assigned this one to me... I guess I shouldn't be surprised)
- Mailing List of casting directors/agents/theatres to be compiled from Ross reports (D-Train & O.D.)
- Communicate with the other theatre we partner with for Showcase, and also work on our Postcard design. (All-The-Way)
- Headshots! Research photographers, group rates, etc. (all of us)
- Group Photos for our postcard and other materials (Two-Shots-Up has done some modeling in the area and knows some edgy local photographers, so she's going to look into that)
- Get local Showcase well-attended (invite theatres/reps from Miami, Atlanta, etc.)
- Get other communities out to our NYC showcase (Newbie is going to work on New Jersey and Pennsylvania; I volunteered to do Connecticut)
- Set up an RSVP line (which we might be able to do through Skype... Does anyone know anything about that?)
- Figure out who we want as a graduation speaker
- Sort out a graduation brunch (we need at least 3 bids... and it's all about the $ for us)

3. Potential Other Showcase?
We're DEFINITELY doing a Showcase in NYC. But we've decided to also look into:
- Flying important agents out to see us here
- a Chicago Showcase
- a Los Angeles Showcase

4. Fundraising (which we'll ESPECIALLY need if we're having an extra showcase!)
We have a lot of ideas, but we're going to need even more.

Our first fundraiser is a Used Book Sale on September 6th, from 10:00am-2:00pm. (We're accepting book donations!) Add it to your calendars, all ye locals!

5. Head-of-Program is going to bring in people to talk to us throughout the year about the business...
- Equity stage managers
- agents & casting directors
- professional actors
- a Tony-winning director

And then we got an instruction from Head-of-Program to go forth and behave well. He said that this year, we are going to be working with people whom we want to hire us again. Additionally, the people we work with WILL talk about us with others in the future. He said that we're already great actors, and we will be able to prove that to them easily. Our task now is to be people that they will WANT to be with in a rehearsal room. We must always know the demands that are being made on us, and be able to achieve them in a non-aggressive, non-defensive, non-threatening, sociable way.

And then he said, "actually, with this group, I'm not worried about that."

I'm glad to hear it.

It's going to be a good year.

Much love,



Monday, August 23

Guess what, everybody...

I'm back!

Today was Orientation for all three classes. Part of me can't believe that it was my third time through this... But I clearly remember the last two times, so most of me was on board with the concept.

My rehearsals don't start until September 17th. Until then, I'll just be having one class a week, which focuses on preparing for our New York Showcase in the Spring.

Yes, that's right. One class a week. That's it.

After two years of busy schedules, I'm not exactly used to taking it slow.

Orientation was pretty much exactly what it has been in the past. We elected two new class representatives (D-Train & O.D. volunteered). We got the lecture about hurricane safety. We got a quick rundown of all of the expectations placed upon us. And I made a special request of Head of Program to tell us one more time that "the future of the American Theatre is in this room," as he has the last two years (although I have a feeling he would've done it without my request).

I can't believe I'm a third year. But somehow it isn't hard for me to believe that the 1st-years have become 2nd-years. Maybe it's just because I have a brand new group to refer to as 1st-years (who are all delightful, by the by). But somehow my own progress seems more insane.

I survived my first year. I survived my 2nd-year. I made it through London. And now I'm in the final stretch. From where I'm standing now, it almost feels like a victory lap.

I know there's a lot of work ahead, but it seems like everything is winding down. I'm not sure how to feel about that, yet.

I'm off to read Deathtrap. It's the only show in the season that I haven't read yet. I want to make sure I know what it's about in case I end up understudying it. (I've read the first scene so far, and I think I might request to understudy it. It seems like a great show.)

Much love, my long-lost blog readers.



Raising Funds

This coming spring, the class of 2011 will be doing an NYC Showcase. We'll be performing scenes for an audience of agents, managers, and the like, and hope to make brilliant connections that will launch us skyward, toward our dreams.

And during the coming school year, we have to raise money to get us there.

I got an e-mail last week from Wifey, already making suggestions about things that we can do as a class to raise money. Late Night performances. Play-readings in people's living rooms. Auctions. Garage sales. Cleaning houses while dressed as the Spice Girls. I don't know which things will come to fruition, but the list is already long, fun, and exciting.

So now, I'm going to take the first step that I can toward helping my class.

For the last two years, I have been happily blogging away about my grad school experience, and introducing you to myself and all of my classmates. Some of you might be local, meaning that you have seen us perform, met us, and supported us (and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the love you have shown). And some of you might be far away, and my classmates and I might just be characters in a story that's still being written. In any case, if you've been reading, I think you know just how amazingly talented my classmates are, and how much respect I have for all of them. I want to help them in this fund-raising journey as much as I can. And I hope you do, too.

Here are a few ways that you can help:

1. Do you have any brilliant ideas as to ways that we can help raise our funds? Please let us know! Leave them in the comments on my blog, e-mail them to AngelaActs(at)gmail(dot)com, or tell me in person the next time you see me around. We're happy to have all the suggestions we can get.

2. Are you in Florida and have an idea for something that you'd like to hire someone to do? We're highly-trained performers, and might be able to entertain at a party you're throwing. And after all of our experience with organizing our student lounge, we might be able to help clean out your garage or put tags on items for your yard sale. If you need a helping hand, send us an e-mail. We'd love to help!

3. If you are in the area, please keep an eye out for notices about events that we're planning for the coming year. Any donations given at Late Night performances (which are free to attend, and you are not obligated to donate) go directly to our NYC Showcase fund. Sometimes we also sell cookies in the lobby. :) Bring your friends, and spread the word!

4. Do you have any items lying around the house that you'd like to get rid of? You're welcome to donate them to us. We might be able to put them into an auction or yard sale later this year.

5. Are you out of town, but still want to help? You can donate to our class through PayPal!

I've posted a "Donation Station" on the upper-left hand side of my blog with a Donate button, and I'll keep it up throughout the year. Whether you can spare $50 or 50 cents, we'd be grateful. It adds up, and every little bit helps. (Clichéd, but true.)

6. Send prayers, hope, love, and good vibrations. :)

Thank you.

All good things,



Back in the States

In the last 24 hours, I have been contacted by two prospective MFA students who found this blog and were looking for grad school advice. I always get so excited and flattered by e-mails like that. :)

But then I realized, "Whoops... I haven't written anything on that blog in ages."

So here I am, readers.


I am alive. I am back in the USA. And I am unbelievably sad to have left my second home: London.

Perhaps at some point I'll have the energy to tell you all about my amazing adventures. But if I don't, at least now you can rest assured that I had a great experience, and I made it home safely.

I'll be starting my third (and final!) year of graduate school at the end of August. I'm going to be an Associate Company Member for the Rep theatre that my program is connected to, and I'm filled with anticipation.

That great adventure is only weeks away. Get excited.

All good things,



Political Speech

For our Voice class with Charmian, we all have to work with political speeches. Here's the one I have been assigned:

Suffragist leader Anna Howard Shaw, Albany NY, June 21 1915

250,000 Men Killed Since the War Began
I said you ask me what woman knows about war?
No woman can read that line and comprehend the awful horror; no woman knows the significance of 250,000 dead men, but you tell me that one man lay dead, and I might be able to tell you something of its awful meaning to one woman.
I would know that years before, a woman whose heart beat in unison with her love and her desire for motherhood walked day by day with her face to an open grave, with courage which no man has ever surpassed, and if she did not fill that grave, if she lived, and if there was laid in her arms a tiny little bit of helpless humanity, I would know that there went out from her soul such a cry of thankfulness as none save a mother could know.
And then I would know, what men have not yet learned, that women are human; that they have human hopes and human passions, aspirations, and desires as men have, and I would know that that mother who had laid aside all those hopes and aspirations of herself, but never for one moment did she lay them aside for her boy, and if, after years had passed by, she forgot her nights of sleeplessness and her days of fatiguing toil in her care of her growing boy, and when at last, he became a man, and she stood looking up into his eyes and beheld him bone of her bone and flesh of her flesh, and there he stands, the most wonderful thing in all the world, for in all the universe of God, there is nothing more sublimely wonderful than a strong limbed, clean hearted, keen brained, aggressive young man standing as he does on the border line of life, ready to reach out and grapple with its problems.
Oh how wonderful he is, and he is hers.
She gave her life for him, and, in an hour, this country calls him out, and, in an hour, he lies dead; that wonderful, wonderful thing lies dead, and sitting by his side, that mother looking into the dark years to come knows that when her son died her life's hope died with him, and in the face of that wretched motherhood, what man dare ask what a woman knows of war?



It has just now occurred to me that I can share links of my facebook photo albums. I've never attempted this before, but I think it will work...

- London 1: Intro to Fontibell

- Avebury, Lacock, & Salisbury

- London 2: Hook & Platform



Sunday, May 23

I know what you're thinking:

"What happened to Angela? Why has she stopped writing?"

The answer, of course, is that I've been too busy living. :)

Since I have been in the UK I have seen:
- Mrs. Warren's Profession
- Oliver!
- Peter Pan
- Psy (three times!)
- Ruined
- Eurydice
- The Habit of Art

And I already have tickets for upcoming performances of:
- London Assurance
- Macbeth (at the Globe)
- All My Sons
- Enron
- War Horse
- Antony & Cleopatra (in Stratford)

I went to a concert of A Fine Frenzy, and this coming week I have a ticket to see Ingrid Michaelson in concert.

I have been to Avebury, Lacock, Salisbury, Liverpool, Llandudno, Conwy, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (yes, that's a real place), and Oxford. Next weekend, I'm going to Paris and Versailles.

I have gone out dancing. I have hung out with my classmates. I have hung out with undergrads. I have hung out with French, English, Welsh, and Irish strangers.

I have been asked on dates by guys from three different countries. (For the record, I have not actually gone out with any of them.)

I have eaten sticky toffee pudding. I have eaten bangers and mash. I have eaten salad cream, HP sauce, and malt vinegar.

My classes have been going well. I've been working on writing my monologue for Mark's class, and have been working on breathing with Charmian.

I have been trying to squeeze every last drop out of London.

Anyway. That's why I haven't taken the time to blog. :)

I just got back into town from my trip to Wales about an hour ago. And now I'm off to go do some homework, as I have both of my classes tomorrow.

Lots of love from London!



Wednesday, May 12

Class was filled with little exercises. I can't remember them all, but here are some:

- We did movements while saying various consonant sounds.
- We did movements while saying various vowel sounds.
- We broke up the text of The Silver Swan so that each person in the circle would say only one line of it.
- We started taking the lines of text out of order.
- We used movements to shape how we said the words.


We showed the scenes we'd been working on using the text from The Cherry Orchard. Remember, the only thing that we were supposed to keep in mind with the text was that one person wanted to propose to the other, and the other wanted the person to propose to them. We had some very different takes on it...

- Big Show & Newbie seemed to be splitting up. He was helping her take pictures of objects so that she could sell them on Craigslist. Sometimes, he stopped to take pictures of her.
- Iceman had just paid All-The-Way for sex and was doing cocaine. He took off his wedding ring to suggest he was going to leave his wife, but then suddenly left. (D-Train directed)
- Two-Shots-Up and Wifey were lesbian bank robbers. Two-Shots-Up decided she was going to give up the lifestyle. She couldn't find the loot that she had taken from the last heist. Then it turned out that Wifey had stolen it from her. (Killer directed)
- At the very end of the scene, you discovered that O.D. was the apostle John, and Thrill was Jesus. (Angela directed).

At the end, of each scene, we made notes of what was theatrically successful, and what was less so.

Here is my list of Things That Work:
- the use of a significant object to tell a story.
- routine (and the significance of stopping a routine)
- repetition
- moving forward
- mystery and suspense
- simplicity
- tell a clear story
- urgency
- twist
- slow reveal, to help the audience understand what is being told
- contrast
- intensity
- focus
- use the space
- once the space has been identified, exits and entrances can surprise
- "putting a clock on the scene"
- forget about symbolism (it gets in the way of humanity)
- reversals
- simple, clear physicality helps tell the story
- don't be too subtle
- point of view
- specificity
- costuming
- "what just happened?"
- rhythm

I also made a note to watch the movie "Reservoir Dogs".

The minimum requirements of things necessary to produce theatre are:
- space
- an actor
- a story
- an audience

When you get lost in your story telling, stop doing superfluous whatnot and remember those four basics.

Our homework is to be able to come into the space and begin to tell a story. We have to have thought of the following:
- a character to be (who can be inspired by someone from our own lives, or from pictures in magazines, or from stories we've heard)
- an object that is in some way significant to the character
- three people in the character's life
- three places in the character's life
- a reason that the character has two speak
- the first two minutes of the character's story (which we can have written down, or we can improvise)

There's a really lovely program in place in London called "A Night Less Ordinary". People aged 25 and under can get theatre tickets for free to shows from participating theatres. As my class is young, that means that 8 of us (me, Killer, All-The-Way, D-Train, Two-Shots-Up, Wifey, O.D., & Thrill) are eligible (I'm the eldest of those 8, and I turn 26 in October).

So the Barbican had its first preview of a Scottish production of Peter Pan, and some of us decided to go. Iceman wanted to come along (but is 27 and doesn't qualify for the program, so I split the cost of his ticket with him). Wifey, Two-Shots-Up, and D-Train came as well.

The best part of the production: Tinkerbell was a ball of fire. Literally. A flying ball of fire. She landed on things. People held her. She died and came back to life. It was a very cool bit of spectacle. There was some beautiful music in the production. And a lot of things that I didn't fully understand (Tigerlily was a pair of half-wolves/half-women). But I'm glad we went. And you can't beat free theatre.


Tuesday, May 11

We did some breath work lying down, and started working with belly breathing. We've been studying Rib Swing breathing at our home campus. But actually, I don't think this is all that different. When we started with rib swing, we talked about filling from the stomach first. I didn't really adjust much, but Charmian said I was doing well.

At one point on the ground, she asked us to do some visualization involving the most comforting place in the world to us, as a way to aid in our release.

We stood in a circle and did some body releasing things. And we had an exercise where we connected with partners across a circle.

At the end of class, we each did a bit of Shakespeare so that Charmian could see where we are, and try to identify what we need help with. We all did things that we'd worked on with Acting Professoressa, but different things. Some people used sonnets, some used monologues, and some used parts of the scenes we'd worked on. I think I did something shorter than anyone else, but I thought it was enough for diagnostic purposes. It was part of my scene as Diana from All's Well That Ends Well (and D-Train kindly got up with me as a silent scene partner, which actually helped me to be a lot more calm and less nervous than I would've been otherwise).

Here's what I did:

"'Tis not the many oaths that makes the truth,
But the plain single vow that is vow'd true.
That which is not Holy, that we swear not by,
But take the High'st to witness: then pray you, tell me,
If I should swear by Jove's great attributes
I loved you dearly, would you believe my oaths
When I did love you ill? This has no holding,
To swear by him whom we protest to love,
That I will work against him. Therefore, your oaths
Are words and poor conditions, but unseal'd,
At least in my opinion."

I went with Iceman, Two-Shots-Up, and D-Train to a show called Psy. And it rocked my world. WHOA.

An 11-member ensemble (just like my class!) are all characters with various types of mental illness (paranoia, insomnia schizophrenia, intermittent explosive disorder, multiple personality disorder, amnesia, sex addiction, agoraphobia, mania, hypochondria, & obsessive compulsive disorder) who are in group therapy. It's more of a show about acrobatics and circus skills than a traditional play, but the performers used their skills to tell a story. The circus work demonstrates their suffering, and with a couple of them, helps them to work through their problems. And it was gorgeous. Loved, loved, loved.

After the show, we went and met the performers. They were super-nice. And then we went out dancing with them. Let me tell you, there is no better group of people to go out dancing with than people with circus skills. They are so much fun!!! We mostly hung out with "Intermittent Explosive Disorder" (who is an American/Ukrainian), "Sex Addiction", "Amnesia", and "Schizophrenia" (who are all French). I don't remember the last time I had that much fun!


Monday, May 10

From 10am-12pm, we had our first class with Charmian (who is our Voice instructor here... I asked permission to use her name, and she granted it). She's lovely! She asked us each how we feel about our voices, and what we're working on with them. I told her I feel good about my voice. I asked her to keep an ear out for me falling back into the two old problems that I've worked to correct: forward placement and crisp consonants. I'm doing well with both, but one never knows. And it's always nice to have an outside ear focusing on your issues.

Our homework for her class:
- brush up a Shakespeare monologue to do for class tomorrow (for diagnostic purposes)
- read a bunch of quotes by Patsy Rodenburg and Cicely Berry that she typed up, and find one that speaks to us
- begin memorizing a poem she gave us

Here's the poem:

THE SILVER SWAN (Anon. c. 1600)

The silver swan who living had no note,
When death approached unlocked her silent throat,
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sung her first and last and sung no more:
Farewell all joys, O death come close mine eyes,
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.

We started class with what Mark (our instructor) referred to as "Ball Games".

The first involved us playing a game that I used to play informally when I was younger... Basically, the group can't let the ball touch the floor, so everyone is batting it towards each other. We began how many times we could hit it without it dropping. I think we got up to 48 (but the low-hanging ceiling kept messing up our attempts).

The next game involved one person being the "star" and the rest being the "supporting cast". The Star stood in the center with everyone else in a circle around. The Star batted the ball to a circle person, who batted it back, and then the Star hit it to the person next to them, who then batted it back... and so on, until the Star had completed the circle. It moves quickly, which makes it a bit tricky. We were actually quite good at it right off the bat. Mark seemed impressed.

I really liked the game after that. Instead of batting the ball, the Star could throw and catch the ball to people in the outside ring, and in whatever order they chose. The throwing and catching had to stay in the same rhythm throughout. After the Star threw the ball to someone else, anyone in the circle who wanted to could yell "GO!", the person who had just been the Star would then run out of the way to join the circle. The person who yelled "GO!" would then run to replace the Star and try to catch the ball that was being thrown to the center without the rhythm changing. We got quite good at that one, too, often with the Star changing after every throw.

We then played a variation on Tag. The game was sort of in slow motion, as no one was allowed to run. The person who was "It" had to extend their arm fully to tag someone else. But if an arm was being extended, the person in danger of being tagged could yell the name of anyone else playing, and then THAT person would suddenly become "It". This was, therefore, insane. Everyone started with "two lives". Ways you would lose a life included:
- getting tagged before saying a name
- saying a name when you were not about to be tagged
- saying an improper name (like your own name, the name of the person who was already "It", or someone who was already out of the game... or something random like George. Or a weird amalgamation of more than one person's name as though you couldn't make a decision fast enough).

Once you lost both lives, you then became a part of a wall that gradually crept in to reduce the space for the remaining players. I was not particularly good at the game, so I was a wall member a lot. But it was fun to play, and also fun to watch.

Mark discussed with us the theatrical benefits of each of the games after playing them. (Things like teamwork, focus, competition, drive, kinesthetic awareness, etc.)

Then he recited the text of a scene that he wanted us to each write down.

Woman: That's funny. I can't find it anywhere.
Man: What are you looking for?
Woman: I packed it myself. I just can't remember where.
Man: Where will you go now, (name)?
Woman: Me? To Margaret's. I promised to go there and look after the house. Be a housekeeper or something.
Man: At Marble Arch? That's twenty miles from here. Well, life in this house seems to be over.
Woman: Unless it's in the trunk. Yes, life in this house is over.
Man: And me, I'm off to (place) in a little while, taking the same train. But I'm leaving Mark here. I've hired him.
Woman: Have you?
Man: Last year at this time, it was already snowing. But now it's quiet and sunny. But there's a frost. It's three degrees outside.
Woman: I haven't looked at the thermometer. In any case, ours is broken.
(someone calls for the Man)
Man: Coming!
(Man exits. Woman weeps.)

Any of the 1st-years reading that scene would immediately recognize it. It's adapted from a scene in the final act of The Cherry Orchard, which they worked on earlier this semester. Mark changed some of the names and locations for us.

Mark then put us into groups of 2-3 people, and told us to adapt the scene further. He said to go to extremes with it, and see what it could yield with a little play-time. The only thing that he asked us to keep in tact from the original given circumstances is that the Man wants to propose to the Woman, and the Woman wants the Man to propose to her.

I'm in a group with O.D. & Thrill. We decided that Thrill would take Man's lines, O.D. would take Woman's lines, and I would be the director. We had some really creative ideas about where to take the scene, including:
- astronauts on the moon
- soldiers in a trench
- paraplegics in a hospital
- superheroes
- people disarming a bomb
- underwater divers

It was fun. I won't tell you what we came up with just yet (we're presenting it to our class on Wednesday), but I think it's pretty entertaining.

At night, the entire abroad program (undergrads and all) were taken to see the musical Oliver!. I was in a production of it in 8th grade. I played one of the drunk adults in the bar who sings "Oom Pah Pah". I also had a bit role as "The Bookseller". The role only has one line, but the director told me I could feel free to improvise a couple more. I remember being told in one rehearsal, "Angela, that's great, but if you add in any more lines, we're going to have to renamed the show, The Bookseller!"

Anyway. The set was super-cool. And there were SO MANY PEOPLE in that show. I counted at least 46 children. And they were expertly wrangled, so props to the production team for that. The choreography was great. And it's always nice to see a good spectacle (and believe me, it was a spectacle). But as for the actual performances? They just made me realize how spoiled we are in Florida to be able to work with such great people.


Sunday, May 9

Bright and early, I went on a coach tour ("coach" means "bus"). Wifey, Newbie, Two-Shots-Up, O.D., Thrill, Big Show, and I got on the same bus. All-The-Way and Killer ended up on a different bus. We went all around London, with some colorful and comedic commentary from our Blue Badge guide, Brian. Our driver was a man whose name sounded like "Sookie" (rhymes with "rookie").

Things we learned:
- There are sometimes plaques on buildings to commemorate the buildings' connections with historic famous people.
- London's population is officially 7.5 million people. But you don't have to register in any way to live in London... Therefore, the (unofficial) population is realistically more like 10-11 million.
- There are 33 boroughs and two cities in London (the City of London and the City on Westminster)
- Apparently "Summer's been canceled this year." (It was warm in April before we got here, and right now it's grey and chilly.)
- "MPs" are "Members of Parliament" (Important for us to know, as the election was the day we got here.
- Because of the hung parliament (i.e. none of the three major political parties has the 51% in parliament needed to push agendas through), the Pound has just gone down in comparison to the Dollar. (Right before we left, L1.00 = $1.56... On the day we got here, L1.00 = $1.53... And now L1.00 = 1.47)
- The Australia House was used as Gringott's Bank in the Harry Potter movies
- When the Brits talk about defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, it is appropriate to join in on saying "hurrah".
- Sometimes good deals come about for the London Eye, so look for them and go then. (He also joked that at dawn, the Eye is powered by a giant hamster called "Fluffy")
- "Big Ben" is the name of the bell inside the clock. The tower is called "The Famous Clock Tower".
- There are giant lions in the center of town that tourists often get their pictures taken on. The locals think it's hilarious to watch the tourists accidentally sliding off the lions.
- The word "tips" came about because the owner of a shop in London put a jar on the counter that said "To Improve Promptitude of Service".

Things we saw included:
- Aldwych street
- Australia House
- Royal Courts of Justice
- Temple Church (which was in The Da Vinci Code)
- St. Paul's (and the statue of Poor Queen Anne, who bore 19 children who all died before the age of 12 and became a drunk. It inspired a poem: Brandy Nan, Brandy Nan/Left in the lurch/Her face to the gin-shop/Her back to the church.)
-Fleet Street
- changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace
- Millennium footbridge
- the Globe
- the Tate Modern
- the Tower Bridge
- the Tower of London
- the London Dungeon (which Brian called "Madame Tussaud's on steroids")
- The Famous Clock Tower (which contains a bell called "Big Ben"... but apparently the tower is not called Big Ben)
- Westminster Abbey

I can't even remember the rest right now.

I ate some vegetables from Sainsbury's (the closest grocery store) for lunch. Wifey and I hit up Wagamama's (an asian noodle chain in town known for its cheap ramen dishes). I got a baked cheesecake with passionfruit glaze that was AWESOME. Wifey got chicken ramen, duck dumplings, and coconut ice cream.

After that, I uploaded 190 photos to my computer and facebook. At some point, I'll try to put some on here, but it takes FOREVER to get things to upload on most websites (like this one, for example... but for some reason facebook is faster).

Then Wifey and I went to Shepherd's Bush to see a concert (we bought tickets for it when we were in the USA). We didn't really care about the headliner (Owl City); we went for the second opening act: A Fine Frenzy. After some ticket complications (long story short: never buy concert tickets from international sellers on eBay), we got into the show. We stood pretty close in the stalls (i.e. the Orchestra/mosh pit area).

After A Fine Frenzy (which is really just a woman named Alison Sukol and her backing band) was done playing, I suggested that Wifey and I leave (since we didn't care about Owl City anyway, and all the teenage Owl City fans there were quite annoying) and try to meet Alison.

We talked to many people, and jumped through some hoops before we found a way to send a message to Alison through a security guy. Wifey wrote her a poem:

"Dear Alison,
We loved your show.
We're from the States.
Out the stage door
Your fans await.

Love, [Wifey] and Angela"

And then... ALISON CAME OUT AND MET US!!! She was sweet, and lovely, and wonderful. We got our picture taken with her, and were incredibly successful at not seeming like insane fans. We said goodbye to her, and as soon as we rounded the corner, we started jumping up and down and screaming. SO COOL.

Wifey and I got a late dinner at Bar Italia off of Soho Square. I got a really fantastic panini, and she got a great pizza.

Two-Shots-Up told us about a great show she saw called Psy. It's only running for one more week, so I'm going to try to see it Tuesday or Thursday if I can.

Classes start tomorrow. I can't wait!




Saturday, May 8

Two-Shots-Up, Iceman, Wifey, Newbie, and I went to see the matinee of Mrs. Warren's Profession at The Comedy Theatre. (Student Rush tickets for-the-win!) It was seriously great. I liked it far more than most Shaw I've experienced in my life (I'm not generally a Shaw fan). Unfortunately, my jet-lag-warped circadian rhythm made me suddenly sleepy in the final act... But I still enjoyed it.

I grabbed a quick lunch before the show (tomato, mozzarella, and avocado salad), and a quick desert after it (something called "Sticky Toffee Sponge", which was pretty good).

After that, Wifey and I went out wandering. I brought her to Neal Street, which is part of an area of pedestrian streets called "7 Dials", and from there we went into the Covent Gardens area. Then we headed back up to New Oxford Street to pick up Newbie, and then continued our wandering. They ended up getting some books at Foyle's (which appears to be London's equivalent of Barnes & Noble). Wifey and I also got great gelato at a place called "Scoop".

During the day, I passed:
- three men dressed like Waldo (from Where's Waldo?) who were talking about finding "number four". (Wifey said, "I found you!" Sadly, they didn't respond.)
- a group of people singing and playing instruments, carrying a sign that said "Hare Krishna"
- a bunch of men in skintight body suits (covering their faces) in various colors, parading in rainbow order through Leicester Square, singing "If You're Happy and You Know It (Clap Your Hands)"


Friday, May 7

We started this morning off with the fire alarm going off (not a drill -- someone in a flat in our building set it off accidentally) . So we had to run down the million stairs to the street. Two-Shots-Up, Newbie, and I were all still wet from having taken short showers in quick succession (one of us was actually IN the shower when the alarm went off, and the other two were in towels... so we quickly put on pants and jackets and ran outside... I didn't even bother finding shoes.)

I have to admit, I've been in a terrible mood for most of the day. Probably a combination of that fire drill and a bit of jet lag. (Although my mood improved as the day went on.)

Also, my shoulders are retaliating for all that I put them through in my travels. Two big carry-ons with shoulder-straps = unhappy body.

But anyway.

At 10:00am, we had a long, boring meeting with all the important information that we need. Except that some of it doesn't apply to us (we can't go on some of the program-sponsored trips because our class schedule is so different from everyone else's), and a lot of it is geared toward undergraduates (who, perhaps, are not yet of drinking age in the USA and whom they assume need reminders to be responsible with alcohol here -- whereas most of my classmates are over 25).

Some of the information was useful. A reminder to register an Oyster card (tube pass) in case of losing it. Or not to be alarmed that "Casualties)

At 2:00pm was the security meeting with an English police officer. And she was pretty hilarious, and also informative.

After that was over, we met with one of our professors briefly. He said that they're going to try to adjust our schedule so that we can do more. Later in the day, I ended up signing up for a day-trip to Avebury, Lacock, and Salisbury. I am hopeful that it will work out so I can go.

I went on an optional "practical walking tour" around the area with one of the GCs (I don't know what it stands for... but they're kind of like RAs). It was actually really neat. I got good ideas about places to head on future days of wandering.

I walked in

Wifey and I went to a pub called Princess Louise. It's GORGEOUS! It's filled with etched glass, stained glass, and dark wood. And rumor has it, you can get a pint for 1.66 pounds. But it was packed, so we left. We also considered going to one called Crown (it might be "Old Crown" actually), but it was packed as well. (Fun fact: at Crown, about 10 minutes before closing time, they pass out plastic cups so that you can pour the remainder of your drink into it and bring it home... No open-container laws in London.)

Other notes on today:

- There are a shocking number of people in London with pink, magenta, or Crayola-red hair.
- You cannot buy natural colors of red hair dye in the local drugstore, Boots. (They only have brunette and blonde shades, or shocking punk colors.)
- Brits really like to put sweet corn in their tuna. I haven't seen tuna salad WITHOUT sweet corn yet.
- I have been trying to download songs by Natalie Imbruglia (my favorite singer) that are available in the UK Amazon MP3 shop but not the US Amazon MP3 Shop. (I couldn't buy them in the USA). But the UK Amazon says I have to download the program for downloading again, and our internet is slow and doesn't let us download programs (All-The-Way has had a heck of a time trying to download Skype). Not cool.


Thursday, May 6

We have safely arrived in London!

The plane ride was nice. I sat next to Wifey in a block of 3 seats, and the third was vacant, so we had a little extra room to stretch out while (attempting to) sleep. The food on the plane was actually really good. I had a mango-papaya cheesecake in a cup that was SO delicious, it was unbelievable. I watched The Lovely Bones. I made mixed drinks. It was great. We hardly slept (it's just so hard to sleep on a plane), so most people are pretty out of it now.

We landed at Gatwick around 8:40am (London time). But it took forever to get to our place. We didn't end up seeing our flat until around 1:30pm.

We're in a housing facility that the University owns. The girls have the penthouse flat (which is a PAIN, because there are no stairs, and we have to enter through the basement of a neighboring building... remind me to post a video of how convoluted our route is). Five girls, 1 bathroom, for six weeks. This is going to be... interesting.

I'm sharing a (very small, very cramped) bedroom with Two-Shots-Up. Our room contains two stand-alone closets, two small dressers, two twins beds, and a chair. All-The-Way, Newbie, and Wifey are sharing the (slightly-bigger-but-equally-cramped) bedroom next to us. Honestly though, we might as well all be in the same room, because we share a wall. As I mentioned, we have one (very small) bathroom. We have a kitchen, and we have a little living room area (which has two nice couches and a television).

The boys are in the 3rd-floor flat. They have equally cramped rooms, but they have two bathrooms. Also, they somehow lucked out and have a microwave.

At the moment, I am super tired. I'm trying to stay up until about 9pm or so, to help my internal clock right itself. We'll see if that works.

We went to a little meet-and-greet thing with program staff. The vast majority of the other students here are undergrads. I've only met one grad student who isn't in our program (I think she said she's studying art... or art history...? -- it has been a long day).

Alright, I must be off. I have to go get a power adapter for my lovely computer (Lady MacBook) so that I continue blogging in the future.

All good things,