Wednesday, March 31

Movement class was canceled today.

I went and saw it again last night, and it's just as charming as ever. This show closes Thursday night, so go see it if you haven't!

I got my Irish transcription back. I got 90% on it (which is a more disappointing grade for me in grad school than it was in undergrad), mostly because of stupid mistakes. And also because apparently I IPA the word "sorry" incorrectly in Standard American (the vowel should be the same as the word "honest"). Oh well.

I started reading through the scene out loud, VERY slowly, with both of my scene partners, Killer & Iceman. (Because we have an odd number in our class, someone has to go with two partners. And that lucky person is me.)

I'm starting to be able to hear it, but not in the way that I could with RP or New York. After awhile, I could just FEEL those, and instinctively KNOW when I was saying something incorrectly. I honestly don't know if I'll ever get to that point with Irish. It's going to be more about memorizing specific sentences with all the proper sounds, and drilling them. I'm sure I'll do fine, but it's going to be hard work.

We started blocking the Twelfth Night scene that Newbie and I are doing... and decided that we might actually make it longer, by adding a bit on to the beginning with Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Mariah. The guys are drunk, so that's pretty entertaining.


Tuesday, March 30

Last night was our first performance of the King John late night, directed by 3rd-Year KS. We had a great crowd! And it was a lot of fun to tell that story. It's been a long time since I was in a Shakespeare play (not just a reading, or a scene, or an understudy role... but IN one. The last one was in 2006), and it was nice to get another chance to be in one.

If you missed it, we're having another performance! It will be Tuesday, April 6th @8pm in the Cook Theatre. Hope you can make it!

Over the weekend, I saw a staged reading of Fizz by Rogelio Martinez, which is part of the Unplugged Festival of new works. It's about the president of Coca Cola in the 1980's, and it was awesome. So, so, so funny, but also poignant. And the 3rd-years who were in it were fantastic. It was wonderful to see.

Today Voice class was optional, for anyone who hadn't finished their Irish transcriptions, or who wanted extra help. So I went. Because Irish? It's super tough for me. As I may have mentioned.

There are tons of shifts, and they're all super specific. And, unfortunately, the text we're converting has the dialect written in, which just makes transcription harder. (Why do playwrights do that? WHY?)

We started off by walking around as our Commedia characters. Then we got out the mats, and started moving as the animals that are connected to our Commedia types. (My character Vittoria, is connected to both pink flamingoes and love birds.) Then, we had to "evolve", from the animal into the character, keeping some of the animal characteristics in tact. It was really funny to watch.

Then, we were put into groups of 3-4 characters that often work together (my group was me, Wifey, Iceman, and Two-Shots-Up... aka Vittoria, Columbina, Harlequin, and Harlequinetta), and had 2 minutes to come up with a scenario to play out. Then we played them out, using Grammelot.

Grammelot is a way of speaking gibberish that is based off of the sounds of another language. Some people find it's easier to create Grammelot based off a language they know. Some people find it's easier to do Grammelot based off of a language that they DON'T know. I'm in the latter category. I've studied German and Italian, so I'm going to do French Grammelot. All-The-Way is already really good at her Italian Grammelot. I was impressed.

If you want a good idea of Grammelot, watch this video. It's a bunch of Italians singing a song in "English Grammelot" (aka, what they think English sounds like, including a couple of actual words, and mostly gibberish ones).

We moved our set pieces down to the theatre, where we'll be doing our Acting Showing at the end of this semester. Acting Showings are usually done in a classroom, but we requested the stage and got approved.

We began staging the "Comedy of Errors" scene (All-The-Way & Killer) and the "Two Nobel Kinsmen" scene (O.D., Thrill, Newbie, & Two-Shots-Up).


Quotations: Volume 52

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

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

"Let's be a half-drunk audience."
- Movement Professor, before we showed our Stuffed Turkeys

(Voice Professor explained that sometimes the theatre auctions off a dinner cooked by professors, and Voice Professor has been sous chef for it. Thrill seemed confused as to why people would bid on it.)
Thrill: Did you have to take your clothes off or anything?
Voice Professor: These people don't want us to take off our clothes. They want dinner.

"Do you have rats hidden in your armpits? You feral thing. You look scary!"
- Acting Professoressa, when she saw O.D. with the long hair and beard that he'd been growing over Spring Break for his role in The Game of Love and Chance

"Statements are dead wood. Get rid of them."
- Acting Professoressa

"Ladies and gentlemen, there will now be a five minute intermission while Roderigo does his hand-reading lazzo. Feel free to get some popcorn in the lobby."
- Acting Professoressa, after D-Train took longer than usual with a bit he does in a scene as Roderigo (which involves looking at the notes he wrote on his hand about what he wants to confront Iago with)

D-Train: You've given me this note several times, and I still don't know what to do with it.
Acting Professoressa: Well, that's what's good about having a professor with early on-set Alzheimer's: I don't remember that I gave you that note.

"Collaborate with the playwright. Don't just try to please the playwright."
- Movement Professor

"Treat him as if he just put a turd in the punch bowl at your sweet sixteen party. It's a shock."
- Acting Professoressa, coaching All-The-Way on how Luciana should approach Antipholus in The Comedy of Errors

"Sober up, sober up."
- Acting Professoressa, as the entire class laughed at the "turd in the punch bowl" line

"Now before we go to break... Ha! Go to break! It's my talk-show, here. Jimmy, on camera three?"
- Acting Professoressa

"Rabid actor syndrome. Watch out."
- Acting Professoressa, after D-Train accidentally ripped a page out of his Riverside Shakespeare Anthology

"Rarely do you want to be left holding the bag that says, 'I'm a bastard.' That's your last choice."
- Acting Professoressa, on the importance of positive justifications and positive point-of-view choices

(while discussing D-Train's Need in his scene with Angela)
Angela: I think it has less to do with him wanting to sleep with a person, and more to do with him wanting to sleep with me, specifically. He keeps saying how gorgeous I am...
Wifey: Well, sure, he probably wants you to look pretty while he does you.

"She has it, knowing that his d*** will jump out of his pants."
- Acting Professoressa, on Angela's character Diana in All's Well That Ends Well knowing that she can get what she wants from him

"Don't spill your juice so early... I don't mean that sexually."
- Acting Professoressa, on D-Train & Angela's scene from All's Well That Ends Well

"I don't think I've been smoking enough."
- Acting Professoressa, after telling us that she didn't feel well

"Swing those balls, man."
- Acting Professoressa, to Iceman on how he needs to prove Petruchio's manhood in The Taming of the Shrew

"Now, who is this 'Keeper'? Could he have a slight -- and I mean really, really, really, really slight -- drinking problem?"
- Acting Professoressa, on Iceman's bit part as the Keeper of the prison in a Two Noble Kinsmen scene

(while discussing Wifey & Iceman's Taming of the Shrew scene)
D-Train: Isn't that line sexual innuendo?
Wifey: I'm treating it like it is.
Angela: I love the "tongue in your tail" line. That gets me every time.
Acting Professoressa: Well, now we know what floats your boat.
(general laughter)

(while discussing the blocking of Wifey & Iceman's Taming of the Shrew scene)
All-the-Way: Shouldn't she slap him back, after he hits her butt?
Wifey: Maybe I liked it a little.


Friday, March 26

We turned in our Irish Cheat Sheets.

We started doing transcriptions for our scenes from Juno and the Paycock

Commedia presentation day!

I talked about my character, Vittoria. She's sometimes a zanni, and sometimes and innamorata, depending on what is required. I turned in my list of interesting facts. I'll type them up when I get them back.

We all showed our "walks" for our characters (or as much of the movement as we've figured out thus far), which was neat to watch. I already have some ideas about how our scenes might play out.

We started staging our comedy scenes.

My scene with D-Train is going to be silly and ridiculous. It's a short little scene, but it's fun. It's just a bunch of awkward sexual situation happenings. Good times.


Thursday, March 25

Even more Irish dialect notes... Are you ready?

a. -ing spellings end up sounding like "-un"
b. The unstressed syllables in words like "cabbage", "laughing", "demanded", and the word "it" in unstressed positions, end up having a schwa (uh) vowel.
c. The word "any" (and it's deriviatives, e.g. "anything" and "anyone") is pronounced with the vowel of apple (so it sounds more like "Annie" than "any").
d. Words spelled with "-ow" in unstressed positions (e.g. "yellow", "pillow", "window", "fellow", etc.) shift to a schwa (uh).
e. In CASUAL speech, in UNSTRESSED positions, the word "my" sounds like "me".
f. Sometimes, words like "look", "book", "shook", etc. are said with a vowel closer to the vowel in "moo" than the vowel in "good".
g. One-off pronunciations include film (fil-um), tea (tay), decent (day-sunt), peacock (pay-cock), Jesus -- when used as an oath (Jay-zus), old (owl-d), idiot (ih-jut).
h. In working class dialects, medial and final "t" sounds like "d" (like in "writer" and "sitting").
i. (OPTIONAL) Long, close vowels become two syllables. (So "clean" sounds like "klee-un")
j. (OPTIONAL) Dublin working class dialects are often heavily nasalized.\

We started working with Laban elements with our characters. This means that with movement qualities you try to determine if the character is:


By my math, there are 16 possible combinations. Eight of these are ones that come up often and that we have names for.

I showed my walk/sitting/lying down/essential gesture for Alma from The Eccentricities of a Nightingale. I decided to go with what I feel she is at the beginning of the play. Fast inner tempo, indirect, medium lightness, sudden, bound. It seemed to go well.

Table-working scenes.

I am also now doing a scene with Newbie from Twelfth Night. She is Olivia, and I am Viola (dressed as Cesario).


Wednesday, March 24

More lessons in Irish... New things we've learned include:

12. Irish has bright, light [l] sounds. The sides of the tongue are relaxed, instead of scooping up. (So L-sounds are closer to the L that we use for "lemon" than the L that we use for "all".)

13. In words that are spelled with a "wh", use an unvoiced "w" (which sort of sounds like "hw").

14. "th" words are more plosive than fricative, and are dentalized. (So they sound more like "t" or "d" than "th", depending on whether they're voiced or not, and there's more breath involved, making the sounds splashier.) This is also true of words that involve the spellings "tr" or "dr" (which some playwrights who write in dialect attempt to spell out... "thrim" instead of "trim", or "dhrink" instead of "drink"... which, to quote Paul Meier, ends up "leaving the actor to guess what that means.")

15. [t], [p], and [k] (the voiceless plosives) have a weak or absent "stop stage" (they're not very plosive at all) and then a really breathy release stage. (This is always true of consonants in final position, so Voice Professor says that she made her rule to only apply to final positions.)

Oh, fun with dialects.

In preparation for class today, we were supposed to find a character in a play that we'd like to work on, and then read the play looking for clues about them that might affect their physical characterizations. Today, we had to come in with a knowledge on how we, as the character, would walk, sit down, and lie down. We also had to find a distillation of a gesture (sometimes called an "essential gesture" or "psychological gesture") that is definitive of the character, and that we could do to immediately enter the character.

We did a really great exercise in which we were all walking around our studio as our characters at once (just sort of focusing on our inner-tempos and walks), and then had to mentally assign two other people in the class to be roles from the play. They were still being their own characters, but we just changed our point-of-view on each other. Movement Professor said that it could be as simple as thinking "this person is a GOOD THING, and that person is a BAD THING."

It was so cool. D-Train, Two-Shots-Up, and I ended up playing out a fascinating silent scene. From Two-Shots-Up's perspective, we were in Big Love, and I was her sister, and she was non-verbally warning me not to marry D-Train. From my point of view, D-Train was my friend/crush (from Eccentricities of a Nightingale), and when Two-Shots-Up was trying to get me away from him, she became a woman that I had been warning him against... and I gave up and left. And for D-Train? He was Orestes from Orestes 2.0. (I didn't talk to him about it, but it seemed like I was a Good Thing, and Two-Shots-Up was a Bad Thing).

After that, people started showing their walks, stances, gestures, etc. Then we discussed how they got to those points, and how they could take them further.

A really great note I took from Movement Professor:
As actors, we should be trying to collaborate with the playwright, not please the playwright.

As we were starting our comedy scenes today, we discussed what you should do when cast in a play before table work.

- Read the play EVERY DAY. (Acting Professoressa recommends that you read the play every day from the day you get cast until the day the show closes.)
- Research
- Figure out your character's context and world view
- Know what every word means, and how it is pronounced
- Be able to paraphrase everything
- Have ideas on your Need
- Point-of-View on other characters and situations
- Script demands on characterization

D-Train and I read our All's Well That Ends Well scene. I love it! I'm Diana, and he's Bertram. In the scene, he's trying win me (or sleep with me... or make me his mistress). I, on the other hand, have been scheming with his wife, and am trying get him to fall into a trap. It's going to be a lot of fun to work on. I'm excited! :)


Tuesday, March 23

We picked up where we left off on our Irish dialect work.

I'll be honest: I'm terrible at Irish.

I rocked the New York dialect. That one was a piece of cake. And British RP was tough, but I worked on it super hard, and I ended up being great at it.

But Irish? It's twice as hard for me as RP was. There are SO MANY SHIFTS! And a lot of them are shifts that are very difficult for me to hear.

For example: compare the first vowel in the word "alien" to the vowel in the word "pay". They sound a lot a like, right? Well, in IPA, the first vowel in "alien" is written as [e], and the vowel in "pay" is written as [ei]. What that means is that "pay" has a diphthong, where the vowel is actually shifting from one vowel to another. "Alien", on the other hand, starts with a pure vowel.

When we originally learned the difference between these 1st-year, I made a note that for me, it was easiest to think of "alien" as a shorter vowel, and "pay" as a longer vowel. That's not REALLY what the difference is, but that's the only way that I could think of to tell them apart.

But in Irish? All the words that would have the "pay" vowel in Standard American shift to [e:], which means it's the vowel of "alien", but longer. You have to stretch out the vowel WITHOUT going to the diphthong.

I can't tell you how frustrating that is for me. It's hard for me to hear when I'm doing it wrong. And sometimes, I end up using the vowel of "get" (which is marked kinda like [E]) by accident.

I'm going to work as hard as I can on this. Wish me luck.

Our Irish dialect cheat sheets are due Friday.

A few days ago, we got the following e-mail from Movement Professor:

March 23 -- Perform your Stufffed Tukey for the Class. Everybody will perform, and then I will give any notes to address before the showing, in class, after everyone has shown their piece.

March 24 -- Character Work (as scheduled before break)

March 25-- Character Work

March 26 -- Commedia Presentations -- limit your presentation to 5 minutes, including your type's walk. You will be pre-empted at 5 minutes so be concise, and quick.

The Assignment for the Character Work was the following:

Find a role that you would like to play, and are right for. This role does not have to be age appropriate, but should not be as far from you as say, Lear or Queen Margaret.

I encourage you to pick a role that you would really like to do. Read the play, and take notes on every clue to the given circumstances of physicality that the author gives you about the character. Age, externals, movement qualities, etc will be noted, usually by other characters, and by the character him/herself. There are also ways to discover/create character that come from the rhythm of the writing, the period (as you know), economic class, and importanty, occupation.

You may also want to run the psychoanalytic game that you used to create your Restoration character.

With these given circumstances, begin to instinctively work on the character's walk. Then find a significant and essential gesture (psychological gesture) that exists within the behavior called for (or that could be called for) within the play.

For example, for George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", it could be the way he picks up his drink. After that and Michael Chekhov qualities and dynamics that most closely describe your movement work on the character.

Bring your walk and psychological gesture into class, on Wednesday. I will then introduce Laban terminology that is useful to physical characterization, and other tools for physicality of character.

Let's make the most out of the last 4 weeks of your Movement Training!

We'll talk about the showing in class. I will also be setting up individual end of training conferences with each of you over the next 4 weeks.

So we came into class today and did our "Stuffed Turkey" Restoration monologues. I actually really like mine. It's a lot of fun to do. I think my ending is kinda weak at the moment, but I'll have time to work on it before we show them again.

Watching my classmates monologues was HILARIOUS. Oh man. Two-Shots-Up has an amazing sense of physical comedy, and is rocking it. Thrill changed his monologue a bunch since before break, and I almost fell over laughing. O.D. experimented with speeding his up, and it grew by leaps and bounds. Wifey has another prop in addition to her fan, which she throws around hysterically. D-Train and Killer are doing theirs in other dialects (Spanish and French, respectively), while the rest of us are in standard British RP. I wish we were working on them in class more than we are, just because they're so much fun to watch.

After school, I got an e-mail from Movement Professor about my Stuffed Turkey:

"Angela - The Rover/ Angelica

Excellent. Very beautiful. Soft quality that is linking lines well and moves throughout. Ease in face and gestures. Precise. Ends of moves are now clear.

Be sure to get the fan out before the beginning word so that you can get on the movement score. Pick up the tempo at 'who'. Add more vocal action and pitch shifts without becoming shrill (pitching up). Very good on getting the lines to run in their own tempo and verse. Gestures can be smooth, or quick, and accents can be more or less operative, just like words-- you are ready to work on this level of precision. On weakness, try moving backwards more onto the diagonal before. Not sure about move on folly.-- out of character? Gesture that she quickly wishes she hadn't made?

'Long worshipped idol...' list seems like it could be more creative. RP excellent and natural. Suggestion – listen to Noel Coward – for some more pitch and soft sound idea that is exaggerated – excellent work, felt a girl from a convent, actually."

So I still have things to work on, but I'm on the right track. :)

We ran all of the tragedy scenes, and then got notes on them.

Some general notes I wrote down:

- Commit to winning every argument you have a stake in. LUST after winning it.
- Don't just make statements; USE your words.
- Energy should rise out of your Need
- Commit to LANDING words with vigor, confidence, and expectation

And notes that applied to me:
- avoid rushing the language
- getting much better at physicality
- good job at being a good match for Richard III in the argument
- don't be the character who just always says "no" -- figure out when the armor comes off
- be innocent
- make sure the "brothers" speech feels improvised, not planned
- WEAKENING on "What were I best to say?"
- "To veil the title as her mother doth." <- don't be sarcastic
- "Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?" <- don't be sarcastic
- Remember that at the end, Richard's offer is the lesser of the evils.

Our homework for tomorrow is to be ready to table-work our Comedy scenes. This entails:
- scansion
- Needs
- definitions
- operatives
- read the play again
- be an expert on the character
- know the performance history
- check different text editions


Monday, March 22

Hello world! Long time, no blog.

So things have been hopping around here on Spring Break. What, you ask? Let's see...

- The run of Machinal closed on March 21st. It was a great show, and I'm sad to see it go. I'm proud of the work that I did in it, both as the Matron and as the Nurse. And I will miss the Matron's unibrow. (Um, yeah... I might have not mentioned this, but I gave the Matron a unibrow. It was intense.)

- I've been rehearsing for a Late Night production of Shakespeare's King John. We have a performance on Monday, March 29 at 8:00pm, for anyone reading who is local. It's free. (Yes, we know that it's on the first night of Passover... We're looking into the possibility of having a second performance for the people who won't be able to make it on the 29th. I'll let you know if that happens). I'm playing Queen Eleanor and Lord Salisbury.

- The New Play Festival has started up. I've only been able to attend two of the readings: How to Pray by Michelle Carter, and The Innocents by Steven Drukman. Both readings were excellent. If you're in town, I highly recommend trying to see some of these. I think tickets are about $5 per show, and it will totally be worth your while, I promise.

- My parents came down to visit. Which was awesome. And I already miss them.

- I've finished blocking my "Stuffed Turkey" monologue for Movement class

- I e-mailed the incoming Class of 2013. (WOWZA! I feel old.)

- My classmates and I have started brainstorming ways to do fundraising for our Showcase trip next year. If you have ideas for us, please let me know.

Spring Break (break? what break?) has ended. Let the games begin!


Beginning of 2nd-Year Spring

For some reason, I never posted these photos...

So here they are!
Back row: Big Show, Angela, Thrill, D-Train, Wifey, Iceman, Acting Professoressa, Killer, Newbie
Front row: O.D., Two-Shots-Up, All-the-Way

And, of course, we took a goofy shot. And I have to say, I think we're getting pretty awesome at these.

Back row: Big Show, Thrill, D-Train, Wifey, Iceman, Acting Professoressa, Killer, Newbie
Front row: Angela, O.D., Two-Shots-Up, All-the-Way


Video: Ballet/Contact Duet

So remember at the beginning of this semester when we were working on duets in Movement class that combined principles of ballet and contact improv?

Yeah, I know, that was months ago... Anyway. I thought you might want to see what I was talking about.

Here's a video of Killer and me doing a rehearsal of our duet. It was the first day that we had shown them to the rest of our classmates. Enjoy. :)


2010-2011 Season Announcement

Today was the official season announcement! We now know the shows that will be going on next year.

In the third year of training at my Conservatory (which will be next year for me and my classmates), students become Associate Company Members of the super-exciting Repertory Company. Which means that the shows I'm about to list were of particular interest to my class this year, as we could be in them. *squeal!*

I'm pretty much just going to copy and paste the press release now, since it's a lot to type up...

Antigone Now by Melissa Cooper
Preview October 4; Opening Night October 9, 2010
Touring dates and locations to be announced.

A modern retelling of Sophocles' classic play, Antigone.

ANGELA'S NOTE: Antigone Now will be the ensemble show for my class next year. It's part of the educational theatre series that the theatre has been doing for the past few years. We will be touring it to schools in the area, as well as other performance spaces. It will also be performed as part of the Ringling International Arts Festival in 2010. And the best news of all? Our Machinal Director is coming back to direct us in it!

Bonnie & Clyde: A New Musical, Book by Ivan Menchell, Music by Frank Wildhorn, Lyrics by Don Black
Pre-Broadway Run
Previews November 12 &13
Performances November 14 - 18
Press opening on November 19, 2010
Runs through December 19, 2010

Everybody had a dream. They had a plan.

Bonnie and Clyde's riveting adventures are brought to the stage in this vibrant and stylish new musical from the composer of Jekyll and Hyde, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Svengali and Wonderland! This seductive and cinematic new musical examines how a troubled Texas teen and a love-sick waitress became America's most infamous couple, with a thrilling new score that combines rockabilly, blues and gospel music. This is a pre-Broadway engagement.

ANGELA'S NOTE: Yes, you read that right. My theatre is doing this show in 2010, and the producers expect to put it on Broadway in 2011. HOW COOL IS THAT??? Actually, I wasn't allowed to say this before now (as the season hadn't been announced yet), but I got to audition for it last month! Please pray for me! It's being directed by Jeff Calhoun, whose production of Big River for Deaf West won a Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre in 2007. AMAZING!

La Bête (The Beast) by David Hirson
January 7-February 24, 2011

This sharply funny comedy follows a 17th century acting troupe whose financier/patron forces them to add an actor to their ensemble - the street-performer Valere. Trouble soon follows when the troupe's cultured leader hates the new actor. But Valere soon charms the troupe, and the audience, with his impressive and highly entertaining antics. Find out who wins in this laugh-a-minute, award-winning play. Winner of an Outer Critics Circle Award and Olivier Award.

ANGELA'S NOTE: Rumor has it that this show is in verse. In other words, it's the closest thing to a classical piece in our season. And you know how I love the classics! *fingers crossed* It will be directed by Artistic Director. Apparently, our theatre got the rights before it was announced that it will be going to the West End this coming season. We're so in vogue!

Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose
January 14-March 31, 2011

Drama Desk Award winning and Tony Award nominated drama

A gripping contemporary classic about a young man on trial for allegedly murdering his father, but one lone juror among the twelve is not convinced the boy is guilty. As he examines all the possibilities of what might have happened the night of the murder, his open-minded outlook convinces the other jurors there is a possibility of innocence after all. This engrossing courtroom drama will keep you on edge to its final moments.

ANGELA'S NOTE: This show is going to be done in conjunction with another theatre, and will begin its run there. Which I think means that some of the men from my class will be out of town for a while. Sadness! But what a great play to get to do. And it's going to be directed by the amazing Frank Galati. Do you think they could rewrite it as "Eleven Angry Men and One Angela"? ;)

Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti translated by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans
January 21- April 23, 2011

A stylish knee-slapping romp through the age of glamorous, jet-setting air travel. The debonair Bernard, an architect living in Paris, is juggling relationships with three vivacious flight attendants - each of whom believes she is his only girl. All goes well until his friend Robert arrives for a visit, and the airlines decide to change their schedules! Chaos and fun take off as Bernard's clever plans unravel. High flying fun! Boeing Boeing recently enjoyed a successful Broadway revival with 279 performances.

ANGELA'S NOTE: I cannot tell you how excited I am for this show. It was on the West End and on Broadway just a couple of years ago, and I wanted to see it but never got the chance. I love farce, but I've never really gotten the chance to be in one... And there are three roles for young women in it... *crosses fingers* It will be directed by Head of Program (aka Analysis Professor, aka Mystery Plays Director).

Deathtrap by Ira Levin
March 11-May 14, 2011

Sidney Bruhl was once a celebrated playwright famous for his intricate thrillers. Now slightly past his prime, he enlists an ambitious younger writer, Clifford, to help him pen his deadliest tale yet. But as Clifford secretly begins writing his own version of Sidney's life story, and the quirky psychic next door begins to have real premonitions of murder, events quickly spiral out of control - who will survive? This is the most successful and popular whodunit in history!

ANGELA'S NOTE: I honestly don't know anything about this play yet. It sounds fascinating. Based on some quick internet searching, I don't think there's a role for me in it (the two women in the show seem to be in their 50s). But there could be a young man in it, which means one of my classmates might be involved. I'm excited to see it. I don't know who will be directing it yet. But apparently, our theatre got the rights JUST before it was announced that it's going to be produced on the West End and Broadway soon. That's TWO shows that are in our season right before other major productions. We're setting trends left and right around here!

Las Meninas (The Waiting Women) by Lynn Nottage
March 18-May 15, 2011

A story of an unlikely friendship, and an even unlikelier romance, unfolds in the royal court of 17th century France. Queen Marie-Therese longs for the love and attention of her husband, King Louis XIV, but when she receives a mysterious package from a relative containing an African man named Nabo, her entire world changes. Nabo becomes the Queen's close companion, but their relationship puts their lives, and the life of their child, in peril. From the Pulitzer Prize-winning and internationally renowned African American writer Lynn Nottage.

ANGELA'S NOTE: I love Lynn Nottage's play, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, so I am totally geeked about this. It's especially cool to do it because Lynn Nottage just won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in drama for her play Ruined. It sounds like it's going to have a HUGE cast, so I have a feeling that all of my classmates and I will be in it (as ensemble, if nothing else). A couple of my classmates were asked to audition for it. Please pray for them! It will be directed by Artistic Director. It sounds like this is only the second production of it, and the first was directed by Artistic Director at another theatre years ago.

Unplugged 2011 (TBA)
[The Theatre]'s new play festival returns, with readings planned for April 5, 7, 9, and 10
Full details, titles and final dates will be confirmed later this year.

World Premiere: New Play (TBA)
Join us as we explore a ground-breaking piece of new American theatre in the greater depth of a full production, presented from April 15 through May 14, 2011.

ANGELA'S NOTE: The two above things might very well include me or my classmates... but everything is still TBA at the moment. "Unplugged 2010" is almost upon us, and the world premiere new play might be chosen from amongst the readings and workshops that they're currently working on, but they're not sure yet.

George Gershwin Alone by Hershey Felder
May 19-June 5, 2011

Beethoven as I Knew Him by Hershey Felder
June 7-12, 2011

ANGELA'S NOTE: The above two plays are one-man shows, performed by the author. Apparently, he's an incredible performer. The weird thing is, I don't know if I'll get to see Beethoven. Why? Because I will have *gasp* graduated by then! And I might be moving before that point! Oh man, I can't think about that yet. Too stressful. Take deep breaths. Wow.

So that's the Rep season! So exciting!
But I don't want to leave out the lovely 1st-years. Next year, they'll be 2nd-years, which means they'll be the ones performing in the Conservatory season (as my class is right now). And they have one heck of a season to look forward to! Here it is:

Two Gentlemen of Verona by William Shakespeare
directed by Head of Program (aka Text Analysis Professor, aka Mystery Plays Director)
Starring the entire class of 2012!
October 26, 2010 - November 14, 2010

What's more important - love or friendship? In a world full of adolescent angst and hormones, the outcome is inevitable! A bright sparkling comedy about romance, passion, music and fickleness of youth. A contemporary look at Shakespeare by the entire second year conservatory class.

reasons to be pretty by Neil LaBute
directed by Acting Professoressa
January 4, 2011 - January 23, 2011

A passing comment about a female coworker's pretty face threatens to unravel the relationships between four friends. A scathing, dark comedy about our culture's fixation on surface beauty, by the author of Fat Pig.

The Lady from the Sea by Henrik Ibsen
February 22, 2011 - March 13, 2011
directed by 1st-Year Acting Professor

Obsession, passion and guilt overpower the spirit of Ellida Wangel and she struggles to choose between a mysterious stranger and her husband in this fascinating play of the greatest writers of the modern age.

Tartuffe by Molière
April 12, 2010 - May 1, 2010
directed by guest artist Wes Grantom

The classic comedy of religious hypocrisy, by one of the world's great comic playwrights. Orgon falls under the power of the dark and lascivious religious leader Tartuffe, and his family goes to outrageous lengths to show him the truth about this treacherous zealot! A classic French comedy performed in the [Historic Theatre].

Yeah, their season is completely envy-inducing. I'm so happy for them!

In other words, local folks, I highly recommend that you get subscriptions to these seasons. Because both the Rep season AND the Conservatory season are going to be sensational. Mark my words!

I'm off to enjoy a little of my "spring break". :)

All good things,


Quotations: Volume 52

It's a short list of quotations this week, as we had very few classes (what with the opening and all).

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

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

Acting Professoressa: (to All-The-Way) You need to turn out more. (to Angela, who last week got notes about not cheating out enough) Angela, do you see this? This is what you were doing. (shows All-The-Way's position) Bad. (moves All-The-Way so that she's cheating out properly) Good.
Angela: I know. I'm working on it. Did you see how open I was in Machinal?
Acting Professoressa: Yes, you were so f***ing fantastic I almost died.

"There is my dagger, and here are my boobs. Right?"
- Acting Professoressa, paraphrasing O.D.'s line as Cassius in Julius Caesar, "There is my dagger, and here my naked breast."

(in O.D.'s scene, he has to unzip his jacket, but not fully disengage the zipper so that D-Train can reach over and zip it back up)
Acting Professoressa: Remember, [O.D.]: never unzip all the way.
O.D.: (while writing in his notebook) Never unzip all the way. Good rule for life.

"Stay open, you guys. I am going to call you on it. As sure as the sun will shine."
- Acting Professoressa


Friday, March 5

Today, we embarked upon our next great Voice class adventure... The Irish Dialect!

This is definitely the hardest dialect we've learned. There are way more signature sounds than the others, and they're not all easy to hear/identify. A lot of the dialect shifts seem to have to do with placement in the mouth, and less lip rounding. And there is a danger of going too far with a lot of the shifts.

So far, the shifts we've started learning are:
1. In the "strut" lexical set (things with the "uh" vowel), the vowel shifts to the sound in "could". So the words "putt" and "put" are homophones (i.e. they sound the same), as are "pus" and "puss".
2. In the "trap" lexical set (things with the "short a" vowel, like in "apple"), the vowel shifts to the vowel in "father".
3. The "lot" and "cloth" sets don't shift for Americans or Brits.
4. The "thought" set ("aw" vowel) goes to the vowel of "father" (long a) or the vowel from the "ask list". There is less jaw release in this than in American speech.
5. This is a rhotic dialect, which means that the sound of "r" is pronounced (as opposed to British RP, where it isn't usually). It's actually a harder "r" than in American speech. But if you go too far, you sound like a pirate.
6. This dialect shifts the "ask list" vowels the same way that British RP does.
7. In the "goat" set (the long o in "No Joe, don't go") it can go to a pure "o" sound instead of the diphthong that Americans use. If using the diphthong, the lips are not as far forward.
8. In the "face" set ("Eight great stage plays are playing today"), the diphthong is sometimes turned into a long, pure vowel. (For some reason, it seems to help me to think of the "eh" vowel, even though that is NOT the right vowel at all... I'm weird.)
9. The "price" set ("I like my pie") shifts in a similar manner to the way it did in the New York dialect. It has less lip-rounding than in American, and isn't quite as "aw" as New York.
10. The "mouth" set has two possible shifts. One is a really light shift, and the other is more dramatic. In the heavier shift, the word "out" sounds the same to me as it would if a Canadian said it (which I know from years of watching Degrassi and Avonlea). I like saying that, so I think I'm going to choose the dramatic shift.
11. The "goose" set is made with less lip-rounding than in RP or GenAm. (There is full application of liquid-u where it would be applied in RP.)

That's as far as we've gotten. Yes, there's way more.

(Side comment: If I'm doing my shifts correctly, the American pronunciation of the word "lawyer" sounds quite similar to the Irish pronunciation of the word "liar". And I think that's hilarious.)

We got our scenes for our dialect exam (which won't be for several weeks). They're from Juno and the Paycock by Sean O'Casey. It looks like the dialect was sort of "written in" by the author (e.g. "ud" for "would", "throuble" for "trouble", "gradle" for "great deal", "oul' wan" for "old one", etc.), which makes trying to make the shifts in a good and proper way harder for me, as I have to try to figure out what they're saying and write it in a more standard way before I try to shift it. I'm doing my scene twice, once with Killer and once with Iceman.

We turned in our requests for our Commedia characters in the next unit. Our homework for break is to make a list of 10 interesting facts about the characters.

Movement Professor said a long time ago that she'd like me to work on a Colombina character (perhaps Servetta), but I decided to request Vittoria instead. I really liked the descriptions I found of her movement. "Lack firm contact with the earth. Feet invariably in ballet positions, creating an inverted cone. Chest and heart heavy. They are full of breath, but then take little pants on top. Sometimes when situations become too much for them, they deflate totally."

Vittoria is sometimes a zanni (which is what the wacky servants are called... "zanni" is the origin of the English word "zany"), and sometimes one of the Innamorati (paired lovers). Big Show chose one of the innamorati as his character, so I have a feeling that I'll be paired with him.

We showed off our Stuffed Turkey monologue progress today. It was so fun. Movement Professor really liked what I've done with mine. She said I was doing great with the "rule of three" in my movements for the monologue, and that she was glad to see that I was already "acting" it and not just hitting the movements. I'm geeked. Everybody did great. So funny. I'm excited to work more on them and see what everyone comes up with.

We got our comedy scenes today!!! WOO-HOO!!!

1. Two Noble Kinsmen (II, ii)
Palamon - O.D.
Arcite - Thrill
Keeper - Iceman
Emilia - Newbie
Woman - Two-Shots-Up
(Stage Manager - Killer)

2. The Taming of the Shrew (II, i)
Petruchio - Iceman
Kate - Wifey
Baptista - Big Show
(Stage Manager - Big Show)

3. The Comedy of Errors (III, ii)
Antipholus of Syracuse - Killer
Luciana - All-The-Way
(Stage Manager - Thrill)

4. Much Ado About Nothing (IV, i)
Benedick - Big Show
Beatrice - Two-Shots-Up
(Stage Manager - D-Train)

5. All's Well That Ends Well (IV, ii)
Diana - Angela
Bertram - D-Train
(Stage Manager - Newbie)

I'm SUPER excited. Oh man. I could use more comedy in my life. :)

My other notes from class were:
- Ask for help without playing the problem
- Don't play the problem; fix the problem
- Characters have to choose fight or flight when in danger
- Before being in danger, characters are sometimes on alert beforehand (keep in mind for suspicion/paranoia)
- Nothing should be canned (stale, prepacked...); Everything should be fresh

In case you're curious, people around here seem to like Machinal. Here's a review:

REVIEW: Gripping new look at classic ‘Machinal’

Machinal Director gave me a note after the show tonight to change my blocking at one point for the nurse. I'm terrified I'm going to forget it before tomorrow, so I'm typing it as a reminder to myself. Upon my second entrance as the nurse, I will cross UPSTAGE of Newbie and Iceman. UPSTAGE. UPSTAGE. UPSTAGE.

Okay. I think I've got it.


Thursday, March 4

Morning classes were canceled today because of our opening of Machinal last night.

We started off by talking about the opening of Machinal. We talked aboiut things that we learned from working with a new director. I commented that I think we all went through different processes on this project, as our roles varied so greatly (in type, in setting, and in size). One play, but eleven very different actor experiences.

Newbie said that one of the things that helped her in the show was a comment that I made to her once: you have to fight for your happy ending. It always helps me, especially in dramatic works. It helps me to focus on my need, and to try to have a positive goal in mind. After all, the character has no idea how the play is going to end; the character just wants everything to work out in their favor.

Notes I took during scene work included:
- to work with status, focus on how the character uses space, how the character views time, and how the character uses eye contact with others.
- have the impulses to move and speak at the same time
- The Reality of Doing = don't pretend to pretend (if there's a real door in the room, try to use it to make your entrance from. If you're digging through a purse in a scene, make sure you have things in the purse to dig through; etc.)

At one point while D-Train and O.D. were working on their Julius Caesar scene, Acting Professoressa had them start the scene from the top, but they weren't allowed to say consonants. They had to play the scene with all their intentions and actions, but only using the vowels. It was HILARIOUS!!! And I think it worked. The next time they ran it (with consonants in), they played more with the words, and had a better concept of assonance. Awesome.

Machinal Director is still in town for a few more days, so he gave us notes after the show. It's kind of nice to have that, actually. I haven't gotten notes after an opening night since... undergrad, I think. I like it. It's a good reminder that even after the show has opened, we're constantly in a state of process, and always need to be working making things better.


Wednesday, March 3

We had our New York dialect exam today. I think we all did pretty well. I'm going to be a little sad to leave this dialect behind... But fortunately, I'm still playing the Nurse in Machinal for the next three weeks, and SHE has a New York dialect. So that's nice.

Voice Professor gave us her notes from our preview performance last night. Her note for me: "Angela is awesome." :-D

More Pavane-ing. We also worked on greeting the King/Queen. It involves crossing to near the King, taking a grand reverance, introducing yourself, and then leaving in a gliding manner while never looking away from the King. It feels silly to do it, actually, but it's fun. My name is now officially "Madame Felicia Featherotica". (But I keep almost saying "Featherbottom" because I've been watching Arrested Development lately, and there's a character on that show who uses "Mrs. Featherbottom" as an alias).


Opening night rocked! WOO-HOO!

I have some pictures from it. I'll try to get them up soon.

The audience was totally with us, which is great. I have the feeling that this is a show people won't be ambivalent toward. They might love it, they might hate it, but they'll have an opinion. And I'm excited about that.

Here's a video about the show:


Tuesday, March 2

Voice Professor canceled class today so that we could have a little extra rest before our tech/preview day.

We got together to work on the pavane as a class. It's going just fine.

After that, I worked with Movement Professor individually on my restoration Stuffed Turkey monologue. She likes what I'm doing with it. I keep worrying that I'm going to move my body too much, or not stay in counterpoint between movement and text. Movement Professor said something like, "Why do you keep worrying you're doing it wrong? You're not doing it wrong. Maybe I don't tell you enough that you're doing a good job. But you are. You're doing a good job." So that helped me to relax a bit.

I've blocked the first 15 lines of the monologue (which now involves me falling to the floor). I have 25 lines total, so I have to block the rest on my own before Friday (which is when we're showing them to our classmates).


The weekend of tech was fine. Actually, it wasn't bad for me at all. I'm only in 3 out of 10 scenes in the play, so it was just a lot of sitting around for me. On Sunday, we did 2.5 runs of the show, which I think takes a lot out of Newbie (she has the largest and most emotionally exhausting role in the play), but she was a trooper.

Today, we spent the afternoon figuring out kinks in tech stuff, and then had our preview performance. We had a pretty full house, and the audience seemed to be really rocked by it. I went out to the lobby after the show, and several people were so affected by the show that they all just stayed around the theatre, talking to each other about it. I'm so excited by that, I can't even tell you.

Here's a video about the show:

I'm excited for opening!

Welcome Prospective Students!

Hello to all prospective MFA Acting students! I know that some of you have found my blog in search of information about graduate school audition season. And some of you probably got this blog from my grad school professors at URTAs. So I welcome you. :)

If you are in the middle of the audition process (or the interviews, callbacks, visits, offers, whatever), you might want to read this post that I wrote last year:
Advice for Grad School Hopefuls

I don't write about anyone by name, and I don't say the name of my program. Why? To make it a little less easy for people to find the people I write about using search engines. Just because I'm comfortable having a search for my name yield results from this blog, doesn't mean my classmates or professors should have to have the same mindset. Because really, when someone types "Bob at Awesome Grad School" into Google, it's perfectly understandable if Bob wants his professional credits to pop up before the stretches he does in movement class. The point isn't to be completely anonymous, or to hide anything from readers, but to be as professional as possible.

If you're interested, of course, you can find out what school I go to without a lot of effort. (hint: check out my personal website.) And of course that photo on the side bar serves as a handy Rosetta stone to break the Nickname Code for the friends and family of each student, who might want to know what they're up to.

I also contribute to Backstage.com's Unscripted, which is a blog written by a bunch of actors from around the country. On Angela Acts, I write more about the day-to-day of being in grad school. On Unscripted, I write more about thoughts I have on acting, and things that affect me as an actor. To read my posts, click here.

If you want to know when I post, follow me on twitter @AngelaActs. I have twitter auto-update whenever I post something new on Angela Acts OR on Unscripted, so you'll always be in the know. You can also be my fan on Facebook, which is where I usually send out invitations to shows I'm doing and other exciting and fun things going on in my world.

I love theatre, I love being in grad school, and I love my program. If you have any questions about why grad school was the right choice for me, what grad school is like, or why I love my program, feel free to email me at:

(I format it like that so that web-crawler spam whatnot won't be able to read it)

Anyway. Thank you kindly for visiting my blog. I hope it helps you on your journey.

All good things,



Quotations: Volume 51

Here are some of the educational, inspirational, and humorous quotations from my classes this week:

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

"If you're not willing to make a fool of yourself, you're going to be extremely limited as an actor."
- Acting Professoressa

"Ask her again if she had an intent to call Expedia and go to Paris."
- Acting Professoressa, to Wifey during a Shakespeare scene where she asks Two-Shots-Up if she's planning to go to Paris

"Yeah. But don't scare me when you say it."
- Voice Professor, to O.D. after he said a sentence in his (apparently scary) New York dialect

"My wish for you is that you should be able to take care of yourselves when you're on stage next year."
- Acting Professoressa

"Just because she says she's going to marry him, doesn't mean she means it. Sometimes we say things we don't mean."
- Machinal Director

"I bet, if I cross yellow with red, I'll get orange... and then I can paint a sunset!"
- Acting Professoressa, demonstrating a discovery moment

"It's been twenty-four hours. He's had twenty-four hours to think about her. He has a pin-up book of her in his head. Well, he's a man."
- Acting Professoressa, on how Angelo has been thinking about Isabella in Measure for Measure

"I don't know why this line is so long."
- Acting Professoressa, on a line that Two-Shots-Up has in her All's Well That Ends Well scene

Iceman: (to Two-Shots-Up) You were doing it awesomely! (to the room) Right?
Acting Professoressa: Well, I don't know. I gave her a note. So maybe not.

"And how do you want to serve her that? With a sledgehammer of a piece of pie?"
- Acting Professoressa, to Big Show on how he makes Angela an offer in their Richard III scene

"Yeah, just turn out, Angela... We want to see your boobs."
- All-The-Way, instructing Angela on how to stand in the scene (and it totally helped)