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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

[ ACTOR P.O.V V ] The raw and the rehearsed

Kinda late to post this and I wish I had written this before the actual performance. Anyhow. So last Friday I performed a piece in SF for a theatre group that auditions people by having them perform infront of a live audience. Yes that's right! I was given a script a few weeks back and told to memorize the lines and interpret it anyway I wish and come to the show and simply perform in front of live audience. I did exactly that, with a few blocking notes so I know where my reader is and I remain in the light.

What surprised me most was my reaction during the phone conversation with a company member on the phone... question posed... "are you up for it"? I said .. why the hell not? From that very moment I was excited about this.. the idea of all the things that could be done, that could be invented, that could go wrong... I was ready for the raw stage experience ... to be vulnerable.. to really tap into your craft.

I walk in the theatre, turns out there are many performances lined up for the night
More actors start to trickle in ... confident people, who upon learning of my purpose at the theatre that night respond "Oh you are the audtioneer... good luck!! you're gonna be great".
I am curious about how they have costumes on and more confident about what they are doing ... I find out that they have been rehearsing for weeks, it's just the first act , my act, that is not rehearsed, because I am auditioning ... of courseeeeeeeee!!! Why else would they be advertising all around town about their $15 show.. if all other acts were not rehearsed. and oh .. I'm up first!! ... Feels great to know that I'm opening with no rehearsal, only my lines and instinct and oh yea.. it's a comedic piece... not my forte but oh well... I cannot refuse that I am more excited than nervous... it's great to feel that I can do this.. how will it turn out to walk in on a stage and not know your every move.

People are getting ready, folding programs, going over their lines, everyone is helping out with getting the place ready, sound checks, tech stuff ......I didn't have my headshot like some other people so we all draw our faces (caricature) on a piece of paper and post it next to the professional headshots that other more responsible actors had produced. What better way to recognize me than by a cartoon version of moi... apparently there was a show happening next door, another theatre company. I have to write about their warm up... all performers are on stage before the show and are warming up with peculiar theatre warm ups that involve walking around the space, yelling and screaming and what not .. you know the good old .. theatre warm ups... but the one that really works for me is ... marching around screaming this


continuously repeating that while walking in circles with increasing intensity really gets me ready for what's ahead... loved it!!! (piano fight.. don't sue me for revealing your warmup chant.. i love you guys)

Audience start walking in someone directs them to the correct door, I help with handing them a pencil and voting card... oh there is voting too..... The left door leads to the space where I'll be performing.

Show opens, I am relaxed, not nervous, I play with my gutt, it's exhilarating. It's comedy, so keep the pace, keep the flow, take chances, take risks... it lasted not more than 10 minutes but I'm happy I did it. My performance is followed by the rehearsed scenes written by local playwrights. Ranging from dramatically intense to hilarious.. each is very well written and performed. Each scene will be voted by the live audience and they shall pick two best ones to move on to the next round... performed next month perhaps, till they choose a winner, and that will be a play performed in full length.

All in all, this unique audition experience was a chance to reflect on my stage abilities. I have been told they are looking for actors for their upcoming round and will get back in touch with me if they have an opening for "rehearsed" pieces.

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