Saturday, February 27, 2010

#8 & 9. Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Comm Shakes is putting up Othello in the Boston Common this summer. It's kind of like The Publick Theater's Shakespeare in Central Park, except in Boston Common, so, y'know, it's more New English.

I needed two contrasting monologues - one classical. I figured that I could kill two birds with one stone and learn a new comedic monologue that I could also use for a future audition.

So I chose a monologue from MoliƩre's The Misanthrope, in which Acaste tells a rival suitor that he is the greatest and the best because he is rich and can feign intelligence. Whether or not I'd ever be cast in the role, it's a great monologue.

Of course, I spent all week goofing off, playing Breath of Fire III and Heavy Rain. I woke up the day of the audition having still not memorized the monologue.

So I transcribed the monologue in a notebook and worked on it everywhere I went. Taking it off the page in the subway, practicing aloud and loudly as I walked from place to place as the rain was ever-threatening, tasting every syllable in every way that occurred to me. from Kendall to Central to Inman to Sullivan. I even practiced on Prospect hill, which I didn't even know existed.

I didn't get to stand on the top, but it was a nice place to work.

I practiced all the way into Downtown, through Boston Common, all the way into the Paramount Center at Emerson College. I went up to the sixth floor, looked at all the nice things that I didn't have access to while I was attending, then was asked into the audition room.

Three gentlemen made me feel quite welcome, then asked me what I'd be doing for them.

"I have two pieces from The Misanthrope and Another Bad Night at the Candy Factory by Jeff Belanger."

And then I laughed uproariously at the three men on the other side of the room. By throwing myself for a loop I managed to unleash something like an adrenaline rush which really added a spark to my performance. Also, laughing at my audience was a boon for my self-esteem, not unlike imagining them in their underwear.

Then the director told me that I gave a great audition and that they'd be in touch. He says that to a lot of people, I'm sure, but at least he didn't tell me to get the hell out!

I felt great. Makes me wonder if I shouldn't cram a new monologue before EVERY audition! I don't even care if I get called back - I was on fire.

Too bad they asked for two headshots.

1 headshot remains.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CHALLENGE: Simulated Amnesia

Fellow Emerson College graduates Alexandra McConnell-Trivelli and Kaite Fleming, now that they're not so busy with Sleep No More, have begun work on a collaborative project inspired by the condition of Clive Wearing, a British musicologist with the most acute case of reoccurring amnesia in history.

They have cast me as the amnesiac.

Area IV members Zachary Baker-Salmon and Charlotte Jusino are also a part of the project.

For such a peculiar role I thought it would be best to supplement the rehearsal process with a bit of behavioral reconditioning. I've decided to Daniel Day-Lewis this shit.

For now, this basically just means following a few rules in my day-to-day life.
  • Greet everyone with enthusiasm
  • Keep a diary of my thoughts (or rather my first thought, repeatedly)
  • Play Solitaire
    • Obtain a deck of cards
    • Or: Tetris
  • Investigate self mid-activity ("How did I start doing this?")
  • React impulsively and completely to every new sight and sensation
    • Movement exercises to raise awareness
  • Reduce concern for physical appearance
    • Though scrutinize reflection when passing mirrors
There's more I can do, I bet. The main thing is to remain alert and follow my passions. Once I can do that I can work on narrowing the scope of my memory.

Or I can run into a few walls head first.

Friday, February 5, 2010

#7. Boston Actors Theater

The Altruists by Nicky Silver has been touted as one of the funniest contemporary plays by my peers. It's pretty good, anyway. So I guess it made sense to check it out when these guys were putting it up.

Auditions were at Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Man, that place gets all of the action.

Boston Actors Theater. Boston Playwrights' Theatre. Huh.

This was a cold-read audition. Before I signed in I was asked who I thought I should read for. I wanted to say, "What do YOU think, smart guy?!" but I didn't think I'd score too many points with that one. Here are all the male roles:

RONALD: Male mid 20s to 30s, a gay social worker; a well intentioned dreamer
ETHAN: Male late 20s to early 30s, a womanizing political activist
LANCE: Male early 20s, a beautiful, stupid street hustler and prostitute

Since no one would cast me to portray any of these characters, anyway - and I pretty much knew that coming into this - I said that I would read for Ethan.

I read a scene between the characters Ethan and Sydney with another actor, Lauren. We read through it again and again. She was getting funnier each time and I was not. Sydney was clearly the focus of the scene, as all of her objectives were pretty clear. All Ethan seemed to do was act as a brick wall, refuting all of her points. But I figured, "Well, listening is acting, too; not just speaking."

So I listened to Sydney real hard for the directors. And then they told me they had seen enough.

In my heart, I knew that I should have read for the gay social worker.

3 headshots remain