Tag Archives: Acting

Summer of the Play

Since we’ve been in Crystal Lake (it was two years last month), I’ve nicknamed our summers. Our first summer was The Summer of the Move, and didn’t really count as summer since we got out here in late June and spent the following two months unpacking, settling in, and trying to avoid the 18,000,000 mosquitoes that had made our backyard their home.

Our first picture in front of our first house!

Our first picture in front of our first house!

Last summer was The Summer of the Screenplay, because I worked on a horror screenplay with a former student of mine. I am 99.9% sure that it will ever be made (or read by anyone, ever), but it was a weird and interesting experience and now I can say that I’ve written a screenplay. A good screenplay? Well, let’s just move on.

Roo oversees the writing process

Roo oversees the screenplay writing process

This summer has been The Summer of the Play because this summer I’ve been rehearsing for a play that opened last night. (Do you notice how amazing my nicknames are? I am the most creative person you know!) The play is God of Carnage, and I wrote about it a bit last week. Here are my castmates and me, posing like happy, well-adjusted people:

Me and my GOC castmates

Me and my GOC castmates (Photo Credit: Brian Bieschke Photography)

And here we are, being…not happy:

Although we’re four of the angriest, saddest, most frustrated people on stage, we’ve been having a hell of a lot of fun backstage.

A dressing room selfie with me and the amazing Shannon Mayhall

A dressing room selfie with me and the amazing Shannon Mayhall

Our sound technician Paul and assistant stage director/"Monica"/clafouti server Danielle

Our sound technician Paul and assistant stage director/”Monica”/clafouti server Danielle

Maggie comes in to give Patrick a haircut before final dress

Maggie comes in to give Patrick a haircut before final dress

And our comfortable, relaxed, and frequently silly backstage energy fed us last night, for the opening night of the show. Our ninety-seat black box theater space had an audience of about sixty, and let me tell you, they were terrific. They laughed and cringed and reacted visibly and audibly. It was a wonderful relief. I’d forgotten how funny this play is — our director and crew have sat through it about a dozen times; we’re used to them, and during tech early this week they were much more concerned about lights, sound cues, and costuming than they were about laughing at us. But having a room full of strangers laugh where you want them to (and laugh where you don’t expect them to) was new, fresh, and fantastic.

One of the audience members was Bill Geheren (a.k.a. Sir William), co-host of the 2 Dudes and The Duchess radio show on Huntley Community Radio, where we appeared last week to promote the play. And post-play, while some of the cast came to Camp Crystal Lake to eat, drink, and debrief about the performance, Sir William was writing a generous and flattering review of the show. It was lovely of him and we are grateful for his support.

Sir William, setting it all up

Sir William, setting it all up

Sir William (Bill Geheren), The Duchess (Kate Curtin), and Franklin/Alan (Patrick Thompson)

Sir William (Bill Geheren), The Duchess (Kate Curtin), and Franklin/Alan (Patrick Thompson)

Patrick, Bill, Kate, and Me, at Huntley Community Radio station

Patrick, Bill, Kate, and Me, at Huntley Community Radio station

Trevor is coming to the show tonight with Mom and Dad Bork (he might try to sneak Roo in, too…). I told them to get to the theater early enough to enjoy a piece of clafouti, which will be served for the first twenty minutes that the house is open.

Apples and pears? Apples and Pears!!!!!!!!!

Apples and pears? Apples and Pears!!!!!!!!!

Danielle in the kitchen

Danielle in the kitchen, serving up clafouti

If you’re looking for something to do tonight or next weekend, come out to Camp Crystal Lake to see the show. It’s only eighty minutes and you’ll get to see me do things you have likely never seen me do before. Yes. You’re intrigued. So make a reservation now.

Notes

Screen and Stage

On Tuesday, June 2, Trevor and I went to Midwest Independent Film Festival “First Tuesday” show at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Lincoln Park.

This month’s showing was a celebration of female filmmakers, and our friend Cristen Leifheit was featured in the program. Of course we had to go to support Cristen, cheer on her amazing animated short film, Power(less), and check out what some other female filmmakers in the Midwest are up to.

Turns out, they’re up to a lot of good stuff:

Power(less)

Cristen’s film was the only animated short on the agenda (and can I say it was the best one on the agenda? [oh, guess what? It was the best one on the agenda. BAM! I just said it]) and it was terribly exciting to see it on the big screen.

Here are some of the gang during the pre-show cocktail hour:

Cristen and her mom, Laura

Cristen and her mom, Laura

The disembodied heads of female filmmakers!

The disembodied heads of female filmmakers!

All of you should check out Cristen’s website for more of her work — she’s pretty much the best.

The weirdest part of the evening happened as we were walking into the theater. I ran into these adorable faces greeting the festival-goers:

Those two cuties are Emily and Matthew, students at MCC! (kwhat?! I know, weird, right??) They’d volunteered to be ushers for the event, and I loved seeing them, randomly and fifty miles out of my usual school context.

Emily and Matthew segue nicely into the stage portion of this post, because the two young actors appeared in MCC’s Spring 2015 production of columbinus. Some of you might remember that I helped out with the props for this show, and I was proud to be a part of such an interesting and thoughtful production.

And next month, I’ll be a part of another school production, the first summer show in MCC’s history (someone fact check that; I don’t know if it’s accurate…): God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

God of Carnage at MCC

My character, Annette, has previously been played by Hope Davis (in the Tony Award-winning 2009 production) and Kate Winslet (in the Roman Polanski film version). So that’s freaking me out. And it’s actually scarier than filling Liza Minnelli’s shoes when I did Cabaret last year. I don’t know how this is possibly scarier than Cabaret, but it is.

We’ve been rehearsing for almost four weeks now, and all is going well. It’s a terrific play with a lightening fast pace, which makes memorizing lines a little tricky, but the four of us are doing well. Kellee Stall of Inhabit Theater is directing this show, and the crew — many familiar people from Cabaret — are kicking ass in the creativity and helpfulness departments.

God of Carnage Table Reading

Pre-rehearsal chats

Pre-rehearsal chats

Getting into character with Crazy Helium Booth

Getting into character with Crazy Helium Booth

Jay gets comfy on the set during break

Jay gets comfy on the set during break

I’ll have more about the show as we get a bit closer, but mark your calendars for the second and third weekends in July — and you’re all welcome to spend the night at Camp Crystal Lake (maybe not all of you…).

Come back on Monday for a new post about our Lake Projects Summer Writing Group. Until then, have a lovely weekend!