Friday, August 31, 2007

Lieutenant of Inishmore - Blog 3 - Kerry McCue (playing Mairead)

McCue here. Hope you’re ready… here it comes.

Week 2: Guns Are Dangerous

No, really. That may seem obvious but I’d just like to put it out there. My personal experience with weaponry extends only as far as my ace marksmanship with a .22 rifle during glorious summer days at Camp Kitaki. Those were sweet times and many targets on haystacks were conquered. Then we sang songs around the campfire. Really, we did, it was cool.

My knowledge regarding armament has just increased exponentially. Luckily the whole subject is fascinating and the outcome will be a fabulous production.

So, we’re learning to safely use “prop” guns. Our Weapons Master, Click (a.k.a. Cory Starr) gives us great guidance and really knows his stuff. All but one of the cast hold a gun in the show, and most of us will be firing live blank rounds, or “blanks.”

There is ZERO possibility of serious injury to cast or audience, it is literally not possible with the prop guns we use. Minor injury to an actor is a different story. If held wrong when firing one could slice a finger, break a thumb or even break a wrist. That is why the safety we’ve learned is so important. Once the show goes live in front of an audience it can be very hectic, and we will have the tools we need to perform safely and make it look really, really good.

I heard the cast might even field-trip to the shooting range for target practice. We are doin’ our research people. It is really exciting to have such challenging technical elements in this show.

Learnin’ somethin’ new every day.

Make sure you check out the photos for Lieutenant of Inishmore. They turned out SUPERCUTE!

And make sure you come see the show! Matthew calls it “Quentin Tarantino meets Monty Python.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Lieutenant of Inishmore - Blog 2 - Matthew Wiener (Director/Producing Artistic Director)

We are just about to start the second week of rehearsals for The Lieutenant of Inishmore and it has been a wild ride so far. The cast is glorious and we are having a wonderful time in the rehearsal hall discovering all the hidden treasures in Martin McDonagh's script.

We are truly blessed with eight tremendous actors in this show – and that is a pretty big cast for Actors Theatre. Some of them have long term connections with our company: Oliver Wadsworth (Angels in America, Stones in His Pockets, The Pillowman), David Vining (A Christmas Carol – for many years), Beau Heckman (A Christmas Carol, again for many many years); some are just in their second show with us: Cale Epps (The Pillowman), and Kerry McCue (Augusta); and some are fresh meat: Colin McFadden, Tim Shawver, and David McCormick. We are all of the opinion that this is one of the funniest plays we have worked on in quite a while. The only problem is that as we rehearse – and say the same punch line over and over and over again – it starts to lose it’s humor. Ah . . as they say “dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

The design and production team have actually been working on this show for months and everything is starting to come together. We have all been enjoying the production meetings for this show – for how often do you get to sit around and discuss what color the blood should be and how to make it? Do we want it to be gooey? Do we want it to be bright red (is this arterial blood?). And how much we do we need? On Broadway they used 6 gallons per performance but we have a much smaller stage so we are estimating only 3 gallons.

And then of course there is the question of cats – live cats – dead cats – black cats – tabby cats. (PLEASE NOTE: NO ANIMAL WILL BE HARMED IN THIS PRODUCTION) (REALLY). Have you ever tried to buy a realistic looking stuffed cat? Try it. They don’t really look like REAL cats – the look like some kind of “cute” version of a “SMURF CAT” – their heads are WAY out of proportion with their bodies and their legs are too short and fat. Really – go to a toystore and check it out.

We have many more adventures ahead of us before opening night. So stay tuned.

Lieutenant of Inishmore - Blog 1 - Kerry McCue (playing Mairead)

Hello, Friends!

McCue here:

Thrilled to be back @ Actors Theatre!!!!! Second show here, first show with Mathew directing. Super, super exciting! The script and assembled team are sensational and we‘re practicing like we‘re trying to make the play-offs.

Week 1: Trial by Fire in Dialect Boot Camp

You can prepare as much as you like. Read the script, study the lines, listen to Irish accent films, television, audio books, and accent tapes. Do your homework, you’re going to need it.

But you can’t prepare too much. You must wait to “lock things in” until you are actually in rehearsal, with the most fabulous coach ever (D. Vining). Flexibility is key, adapt what you’ve been practicing to what is appropriate for the specific region you are attempting to portray.

As if it wasn’t tricky enough, different characters are from different regions. So we have dueling dialects. This is an exciting challenge, to maintain an accent that is new to you while listening to a scene partner with a similar but distinctly different accent.

My other struggle with my brogue is a little show I did @ Stray Cat Theatre called Trainspotting. I had a strong dialect in that show that was completely different from Irish, but close in some ways. I can’t tell you what country. I don’t even want to say it, write it, think it for fear the old accent will pop up.

But don’t get me wrong. None of this is complaining. Just thought I would share with you a little slice of my rehearsal joy. We have an hour of work per day dedicated solely to each of the accents, and I spend my down time pouring over my notes and loving every minute of it. I get home late and still can’t put the script down.

Did I mention that I’m gonna cut all my hair off for the role?


And there’s lots of blood in the show.

And guns.

It rocks.

Thanks for your interest in our blogging, all readers are cool in my book. You would be silly to miss our production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore. Still cool... but silly.