Tuesday, October 27, 2009

To pee or not to pee

An opening night haiku:

No intermission

Must pee before “places” call

Timing is crucial

There are many, many things that require concentration and attention on opening night. Lines, of course; props, costume, hair and make-up; last minute notes from the director; awareness of the audience's response (don’t want to step on any laughs); microphone placement; telling the story as we rehearsed it. All cylinders must be firing.

I can say from personal experience that nothing turns your brain to mush faster than a full bladder. I have my pre-show toilet routine down to a science. At ½ hour before curtain, I put on my make-up, curl my hair, and get dressed. At 15 minutes, I’m stretching, warming up vocally, maybe running a few lines. When the stage manager calls “5 minutes”, I am in the bathroom. Then we go to places.

On this particular opening night, Matthew Wiener gave his curtain speech… and then came the dreaded announcement: “We’re holding for technical difficulties.” NOOOO!!! 5 minutes pass… 10 minutes. Should I return to my dressing room and go again? Can’t risk it. (Dang, I shouldn’t have had that iced tea with dinner.)Before full-blown panic sets in, the curtain goes up. I climb the stairs to my position on stage. The show begins. The lights are hot… my mouth is dry. Sweet dehydration! I can do this after all.
by Cathy Dresbach

Monday, October 19, 2009

Kerry's Confidential

So glad to be back! This will be my fourth production for Actors Theatre and it’s shaping up to be really fabulous. I have played a lot of quirky characters but they are all so different and special. When I played Izzy last spring in “Rabbit Hole,” I enjoyed being the comic relief in such a dramatic show. “Boom” is more darkly hilarious with physical comedy that is right up my alley. I have drawn inspiration from the shows I watched as a kid: Carol Burnett, early Saturday Night Live, and Monty Python.

“Boom” was my top pick for all the local shows this season and I am so grateful and proud to be a part of it. I found myself laughing out loud when I read the script, high praise from a jaded old bird like me. In rehearsal we can be talking about The Rapture one minute, and “crumping” the next. There is never a dull moment. I love the fact that the playwright studied both science and theatre in college. As the child of a biologist and an artist, it is a comfortable blend for me.

It is also a pleasure to work with Ron May every chance I get. We have a long, happy history that includes Stray Cat Theatre and Nearly Naked Theatre. Our last show together was “Augusta” here at Actors Theatre several years ago. It is a real luxury working with a director that you can trust completely. I feel like everything he touches turns to gold, and he makes sure everything I do is genuine and nothing is false. It frees me as an actor to try anything and push the boundaries.

I am also lucky to have such great cast members. Cathy Dresbach and I worked together previously in “Kindertransport” at the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company. She is lovely, whether she is being serious or funny, and in this show she’s seriously funny. Sam Wilkes and I are working together for the first time, something we’ve both been looking forward too. I loved him in the many shows I’ve seen him in and I’m so glad our theatrical paths finally crossed. I can’t wait to share our hard work with the audiences. Hold on to your hats and glasses, it’s gonna be a wild ride!

- by Kerry McCue

Monday, October 12, 2009

Through the fish bowl

Actors Theatre at The Herberger. I still can’t believe it. I can remember seeing Angels in America and feeling like I couldn’t even imagine doing a show there. So many incredible actors. Such an amazing set. It had a serious impact on me. I didn’t know who any of the actors were at the time, but I knew that I wanted to be where they were.

I’ve worked with Ron on a few shows before and I was really excited when I was able to audition for this show. I was even more excited when I was able to read with Kerry McCue at auditions. She’s the type of actor who is not concerned with boundaries. She’s willing to take risks and have fun in auditions to make sure she gets the part. When we read together, it felt right. We got into a rhythm and it was a lot of fun. Shortly after callbacks, we got our offers and I was insane with anticipation. I love being directed by Ron, I loved seeing Kerry in everything she’s done, and to top it all off, Cathy Dresbach was cast in the show; one of the actors I admired so much from Angels in America. I was cast in my first professional show with a team and in a company that I have admired for years.

We recently had our First Rehearsal Party and performed the first part of Boom out on the stage. It was an incredible night for me; on stage in the Herberger. I’m so proud to be here with these people and working around these designers, but no one is prouder than my mom. She called me the other day to say that she was reading an article in the paper and saw “the H word” and started to cry with pride. The H word? It took me a second to realize that she meant Herberger. It may seem silly, but she knows how much it means to me and because of that, it means a lot to her. She’s going to be there crying all the way through a comedy on opening night, and I just may have to cry a little bit too.
- by Sam Wilkes