The First Weekend

So a few more notes: 

*Blocking is changing. Sort of. Apparently things look weird from the light box on occasion so the director is re-directing us. 

* I am going to burn my costume when this show is over. It’s my dress, so I can do it. It likes to stick to me–not the entire thing. It’s a two layer dress–a lace overlay, and a nylon/satin underskirt. The underskirt likes to ride up. I am wearing a slip underneath, but still….anyway, we’re working on it. If it happens when you’re seeing the show, I’m sorry. I’m really trying to fix it!

* We really like to eat the grapes that are in the dinner scene; as in, we like to eat them during breaks in the other acts. Hee hee. 

 

Audition

Wheee, it’s an audition day!

I’m nervous. Well I’m always nervous. 🙂

But my resume is printed, I’ve read the play a million times (almost), my outfit is set…so all I have to do is go wow ’em with my preparation and deep character insight!

(Kidding. Sort of.)

Starting voice lessons–some guidelines

The question “When to start voice training” is an old one, but also pertinent. There are several schools of thought on this, and, since there are some professional roles for children, it might seem that you want to start training them as soon as possible. I have a slightly different opinion on this, which is based on my experience, as well as what I’ve observed through the years.

Children’s voices are beautiful–who doesn’t love listening to a trained boys choir, for example? Children’s choirs amaze with their pure, angelic sound,  which is often, if not impossible, to replicate after the onset of puberty. You want to avoid any possible bad habits, and instill good ones, as soon as possible, such as breath support, phrasing, and a pleasant expression.

Children’s voices, and teenagers voices, should be handled very, very gently–within the confines of a professional children’s choir if possible, or with teachers who have solid pedagogy behind what they’re doing, and experience. The voice is a muscle, and a very delicate one at that. It is an instrument that cannot be traded in–you only get one voice. So students must be taught to treat it appropriately. (I definitely screwed up in this area a few times as a young student!) Ear training is also important here, so the student can learn a cappella singing.

Classical singing is what I consider to be the best way to begin, in that you start with the solid foundation of reading music, scales, pitch, and musicality. You also begin, usually, with Italian exercises, which focus on vowels and purity of sound. Also, if any problems haven’t been corrected up to this point, they can be now, and still have lasting effect on the student.

If you’re a parent, be sure to call around to local conservatories, or ask at the local high schools or junior highs (Usually they know former students who teach, or can recommend teachers at their alma maters. Heck, they might teach themselves.) If you can’t find a good voice teacher for a kid, then it won’t really hurt for them to wait until they are in high school, when it becomes a lot easier to find voice teachers and honor choir opportunity.

I also think it’s worthwhile for all vocalists to learn the piano. That way we can read music and accompany ourselves as necessary.  (It’s a very useful skill, trust me!)

Other vocalists out there–what have been your experiences, for god or bad? What do you think about the right age for starting?

Auditioning II: Plays

Like I said in Part I, I think auditioning for plays is easier. 🙂 But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare! Here are some tips:

1) Read the play! (obvious, I know). My Tips for Actors says to read it AT LEAST three times before you audition. That way you know your character’s interaction with the others, you have a sense of character, the plot is firmly in the brain.

2) Learn the accent. Auditioning with an accent is a huge thing. I find watching dependable movies to help. BBC films for British, The Secret Lives of Bees, Gone With the Wind, etc. for Southern. Or listen to snippets of speech online.

3) If you have to have a monologue, select it, and then memorize it. Try to pick something that shows why you are right for this character/play.

4) “Block” your monologue. Figure out hand movements, if you want to sit, gestures, etc.

5) Do some research on the play. Who’s the author? What’s the performance history? The more preparation you do now, the better you will be prepared for the audition.

6) Dress to channel the character you want. That doesn’t mean be totally in costume, but try to suggest the character/era/situation in your clothing.

7) Be polite! Say thank you!

8) If you have to read with others, play nice. Don’t be standoffish.

9) bring a resume and head shot, if you have them. Bring copies (I usually bring between 3-5, just in case)

10) Be confident! Own that stage.

 

Stage Lessons–welcome!

And….wow.

Can’t believe I’m doing another blog. But blogging basically consumes me–when I’m not performing. I have a need to get my words in print, and share what I’m learning.

Stage Lessons, as you can probably guess from the title, is stuff that I learn whilst acting in theaters around the Columbus, OH, area (AKA, my hometown). I’ve been acting since I was about three years old. I attribute this to being the oldest child of three, as well as my Italian/Irish/German ancestry, which leads to pursuing things that allow me to be front, center, and LOUD. :)I am all these things. Most of the time.

I’m a classically-trained contralto. Yes, a real contralto. I can sing up to a B-flat-5 (as in, the b-flat above the C above middle C). But I don’t do it that often, and the lower registers are my true loves. I love singing with baritones and basses! Of course that means that there’s limited roles for true contraltos, but I look for them!

I’m small and blonde, so usually people think I”m a little soprano. I’m not. As one of the voice teachers at my alma mater said, “You’re a little girl with a big voice.” I am. I’m proud of it!

So, actingwise. Did a lot of stuff as a kid–mostly school productions, some community classes and theater. High school/college less theater, and more training my voice and choral work. I was privileged to sing in several honor choirs and be conducted by wonderful guest conductors like Robert Trocchia and Jerry Ulrich. In college, I was a member of Capital University’s Women’s Chorus, then under the baton of Dr. Sandra Mathias, and part of the Conservatory of Music’s vocal music program, led by Dr. Lynda Hasseler. While there, I sang in several Christmas Festivals, and was in the chorus for the Conservatory’s production of Verdi’s Requiem my freshman year. That definitely remains one of the highlights of my musical life.

Post-college, I jumped into the local theater scene in 2008 as a ensemble/Red Rat Girl in Jekyll & Hyde. I followed that with the role of Essie in Jason Robert Brown’s Parade, and as Old Annie in Oliver! This year I’ve performed the role of Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest (Columbus Civic Theater) and am currently an ensemble member/immigrant/reporter/worker in Ragtime. I am always on the lookout for great roles and great songs.

Enter into the love of live performance with me!