Wednesday, January 16, 2008

There’s Learning Lines. . .and then. . .

There's learning lines and then there's learning lines! I've only been in rehearsal for a week with Acts of Desperation and I am faced with 2 totally different approaches to preparing for my role(s). Most of Grandpa's lines are monologues (5 of them) which I worked on last week in preparation for videotaping which was done on Sunday. That task was a combination of memorization, on the one hand, and "learning" the gist of each monologue, on the other, in order that the video be a very natural conversational piece. That was important because with only 5 days for preparation before the video shoot, there was no way I was going to be able to be word-perfect on camera. Video also offers the opportunity to start and stop, do and redo, and (from an editing standpoint) cut and paste."

It seemed like a long afternoon on Sunday and it was a lot of fun. Both director Lucas Pakes and The Relevant Stage artistic director Ray Buffer felt that the shoot went well. Now we'll see how well Ray's editing are in trying to make me look good in the final product which will be shown on screen at various key moments in the running of the one-act Bang Bang You're Dead which is part of the larger multi-media production.

Now, I'm trying to learn the rest of my lines, the ones that will be delivered live on stage. I am part of a Chorus of voices that works as a closely knit unit through much of the play and in which I have some lines as Grandpa and some as a jury foreman. The use of the chorus requires more than simply learning lines; the actor basically must learn every chorus members' lines because they are generally delivered in rapid succession with each actor having short single lines scattered throughout the script. It is much easier for me to learn monologues or dialogue than it is to be part of the chorus. The rest of the cast was off-book last night; I had a "special dispensation" because I had joined the cast very late and had spent most of my first week learning the monologues. With our opening just 2 weeks from tomorrow (shudder), I hope I don't hold the other chorus members back. They have been more than generous in welcoming the late-arriving Ancient One and in helping me get up-to-speed.

Okay, back to work on my lines. But before I go, I offer the picture below (taken by Ray Buffer) of the entire cast (actors and dancers) with our director Lucas Pakes kneeling in the front. [While I don't identify cast members by name, it should be easy to figure out just where The Ancient One is standing.]

Sure is a good looking bunch of young folks!


Eric Valentine said...

All of that sounds so interesting Leon, and a lot of hard work I might add. I couldn't do it my friend. :)

Great picture as always. :)

Rex Hoss said...

Wow Leon, As usual, you're amazing me both with your ability to adapt and learn new shows quickly and also because you keep working! I'm very proud to know you. I look forward to seeing your show. Sorry you've had to miss mine (one more chance on Saturday night -but from the sounds of it, you'll be performing yourself

Ray @ The Relevant Stage said...

Nice Blog Leon. You're a real pro! Thank you for sharing your talents with us.

Leon said...

Eric - Thanks, as usual, for you kind words. I guess when you are doing what you love doing, it doesn't seem so daunting.

Rex - I won't won't be performing this Saturday BUT I am not off book yet and we open in 2 weeks! Hmm, that sounds a little like last summer. :-D Be sure to let me know when you are coming; there's a coffee house right next to the theatre in "beautiful downtown" San Pedro!

Ray - thanks for your comment although you may want to reserve judgment until I actually learn my lines and the show is up and running. Truly, though, I appreciate all the support you and Lucas have given me. NOw back to work! :-D