26 May 2009

Wine Soaked Review: Complete Works of Shakespeare Reduced

The following was written after several glasses of red wine but I am far too lazy to re-work it in anyway :) Enjoy!

Complete Works of Shakespeare Reduced: As seen on DVD, courtesy of Netflix.

The whole reason I started a blog, though so far this hasn't been obvious, is to write about plays or creative experiences that really drive me, inspire me and make me fully appreciate why I am in love with the arts, theatre in particular.

The Reduced Shakespeare Company DVD has motivated me to write as I originally intended, about beautiful, artistic pieces of art. I loved this DVD. How can I not love something where someone just throws their whole being into a performance? It's a beautiful thing, my dears.

In case you're unaware of this show, it's a live action theatre show that they recorded onto DVD for your viewing pleasure. And thank God they did, so you know you can go rent it and be entertained...okay...go rent now...go ahead, I'll wait.

An hour and a half show of all Shakespeare's works condensed down is the basis. I can tell straight off the bat that improv skills are very much needed in the performance as there is much audience interaction involved.

I place a very high value on improv skills. I took a class on it once, cherished the experience really, because it showed me just how difficult it can be when working with a live audience. I think everyone should take an improv class because it really helps you think on your feet, a necessity in life really that I only discovered when in my late teens (before that I lived in a very protected fantasy world. When hurt or affected by others I escaped there instead of dealing with life in front of me. Who knew I was such an actress in the making*).

Watching this particular performance really helped me admire the physicality that went into every aspect of the performance. I once saw a production of Midsummer Night's Dream put on at SUNY Brockport and was blown away by the same physicality of the character Helena. the actress who played her was fit enough to run around stage, jumping and hanging onto Demetrius. I think because the actress and other actors were so able to perform the role using their whole body it just drew the audience into the story and made understanding Shakespeare that much easier. It just sucked you in, just like in "Reduced Shakespeare".

This is something I want to work on as an actress. Fine tuning my body so its at a place where I'm comfortable throwing the physicality of a character around. It's a beautiful thing.

Wow. I think I just outed myself as a major theatre nerd. But don't judge me too harshly on this. Sometime I read very long books and I own some nice shoes, too.

Nerd out---- xx.

*Though that is not to say that acting involves only fantasy life and a hearty disregard for the real. Oh no, I truly believe that both real life and fantasy life need to balance out in a performance on stage. Make sense? No?... Okay, never mind....

P.S. If you watch this, I totally cried when they were using the audience to explain the inner turmoil and the complexity that is Ophelia. Could have been the wine....yeah, we'll just say it was the wine....

17 May 2009

"This little piggy went to the market..."


So it is my mission in life...well current mission...to find fun things to do in Rochester while I live here.  I am not the biggest fan of Western New York because I am most definitely a big city girl and Rochester just isn't big city enough for me. One of the entertaining things I've found to do is visit the Rochester Public Market on Saturday mornings.  It's a fabulous place to people watch, buy cheap stuff (food, clothing, Prada knock-offs), and I'm pretty sure calories don't count here. 

Of the many delicious food items I scarf down, some of them include empanadas from the Empanada Stop and cheap/delicious steak tacos from that taco place that's there....does it even have a name? I'm not sure, but there's only one, so if you go to the market I'm sure you'll find it all on your own.

During the spring/summer season there are flower days at the market and almost half the stalls are people selling off all these beautiful flowers. I won't really know what to do with flowers so I just pass by and say "ohhh...ahhhh", nod appreciatively when necessary, and snap photos to share on my blog....as ya do.

Also a plus, all the shady dealers come out to sell their designer knock-off bags/glasses/wallets. Now I'm not usually a supporter of people that make money off stealing other peoples designs and good name, but hey, we're in a recession people.....and quite frankly as long as the product is pretty and makes me look good, I could care less what name is on the side.                             

When not in the mood to buy things....although I'm always in the mood, so really, when I don't have the money to buy things I always love to check out the variety of things sold at the different stalls. There's a honey stall that I always love to sample from, 
the fish stall that I would never sample from 
and the pig stall that, thanks to an Anthony Bourdain obsession, I always have to pass by and wonder if maybe today's the day I'll buy that pig head and figure out how to cook it.  This is an inclination that my family and friends do not share with me, weird huh?

08 May 2009

First step: Admitting You Have A Problem

Problem: I love geeky, sci-fi movies.

There I said it...whew...what a relief. I just want you to know that was very hard for me. I've never been part of the sci-fi group of people, into all those aliens and creatures from outer space story lines. But man-oh-man, the past year or so I have really been getting into the genre.

I am getting in deep now, kids. I went to the opening night of Star Trek. We had to see the first showing of it in digital because we are just that cool. I was looking forward to snapping some shots of people in costumes to share with you today, but alas, only one person showed up in costume and it was co-worker of mine. She was geeking it out as well by attending the opening in digital.

Can I just say...even though I am by no means a Trekkie...it was a damn fine film. Very entertaining, great action scenes, a lot more funny than I anticipated and the actors...oh the actors...they were pretty, weren't they? I just loved Spock! And I truly respect whoever wrote this script because they made the hot chick in love with the nerdy/smart guy (Spock) instead of falling for the hot guy who acts like a jerk when hitting on her. Loved it!

I really think that if I had to be in any genre of movie, I really would need to choose sci-fi (slash comedy). They must have so much fun making those films.

Outside of watching popular sci-fi summer blockbusters....I do have to admit to you that I am a Whovian. I love Doctor Who. I have no idea why. Seriously, no idea.....well...okay...it might be because of David Tennent. I mean, you can't watch that show and not love him just a little.

My love of DW might also have a little bit to do with my ever obsessive love with anything and everything British. I've been "homesick" for England the past few years after I studied abroad in London...lame I know...I just can't seem to shake my intense interest in all things English.

About a year or two ago, BBC America started playing episodes of Doctor Who and since I watched everything on that station I got hooked pretty quick. I tend pick up on shows/books/any form of entertainment really that has a dorky sense of humor. While some people role their eyes at the one liners thinking "did he really just say that and expect me to find it funny" I am rolling on the floor, trying not to pee my pants. Really...it does not take much. As you can tell, I am a very mature person. Though don't say poop out loud or I'm done for....

....well......ahem....now that we've had that lovely TMI moment, I hope you still respect me in the morning.

Live long and prosper. I'm out. xx

05 May 2009

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up Tactics

Another pick-me-up tactic is the regular Tuesday night visit to Uno's for beer and brushetta. A.maz.ing. Hey a girl gets stressed sitting at a desk all day. Then on Tuesday's, this girl has to march off to her once a week job at the bookstore to deal with customers who say stupid things like "Do you have the book I'm looking for? It's blue and it's about a girl."

After closing down the place, off the workers go to find cheap beer and snacks. And you can't beat the $1.99 and $2.99 priced snack food on their bar menu. Wow...I just had a poor-working-girl moment....

Makes a girl reminisce about college actually....

muah. xx

The One Where I Failed at Portraying a Lesbian

It’s never fun to get a bad review. Well...though that may be true it’s still kind of exciting to see your name in print and your picture in the paper. That’s how I approach it anyways. The fact that somebody came out to review a show I was in is fantastic. And if I’m honest…and not as overly dramatic about things as I usually am…it was a really great review.

For the other 3 actresses in the play.

Apparently, I however, was the “odd dramatic speed bump” in the play (maybe a future blog title, perhaps, as my sister-in-law suggested). All because there is a kiss near the end of the play, which the reviewer thought was suppose to be the big emotional climax, and it ended up being very chaste. Well it would be if you were playing a character that had been through 4 “straight” marriages to men and then decided that she was in love with her best female friend from childhood.

The play stage directions for the kiss don’t provide much enlightenment on how the kiss should be performed. Just a simple kiss here and a longer kiss there…that is all. God…can I just say I really disliked the script…spelling errors everywhere (how did that get published?) and all the characters repeat a few specific lines so frequently that sometimes during rehearsal we had to stop and think, “wait is this the second time I’m talking about her being striking or the third?”

Anyways, that’s just me providing excuses for myself. Truth be told, I completely agreed with the reviewer, it is a crap scene and I didn’t really know how to make it work any better than what I gave it. At least this play has been a great learning experience. I know now that kissing scenes are something I need to work on…and I need to stop dropping the end of my lines as the director kept saying over and over again.

This is the second production I’ve been in with this particular theatre company. After the first, I was asked to join the executive board. It’s all great fun because I get to read lots of plays and help decide what we should put on. However for the play I was in, I never actually read it before I auditioned for it…also something to consider doing in the future.

Our company puts on a Rainbow Festival each year and this play was a part of that festival. Last year I was in a monologue show for the festival. Which was also a great learning experience because I’ve never done monologues in front of a paying audience…it was so much fun to have that much control over the audience’s attention. I was in my element for sure. Of course for one of the monologues I did, it was the director’s and my choice to change clothes on stage in front of the audience. So I had to strip down on stage (I did have on a slip though), which to me was fine because it was necessary for the piece. I had to do the same thing when I was in college and I was in the play “The Most Massive Woman Wins” by Madeleine George. We decided to end the play with all of us taking off our hospital gowns and standing in our underwear.

You know…now that I think about it, both those performances of mine had decent reviews…maybe I should always try to throw a little nudity into all my performances. I’m sure my parents will be excited to know they’re attending yet another play where I’ll be in my underwear.

And I'm out. xx

P.S. The photo is from the script, taken from my camera phone, sorry about the poor quality. In the middle, italicized, is the stage directions for the kiss scene. "Gwen leans in, hesitantly, kisses her briefly; Thema kisses Gwen, this is a longer kiss."

04 May 2009

Monday Pick-Me-Up Tactics

When Mondays get me down....I have really cute socks to look at that perk me up. Thanks Primark. Yeah for striped socks!

Yes, this silly pic post is here in lieu of an actual post about the play that I just finished, my bad review that I got for it and how I do not portray a very believable lesbian apparently. Wow, see how much you have to look forward too? Are you excited? No?...well then just go right ahead and look at those freaking cute socks (and cute shoes! even if they are a bit scruffy...) I'm sure it will perk you right up.

Peace out. xx