December 8, 2004

The Meaning of Plays

Well, here we are... coming down to the wire now, as it were. At this point, it looks like I won't have a whole lot of the lighting or sound ready until after this weekend, so that's unfortunate. But last night I did some hunting and I've got the muslin for our 'wall', a myriad of colored gels, and a bunch of CDs from the library for background music. I'm really glad I'm working with people who actually care about putting on a show, instead of just doing what the bare project minimums require or less. I think that we still have enough time to get the whole thing together so it's good to watch; I've been involved in so many projects with, well, non-honors students where no one works more than I can force them to, and the final product is a mess.

The fact that I see a bit of a bright end in sight is notable because of something that came up in rehearsal on Monday. We were talking about budgeting issues, how we were going to pay for the muslin, and Natalie was pondering why we should pay money for our project when it would be entirely possible to do our show for free. I guess the overall theme of the ensuing discussion was how we could best put on a show that would impress Jessie and I was just thinking, wait a minute.... when was it decided that we would put the play on for Jessie? A play can be good in and of itself; not only that, it *should* be. Contrary to my reluctance to approaching the beginning of the project, I've now been caught up in the anticipation of the live theatre and for me, we need to do everything within our means to make the show the best that it can be. No matter how I'm involved with a show, even if I'm just running crew, or lighting, I want to make the best piece of theatre possible. It's like I have this inherent drive to improve theatre.... I'm thinking of something my band director used to say, that our task as musicians was to win the battle against bad music; my quest in life seems to be to banish the threat of bad theatre. (Not that I'd be hasty to go around labeling things as 'bad theatre,' or even to define it right now.) No matter what a play is, no matter if I agree with what's being presented or not, there is a certain drive within me to help present it in the way that will serve its purpose the best. I'm not sure why that is. I just thought it was interesting.

As far as what Natalie said in her blog about reading people's personal opinions, I must admit that I was shocked when I realized that Marla was actually reading and responding to my blog. But the thing is, why would I write it if no one was supposed to read it? Or rather, why would I write it and then *post it online* if I didn't want anyone to read it? While I'm writing, I feel like it's just the blog, that no one actually reads it, so it doesn't really matter what I say; however, there's always been that little voice down inside that says, you know that they're going to read it. If this sort of thing wasn't meant to be said, it wouldn't be said here. I knew somehow that people were going to read it, but blogs are just an interesting little form of communication. Kinda subtle. I like that. There are things that need to be said but that can't be said using traditional means. Not sure what else I can say... more on that later.

I find it's really interesting how our project has changed. We have a throughline now, instead of having totally different scenarios and totally different characters for the whole show, and somehow I ended up as the quasi-main character?
---Note: if you're reading this just for input on our project, you can skip to the next paragraph because I'm about to go off on a long tangent---
What's wrong with this picture? When I was in high school, I would have given a lung and my firstborn child (not having any children... ha ha) if I could have been in a play. I tried out for everything, and it was all I could do just to get on the stage for five minutes. But throughout this class, somehow I've landed the types of parts that I always go for - the unique character, the protagonist, the 'lead' I guess. In our first little gestus of Death and the King's Horseman, it was decided that I would play the bride to Elesin... then there was the 5-minute mini-scene from Our Country's Good, and who gets to be Mary? Hmm... In our acting class on Mad Forest, somehow I ended up as Rodica and got to be in the middle of everything. Now I'm at the center of our show here, or maybe that's only in my mind? My character's involved in or on stage for I think all five scenes, and has a journey that none of the other characters have. I never asked for any of these parts!!! Why can't I ever land a great part anywhere else? It's a struggle. Meh.

OKAYYYYY... back to our merry little project. I was just thinking today how unusual it is that Ben and I were chosen to be the breakup couple, seeing as though I've never had a boyfriend, never been on a date, never been asked out, never been kissed, and oh yeah, never slept with a frat boy at a drunken orgy. (Were we still going with that as the underlying story? I don't know where this has gone...) And it occurred to me that Ben probably hasn't ever been on a date with a girl. Hmm. So it makes for an interesting concept... I suppose we could squeeze some meaning out of it somehow, eh? It could show how theatre can allow you to be someone you're not, to 'escape the hopelessness of reality' and did anyone just hear an echo? That sounds way too much like I'm just shaping the scene to fit with my theme of choice. "There is a world of something in this, but I cannot go into it just now."

The dynamic of our group is working out better now. Since our acting troupe has been cut down to four people, in rehearsal we've been splitting up to get twice as much done at once - two people rehearse a scene with TK, and the other two rehearse another scene with Marla. Unfortunately, we haven't done anything about transitions yet, and I know from experience that transitions can make or very easily break a show. And the transitions are kinda gonna be my thing, since I'm lighting. So I'll have to work with TK and put together the cues so we can run them. I've also heard TK talking about the way she's going to light the epilogue, which really makes me concerned, since I'm the lighting designer, and the epilogue was kind of my brainchild. It's got to have the certain effect that I'm going to put together. 'I've written something... the epilogue of this play won't make any sense to the audience, I've written a cues sheet that'll explain it.' I don't think TK and I are thinking along the same lines, exactly... I forsee that this'll be a point of conflict in the future.

Right now, I guess I'm just hoping it will all pull together and we won't lose our focus or sight of the final performance. It's finals week, obviously, and everyone's major mega stressed, I myself am fighting a downhill battle with my eyelids to keep myself from passing out and then drooling all over my computer. But it is the theatre, after all. Miracles can happen in the theatre, and magic too. It could all pull together and be magically good. I can only hope.

Posted by holm0567 at December 8, 2004 10:43 PM