Monday, October 18, 2010
That's a wrap, people
Mayhaps you recall that i was in a one act play somewhat recently. It was another new experience, per my New Year's Resolutions. It was an interesting and educational process filled with delightful moments and times that made me want to gauge my eyes out. Overall, i am really glad that i did it, but in no hurry to do it again. I thought it would be fun to share some of the process with you. I have no pictures of rehearsals cause it is exactly what you would expect: people holding scripts and saying lines, then people walking around with scripts saying lines and then people just saying lines. Most rehearsals were done without sets; instead, we had colored tape on the stage marking where walls and things would eventually be placed. I didn't actually see the full set until tech week. One thing that really surprised me was that once we had the full set, it didn't stay in place. Because the Barn at CCBC is used as a classroom nothing could stay in place, so every night of rehearsal and even the 3 days of the show, we always started with a blank stage. Upon arriving, the cast would go to the stage left wing and enter the kitchen -marked OFFICE for some reason- where only authorized personell were allowed (though no one is sure exactly what a personell is), to drop off our personal stuff and start the transformation. I really liked that costumes were laid out neatly by actor so that you knew exactly where your stuff would be found: First step is to put on our character shoes and pick up our makeup. Most of the cast went back out into the house to do makeup because there was more room and light and cool air. Mara is getting Marty ready to be Mr. Vernon Larouge, corporate manager and vaguely lecherous creep. Though i did most of my own makeup, Shannon had to do my eyeliner every night cause i fail miserably at it. Back in the tiny kitchen, hair was being worked on next. Shannon gives Samantha's hair a few more flips to get her Ruby ready, while Sabra tries to control her braids to receive the first of two different wigs during the night. She and Lorraine both changed wigs twice and it was always hilarious to walk in on Lorraine talking to her wig before she put it on. Once we were fully dressed, we'd hang out in the house until everyone was ready. Erica brought a Coffee News one night that we read aloud to keep from being nervous dontcha just love the Coffee News? While the actors were getting prepared, Nathan the technical director prepped the stage and then he and the run crew got the set pieces in place. Everyone had things that they were specifically in charge of, like i set the bottles along the front of the counter and Samantha set the bottles that she and Marty used as props. Once everything was in place, it was time to open the house and we had to go behind stage to the chairs where we began waiting. I sat next to Sabra because of the order that we went on stage. You can barely see it, but through that door behind me there is a landing of a stairwell where Lorraine was set up for her costume and wig change, plus where she had hot tea and losenges at the ready since she was sick as a dog during the whole run. Sometimes cast members would quietly run lines, but generally we just waited. Once the house was open, Josh was up in the tech booth and Debbie was set up behind the back of the stage with her annotated script and flashlight. The run crew - Nathan, Nathan and Shannon - were dressed in all black and either a flurry of activity or completely motionless, but i have no pictures of them cause at this point i needed to get on stage. I played the worst customer ever, drawing a lot on my own retail experience to be as annoying to the poor perfume counter girl as humanly possible so that she became so exasperated that the Lady in the Leopard Print Hat -moi- was able to shoplift several bottles of perfume. Though we chose ahead of time which ones i would steal and i placed them in specific places, it is interesting to note that at every performance i actually took different bottles. After the first scene i had to run behind stage and totally change outfit, shoes, hair and makeup to become one of Vernon's sycophantic assistants. Due to the speed at which it happened there are no pictures of me in that costume, but rest assured that Sabra and I looked like matching fight attendants. I love being on stage and it was fun afterwards to talk to people in the audience. TM Amy and new husband Aaron came opening night as did a bunch of staff from Objects Found. The director, Michelle, shared roses with us all before we celebrated some birthdays. On Sunday, after the matinee, the cast and crew had to stay to strike the set. We were all put on teams with specific responsibilities. I was on the costume team so i helped Mara sort out what belonged to whom and get the kitchen stripped and cleaned of all show materials. Then i helped pull apart the set. It was kinda sad to see everything get broken down but everything had to go. At the very end we all went out to dinner together to celebrate not only the performances, but the whole process of creating live theater. Of course, we went to Motel Restaurant (Chappies). Thanks to the cast and crew of The Perfume Counter!