Monday, December 28, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond...

Funny thing….graduating. It seems cliché to say, but it feels like only yesterday when I started my freshman year at BSC. When I was eighteen and a senior in high school, I was not sure that college was the path I wanted to take. With very big dreams, I wanted to tackle the world of Broadway with a vengeance. My mother, knowing that I was not quite as ready as I believed myself to be, coaxed me into at least giving college a chance. Moving from Virginia to Alabama wasn’t exactly how envisioned the start of my journey, but it proved to be the right decision as I encompass the strength, experience, and confidence garnered in the next step toward my career. I fondly remember my first audition for BSC’s production of Urinetown. I excitedly called home to inform my parents that I had been cast as Little Sally. This role was my favorite portrayal to date and a great learning experience as we took the show on tour for approximately 6 months as it kept being passed as a contender in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Competition. I will never forget working with Martin Landry, and the mentoring and advice I received from the phenomenal upper classman. I may not have worked in the great city of New York yet, but with help from my theatre, dance, and vocal professors who challenged and prepared me for auditions, I’ve worked summer theatre gigs in both Texas and Vermont. Birmingham-Southern also provided me with the opportunity to work with extremely talented classmates who I have grown to admire through their talent and their commitment to becoming better performers. I am a firm believer that if you want to excel at something, you must surround yourself with people that are greater than yourself so you can continue the commitment to improve yourself. But what would my future hold past college? With my graduation, I can truly say that I am ready to take on the world with the excitement as if I were 18, but with the knowledge of a 22 year old college graduate.

As I took my last bow in Striking Twelve in November, I found it ironic to end my last performance in a show of that title. For in my childhood memories, it was at the stroke of midnight that Cinderella’s experience would most probably end, but at the conclusion of Striking Twelve, my Cinderella experience would begin. For my first out of college job opportunity will begin with Disney Entertainment as Ariel from The Little Mermaid in January. I can happily relay that my response from Disney has been welcoming and gracious. Opportunities abound. Theater is about conquering different roles, well….I think I can handle being a princess. I haven’t had the opportunity to be cast as anything royal thus far, but I’m ready for a castle in a warm environment.

I say goodbye to my professors, friends, and former cast mates. I wish you all the best in your career journey. When you wish upon a star…..


Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Holiday Non-Spectacular, Non-Extravaganza

I've often heard it said that Stage Managment is the hardest job in I believe it. From the beginning of October through the weekend before Thanksgiving, BSC Theatre students have been working on our Fall holiday musical, Striking 12. Strking 12 is a contemporary pop/rock musical written by the band GrooveLily. What started out as the three member band playing all the instruments and playing all the roles has evolved, under the direction of Michael Flowers, into a twelve person cast and equally as large crew. And all of this is what I've had to make sure works and runs as smoothly as possible.

The show's minimalistic simplicity can only be contradicted by the technical complexity that went right along with it. For an 80 minute show, it certainly had enough compacted into it to be a small technical marvel. The set consisted of a series of platforms with all structural aspects visible to the audience. Behind the platforms were six scrim panels that hung from the grid. These panels served as three dimensional screens for images to be projected on. And right in the middle of the stage was the band; a six person band consisting of keyboards, violin, cello, drums, bass, and guitar. So, needless to say, the stage was pretty full.

As for the show itself, it is an inspiring holiday story of life changing proportions; achievable only by such great authors as Dickens...or in this case, Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen's story "The Little Match Girl" is paralleled with a modern day account of a man who has had enough of of the holiday season and a girl selling full spectrum holiday light bulbs. After the man has a conversation with the light seller about Andersen and dismisses her, he pulls out his handy "Collected Tales of Hans Christian Andersen" and begins to read the story. After reading the story, with some help from some whimsical characters in between that rap and mug in 19th century clothing, stop mid-show to complain about how small their part is, and make sound effects for every action of the Man, he can't believe that no one made an effort to help the little match girl, leaving her to freeze to death in the snow. After re-evaluating his own life, he rushes out into the city streets to find the light seller. And unlike the sad ending of Andersen's tale, this story ends with the man and girl finding each other on the first day of the year.

This was my first time ever stage managing a show of this scale. It's definitely a job not to be taken lightly. With it comes a massive amount of responsiblity. The responsiblities included, but were not limited to, making sure 35 people where they needed to be at the right time, overseeing the rehearsal, pre-show, and post-show process, and calling 97 light cues, 41 follow spot cues, and 15 projection cues all within a span of 80 minutes. Multitask much? I'd say so. I realized just how focused and aware of every minute detail a stage manager has to be. And even though I already had immense respect for the crew of a show, being the leader of the crew made me realize just how crucial they are to pulling off a successful show. Just like the old saying "There are no small parts" applies to actors, it applies to the crew as well. It's a team effort, this theatre thing; and being able to lead this team was a very rewarding experience. Ah, stage management...power, yes...authority, yes...perfection, no. But I think I got pretty close a few times.