RSS Feed

Tag Archives: theatre

Wrist to Roger Corman to Tempest

Hello, it is Wrist to Forehead Sunday, the day I just can’t get much done and write a foolish blog post so I can get back to not doing it.  I am looking at (I can’t say “watching,” but I am periodically glancing at the television screen) a Roger Corman movie.  I thought I had not seen It Conquered The World before but now I am remembering parts.  I really will have to watch it with some attention some day and write a blog post about it.  For now, however, I am still in All Tempest All The Time mode.

I draw your attention to the entry at the bottom of the sign.

Yes, we performed at the Utica Zoo yesterday.  It was a great deal of fun, and I think the audience enjoyed it, too.  I guess the zoo has a lot of stuff going on. I’ll have to check out a few other events when I get a chance.  That would no doubt be worth a blog post.

Next time I want to be the guy with his sword up in the air.

This is one of the cast photos taken after the performance.  We do one smiling nicely and one “in character.”  My character tends to smile nicely each time. An exception would be a picture taken in Little Falls, when the King’s drunken butler was next to me.  I shared that photo before, but for anybody who has forgotten:

Luckily he is not a “method” actor, or he may have drooled. Ew!

I have been thinking again today about what a great cast I have been working with this summer.  I will miss them when this is over.  Then again, there is always the next play.  That is a cheerful thought for Wrist to Forehead Sunday.

 

It’s All About Me, and The Tempest

 

In lieu of my usual Friday Lame Post, I thought I would continue my theme of All Tempest All The Time and plug tomorrow’s show at the Utica Zoo.  They have a nice little amphitheater.  Last year we performed Much Ado About Nothing there.  That had the charm of rhyme:  Much Ado at the Zoo.  Well, we can’t have everything.

We rehearsed at the zoo on Wednesday.  Did you know they block off the Parkway on Wednesday nights for the Utica Roadrunners?  Kim and I had to take a little walk to get to the zoo.  Oh well, I needed the exercise.  Alas, I did not bring my Tablet so have no pictures of rehearsal.  I just don’t imagine I will be able to get any of the performance either, because, you know, I’ll be acting.

The show at the Utica Zoo begins at 2  p.m. and is free with admission to the zoo. Cue jokes about animals in cages and on stages (I won’t make any of those jokes myself, because it still is Lame Post Friday, you know).

I’ll close with a couple of pictures from our dress rehearsal at Caroga Lake, where we performed Aug. 5.  Naturally I chose pictures that included me, because, as you know, it’s all about me.

That’s me with my arms upraised, you know, acting.

 

I chose this one, because I thought it would be nice to include one with swords out. I’m hoping for some actual sword fights in next summer’s Shakespeare play.

For more information about LiFT Theatre Company, you can visit their Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

Two Tempest Pics for Mental Meanderings Monday

Some of us may look a little shady, but we are bad hyphen ass.

Well, rather than whine about how tired I am and that’s why this is going to be a Mental Meanderings Monday, I thought I would open with a picture of the cast of the Tempest, taken after Sunday’s performance. Regular readers know that we just had three performances in four days (Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).  Oh, I know, YOUR play ran for ten performances in three days; there’s always someone!

Performances went very well, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned that already.  Did I mention how hot it can get for some of us in our costumes?  Not the fellow front left, in the shorts and body paint.  I think I may hold out for a similar costume if I do Summer Shakespeare next year (which I keep saying I am NOT going to do and for some reason nobody believes me).  One thing I keep saying is no pantyhose and only one layer.  I suppose it is my fault for not finding a lighter vest, but we all know that the selection in thrift stores only goes so far.  Never mind.  With only two more performances to go, I am more than capable of sucking it up (but please don’t call me Buttercup).

Having rattled on for over 200 words, I think I’ll close with the other cast photo taken Sunday.  The first one we smile, the second was in character.

Incidentally, that fellow is asleep in my shoulder because he is drunk. Had he not been there, I may have been smiling in both pics, because my character is rather a happy fellow.

 

More About the Tempest

I hope everybody can read it.

It may be All Tempest All The Time for the next couple of weeks.  Our Aug. 5 performance is in the books, but we have shows the 10th, 12th and 13th.  Then we’ll have at least a couple of rehearsals at the Utica Zoo, preparing for Aug. 19.  I may be able to sneak in a few real Mohawk Valley posts after that, but then we’ll be preparing for our final performance on Sept. 1.

Then I’ll start getting ready for Halloween, yes!

Thursday’s performance is at Benton’s Landing in Little Falls.  It is where we did our preview performance on July’s Third Thursday (that’s a thing in Little Falls).  Perhaps you read one of my blog posts about it.  It is an interesting performance space with a couple of different levels.

It doesn’t really show the whole space, but you can get an idea.

This is the cast of last year’s summer show, Much Ado About Nothing.  It was the only photo I could find on LiFT’s Facebook page of Benton’s Landing.  As I was adding it to this post, I remembered, I shared some photos of our Preview Performance last month at, you know, Benton’s Landing.  How silly of me!

I took this one standing behind the rapt audience (if they were not rapt, I would rap them on the noggin!) (just kidding, in order to make a pun).

So I am getting ready to go to rehearsal at Benton’s Landing.  Tomorrow is the performance.  Yikes!  That happened fast!  How did three days of this week just slip right by while I was at work thinking time was dragging on?  Ah, that is a topic for Lame Post Friday, when I occasionally indulge in half-baked philosophy. Now Friday seems pretty far away.  Perspective!

 

 

The Tempest Revealed

Cast photo taken after our dress rehearsal on Caroga Lake

You see, I was thinking that not everybody is like me.  I like to go see a play or movie tabula rasa, as it were, a blank slate (I learned that phrase in high school).  That is, not really knowing anything about it.  Sometimes that renders my decision of whether to watch something or not difficult, but that’s my problem.  It occurred to me that especially with something like Shakespeare, some people might prefer a little hint as to what is going on.  Since I enjoy so much writing about my old movies, I decided to attempt something of that nature for the latest play I am in.

Spoiler Alert!  I am going to recount the entire plot of The Tempest by William Shakespeare, as far as I know it.

Full disclosure:  I’ve only read the play all the way through once, and I don’t pay a great deal of attention to the scenes I’m not in.  In my defense, during rehearsals I am usually rehearsing my scenes with other cast members or studying my lines.  But I think I can give you the gist of things.  If you are still confused, go read the script yourself.  It is readily available in your local library or even online.

The Tempest opens on the deck of a ship which has run into the titular storm.  We have a great thunder sound maker as well as a bass drum, and we all do the Star Trek thing of swaying back and forth to indicate the rocking of the ship.  A couple of sailors run around trying to bail out the water.  It might have been nice to have stage hands sloshing real water onto the stage by the bucketful, or that may have been a little too much realism.  Squirt guns and water balloons were suggested but rejected, which I suppose is just as well, especially since our costumes are not of fast-drying material.

The ship is carrying the king and some nobles, and it is about to sink.  I’m sure the audience will gather that much through our costumes and movements, which is another good thing, because we have a hard time making ourselves heard over the sound effects.  I hope we solve that problem, though, because some of us have some pretty good lines insulting the Boatswain.

Scene two takes place on an island (not alas, the Island of Dr. Moreau) (see previous blog post).  We meet Prospera, the rightful Duchess of Milan, and her daughter Miranda. We learn that years ago, when Miranda was a tot, Prospera’s evil sister Antonia (alas, not an evil twin.  I do love an evil twin, don’t you?) stole the Dukedom and set Prospera and Miranda adrift in a skiff or some such.  Luckily for them, Prospera’s friend Gonzalo (that’s me, by the way) made sure they had supplies, as well as Prospera’s books.  These books have allowed Prospera to perfect her magic powers.  In fact, it was Prospera’s magic that caused the tempest, and Miranda should not worry about anybody being drowned.

Later on in the scene, Miranda takes a nap and we meet Ariel, a magic sprite or something that Prospera rescued and now owns (slavery was a thing in those days, remember). Ariel is promised her freedom, when Prospera is good and ready to give it to her. After Miranda wakes up, we meet Caliban, a son of a witch (really), who is another slave to Prospera.  He’s pretty much a bad hat, repaying kindness with curses among other things.  He thinks the island should be his, as it was his mother’s.  I guess she was quite the evil witch, and there is something in heredity.

Eventually Caliban leaves and Ariel returns with Ferdinand, the son of the King of Naples (who, incidentally, was last seen puking his guts out on the soon-to-sink ship).  Naturally, Ferdinand and Miranda fall in love.  Like I said, I have not paid too much attention to the scenes I’m not in, but it does not take a Shakespearean scholar to guess that was going to happen.

So that’s a long scene, but I finally get to come back on stage, wandering around the island with the King; Antonia, the wrongful Duchess of Milan; Sebastian, the king’s brother (at least, it might be his sister, because a girl plays the part, but I’m being an old man, so it could go either way); and Francisco, who incidentally is played by the same fellow who plays the Boatswain. I hope the audience does not get confused (although I sometimes do, but that’s all right, I’m an old man).  I spend much of this scene trying to cheer up the King, but he is inconsolable because he believes his son is drowned.  We also talk about his daughter Claribel (I always flash on Claribel the Cow when I hear or say the name), because we were returning from her wedding to the King of Tunis.  Antonia and Sebastian spend a lot of the scene making fun of me.

The King, Francisco and I fall asleep, lullabied by Ariel, who is invisible to us.  Antonia and Sebastian stay awake and take the opportunity to plot to murder the King, to take his throne, and me, probably just because I’m annoying.  Ariel returns in time to wake us and foil the plot.

The next scene concerns Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano.  The latter two are servants to the king, but Caliban takes them for gods and and immediately quits working for Prospera to become their slave.  Incidentally, Stephano knows where the wine landed, so they all get drunk, lucky bums.

Then it’s back to Prospera’s cell, where she is making Ferdinand work, much to Miranda’s dismay.  That’s a short scene, then it’s back to the drunken three.  Ariel shows up, invisible (yeah, that’s kind of an oxymoron) (I’m more of a regular moron myself), and makes trouble.  Caliban wants to get Stephano and Trinculo to murder Prospera, and then Stephano can be king of the island.

At last I get to come back on stage, with the other nobles, and we’re all bone tired.  First some weird islanders come on, dance around, and leave us food.  Before we get to eat it, a huge thunderclap renders Francisco and I frozen.  Ariel come in, as a terrifying harpy, and tells off the other three for supplanting Prospera as they did.  They are upset.

Back in Prospera’s cell, Prospera has taken Ferdinand into her good graces and gives him permission to marry Miranda, although she sternly warns him against fooling around before the wedding.  A few of us come out with Ariel and dance for the young lovers.  I get to be one of the dancers, wearing a mask.  After the dance I hurry off stage and switch that mask for a wolf’s mask.  When the others leave the stage, the other wolves and I set up a clothesline with rich garments on it.  Enter Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo.  Caliban has brought them to murder Prospera, but they are distracted by the garments.  Once they have loaded them on Caliban for easy transport, we wolves chase them all offstage.

We’re in the homestretch now.  Prospera does a spell, and the nobles (that’s me, the King, Antonia, Sebastian and Francisco, in case you forgot) are led in by Ariel, under an enchantment.  At last the enchantment is lifted, and Prospera reveals herself.   Wow!  Are we ever surprised!  Of course they give her back her dukedom, no questions asked.  She forgives her rotten sister, largely because it’s the end of the play.  Eventually the King and his son are reunited, the Boatswain shows up to tell us the boat is just fine, and the drunkards Stephano and Trinculo return.

Then we all bow, hopefully to applause, and I get to take off my costume, which, although I think it looks good, is pretty damn warm for a summer play.

 

To Blog or Not to Blog

Today’s mantra is, “Less stress.”  I have very little reason for stress.  OK, that’s a polite fiction I am telling myself.  The fact is, we all have reasons for stress, and stress is not always a bad thing.  However, since this is not Lame Post Friday, I will not philosophize (half-bakedly or otherwise) on stress.  Instead I will attempt a moderately amusing Non-Sequitur Thursday post.  I think I’ll use pictures.  I think Steven may have downloaded a couple of new ones…

I am NOT saying, “To be or not to be.”

This is LiFT rehearsing The Tempest at 120 London Bridge,  Caroga Lake, where we will perform on Saturday at 6 p.m.  It is a donation-based performance. I’m not sure what the suggested (or requested) donation is.  It is a lovely space to perform in.  Incidentally, I am the one in yellow tights, Acting (yes, it needs a capital A).  The photo was taken by Matt Powers, our director.

I missed him on TV!

Recently, Matt went on NewsTalk on WKTV to talk about LiFt and Shakespeare.  This is not what he will actually wear in The Tempest (he has two roles), but I think it was quite a theatrical choice for publicity purposes.

I’m not sure who took this photo; it was on LiFTs Facebook page.

To include three photos, as I like to do, here is one from early days of rehearsal, at Sterzinar Park, Canal Place, where next weekend’s performances take place.  I’m the one center stage, looking fairly ridiculous in the big old hat with a sweatshirt tied around my waist.  I tied on the sweatshirt not because I had tied one on (sorry; just had to make the play on words), but because I wanted something to put my sword through.  We had just started working on them.  I have a better looking sword holder now.

Performances of The Tempest in Little Falls  include Aug. 10, 6 p.m., Benton’s Landing; Aug. 12, 4 p.m., Sterzinar Park; and Aug. 13, 3 p.m., Sterzinar Park.  For more information, check out LiFT’s Facebook page.

 

No Laughing Matter! Or Is It?

OK, major panic attack just now.  I have about a half hour before my ride to rehearsal gets here.  That’s rehearsal for The Tempest with LiFT Theatre Company, in case you did not know or had forgotten.  I personally have forgotten most of my lines, the ones I reliably knew, at any rate.

So it’s Wuss-out Wednesday!  I actually started writing an awesome blog post while on breaks at work today.  Or perhaps I flatter myself.  You can judge for yourself, if I manage to finish it and post it in the next day or so.  Oh, I am so STRESSED!!!

And, as always, being a big baby about everything.  The fact of the matter is, I do not have to publish a blog post every day.  This is a purely self-imposed deadline and onus.  I know, some of you wish I would place a further onus on myself to write a GOOD blog post every day.  Well, ha ha on you, because this is as good as it gets!  Or is that no laughing matter?

This is the most incoherent post yet, I think.  But I have no time to fix it.  I need to get all my costume pieces together for rehearsal.  How complicatedly these Elizabethans dressed!  So many parts!  I will try to bring my Tablet to tomorrow’s rehearsal and take some pictures.  Today I fear I am too distracted by my own foolishness.  Some of you are thinking that tomorrow will be no different.  Indeed, I will probably be just as foolish.  But, as they say, I gotta be me.

I hope to see you all on Non-Sequitur Thursday.