Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Dignity, always Dignity"

In the famous words of that immortal bard, Don Lockwood, as he was about to be led to the premier, "Dignity, always Dignity".
I got my first New York Shakespeare review for the role of the 'Dauphin' in the Drilling Companys production of Henry V.

Robert Weinstein,

The production is being received very well, and has really evolved into a great little piece.
I think that is the best word for the process, evolving. The projections we use on the wall behind us are fantastically cool - playing with a live camera feed at points to show a Live News TV feed, with the chorus serving as a news reporter, live at the scene of the action. Really cool!

Whats nice about the Parking Lot, in which we perform, I really feel that there are no judgements, no outlandish expectations (except those from the actors, and even then, they are only the usual, personal expectations or standards we all carry within us). Its an environment where you clearly see actors doing what they do best - playing and storytelling. I really feel that there is a atmosphere that hangs in the air that anything can, and usually does, happen. I mean, for instance, having a car parked in the middle of the stage you are performing on is not an ideal situation, but, handling ourselves onstage with no pretentiousness, moving with the circumstance, going with the flow so to speak, and knowing that sooner or later the person who owns that car is going to want to move it, and then when they do, we have to pause, clear, then carry on, I feel we earnt an everflowing sense of trust and respect from the audience. It is an organic beast! There is always room for play and creativity - it is encouraged, within the confines of the staging of course.
All this 'atmosphere' and 'creativity' talk stems from my most recent read, To The Actor by Michael (Mikhail) Chekov. After recently finishing Uta Hagens, Respect For Acting, I am amazed at how two major acting gurus can have such 'polarized' theories on acting, whilst sharing the same exact concept - how to deliver, inspire and create truth. Uta Hagen is very grounded and technical with the exercise styles, whilst Chekov (nephew of the playwrite, Anton) really dealves into the psychological and imaginative depths of the actor. Two completely different paths leading, ultimately, to the same location. I really connect with alot of Chekovs theories, particularly that of 'radiation' and 'psychological gesture', and am inspired by his almost 'mystical' view of the actor and his process. All in all, a good read. Both.

Julia is having a blast so far - which I am so glad about. The cast and creative team love her, and shes kicking butt (of course!). No pics yet, but will try and get some soon.

Family come at the end of the week, the its the big B-Day next week - 21! Looking forward to it! We're gonna hit 'Swing 46', a great restaurant/club with a live swing-band - Can't wait!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gotta Dance...

Finished my dance show, 'Gotta Dance' 2 weeks ago. Was probably the most dramatic roller-coaster of a show ever. Tech week - shows looking great. Opening Night - Amazing! Rave reviews (unfortunately, no written reviews!). So, second night, one of my agents, Dulcina, is watching the show with her daughter. Set the scene, we open the show with a reconstruction of 'Gotta Dance/Broadway Melody' from 'Singin' in the Rain'. The band strikes the opening vamp. I take a breathe. I put my best foot forward and strut out on to the stage... and land right on my ass! Oh yeah! I literally hit the deck, and bounced right back up to carry on the number. Needless to say the casts enthusiasm turned more to cautiousness. The stage was SO slippery and completely unsafe, that not only did I meet with the floor, but about 3 other people did throughout the course of the evening. Our song n' dance tap show turned into the Ice-capades! Harry would be so proud.
However, our show did attract the attention of a few rather exciting celebs - opening night we had the Broadway choreographer Randy Skinner in the audience, Phil LaDuka, creator of LuDuka dance shoe came along, Friday night we had the Golden Girl herself Rue McClanahan in (quick funny story, in the dressing room I asked what Rue was known for. The guys all turned round in their "manliness" and screamed "She was one of the 'Golden Girls'!". Still, I had no idea what they were talking about. "Huh?" quoth I. My cast mate Drew then said, "Well, if anyone was questioning your sexuality, they just got their answer!". Yep. I'm 100% straight. Thought so!)
Then, during intermission, I overheard one of the cast mention the name "Tommy".
"Did you see Tommy?"
"Yeah. 3rd row back on the SR aisle."
"How can you miss him?"
I find out that the One and Only (clever!) Tommy Tune, Broadway director, choreographer, and song n' dance extraordinaire decided to show up to our lil' shindig!
"Thanks for not telling me", I said, "I would have messed up for sure!".
Well, I didnt mess up in the second act. I took one step out of the 'stage door', turned a corner and this giant of a man grabbed my hand and started shaking it.
"Thankyou. Thankyou so much. I'm Tommy Tune."
To which I replied, "Yes. Yes you are aren't you. Thankyou. ThankYOU so much."
Incredible! I'll never wash this hand again!
My other agent, Barry, was watching from the sidelines as this happened. As we were heading to the subway together he said, "Well, if anyone doesn't believe it happened, I saw it with my own eyes!"

Had a lovely elderly lady come up to me and told me that I reminded her of an actor.... she never said who, but it was sweet!
There was also a big whoo-pee that Liza was going to turn up for the last show (yes, Minelli). My other agent Margaret was so excited, as she was going to be at that performance also! Never happened!
All in all, the show went down amazingly well. Learnt alot from my cast mates. Greg Schanuel really gave me alot of useful advice and knowledge, particularly as he was like me when he was in his twenties, Baby face! Tim Kasper really kicked my ass into gear with lots of yoga, pilates and new stretches to help work out my weaknesses. Tim made me sweat! Lars... well, I mean, I love Lars! And plus he got to do the 'Begin the Beguine' number, which I was always watching from offstage and reconstructing in the dressing room! And, he taught me the one trick to keep my in the good books of all choreographers I work with - "Whats your favorite number?". Dana Moore is one of the most vivid storytellers ever, and boy did she have some stories! Plus it was great to see that two professionals can have a great marriage and a family, and still be top of their game! (Dana and her husband that is!). Patti and Lesley definitely taught me a lot. And then there were the rest, us, the kids! I had an absolute blast with this crowd, Marnie, Drew, Mary, and Tina; my Jane Powell to my Fred Astaire, "Oh yeah, sure!". Soon to be setting up our own company, 'Kestaire'.
Since then, Julia and myself finally moved in to our new apartment in the Heights (Non me diga!). L-O-V-E it! Cheap rent. Cheap groceries. 2 Bedrooms (now we have doors to slam on each other!). Our voice teacher lives across the street. Fort Tryant Park - beautiful! It was a long arduous process, but with the most amazing help from Julias dad, Mark, we are now living in luxury on 181st and Fort Washington!

ps. Go see this show, it is incredible!

Also began rehearsals for 'Henry V'. Love the director Laura Strausfeld. Really cool take on the show, very modern and technological. Lot of tennis analogies. Almost metaphorical of the Obama/McCain election campaigns. Cant believe we open next week. Been very short rehearsal process, but as long as everyone is on top of their own, it'll be great! Nice transition into the world of Shakespeare, playing the Dauphin. My first 'bad guy' role. Really enjoying the text. My 'French' crew are awesome, even though my "dad" is like 5 years older than me! It works!
Make sure you come see it. July 24th - August 10th. Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8pm. Parking Lot at the corner of Ludlow/Broome in the East Village. FREE!

Julia leaves in 3 days to Rhode Island to play Ulla in 'The Producers' at Theater-By-The-Sea. She's down in her splits on both legs. Bought herself some LaDukas. Sounds amazing! Shes gonna be so awesome! So she goes, two days later, Andrea our friend from AMDA, moves in as my roomie. Then a week after, my Mum, Sister and Step-Dad fly over for my 21st BDay! Cant wait to see them. They are also going to make a stop in Rhode Island to see my baby onstage! Gonna miss her badly!

Saw my mate Tim who's playing Abraham in the National Tour of Altar Boyz at the moment in Connecticut. Gonna shoot up there in a few weeks to see it - looks like a great show.

Okay, I better answer the phone. Im working at AMDA at the moment, running the phones - "Good afternoon AMDA, how can I help?" - paying the rent is number one priority! There it goes again. Laters