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Posts Tagged: Condemned

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Last Friday, my play, This Property Is Condemned,by Tennessee Williams, had the honor of opening the Spring 2013 Red Door Play Festival. At 4 p.m. we held a final fifteen-minute rehearsal in the Red Door. At 4:50 there was literally a one-person audience, and moderate panic ensued. Not to fear; by 4:58 a voluminous surge of enthusiastic students and parents arrived — so many that there were four layers of people standing behind the back row of chairs, and even several people sitting on the counters. The lights dimmed, a hush fell, and “You’re the Only Star in My Blue Heaven” began to play over the audience.

Our second and final performance was late Sunday night. It was definitely the best performance I’d seen from my cast — absolutely stellar. They had to bow twice. After the crowd had finished cheering for them and they’d exited through the curtain, I ran over and gave both of them the biggest hug I could muster. What a trip — what an absolutely incredible thing to have been a part of.

Several days later I was having a conversation with a friend from another school about theatre opportunities in college. It made me realize just how incredibly lucky I’d been to have any theatre leadership role whatsoever as a freshman. I keep hearing about universities where students don’t even have the option to direct until they’re seniors. This moment made me really appreciate Muhlenberg for its vast spectrum of opportunities that students of any year are privy to. Seriously, Muhlenberg: Thanks!

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Before moving on to discussing rehearsals, I want to take a moment to fondly reflect on audition weekend for the Red Door Play Festival. Though the dramatic readings of “Rocket Man” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” brought us much appreciated comic relief, I don’t think anything can top the mock audition of “The Confrontation” from Les Mis (yes, that’s a bag of flour)…

Moving on:

The rehearsal process for This Property is Condemned has been moving at an enjoyable trot. We’ve had one meeting and three rehearsals thus far, and I’m consistently impressed with the adaptability, buoyancy, and sheer talent of my actors.

Our first rehearsal was pretty character work intensive. We discussed the characters’ family histories, dispositions, and prior circumstances, and also did a lot of movement work. Some other exercises included Seeing/Being Seen, where you can’t break eye contact for several minutes; Value, where each character builds a mental shelf and selects the items of most significance to them for display; and snapping from their physical selves into their characters’ physicality and back. These basic exercises helped to lay the groundwork for their motivations and interactions within the play.

The following two rehearsals boasted many read-throughs and runs, trying out different beats and blocking while gaining character depth. We also took a “field trip” to Red Door —the space where the play will be performed. Below are a few snaps from our most recent rehearsal. 20 days until opening, and the show is looking very promising!

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Hey there, blogosphere! Emma Adams here. I’m stoked to be back blogging for Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance this semester.

After co-directing Why Cupid Came to Earl’s Court for the Red Door Play Festival (RDPF) in the fall, I’m flying solo, directing Tennessee Williams’ This Property is Condemned for the RDPF this spring. I’m also stoked to be directing senior Jeremy Russial’s play Restroom Rehearsal for the New Play Reading Series (NPRS).

This past weekend was filled with many hours of watching many extremely talented people audition for NPRS, and the weekend before was spent doing the same for RDPF. Though you might not think it, I’m finding that auditions are by far the most stressful part of a production process for directors. There were five of us who’ll be directing for both, and we bonded over lack of sleep, five-minute meals, and difficult decisions… But I wouldn’t have changed a minute of it. Finally, eight days later, all the shows are cast, schedules are coming together, and rehearsals are commencing.

My first cast meeting/mini-rehearsal took place this evening, with my two-person Condemned cast and stage manager. After introducing relevant music from the time period (1940s) and giving each of the actors a pile of printed resources on character development, we had a discussion and quick read-through of the play. Honestly, it was one of the best first readings I’ve ever heard and I think the show is bursting with potential. I’m greatly anticipating our first real rehearsal on Wednesday!

For me, other artistic endeavors this semester include acting as Mary McDonald in Joe Caracappa’s James Potter and the Prequel Parody film series, participating as a Phantom in this semester’s Rocky Horror Picture Show live screening, developing pieces for my performance ensemble in my First-Year Seminar: Finding Your Muse, and editing film for the course On-Camera Acting. I’m looking forward to a semester jam-packed with creative exploration!

Thanks for reading my blog! Stay tuned!