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Posts Tagged: Emma

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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!

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Greetings, everyone! The 2012 Red Door Play Festival* came and went this past weekend, and after a much-needed Thanksgiving break, everyone is back on campus and the end of the semester is underway.

The last few weeks before the performances were spent making runs to prop storage, wardrobe diving in the costume shop, coordinating tech rehearsal and performance scheduling with Allison ’15 (this year’s wonderful RDPF coordinator), and running through the show, making so many adjustments that all of our heads were spinning.

The final week before the show — tech week — was especially taxing. In addition to the typical revisions that are made before a play’s opening, the actors were asked to adapt to a completely new performance space. Instead of the rectangular classrooms in which we’d been rehearsing for 6 weeks, where I sat directing from front row center, the Red Door audience surrounded much of the stage, and the “front row center” position I had formerly taken was occupied by a rather large pillar, where no audience members would sit. Thankfully, the cast adapted smashingly.

The final official tech rehearsal last Thursday served as “that one awful rehearsal everyone has to have,” which was quite jarring to me as a first-time director. However, the quick run-through we had in Brown Basement on Saturday morning reassured me that the show was in fine form.

We had two good shows, no discernible missteps… and the definite highlight was Charles Richter, the director of the theatre department, coming to see our second performance. In the show, there’s a point when the main character is listing all of the suitors whose marriage proposals she’ll have to turn down. The script being public domain, we changed the final name on her list from “Charlie Hackett” to “Charlie Richter.” After sitting quietly and analytically through the show up until this point, Charlie’s eruption of laughter was a sight to behold.

Overall, my experience of directing a Red Door play was fantastic and I would do it all over again. I’m greatly anticipating what the coming semesters will bring.

*The Red Door Play Festival, in case you don’t know, is entirely directed and produced by students. There are two Red Door Festivals each year, one in fall and one in spring.

Here’s a picture of the cast following the final performance!

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This just in… The Why Cupid Came to Earl’s Court cast has just finished their first character work session!

 Only two rehearsals into the rehearsal process, Cupid is settling nicely into place. At tonight’s 90-minute meeting we took the opportunity to do full-cast character building, where I led several exercises that I’ve been exposed to by directors I’ve had in the past…mostly.

 After we cleared the space, the first activity I gave the cast was team-building camp favorite, the human knot. This is where the group gets in a circle, each person grabs the hands of two random people, and they must then untangle themselves. Pictured below is the group working to solve the puzzle!

 When we discussed it afterwards, the cast unanimously agreed that the exercise had made them much more physically and emotionally comfortable with each other (which is crucial when working with small casts). Success!

We then moved on to legitimate character work, where I had everyone walk around the space in soft focus (where you are not making any contact with others; you are solitary within a group). I posed questions to them as they designed their characters’ physical traits from the ground up. How does your character take their steps? Are you confident? What pace seems natural? Why do you hold yourself the way you do? Once again the exercise had positive results, which was very encouraging!

 The remainder of the rehearsal was spent doing a stop-and-go run through, primarily used to apply the character work they’d just done to the play. Overall, I think it was a very rewarding rehearsal. For a little homework assignment, we emailed the cast a list of personal questions, and asked them to consider what their characters’ answers might be.

 On the tech side of things, this afternoon my co-director, stage manager and I will be delving into the prop shop. Hello 1911! Next up: Blocking the show and working to get off book. Stay tuned!

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Hey everybody! Emma here — co-directing Why Cupid Came to Earl’s Court. As a freshman, this is the first show I’ve worked on at Muhlenberg (unless you count helping with posters for 44 Plays for 44 Presidents), and it also marks my first time in the role of director (ahh!). I’m extremely stoked to have begun the rehearsal process.

 Thus far, the “rehearsal process” has primarily consisted of wrangling up a rehearsal schedule, sending out emails, and scribbling far too many to-do lists. However, the highlight of my week was this past Sunday when, after taking a day trip to see The Old Man and the Old Moon in NYC for my Theatre & Society class, I arrived back on campus to have our first cast meeting. After an informal get-to-know-you and read through, I’m ecstatic to say that the production is off to a promising start! And, on a side note, I whole-heartedly recommend seeing “Old Man”. It definitely ranks in the top three out of all the shows I’ve seen.

 Back to basics: The show, henceforth known as Cupid, is a 30-minute, one-act piece set in early twentieth century London. It features a fireplace, a love heptagon, a telegram, a neurotic cook, and an arrow to the heart.

 On the roster for this week’s rehearsals are a second read through, a play through, and some character work. Stay tuned for updates!

 The show will be performed as part of the Red Door Play Festival on November 17-19 – be sure to come check it out!

Below: Gabby (right), the other co-director, and I (left) being enthusiastic after our first full cast meeting