Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rehearsal the First

Also known As.... 25% of Street Cast is NOT allowed in Kids Kingdom.

Lets see....we've got your floozies, we got your pickpockets, near-do-wells, sailors (That's ME!), lettuce vendors, jesters, junk dealers, witches, towne criers, and much much more!

Needless to say we're a diverse group in Street Cast (aka- Street). The running joke today was "I'm not allowed in Kids Kingdom." Why? Because in KK you need to keep things G rated at all times. Floozies and other nefarious types just don't make the cut. However, it's a great running gag!

Basically I got to play intimidating improv games ALL DAY LONG!
We started out by introducing ourselves. We stated our real names, our characters names, and what our characters were. When it came my turn I stepped forward and introduced myself.
"I'm Anne Drew, a girl disguised as a boy sailor and cabin boy to that Captain!" I pointed at Captain Frobisher.  
The man playing Captain Frobisher said. "Women on ships are bad luck!"
To which I quickly replied "So are Red Heads!" He just so happens to have a very nice reddish beard. Everyone cheered. It was great.

For most of the morning I felt very out of my element. I think this was actually a very good thing. It meant I was thinking and aware at every moment of the day. It also means that I am about ready to drop into bed and sleep like a log.
We played an evil game (although it is a lot of fun, I'll admit it) called "Clams are great." Basically you step into the middle of a circle and say why clams are so great. You don't even have to say anything that clams really do, that would be a very short game. I think I said that clams were a good water purification system, they made carrots red, reflected the sun, and were a solar power system.

My favorite game of the day was the "Yes, and" game. It's the basis of all improvisation. You always go with the flow of the scene. If you happen to be in a haunted house, and then suddenly the scene changes to a romance in Italy- you just go with it. "Yes, and" helps you learn to say "yes...and" and continue the scene. It's also freaking hilarious with the right people.
The first time we do this, we just go for it as "ourselves." The second time, we have to be our characters. Oy Vey. I was scared to death of being Anne. I had little idea about how Anne behaves and talks and walks and holds herself. Therefore- I had no idea how to be like her.

But before we drove into "Yes, and" second round, we went around a circle (Notice the circle trend?) and introduced ourselves AS OUR CHARCTER and said something that our character wants.
"I'm Anne Drew and I want a rope and knife." There were so many more things I could have said, but something that my brilliant director has taught me is not to judge what flies out of your mouth while doing improv.

Can I just say that I love each and every teacher I have had at BRF so far? These people are brilliant, and kind, and caring, and generous, and really really want everyone to succeed! Now that I have wigged out about how BRILLIANT these people are....back to the events of the day.

So I go through one "yes, and" scene with another sailor. Then my Director chooses me to go back out with Catp. Frobisher and we go off on a scene where the Captain has sold off the anchor and possibly the ship and then wanted me to write down the date in the Captain's log because he can't write. Needless to say- this is the short version, but everyone was laughing while we were up there. Even I was cracking up for a few seconds.
The strangest thing happened.
I started to feel Anne coming to life. She peeked out from behind the curtains just a little bit, and then smiled at the people in the audience. I was Anne Drew, Cabin Lad, serving the Captain and hoping against hope that no one finds out that she's a girl. Still plucky and daring, but cautious and respectful of the Captain's authority.

After that scene, I felt pretty good about doing other things with improv. I also felt really great about working with Capt Frobisher. I wasn't to worried about that in the first place to be honest. I was more worried about looking stupid (see previous post to read a little about my issues with improvisational acting).
Guess what- sometimes you need to look a little stupid to learn something. Failure is okay and it is ENCOURAGED.

Then we all sat down and listened while our director talked about Water, Rest, Food, and awkward and awful patron interactions. I learned another important thing.
If someone is getting really in your face, drop character and tell them to go away. Tell them you can and will go get security if they don't leave you alone that instant. Most of the time, people will back up because the fact that you totally went from this 16th century person to modern day American scares the heck out of them.

Then lunch, and a brief all cast meeting.

After that interlude, we came back and paired up with the people from KK to do MORE IMPROVISATION!!!! Yay! More of the stuff that terrifies me! By this time I wasn't quite so terrified. I simply need to just push past myself and do whatever the game calls for. If I can let go of my brain, I'm okay.

Well, we did this weird thing where we envisioned our character, and then the animal that our character is like. Then we had to progress from acting like our character, to acting like the animal.
Somehow I ended up with a mouse. I don't think that's an accurate animal for Anne, but I have learned not to judge my brain too much when it comes to these things.

Then we did this evil game called "drive by." One person acts like their character and the others act like various patrons, other characters, etc. It was hard. It was fun. It was hard.

The best game of the rehearsal was the last one. It's called "The Hot Seat." Everyone sits on one side, and another person sits on the hot seat and acts like their character and answers questions about that character.
Let me say, I found out more about Anne Drew from those questions than I have since I found out that I would be playing her. Her father was an accountant, he taught her to read and write. She has an older brother who was lost at sea. She likes climbing up in the rigging of the ship, and pirates are a smelly, sweaty bunch.

So much fun!!!

After rehearsal I hung around and got to learn some sea shanties. I also got to know some people a little bit. Not like fact finding about their lives or anything, but even just hanging around people you start to learn them.
I was told by the woman who plays Chastity Trollop than I was brilliant and hilarious. She told me that I made her laugh! I was told by many people that I was good, or great, or convincing, or brilliant. People whom I respect and admire for the work that they do. They think I'm good! It's astonishing!
I've never really held this opinion of myself. That I'm good at this stuff. Now, I think I might be able to be good at this stuff. I just might have the ability to be on par with these amazing and wonderfully talented people.

After rehearsal I stayed to learn some sea shanties to sing during the day. I now have "Drunken Sailor" stuck in my head. I don't mind one bit!

For the second time, I have felt like I am making a small place for myself somewhere. I can't wait to work with my directors and cast-mates again next week!
Stay tuned for more updates and details. Tonight I am so tired that I can't really write down the entirety of everything that I want to tell. There will be plenty of things to be posted over the week. SO STAY TUNED!

God is good, and I'm going to bed.

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