Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rehearsal 4

So many things happened today!!! This post is not going to really be chronicled like the others, simply because I am exhausted and today was a little haphazard in what stood out to me.

Today I wore my costume pants, and I have to say that they make a world of difference in how I move as a character. The first thing I noticed about my pants is that they have enough fabric to be a skirt. When I walk I kind of feel like I have a skirt caught between my legs and it's both amusing and something to get used to. I can't wait to see what the whole outfit feels like.

We played a game were we translated conversations into Elizabethan English. I have a feeling this is one of those things that will come with practice. 

One of the games we played in the morning was a lot like the games we played in BAPA street class yesterday. Six of us would go up and be presented with a card and whatever card we were was how much status we had in the scene.
I got the King. It was pretty funny because I actually had to take control of the scene and "be in charge." That's not generally something that AnneDrew does. However, I think I managed to stumble through the scene reasonably well and it was pretty funny.

We also did this really really really hard exercise where all of the veterans pretended to be different kinds of patrons and we had to interact with them in character.
Most of the people I felt I had decent/not too awkward interactions with. Except for one thing.
I know a rope trick that I thought I'd try out on two of the vets who were just leaning against the counter of a food shop. So I go up and start interacting and trying the trick and just as I finish the trick I realize that I have no "out" of the scene (an "out" is an ending where I can get myself out of an interaction). So I carry on all the while thinking "How the heck do I get out of this?"
Thank God, Amil the Rat Catcher saved me and I was quite shaken up and very grateful to have gotten out of that.
Note to self- come up with an OUT for the rope trick.
Other than that magnificent failure- I think my interactions were decent. I don't think they were phenomenal or anything, but I feel like I had a pretty good grasp on "walking around talking to people." I also discovered that AnneDrew is probably more likely to have a genuine conversation with people that pull out outrageous shtick. I sort of knew that already, but it was very natural to just talk to people, and not as natural to be BIG. Not that I won't try to be BIG, but I'm going to be intentional about the BIG things that I do. Maybe I'll come up with something. We'll see.

We also went through the parade route and saw the Queen's Show. Go see the Queen's Show. It's pretty funny. I liked it a lot. Mostly the puppet show part. Then again, I always did love a good puppet show.

Other than doing the two games mentioned above, we really didn't do too much other character work. There was a lot of walking around and pointing out the doors that we use to get backstage. We also were shown our greenroom where we can take a break/get dressed.

Also found out that I will have times where I get to go and do my own thing for sometime during the day. That will be fun because I'll be able to get used to working my own character as well as working with the Captain. Hopefully next week we'll get to do some more work together so that I have a good idea of what that will be like.
I kind of like the idea of having time when I'm walking around on my own, learning my own thing. I think I'm going to value the time being able to work with someone, because that's very natural to me, but I want to stretch myself and I don't think that there is a more positive and accepting place to try stuff out (see above rope trick fail).

After a lot of people left and I was waiting for my carpool people, I was able to talk to one of the guys who also plays a sailor. I love talking to veterans because it gives me a chance to ask them questions about what to do with certain types of patrons I may come across. It was pointed out to me that I probably will be interacting with some feminists and possibly some trans-gender people. I had not thought too much about these possibilities before and it's something worth at least thinking through before the gates open. I want to be respectful while still keeping my character. So AnneDrew is more of a "survival" type character. Or a victim of circumstance.

I can't wait for next week and Dress Rehearsal. I have a feeling there's a lot that will come once I have my full costume.

BAPA week 4

I am a bad, bad, bad little author.

I'm so sorry for keeping this post from everyone! In truth, this weekend was very busy and VERY tiring and I've only just found the time to actually post these things today. I've been running around for two days making stuff for the faire (a pouch and belt mug holder thingy), and somehow the internet was just not on my priorities.

Now to tell all that happened on Saturday!

First of all, we met in a different place than normal and I almost got the stages mixed up. Newbie moment! Note to self- the GLOBE STAGE is not the one with the seven deadly sins painted on the back, that's the Lord Mayor's stage (I think, not 100% sure).

Week 4 of BAPA saw me in group 4 with all the other Uppper Dialect people, along with our Italians from the Comedia Del'Atre troupe. They are FANTASTIC and please play with them when you come up and see us. They make me laugh all day long.

We had our movement class first and went over introductions with a specific movement that people would recognize. I strike a semi-manly pose and look around knowingly. Apparently I did that look around thing without trying and the teacher loved it, so I'm keeping it!
Movement class was fun this week because we learned about how different points of our bodies can be "headlights" that direct attention and we learned how to use them. We can focus all of our attention on one particular person, or direct our headlights to shine attention on everyone (relatively speaking).

After movement came dialect where we translated our various breakfasts into Elizabethan English. I had eaten sausage on an English muffin, so that wasn't hard to translate, but some people came up with the BEST STUFF. Imagine translating Lucky Charms Cereal into Elizabethan English. I was almost crying from laughter at some of the elaborations people came up with.

At lunch the Dirty Duck Inn was having a sale on some lightly used objects and I bought a mug for $10!!!!!!!!!! Btw- that's a very very VERY reasonable price for a mug that I know I'll be able to drink out of. I've had trouble finding anything that's durable enough that doesn't have lead content. Now I don't need to worry about that anymore!

After lunch came Street (aka- Improv). We did a LOT of status/dominance work. It was a lot of fun. I think for almost all of the games we did each person would get a card from a deck of cards and would hold up the card to their forehead and guess how "high up" they were bases on other people's reactions. If you were a King, everyone loved you. If you were a 2, well, better luck next time.

Characterization was a big character interview session. Different characters came up and were asked questions about themselves and it was interesting to see how other people's characters were coming through.

My two elective classes were pretty good. I had Character Class Interactions, which essentially was a lot more of the status/dominance thing, but I feel like I've hammered that concept into myself and my character and I've got a decent grasp on it.
Sea Shanties was a little disappointing because I knew most of the songs, but it was fun to sing them with everyone! I really do love sea shanties. I got my carpool to sing them on the way home on Sunday. :)

That is most of what happened on Saturday. Well, anything worth noting anyway. Thanks for waiting for the post!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rehearsal Week 3

Today I had to get up slightly earlier (har har) and pick up two friends to get to rehearsal, one of which needed to be on site at 9am. Hence we left promptly at 7:40 and arrived at 8:50. Pretty good time for picking up two people!

After that I just kind of mellowed around and got ready for stuff to start (at 10AM), so I had an hour to kill. I brought my doublet- so excited about that- and my hat, so I slipped into those and buckled my very awesome belt.

As a side note- I really want to find a small eating knife that I can carry around on my belt. The more I think about my character, the more I think she would have a very small weapon to defend herself if things came to that. Plus, as a sailor, she would have a cutting utensil for ropes and such.

Side note over. As more people came to Street things started to liven up and I found that one of my fellow cast mates is going to sell me a cup for a dollar. I've been having some trouble finding a suitable drinking vessel and I'm very glad that I no longer have to worry about that. Now I just need to figure out how I want to attach it to my costume (once I get it of course).

Now, there is a bit of an "inside joke" that I am going to have to explain in order to further tell about my day. While doing some Ship's Boy (not Cabin Boy, that name came along later) research I came across some information about a time when a crew was driven to starvation at such a point that they killed and ate the cabin boy. Upon further research I discovered that lots had been drawn and it just happened that the cabin boy got the short end. However, I liked this story and though that it would be a fantastic prop/joke to carry around a contract signed by my captain saying that I cannot be eaten if I am able to prove that I am nobility, of the clergy (Ok, that's not applicable), or a woman. Guess which one is the easiest to prove?
The captain thought that this is a great idea and I have drawn up the document and it is signed, although we shall get to the signing part later.

So in the morning we did our usual warming up stretches and tongue twisters and other great stuff. Then we did the "My name is ___ and I want a..."
Today my character said "I'm Anne Drew, Ship's Boy to Captain Martin Frobisher, and I'd like not to be cannibalized."

Hence the running gag of the day began.

The next game was one of those games where I kind of really like the game, but have no clue what to do. Everyone had to walk around in a circle except for one person who was in the middle. The middle person would play their character and try to get everyone to stop circling and notice them.
Today my Director actually told me to go into the circle, which I knew would happen, and half hoped that it would not happen. Not because I didn't want to be in the middle, I just had no idea of what I would do.
So I rubbed dirt on my face and tried to make it look like a 5 o'clock shadow, tried to talk in a deep and manly voice, and tied knots. I was probably in the circle for less than 30 seconds. It felt like forever but I was glad for the stretch of acting and character. So much of my character is based around what I do with other people that it's good for me to have to learn to make my character stand alone.

The next thing my memory has decided on is when we played "Hot Seat," the game where you answer questions about yourself as your character. So. Much. Fun. I discover things about my character and totally lie about other things.
So the captain went up for hot seat and actually had me come up and read part of my contract. Apparently I was reading it like I didn't want to be reading the document (whoops on my part, I was actually super excited), so I didn't get to finish it, that's okay though. It was funny and he signed the paper so now IT'S LEGITIMATE!
 I also went up for Hot Seat as just my character and as part of the crew. Apparently we're all contractually obligated to not say anything negative about Frobisher. Also, one of my crewmates kept calling Anne-Drew a girl and it was hilarious.

Then we sang the songs we're supposed to know. Personally I don't think I'll ever be able to get them out of my head at this point I've sung them so much.
Then came lunch which was a marvelous potluck at St. George that my stomach did not want to participate in. For some reason, all day I have not wanted to swallow any of my food. Ergo I have been forcing food down my gullet in order to make it through the day. 

After lunch we went and sang with BBF. It was okay. I know the songs and how to sing in my dialect. But it wasn't my favorite part of the day.

For most of the afternoon we played "group drive by" where different groups had brief interactions with each other. So one group would be "it" and the other groups would take turns interacting to try out stuff and just do interaction work.
Being Anne-Drew is fun because the Captain keeps putting A-D in really hilarious situations, like introducing the new crew member to the floozies. I'm trying to be really go with the flow about what people throw at me and handle it in character as best I can. For example, A-D does not want to interact with the floozies because well, they're going to find out that she's a girl (it's not like they can't tell already- everyone BUT Frobisher knows). So much fun stuff got thrown out today and I loved working with my fellow sailors.
The fun part came when we started acting like patrons and interacted with the people. I'm pretty sure the sailors scared all of the "patrons."

So then rehearsal kind of ended and we all went to get our pictures taken for our ID passes. Then I sang a few shanties with the shanty group and then headed off to an Alexander technique thing that I had no knowledge about what so ever.
To condense it into a small answer- Alexander Technique is kind of like alinement/massage therapy/body awareness. The director of the fantastic Comedia troupe worked with me and I have to say that I would love to learn more about this. Look up Alexander Technique because I can't really explain it other than to say that it is really awesome and relaxing.

Then I went back and just hung out with people until my carpool people were ready to go. I really do value the time I have had to hang out with people in my cast outside of doing exercises. There have been a couple people that I'm starting to really think of as friends. I found one very kindred spirit yesterday, and I'm comfortable with being myself. I'll argue and be a brat, but I also love helping people, and I love learning things. I think my brain is just doubling in capacity every time I go back up to BRF because I learn SO MUCH!

Well, that's about it for today. It's a mere summary, but it's going to have to do. I love how I'm starting to get a grip on my character and can see her start to come out in different ways, sometime she surprises me. It's like writing a book, you can set up all these "rules" for your characters and then suddenly you find that your character has this awesome thing about them that you didn't know!

A note- Out of respect for my fellow BRF people, I am going to try and use their character names/occupation (such as Director) instead of real names. This is after thinking about how I run my other blog and I think giving people appropriate nicknames protects them and myself from bad situations.
Also- I'm trying not to use to many cliche words like "Awesome" and "Amazing." Please know that if I do use them it's because I truly mean something amazed me or was awe inspiring.

BAPA Week 3

Forgive me, dear readers, for I am posting this a day late. However, this may become a new thing for reasons that will become apparent later in this post.

BAPA week 3 was just great, except for the two bug bites I got on the back of my legs. They are on each leg, but in the exact same place on each leg! What the heck?

Dialect part one was as usual very good, but it went very quickly. I love dialect, I think I'm going to have to start learning several of the different English dialects because they are just awesome.

Then came the beloved and dreaded Street Class (aka- improv).
Our teacher decided that we were going to work on endings when interacting with patrons. He also decided to be that patron and be various patrons from that lovely hot flaming place. 
When I went up I got the Patron Who Can't Keep on Topic.
So I try my bit about asking him to show me his walk because being a man, he must have a very manly walk. From there on out it turned into a partial back story telling mixed with a lot of "How the heck do I get out of this?" Somehow I made it out and was very relieved.
I also got a note, apparently I had a hard time with eye contact and kept glancing over the "patron's" shoulder. I know that I have struggled with eye contact in the past and it was a very good reminder for me to work on that, especially when it comes to patrons.

The next improvisation exercise we did was a lot better. I was paired with one of the Comedia troupe and we had to acknowledge each other and show who was the more dominant person (see my second rehearsal post about the status vs. dominance thing). Even though I completely outranked the Comedia player, she was in control of the scene because Anne-Drew is desperately trying to not be found out. The Comedia player kept going at how she thought I was a girl and it was hilarious. I mean, she had an Italian accent and her way of moving is just fantastic. I loved that scene and I really felt my character coming out. I was very defensive about how I was most definitely NOT a girl. It was great and I can't say how much fun I had with that one scene.

One of my friends who plays Captain Hawkins said that he was starting to see my character and I was very pleased by this compliment because it meant that someone else besides myself was seeing something.

Then came Characterization and the downpour of rain that we almost got stuck in. Luckily we ran into the pole barn (which is like a prop house) and did character interviews. I like the homework for this class this week because we have to be our character as if they were at home alone. This is going to be fun coming up with something for Anne Drew.

Then we all went to a slightly damp lunch and after lunch came possibly the best class of the day- Split Second.
In split second we learned about our character's instinct and whether our character is a fight or flight personality. I learned something very interesting. I am a fight personality, but Anne is a flight personality. Now, there are some fine lines to each person. I will stand my ground and not back down, but I won't always challenge someone either. If they provoke me then I will defend, but I won't outright attack.
Anne on the other hand will run if she can, but if she has to stand her ground then she will do her best. She ran away because it was 1) a flight instinct and 2) the only way to get out of a potentially dangerous situation.

The other classes of the day were great too. Dialect was fun because as the upper class accent, our group had a pretty good handle on it and we just talked about random things in our accents with Elizabethan grammar.
My electives were really good and I can already see how they are going to be put into good use. I took a class on storytelling and basically the class taught us how to use our life experiences to tell "true" stories as our characters.
My other class was about "hit and run" street. A hit and run is where you just say one liners as you pass purposefully through a crowd. I can't wait to use this! You can compliment, carefully insult, accuse and confuse, but always build up the patron.
Then came history which was taught by a fantastic man, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time hanging on his every word. This man was an amazing speaker and I can't wait to hear the second half of his speech.

The reason I did not post this last night was that I stayed for the just-for-kicks improvisation event at 8:30pm. I got home around 11pm last night and was just too dog tired to do anything but fall into bed.

Between the time when BAPA ended (around 6pm) and when the improv started I went out for dinner to two friends. One of them is the a fore mentioned Capt. Hawkins and the other is a carpool friend I'll be calling the Fishwife because that's what she plays in Kids Kingdom (or KK).
I had the best time with these two new and fast friends. Everyone I make friends with is so open and there have been so many instant connections that I have made with people. Actually, Capt. Hawkins and I took a walk around BRF before the improv games and just talked about a lot of stuff and I have found a very kindred spirit. This happens so rarely to me that I'm beyond excited to have found such a person at BRF.

The Improv was great. It wasn't apart of BAPA, it's just a thing for cast for after hours kicks and giggles. I didn't have much, if any, trepidation or nervousness about going up and doing stuff. I only stayed for about and hour or so, but it was totally worth it and I believe that I'm going to continue to attend to really get a good grasp of improvisation and just going for things onstage. I went up three or four times and I am proud that I did. I also laughed so hard that I almost cried at some of the other scenes.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rehearsal week 2

Also Known As- I GET MY COSTUME!!!

And learn a lot about my character and where I stand in the social vs dominance areas.

To give a more blow by blow approach....

Got to site around 9:15 when I needed to be at rehearsal by 10. To be honest I like being early. People are there and I can get to know my castmates better because everyone pretty much scoots right after we end.

Today was hot. Really hot. Like I was wearing sunblock and my shoulders still got pink hot. Arg. But once again, today was pretty awesome.

To be honest, I didn't do much improvisation today. I should have volunteered more, but my head held me back a lot and I need to learn to just go for things and raise my hand. People will not judge me for making mistakes and the only thing that will happen is that I will learn what works and what doesn't. I think I might have participated in like two scenes today.
However, we did do a lot of stuff that does pertain to the improvisation we will be doing all day during Faire Days.

And the first thing I got that helps my character is....MY COSTUME!!!!
My costume is AWESOME! But I'm pretty sure I'd think any costume where I get to wear sweet looking Ren clothing is awesome.
I got to go with Captain Frobisher to the wonderful costume closet and have the head costumer start picking out things.
First came my pants, which the head costumer handed down to me and was a little skeptical about if they would fit or not. They did fit and they are AMAZING! Blue with burgundy and yellow striping on one leg. Apparently they belonged to Grace O'Malley one year, and I am very proud to be wearing them as another sailing lass.
Then the hat. I get the weirdest most fun hat ever. It's called the "question mark hat." You kind of just need to see it to understand it. It's brown with red trim and it has a tail like thing with a tassel on the end. It's awesome and I wore it all day. I love it. It also has bells on it that jingle when I shake my head. It makes me happy.
Then came finding the doublet. That was a bit of a trick. I think I tried on four or five of them. The one that the Captain was leaning towards was pretty cool looking, burgundy velvet like material. We would have had to take it in to have it fit me because most of the doublets are meant for men.
Most of them.
One doublet that I tried on was a from a character that Captain Frobie played some years back. It has a lot of stuff just sewn onto it and one thing was a hoop earring that is removable. Ansel said I could have it and I plucked it off and it is now on my awesome belt! 
We ended up finding this awesome black/grey/white one with ribbon ties that was meant for a woman playing a man. Well guess what? Another perfect fit. I swear this thing was made to fit me. Or many people of my size, but it happens that the amazing the head costumer picked it out and handed it down. It has a lot of ribbons knotting it together and there were some that were stuck. At first I couldn't get them out, but I managed by the end of the day to pry them apart. I have never met a knot I can't eventually untie.
I also get a very cool looking chemise (or shirt). But the whole experience was pretty darn magical for me.

So after I get my costume the rest of the Street Cast is playing a game that I have no idea what's going on and I just wait for the soon to come water break. We talked more about interaction and the very few but scary people that make us go get security. These things happen very rarely but they do happen....VERY RARELY.
The nice thing is that all of the guys in the cast are us girls' brothers. If someone is messing with us, we go get one of them and they will keep us safe until we can get to security and backstage. We all look out for each other.

Then I had lunch with the Captain of St. George (Queen's court) and I am now invited to hang out with them in the noble's glade. This is going to be very interesting because I am not noble and I am a girl wearing boys clothing. Seriously, everyone EXCEPT my captain can tell that I am a girl. This makes everything very interesting.

After lunch the whole cast went over the farewell songs and where to stand and such. It was fun because there was a sprinkler and I got to sit down. By this time of day I've walked a lot and my dogs are tired. My feet actually fared a lot better this week and I'm less tired than I was last week. Of course, we haven't hit Faire days yet.

We did this really cool thing with Street cast were all of us lined up according to our status. I was about four of five people from the highest person (that being Captain Frobisher). However, when we made a line according to dominance, I was third from last. Even though my station as a "cabin boy" is higher than almost everyone I give most people higher dominance.
Actually, I didn't know where to go so my director pushed me towards the end and said "You're all the way down that way." He was very helpful and I mean that with complete sincerity because I had no freaking idea where to go.
The reason for this is that I am a woman trying to hide my position aboard a ship of men.

This was pretty much the last thing we did before a few of us stayed behind to sing sea shanties.
I love sea shanties. First of all, the people I am singing with have amazing voices. I am awed to be singing with such talented people, and performing with them. I am going to learn so much this summer I think my head might explode!
I'll probably post more about shanties in my first full character post about Anne and what I have found out about her.

And now I bid you all good night and may God give you all good rest. I know I certainly need some for tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

BAPA Week 2

Also Known As- Anne is part of the Elite Upper Class!

and Anne ran away.....

So now I'm the driver of a carpool and I'm picking up 3 people with one person getting dropped off at my house. I only got lost 1 time on our way to BAPA though, so I'm happy, and the map had the wrong directions anyway!

Now onto BAPA-
Apparently if you are doing an upper class dialect, you are apart of a family that has money. Not wealty merchant or well paid servant money. Nobility money. 1% of the population money.
Now I have to figure out a new story as to why Anne ran away from her posh lifestyle.
Other than having fun with an accent that I already (theoretically) know, I totally failed the first round of exercises in improvisation.


After that first flop round I did fine and felt reasonably okay with how things went. We learned how to engage patrons when they are walking past us, and when we are walking past them. It's fun!

In character class we did a lot of what body part our character leads with. I am going to have to experiment a LOT to figure this out for Anne.
We also have to come up with our catchphrase- here's mine, "Anne Drew, Cabin Boy to Captain Frobisher!" I think that gives the people a very good idea of who I am. Everything else can come along later.

Later in Movement class we learned about leading with different centers. We used our heads, hearts, stomachs, and powerhouse. Like I said above, I've got a lot to experiment with during the next week.

Then I took a history class about the history of Bristol, and wish I had taken the class "What Elizabethans knew." Why? Because as much as I loved the Bristol history class, I think I might have found more tidbits that I could have used in the Elizabethan class. Oh well, that's what libraries are for!

Then I learned how King Henry the 8th had a big temper tantrum because the Pope wouldn't let him divorce his wife. The man had issues. He wanted a son, so badly that he divorced one wife and killed another! Oh wait, he divorced wife #1 because wife #2 wouldn't sleep with him until there was a ring on her finger and a crown on her head. Well, she kind of gave in once Henry started going through with the divorce and her and Anne B needed to get hitched before her baby was born or else the child would have been an illegitimate child.
And everyone was so excited because Anne was going to have a boy!

Oh wait....
The baby was a girl.


Today was wonderful! But it was very hot and I did get very tired by the end of the day. I've just finished dinner and I'm amazed at how much better I feel now that I have some protein, veggies, and sodium back in my system.

Look for tomorrow's post!

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.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

BAPA Week the First

So Presumably you've read the prequel to this post from my other blog- Astonishing. If you haven't, go read it. This post will make a lot more sense!
Also- I am VERY TIRED, but I want to get this post out before I reach that 24 hour mark where these memories need to be frozen and then thawed out again each time I access them. Did I just compare my brain to a freezer? Yes, that is how tired I am.

Today was just for us "first years." It sounds so Hogwarts, I like it a lot.

First things first our lovely Artistic Director gave us a lot of guidelines (also known as rules) and a rousing pep talk. I swear- this woman is the best pep talk/motivational speaker I have ever heard. Anyone else would sound really cheesy saying what she says, but it works when she says it. She's really energetic (isn't everyone who works at BRF?), and says things so sincerely. BRF cast and crew is like a family, we support each other and root for each other. If there is a problem, we solve it. High school drama will not be tolerated (thank God!). And everything is said cleverly and with positive humor! I think I'm going to get abs from laughing.

Every person I have met today has made me want to work harder than I have ever worked (only we don't say "work" we say "play") in my theatre career. EVER. Now that I have stated that at the beginning, I no longer need to reiterate it throughout this post.

Next- We had a lovely lesson in Theatrical Elizabethan English (because we don't relaly know waht they actually sounded like, so there is an official Theatrical version which most people recognize)- which I am fondly nicknaming "Where to put those -eths and -sts." This was taught by our amazing Director of the Guide of St. Laurence (Dirty Duck Inn, where the cast can buy cheap and yummy food! From here on out this is referenced as DDI or St. Ls or anything that has to do with Duckies) and The Earl of Leicester.

The first thing I learned at BAPA came from these two brilliant people- I am supposed to FAIL. My teachers want me to have failure, because that means I DID SOMETHING and TOOK A RISK, and Failures are to be CELEBRATED. If I don't have one failure each time I'm on site doing something, I'm not trying hard enough. We all clapped and cheered for the people who failed when called upon to conjugate verbs in Old English. We also clapped for the people who did well, and for any introduction. Basically we were clapping all day for anything.

After we found out where to put those pesky little thees and thous and yous and "eths" I got to go to DIALECT CLASS, which is pretty much the same thing that I was doing, except with an accent. Now I can listen to my dialect CD 24/7 along with my music CD.

After Dialects, I went to Improv. Oh improv. The thing I am greatly intimidated by. Greatly. G-R-E-A-T-L-Y. I blame the theater program of my youth.
Here's why.
Those improv classes were filled with the popular and talented people who got LEAD ROLES and were looked up to and slightly intimidating. And I was never one of those people. I didn't lump myself in with those talented people and therefore felt extremely shy. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not that shy. So whenever I was called on (I never volunteered) to go and improv, I panicked and my mind when blank. That's the worst thing that happens when you do improv. Improv is about thinking on your feet. Ergo- I never took improv again and have had only a handful of good experiences with it. The funny thing is, I met a girl with the exact same problem. We both love improv, it just intimidates the HECK out of us.
Ironic that my role in BRF is all about improvisation. You may laugh. I laugh about this every day and then freak out.
However, BRF is all about support. I have never been in a more supportive group. For the first time in my life (or maybe second- but that's one exception that I will post about on my other blog the future) I didn't feel judged when I felt like I was flailing around like a fish out of water.
My Director of Street Cast taught improv and it was totally scary and a lot of fun. It also taught me that I can get past myself and think on my feet. I just needed to be around people who were pretty much strangers until a few hours previous.

After that came lunch and I was hungry and I ate and my food was gone way too fast.

Then came Characterization- which is a lot like Improv, but you do a lot more "character" type things. Like acting like a cow. I'm not kidding. We had to mix ourselves up and close our eyes, then we were assigned one of 4 animal sounds and had to find our common animal groups with our eyes closed.
Did I mention that this class was taught by the wonderful Jane the Phoole?
It was fun. I liked this class better than improv, mainly because I was given a character to portray in one way or another. Even if it was a cow. You may laugh, I am without a doubt laughing as I write this.

After that came music, we learned two or three songs. Not much else to say. It was fun! I've been in choir and musical theater, so it was a lot like a choir class. I liked the music class a lot though (there just isn't too much to say other than that).

Then came the best part of my day....MAYPOLE DANCING!!! If you have never done maypole dancing, DO IT. Come to BRF and dance with the Bristol Buskin Frolic (also known as BBF). They are great and I wish I could be dancing around a maypole every day. It's addicting. Running around in circles to music while holding onto a ribbon that you swear is about to pull you off the ground at any second. Best Thing Ever.
There's one pattern called the spider web where some dancers sit on the ground while the others weave around them. I got to sit down while other ribbons where wrapped around mine and the other "sitters." Here's the fun part- sometimes you don't weigh enough to resist the pull against your ribbon that you are pulling taught and you go flying through the air! Or in my case- rolling on the ground. I just about died from fun. I swear if I had any breath left after an hour of maypole dancing I'd be a grinning giggling mess.

After all that fun we got to go sit for a history lesson. The Earl is a well spring of knowledge, I would love to just listen to him all day and glean information from him. Him and just about any of my other teachers.
After that we got papers that we're supposed to turn in tomorrow with our elective class choices for the next 4 weeks. I am having the WORST TIME choosing what I want to take- total kid in a candy store. Go figure I'd nerd out about whether I should take history of Bristol or Sailing in Elizabethan Times.

The Artistic Director came back for final announcements and asked anyone who had a fish out of water moment to see her afterwards. I chose to go, not because I felt totally out of my league, but I wanted to hear what she had to say, and the improv hesitation still niggled at me.
Like I said above- this woman is the best at pep talks. She gave a speech that was so full of caring and encouragement. Any anxiety I might have felt was pushed away by the caring that this woman exuded for every person who was in the "I'm not so sure about ___" group. She assured us that we were chosen, and there is a reason for us being there. She told us to reach out, ask questions, everyone wants us to succeed. the BRF cast and crew is like a family.
I totally can see why she stresses that the BRF cast is like family. I'm already making friends with weird and crazy people who are exactly like me- only crazier. I get to go back tomorrow and PLAY with these people. I was practically in tears as I was driving home I was so happy.

I'd come to this Faire every year for one day, and that one day sustained me until I could come back. I would dream about the Faire and now I'm working it. Every time I step onto the grounds I feel like I'm home.  Today was more than an affirmation that I am supposed to be here.
I can't write the events of today and do it the justice it deserves. It was just too incredible. Think of the first time you experienced the magic of the Faire and multiply it by a thousandfold. That was my day today, the good and the improv.
I can't wait for tomorrow! I get to meet all of the cast!

I know I've left out a lot (Like the bee landing on my hair that I kinda sorta touched and then freaked out about), but this is honestly the best I can do at this time of night, being tired as all heck. I had a major adrenaline rush typing this and now I want to crash and sleep until my alarm wakes me promptly at 7am.

The way God is working in my life is more than awe inspiring, I feel like my childhood dreams are reality and that my time is finally coming. The strange sensation of waiting for some hidden "thing" has waned a little bit. I finally belong somewhere, I don't need to feel strange.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
―C.S. Lewis

I'm not the only one any more.