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2023 May 28

Audition Monologues

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In the post Upcoming public performances, I said “I’m also starting to work on audition monologues, which I will record and post to YouTube once I have polished them a bit.”  I have now recorded two monologues and put them put them on a playlist:

From the “Robert in the library” monologue (from Adam Szymckowicz’s play Kodachrome).

I welcome constructive feedback on monologues (as comments on YouTube, as comments here, or via email). I don’t expect to use these recordings for anything but getting advice from people, as all the local community theater groups seem to prefer live auditions, but I might well use one of these monologues in a live audition.

So far, I’m working on modern comedic monologues, but all the ones I’ve found are really for younger men.  Does anyone know any good comedic monologues (90 s long ±20 s) for older men that are neither misogynistic nor racist?  After I’ve done some comedic monologues, I’ll try recording some modern dramatic ones—again suggestions are welcome!

2023 May 17

Upcoming public performances

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 17:32
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In previous posts (First performances and First performances: experience) I reported that I would have my first performances for NextStage Reader’s Theater. I’ve had a few more since then (28 April 2023, 6 May 2023, and 12 May 2023, all at retirement communities).  The next public performance will be Friday June 2 at  2 p.m. in the Capitola Library, with another public performance on Friday June 16 at 2 p.m. in the Scotts Valley Library. I would welcome more people in the audience—so far only the 23 April public performance (at the Midcounty Senior Center) had what I would consider an adequately large audience.

Both plays I’m in will play on June 2, but only Emotional Baggage on Jun 16. In between, there will be two more performances at retirement communities (May 26 at Brookdale Senior Living in Scotts Valley for Emotional Baggage and June 6 at Bay Avenue Senior Apartments for Ferris Wheel).

I’m also starting to work on audition monologs, which I will record and post to YouTube once I have polished them a bit. So far, I’m working on modern comedic monologs, but all the ones I’ve found are really for younger men.  Does anyone know any good comedic monologs (90 s long ±20 s) for older men that are neither misogynistic nor racist?

After I’ve done some comedic monologs, I’ll try recording some modern dramatic ones—again suggestions are welcome! I’ll only start doing classic (probably Shakespearean) monologs after I’ve got a handful of modern ones prepared.

2023 April 27

First performances: experience

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Last week I reported that I would have my first performances for NextStage on April 21 and April 23. This post is about those experiences.

On April 21, I put on my costume for Ferris Wheel and loaded my costume for Emotional Baggage in a backpack and walked down to Garfield Park Village, where the show had been scheduled. The staff were surprised to see me and the rest of the cast—it turns out that our “booking agent” had neglected to confirm the date and time with them, so the event had never made it onto their calendar. The activity manager graciously allowed us to use the space and even went around seeing who was awake to let them know about the pop-up performance.  We ended up with an audience of about 6–8 people, so we treated it as a tech/dress rehearsal, which we desperately needed, as none of use had rehearsed with background music.

For Ferris Wheel, after I made my entrance and sat down in the “ferris wheel” seat, I realized that I had not changed my glasses and was still wearing my distance-viewing glasses, so the script that I shared with the other actor was completely out of focus—just a grey blur. I had to do the entire play from memory, which I had not practiced! Luckily, I could remember all the lines, but I was a bit slow on some of them. I experimented with wearing a straw hat as part of the costume, which looked good for the character, but which the director decided not to use in future, as it hid my face too much. At the end of the play, we had set up a thunderclap to signal the last piece of business for my exit, but the sound person had been up until 3 a.m. the night before setting up the sound tracks for all the plays, and instead of pushing the button to trigger the thunderclap, he tried scrolling forward for it.  After about a 10-second delay, I made my exit without the last piece of business. We also decided to stop the carnival music after the entrance, rather than having it run quietly in the background throughout the play.

For Emotional Baggage, my costume glasses were fine for seeing my script (though I’m pretty much off-book for that one also), and the play went ok (though we had to have an understudy for Amber, as the actor had tested positive for Covid). We had a bit of delay starting that play, as the sound engineer was also one of the actors in it, and he had to change into costume before the play (not having realized how long that took). The exit music did not run quite right for our exit, but no major problems.

On Sunday, I again had both plays. Ferris Wheel went fine—I remembered to put on my computer glasses, so I could see the script. But once again the thunderclap was way too late for the final business.

Another play in the line-up (Paper Walls) had some trouble with the soundtrack (again, the sound engineer had been up to 3 a.m. working on it)—the soundtracks he’d found and put in his Dropbox had not yet been synced to his iPad, and the venue had no WiFi. The play called for some off-stage sexual moans, a clatter, and some indistinguishable chatter. I got a script with the sound effects marked and provided live sound effects when the sound track did not cut in. For the clatter, I knocked over the folding chair next to me, which was very loud and startled the audience, the actors, and the sound engineer.  The director and I did the chatter (mostly vowels).

The final play of the performance was Emotional Baggage, for which we had yet another understudy for Amber.  The actor originally intended for the role had tested negative for 4 days and was in the audience (wearing a mask), but was not yet ready to perform. There was one muffed line (by an off-stage voice), but no major problems. That was our biggest show (7 of the 8 plays—most performances have only 4 or 5 of them), and so we had a cast party afterwards at the director’s house. Her house is at the top of a steep hill, which I have had to walk my bike up a few times for rehearsals. After the performance, because her house was only 1.5 miles away from the Midcounty Senior Center where we performed (rather than about 6 miles from my house), I almost had enough energy to cycle all the way up the hill—I only had to walk the last 50′ or so.

On Wednesday, we were scheduled to perform at Montecito Manor in Watsonville, so I biked to Live Oak to the house of one of the actors and rode in her car with her down to Watsonville. As we were about 2 blocks from the venue, she got a phone call—the performance was cancelled, because our booking agent once again had failed to confirm the schedule. Our director was livid, as she had already told the agent last Sunday to make sure to call every venue the day before to check that everything was in order. So we drove back along Freedom Boulevard (a scenic route) without having done any performance. It turns out that the first person to show up (after informing the director that the performance was not on) stayed to give an informal pop-up musical performance for the residents, which was apparently appreciated.

Our performance for tomorrow (Friday) at the Brookdale facility in Scotts Valley had been cancelled earlier in the week, because of a norovirus outbreak that made them isolate the facility. So someone had the clever idea of moving the Friday performance to Montecito Manor, which the management there was fine with, and it seems like everyone who was originally available for the Friday Scotts Valley performance will still be available tomorrow for Watsonville.  So once again I’ll bike down to Live Oak and get a ride down to Watsonville. I wonder what will go wrong this time.

2023 March 19

Stage jewelry

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:33
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As a social outlet during retirement, I’ve started acting with the “Readers’ Theater” group of Nextstage, where I have been cast in two roles: John in Ferris Wheel by Mary Miller and Rollo in Emotional Baggage by Nina Shengold. In Cigarette propsI posted about a prop I made for Ferris Wheel. Here I’m posting about a costume piece for Emotional Baggage—not for my character but for Phyllis, a carry-on bag who has a line about her monogram.  I made a necklace for the actor to wear as the monogram:

The monogram is printed in Silk Gold PLA about 2.5mm thick and 130mm wide. The chain was a cheap gold-plated brass one (75¢ a foot) that I bought downtown.

I actually made two pendants, but I thought the first one was too small—we want the letters to be visible from 20′ (6m) away.

I made the monogram by placing large Cinzel Decorative Heavy letters with Inkscape, converting to a path and importing the resulting svg file with OpenSCAD. I could have done the whole thing in OpenSCAD, but I thought it might be easier to adjust the placement in Inkscape. In retrospect, it would probably have been quicker to use OpenSCAD exclusively, though I would have had to adjust the positioning by editing numbers, rather than with a mouse.

2023 March 18

First performance

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 12:22
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As I mentioned in Cigarette props, I’ve started acting with the “Readers’ Theater” group of Nextstage, where I have been cast in two roles: John in Ferris Wheel by Mary Miller and Rollo in Emotional Baggage by Nina Shengold.   I’ve got all my costume pieces together (except one—I still need to make baggage routing labels for everyone in Emotional Baggage).

Our first performance, the only time that all eight plays will be done on the same day, is Sunday April 23 at 2 p.m. at theAnnex of Mid County Senior Center, 829 Bay Avenue, Capitola.  My understanding is that the venue is small—last year was standing-room only with an audience of 57.  Here are ads for the performance: 2023 Readers Theater 4up 2023 Readers Theater leaflet

This will also be my first performance as an actor (aside from a little bit of commedia dell’arte I did in the Society for Creative Anachronism about 40 years ago).

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