Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am behind. Am trying to get off book for Innocent Diversions and every spare moment is spent at that. Had a magnificent time at Hanover College last Friday, over 250 people in the audience and had to hold long periods of time for laughs - a very silly time indeed! I will post pictures in the next two weeks.
Currently at Simpson College in Indianola, IA and the hosts here are also exquisite. First sign for the college is on a large green field with cows grazing around it! Theatre is three quarter thrust and a real challenge for Jane which is staged mostly proscenium style, much was running thru my head in the manner of reblocking last night at the tech in order to be seen and heard by alll the audience.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wow! Reviews are out - and they are even better than I could have hoped for - in the Bath Chronicle yesterday morning. I will post on my website as soon as I return state side. The time here has been gratifying and exhausting. A brief run down. Three runs of Aphra on Monday, third tech was for a critic in order to get coverage of Love Arm'd in the paper on Thursday morning. Tuesday with Jane the same. Ran the show 3 times third time was opening in front of audience and critic. Wednesday Matinee of Aphra Behn for a college group at 1:30 pm and 7:30 show. Thursday 10 am Matinee of Jane Austen for Paragon School and 7:30 pm performance at night. Have today and tomorrow evening only. I can only say that it is amazing to perform these plays over here and have more than one chance at it. Lots of playing around, and fun with the audience too. Don't think this is very coherent but will sign on more upon our return. Pleasantly surprised by friend David Green and the Macy's. Ann Garner and Andrew Ellison of Next Stage Theatre Company are extraordinary and supportive - the Mission is an intimate, personal space for theatre.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Friday night's performance was also loads of fun. My roommate from graduate school, Jeanine, came to the show and I dedicated the performance to her. My professor, Jim Patterson, who has four books out now, also came and played James. He was terrific, throwing various ad libs out there just to see if he could throw me! Tim D. was also in the audience and gave me lots of encouraging (and infectious) laughter. Folks weren't quite so paralyzed with fear this evening and there were members of JASNA there as well! I am most grateful for the support I have received from the Jane Austen Society of North America. I am busy today running both shows and prepping the program for Bath!

Friday, September 28, 2007

What an evening! I was terrified before I went on but did calm down. The show was heaps of fun. For the first time that I've performed this play, I had much trouble getting "Tom Lefroy" to come up on stage with me for the dance section - he was glued to his seat - I had to tug and tug. It was hilarious! I was panicing because I was losing time in the music and then I heard Susan's voice in my head saying, don't worry about getting behind, it really doesn't matter, they are watching the guy! Susan, it was so true! He got a huge round of applause and I got to finish my dance while people were still clapping. The expressions of panic on people's faces when I came out as Miss Bates were absolutely priceless. My Caroline and Fanny were so sweet and cute and James was played by the head of the English Department here - he was quite debonair! I will have pics to publish when I'm home and can download. I forgot to mention that I saw a wolf on the streets here after dinner on Wednesday night. I've never seen a wolf in the wild - on city streets - it was breathtaking.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Greetings from Columbia, SC and the start of the Fall 2007 Tour of Jane Austen and Aphra Behn! It is fantastic to be back here. The weather is balmy, the palm trees gently blowing in the breeze. The air smells very sweet. I have forgotten, but there are still wonderful, gentle manners down here. The students will say "yes, ma'am" and "no, ma'am" and I'd forgotten how nice that really is. This gentility suits Jane very well. Technical rehearsal went quite well last night. I had some trouble moving the heavy dark read velvet chairs but we've worked it out that the young woman playing Maryann will move the chair when I need it! It should work out to be humorous! The Cottingham Theatre is huge with magnificent acoustics. I had forgotten how much energy it takes to fill such a theatre though and I was absolutely exhausted when I got out of there last night. Today, I met with Sara Nally's beginning acting class and they were so polite and sweet! I have an English class to visit at 3pm and my first show is tonight. I admit I have the jitters big time!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dover, Delaware. Actually I'm just back. It was a tight schedule yesterday. Left home at 10 am and arrived in Dover at 1:30 pm. Set up the stage and started the tech at 3:45pm. Show at 7:00pm. This booking was incredible. We had front page coverage in the Dover Post Entertainment section with two color photos. Dover is an unassuming town. You pass through the requisite fast food places and Walmarts and then you are suddenly in the middle of this jaw-dropping old town with cobble streets and cute shops. I missed the theatre twice because a campus map showed it on another street. There is a historic large plaque in front about the Capital Theatre and then a small sign that says "Schwartz Center for the Arts". The Schwartz Center is a remarkably restored old vaudeville house with fantastic acoustics. (I was recovering from a bad cold and did not have to strain myself - even today I have a voice!) The Center was used for vaudeville and then as a movie theatre and then went derelict and only re-opened to the public five years ago. It is now a lush place to play with a star dressing room, lush gold seating, a huge mezanine, red velvet curtain with fringe - it was a treat as Jane Austen to peak out from that curtain at the top of the show. The audience was warm and friendly and many demanded autographs after the show. I always figure they are there for Jane or Aphra so I always sign those names first! Every time I do "Cheer from Chawton" now I have a stronger and stronger desire to do a run. We shall see how and where this might pan out. I am thrilled that I will go back to the Mission Theatre in Bath, England next fall. I will do a short run of Aphra and Jane there. There you have it. I've not even announced that on my website yet!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From Ames, Iowa. The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as always is an incredible experience. This is one of the largest in the country with 1,350 students in attendance, a number of productions, countless workshops. A theatre lovers dream! Yesterday taught a workshop in the Art of Solo Performing. Only had 1 hour and 15 minutes and needed to manage time better but many got to read and I got everyone started on a draft of a show. i will manage time better on Thursday. Last night judged the Irene Ryan finalists. A real trip for me as I was one myself (cough) years ago! won't say! won't give my age! Anyway it was a tough job and I was writing like crazy to make sure that I would remember everybody. This morning was the feedback session and I did the best to let everyone know how great they were and the fact they were performing in one of the hugest houses I have ever seen. The Stephens has won an archetectural award for the state of Iowa but for auditions I thought it was a tough space to compete in. Restoration workshop went gangbusters today, really had to book through it, tried to give everyone the chance to read. I had a lot of fun and am sorry that I won't get to teach that one again this conference. Onto the Caucasian Chalk Circle tonight. Brecht is not one of my favorite people but I'm going in with an open mind. Theatre of alienation, you know, last production I saw, I was REALLY alienated! Onward!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Greetings from the road! I just finished my booking in Jacksonville, Illinois and am now in Ames, Iowa. At Illinois College, I taught a workshop on Voice and Verse and performed "Cheer From Chawton". The workshop was aimed to address the needs of the students for a very large and very lovely theatre space that seats a couple hundred people. My performance was well attended and I had a wonderful time mugging insufferably and getting all sorts of "Jane Austen" laughs! The eyes are becoming very important in the show. I've learned all this from the fabulous comic actor Floyd King who is a great one for getting laughs with his eyes. Every time I go back to my roots at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC, I learn something from those actors. The students had just performed Pride and Predjudice and were eager to don their costumes again, sit in the audience and egg me on. We had a wonderful time. Dr. Nancy Taylor was an elegant facilitator. The guest housing on campus is in what looks like a secret location. You enter a building of classrooms, go upstairs, open a door and you enter a marvelous prairie-style sweet with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, bath. The bed had a beautiful blue and white quilt on it that was quite cozy in the cold evenings. Some of the campus buildings had gas fireplaces - I found them homey and inviting. I am in Ames, Iowa as of this writing and putting my schedule together. This KCACTF should be very exciting and I am thrilled to be here. More anon.