Art is awesome. I love making art. All I’ve ever wanted to do was tell stories, the kind that help us examine the human experience. That’s what I believe acting to be, particularly in the theatre. Now from a working actor’s perspective, reality has to come into play. You want to do stage work, it’s your passion, but do you remember all the times someone in your past told you that “there’s no money in theatre”? I hate to break it to you, but that person was right. But there’s a way to survive. You can act for a living. But to me, the only way to do it, is by using ALL of the mediums that are out there beyond the stage.
Should you be an understudy, a standby, a swing? It’s kind of a vague question, but usually the undercurrent there is that once you become known as a reliable cover, you’ll be an understudy forever. You could ask Shirley MacLaine, Anthony Hopkins, Bernadette Peters, Taye Diggs, Matthew Morrison, or Lea Michelle; they all started out as understudies and moved on to exceptional careers. But let’s backtrack a little, what’s the actual difference in these special stage roles? Each of these positions holds its own unique advantages and challenges.
Clothing is the most intimate and relatable design element in theater. Everyone wears clothing, and everyone has opinions about clothing. Often what we wear says more than any words or actions do: who we are, where we’re from, what year it is, how much money we have, how much money we want other to think we have. These are just a few stories clothing tells in real life and onstage, making the relationship between the actor and the costume designer one of the most important. As you share your discoveries of your character, the costumer can share theirs and you can build a strong character together if you follow five simple steps.
With the Ides of March upon us — the day upon which Julius Caesar was murdered — it’s the perfect time of year to talk stage blood. The key to perfect stage blood is choosing the right variety for you particular blood scenario. Whether it’s buckets of blood in Martin McDonagh’s Lieutenant of Inishmore, or Lady Macbeth’s bloody hands in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, stage blood is an exhilarating, thrilling, sticky mess. Here are some tips for making the most out of even the stickiest stage blood situations.
“You are terrifying!” came the enthusiastic greeting as I stepped into the post show lobby. . I had grown used to it by then, and knew from the grins on the faces of this pleasant older couple that it meant they’d enjoyed the show. I smiled back sheepishly and offered a genuine, though bashful thank you, trying to distance myself somewhat from the character I had just played. Each night, I even made a point of dressing up more than usual when I went to the theatre. This was my first production in a new city, after all, and I wanted to be sure that everyone knew I wasn’t really a sociopath.