This summer I was presented with many new challenges as an actor. The first was grappling with Elizabethan English and Shakespearean dialogue. While doing this I also worked to increase my comfort level onstage. Lastly, dividing my time between acting, hanging lights, other classes and managing the AMT box office became a task in itself, and left me with a large workload for the summer semester.
The challenges, as always, started with the audition. I remember hearing John Martin say he wanted people to have fun with the auditions. I took that as an opportunity to be silly, running around onstage and spontaneously jumping into the prop fountain. One of the things I have learned through becoming more familiar with the audition process is to never do anything that you would consider “safe” in regards to acting. I've learned to make bold and definite choices.
I remember reading the script thoroughly as soon as I got the role of “Boyet”. Shakespeare's language was always difficult at first. I remember my role in “As You Like It” being very exciting. Though it was Shakespeare, I only had about ten lines. I also had the No Fear Shakespeare version of the script at my disposal. My only other experience with Shakespeare before this production was in my Acting II course. I had a very hard time with memorization. If I missed a single syllable I would become flustered and forget my place. Making sure I was prepared was a key factor. I always made sure I was at the theatre early with pencil and script in hand. Knowing my part and that I was saying the correct things helped me to relax and focus on what needed to be done.
The first approach I made to Boyet was figuring out his goals. The party of France goes to Navarre on political business and Boyet's only interest in the romance of the couples was to resolve the money matters of the royals and a possible jealousy of the King and his lords. Knowing the motives and needs of a character is vital to learning what should be stressed in a speech. I also looked to my director and fellow actors for memorization techniques, as well as offering some of my own to the others having difficulty. Sariah explained to me how scansion worked and I have to say it worked wonders. I also wrote out my all of my lines repeatedly.
I have terrible troubles with anxiety. Performing is my way to deal with that. I always thought that if I challenged myself I could defeat the problem all together. I've reached a milestone in that effort. After a few rehearsals I got control of myself. I came to the truth that the audience as well as my cast mates and crew are on my side. There was no reason to be afraid of making a fool of myself. To be honest, I realized that making a fool of myself was the entire point of my role. Every character in “Love's Labour's Lost” is made into the object of jokes at one time or another.
I've always thought that costumes had a dramatic effect on my performance. After getting into costume I feel like I am immersed in the world my character lives within. Belief is what it is really about for me. While I'm on stage I have to imagine the world beyond the set. For some reason I've been able to do that with this show more than any other.
Working with Karl on lights was quite enjoyable. I wanted to do more with lights after taking the lighting design course. It was very nice that Karl was patient with me, because even with the course I am not as experienced as Karl. I've found a new appreciation for the technical side of theatre. I feel like I've become well rounded in my knowledge of theatre.
I recently had to step up to the role of box office manager. While I was very pleased that I could do this, it was frighten to be the only person able to manage front of house and be in the show. Complementary tickets and making sure posters were displayed were a couple of my responsibilities. I also had to learn how to create a program. It was a decent product for my first attempt. Of course there were some errors that I had to fix in the reprint. Overall, I think this has been my best experience on stage. I was more confident and I felt like I was more in control of my surroundings.