Between our two shows in production, we are seeing a lot of actors around YPC on a daily basis. Coupled with the onslaught of many our students involved in both Spring Musicals or SPCPA J term projects – everyone seems to be cast in something or other.
Here is a bit of theater wisdom from Bryan Cranston and his slow-to-come fame via Breaking Bad after years in supporting or non-speaking roles. He speaks to the audition process and looking at the “business” of landing a job. It is the nemesis that belittles the creative work we intend to do. Our “job” is create and then walk away. We always forget that there are TONS of variables that stand in our way. But we have to realize that ultimately – we can only control what we bring to the table and leave it at that. The trick is to not get consumed by resentment or self esteem.
For those of you that are about to be graduating in the next year or two, and are planning to pursue a training program afterward – this is a GREAT article of insight for you. It is written by a former classmate of mine at SUNY Fredonia where I got great Musical Theater training decades back. It was a safe setting, but there was also the edge of juries and being judged or evaluated along the way. But this article is also great in that it looks at BOTH sides of the audition situation and gives perspective to the process of selecting students themselves.
From the student standpoint; It talks about slotting, keeping options open and also being perceptive to little clues along the way. Authentic is a KEY word and it is important to showcase yourself as well as your talents. It speaks about owning the room and also being open to criticism and direction during the brief time there.
BUT, it also talks about the panel on the other side of the table too; It reminds them to be open to POTENTIAL and not perfection. These kids are only 17 and if they had totally professional skills, they would not need a training program! It should be about the student and not them and their agenda. Remember that everyone coming in does not have access to professional coaching and years of private lessons. And why come up with Do Not Sing lists that seem to be so prevalent?
A great read with some smart concepts:
Be Grateful For the Gifts You Have
I know that working with youth, it comes up commonly that this younger generation is indulged with entitlement. This comes from both enabling parents and a society that seems to award every child for minimal efforts at best. Everyone goes home a winner.
But as we prepare for our run of Just Before Sleep, which deals with homelessness, there is also an opportunity for pause and being grateful for the abundance most of us take for granted. Here is a blog posting via Riflebird to share that gives definition to many of our terms that originated in the Depression Era of the Dust Bowl. These families did not have the luxury of a warm shower and a bath was a rare occurrence. All family members shared the same basin and the baby was the last one. By then, the water was likely black with dirt and thus the term “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” How many of you are old enough to remember “lead poisoning?” 100 years back we had no clue about this and drinking cups and mugs were often lead based. When combined with alcohol it would often knock someone out for days at a time. A “wake” was then a ritual to see if they were actually dead or if they would revive. Bacon is a trend right now, but back then bacon was also a luxury. “Bringing home the bacon” or “chewing the fat” both alluded to wealth and sharing with guests.
Read the entire blog post for plenty more startling revelations. And most importantly, be thankful for the little things in our daily life.
Super Grrl Heroes
Jumping on the bandwagon of the Supergirl series hit. And also tying into our upcoming production of Goddess Menses which was just cast and is beginning rehearsals. Here is an interesting twist on all things Girl Power and body image. It is no secret that photoshop skills have perpetuated the myth of the ideal woman even more so. After all, what is an inch here or a tuck there? Barbie Dolls, Kardashians and Victoria’s Secret all make it harder to push against the tides and be comfortable in one’s own body.
Here is another great BuzzFeed feature where they looked at illustrations from comic book femme fatales and tried to recreate the same image with an actual human female. It would be funny if the results weren’t so tragic. Utilizing technology, there is also a feature for each photo where you can swipe from right back to left and see how this photoshop works to morph the female into a closer fit to the actual hero. Check out the link for the Full Figured Experience.
The Intersection of Arts and Science
For those of us who spend our days in the trenches of non-profit arts, it is always refreshing when advocates in other careers acknowledge the importance of the work we do. This short video post comes from our Science friends over at National Geographic. With a great assist from indie musician David Byrne who is turning out to be a greats arts ally in his elder years.
Bryne points out that while each of these elements might appear in opposition, neither one is definitive or isolated. What fuels one area of the brain, can support skills on the other. The video pits this dilemma in the struggle of arts funding in school programs, which rears its head at ever corner. Progress in science involves thinking outside the box and tapping into imaginations. When we speak to the “culture” of other fundamental nations, it is always perceived in terms of contribution of arts – architecture, museums, music, theater. If we don’t value this as a nation, what will our future legacy be?
Every Child is Beautiful and Special
Being in theater, I think both the visual and live elements are so important in the concept of expression that we do. It can also be a gift that allows those in the margins of the mainstream to not only participate, but to thrive.
This photo exhibit by Albanian photographer Soela Zani highlights gorgeous images of Down Syndrome children and transforms them into famous works of classical art. Shows are just a few examples, but click on the link for a full gallery of them. “Every human is a piece of art.”
This is a misleading title – intentionally so. As actors, one of our main goals is to find our “inner voice.” This can be the roles we choose, the choices on stage we make, the tribe we collaborate with…. But in this case, it is referring to the actual speaking voice that we use on the stage. This summer we offered a great session in dialect work and I wish we had found this feature back then.
A video looks at the period films we retain from the 1930s and 40s. Acclaimed American actors, such as Katherine Hepburn, spoke as if they were English aristocracy with the affected style of Downton Abbey. But on closer examination by Brainstuff, it shows us that it was a breed all of its own and was taught in classrooms as Trans-Atlantic speech. Some of this is ascribed to radio technology where very little bass broadcasting was possible. So by adding nasal and clipped pronunciation it made listening more accessible. Give the video a look and see if this sounds familiar or foreign to you.