Choosing…

It’s been an interesting summer of play reading.  As much as I attempt to enjoy it, there is always a little piece of me that is thinking, “Alright Lauren, you’re in crunch time. Gotta pick a monologue! Gotta find the perfect one!” And don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed most of the plays I’ve read this summer.  But that doesn’t change the fact that when I finish a piece that doesn’t have a monologue for me, no matter how much I loved it, I get just a little tiny flash of disappointment.  I think that is so sad.  I mean, I started performing because I love to read and experience plays.  And using them as a means to an end has definitely deadened a little bit of that.  All of this being said, I have managed to cull a nice little collection of monologues from the vast collection of plays I begged, borrowed or stolen this summer.  The only thing that remains is to choose the pieces that I think will work well for this semester’s auditions.

Am I the only one that feels like picking a monologue is even more hellish than finding one?  If I could just choose the best pieces (or I suppose a better term is, the ones that resonate the best with me) I would.  However, that would leave me with a dramatic and rather sad Shakespeare, and an equally dramatic (but slightly humorous) contemporary piece.  And while the time periods make them contrasting, the tones are far too similar for the broad range of options I want to be considered for.  So, it begins.  Do I keep my beloved Shakespeare and fill in with a funny contemporary I don’t like as well?  Or do my contemporary and find a funny (or at least upbeat) Shakespeare?  The chemistry of finding the perfect mix is maddening.  There’s also the fact that you kind of want to show what you are eligible for in the season; I’m not going to do a Lady Macbeth piece right now, cause there are no parts that it would work for. Also, I’d be the cuddliest Lady M that ever walked into an audition room.  But anyway.  Basically, this is still a work in progress. And at a month away, we’re starting to get into crunch mode! Things to work on.

 

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Do Your Homework!

Yes, it’s summer.  And everyone at my school was anxiously awaiting long days of care free playing in the yard, nights of bonfires and starlight, and, probably most importantly: no schoolwork!! Yay! I remember the freedom I felt in high school when I could literally not even think about an assignment for the entire three months of summer.  And that was wonderful.  But as a BFA, homework is kind of in the job description–even over our summer.  And it’s not even the assigned kind; the kind that has a due date packed and grading all wrapped up in a nice, “I must complete you” package.  The homework that I am focusing on this summer includes two parts: reading plays, and learning more about the craft in practical situations.  The reading plays part is absolutely the most frustrating thing I’m trying to complete this summer, despite how simple it may appear.  First of all, you have to find the plays.  If your town has a well-stocked library, thank the stars above, for you are indeed blessed.  Middleton does not.  We have a shelf and a half of plays, and most of them are classics that I’ve read before, or will discuss at school.  So nix on those.  Thankfully, Wisconsin does have a great interlibrary loan program, so I’ve been using the “hold” option on my library card to my advantage: I think so far I’ve checked out about 20 plays?  So there’s a good start.  I have also raided my high school drama teacher’s stash, and she is a wonderful resource!  She actually looked through them with me, and recommended her options based on must-read status, good monologue selection, etc.  The second challenge, once you have the plays in your greedy little hands, is actually finding the time to read them.  This summer, I am working forty hours a week.  That means I have a little bit of time in the evenings, and my weekends, to accomplish all of the fun that I want to have–and to do my homework.  Most days the last thing I want to do is curl up with a play.  But I’ve taken the “this is due by the end of the summer” approach to kick my butt in gear.  And sometimes it works.  The third challenge of reading plays is: what are you reading for?  When I am not stressed out about auditions, I read every kind of play under the sun.  Last semester, I read a complete Sam Shepard set, despite the fact that there were almost no parts for me in his works.  However, I am currently very focused on the upcoming fall auditions.  And when I realize a play doesn’t have any parts for me (which immediately registers into no monologues for me), I have to squash the urge to put it aside.  My advice is, read it all.  If you have to read a few more plays to find a good monologue, so be it.  I think it’s incredibly important to be literate on what plays are out there right now.  Read, read, read!  It sucks.  Most of the time, I’d rather be reading whatever’s on my Nook, or the newest edition of Vogue.  But sometimes you find a play that is just so perfect, you get that special “Oh my god I’m an actor” tingle.  For me, the Pillowman totally did that.  I’m still absolutely obsessed.  Cannot get over it.  ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore was another play that completely lit my acting fire.  We’re performing it at school this year, and I am so itching to see casting and what direction the play goes!  Yes, I’m not going to lie–I would kill to perform in it.  But I am also so excited to see it in any capacity, because it is just that good.  There’s the magic of theatre.

        I will cover the second part of my homework, learning more about the craft, is such a vague statement that I’ll have to cover it in a later post.  In the mean time, get reading!