Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"This can't be happening..." Well, it is. Deal with it.

There is a set for us to play on and it is incredible. Rob, our set designer, has designed something truly perfect for our show. The thought of it completed with lights, makes me do somersaults inside! The scenes where the house is being attacked and - EXCLUDING DETAILS HERE UNTIL YOU SEE IT- made it so much more real to us. Sarah and I genuinely screamed a few times and almost jumped out of our skins, haha. (BTW, to check out Rob's process:

The incredible rendering...

Oh, and not only do we have a set, but I got to finally see all the actors (save for Pheobe) in their outfits. Everyone walked out one by one and the somersaults got bigger. They were exactly like the pictures in my weird brain. Every said that they feel comfortable and "right" in their outfits. All that I could ask for!! :)

I keep finding more and more depth to Barbra. Every night when we run the show now, I find something new about her and how she would react even in her "catatonia". She is so incredibly scared out of her mind that she stops responding to the world around her. But, there are these moments that even though I find them hard to ignore, I don't think she could either. Everyone around her is in a severely heightened emotional state and though she retreats inside herself to get away from it all, there are times when she must come back to the surface and observe it. I mean, these complete strangers take it upon themselves to take care of her. They don't know her name, where she's from, and she won't even speak to them. But, they still care for her. I think that shows something about the human spirit - even when in a tragedy, we still try to help one another.

Mary Beth (Judy) sings one of my favorite songs in the show. It's about the woman whose house they are in and how she and Tom used to drive by it on the way to the lake and see her outside. She would wave. This song absolutely breaks my heart. It's the recognition of all the little things that we take for granted until they are really gone. Sure, the show may be about the dead coming back to life and killing people- YES- but as I've mentioned before, it's about their attempt at survival. They come face to face with themselves while they are trapped in this house with a bunch of strangers and it's not pretty or okay. It's tragic and sad.

And as much as I don't want him to know it...Zak (Ben)'s songs give me goosebumps. His first solo, just like in the movie, describes what he went through up until when he got to the house. He sings about the screaming he hears when he watches a man's truck catch fire- it's chilling. I want to describe how amazing his last song in the show is...BUT! I shall not. You'll just have to see it for yourself...

NOW THAT I'VE THOROUGHLY DEPRESSED YOU ALL...I'm going to call it a night. We still have some significant fixes to be made and a ways to go as a cast to tighten the tension of the whole production, but I believe we are in great shape. I may suffer from cardiac arrest as a result of excitement once the band is introduced...but that is yet to come. Can't wait to share this with you all!!

Spooky times and spooky dreams.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What a beautiful song!...Now you're dead.

We are officially fully blocked! And Babs does a lot of...SITTING! And...wait for it...STARING! But, freals. We blocked about 15 pages of the script last week and I said 6 words, haha. It's good thing I join into songs from my petrified stupor or else I'd really be extra useless.

I wonder if I left the stove on...

It's actually getting to be an increasing challenge for me not to stop and watch people during scenes. It's something I have to get a solid grasp on. You may think, "wow. Sitting there is so hard. Quite yer bitchin. Womp-womp." But, in all actuality - it is! For someone who can be distracted with "ooh, shiny" it's hard not to just watch. Everyone sounds so fantastic when they're singing, I find myself just staring at them absent-mindedly. However, as Scott has told me, Barbra is stuck in this traumatic event. She is replaying it in her head over and over and is in a perpetual state of terror. It takes an immense amount more of self-control than you may think.

This day really sucks, Johnny!

Now that we are fully blocked, we have a real full sense of the show. And it's so damn SAD. I have said out loud during rehearsals after one of the characters gets done singing a beautiful ballad of regret and yearning, "CHRIST, this show is sad!" Because it's not like you don't know what is coming! These people are epically screwed and they are just trying to hold onto any last scrap of hope to survive just a little...bit...longer. I suppose that is one of the appeals of the horror genre - every day people getting thrown into a supernaturally tragic situation and how they handle it.

Helen should have let Karen have that new doll...

Costumes are almost totally together! After scouring the thrift stores of St. Louis, Sarah and I are almost PR picture ready! We have a few things here and there to gather, a few pairs of shoes a jacket or two, but the characters are there! I get all squeal-y when I finally get to see the actors in their things. It's a validation of your instinct and research coming together to complete that image you created for them and it's AWESOME. Being bombarded with current fashion and how things are "supposed" to look, I love taking my brain out of that mind set and fixing it to a totally different era. It makes you look at things completely different and kind of becomes a treasure hunt.

I'm really proud of what Sarah and I have done. Scott is very happy with them and we agreed that they have a very natural look (which was my goal!) When I see them on the amazing set that we get to be on !!NEXT WEEK!!, I may lose my mind even more than Barbara.

Yay for spooky theatre!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

"We'll be alright...": things to never sing in an apocolypse.

Hello, again, fellow morbid friends! We had our first full read/sing through this week and it was stellar. Aside from the distraction of trying to follow script and score separately (there's a lot of spoken sequences in the middle of songs), it gave us a great idea of the structure of the performance.

One of the reasons I always like Scott's "Miller-ography" is his tendency towards minimalism. Being a "more is more" kind of person in my everyday life, I always picture most musical numbers with lots of choreography and movement. However, when it comes to this show, that is simply not necessary. It's about setting the mood and letting the music and lyrics take you through the action of the story.

I love the concept that Scott created from the very beginning of the show. The blocking for the opening numbers "Perfect/Night" consist mostly of our characters wandering around the space. Scott's explanation for this action translates as we are ghosts forever stuck in the events of our final moments. We are familiar with this place and know something happened, but can't quite figure out or remember why...I LOVE THAT. OMG. It was such a traumatic experience, that our spirits can't move on.

Hot damn.

I also got to see how little Barbra actually speaks, haha. I just kind of stare into space a lot and scream occasionally. For me...not talking is hard (ha!) I'm a very facially expressive person and I believe that may be one of the reasons Scott chose me for this part (that and maybe he thinks I'm insane?). It's going to be hard to get into that stoic/lost presence in the space we rehearse (the children's play area in the basement of a church) and the fact that I have to be so attached to the ever-ridiculous Zak (our Ben...if you knew him you'd understand, he makes it hard NOT to laugh during rehearsal). I sometimes watch actors in show and go "WHY ARE THEY SO BORING? They have so much to work with!" Well, I have that opportunity in a very difference way: subtlety.

In other news, Sarah and I did some costume shopping yesterday, and in short: JACKPOT. I knew that the most difficult characters to dress were going to be Helen and Barbra. I thought they would be the LAST pieces we would find! But, in a lucky visit to a local vintage store, TFA (The Future Antiques), we found their main pieces that we think really emody the characters. When I put on my dress, I came out of the dressing room and Sarah and I reacted with perfect glee. When Sarah came out of the room with hers on, she simply stated "Yup. This is it. I feel like Helen." How more perfect does it get than that?

We have a great balance as a team. We both have an eye for style but know how to keep each other within the lines and integrity of the design. Usually along the lines of:
"GAH! I love this dress!"
"Me, too! She would never wear that...we would."
"'re right."

Here's a sneak-peek:




Happy Spooky Saturday!