kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (Default)
After much trial and error and months of waiting, I finally saw Hamilton tonight.

I feel kind of shellshocked right now.

So, yes. It really is that good.

And wow, it hit me RIGHT in the meta-storytelling feels.
kaydeefalls: The Last Unicorn by Samantha Darko (i write the bestest stories)
It's totally still December. Barely.

[personal profile] newredshoes prompted: What's a formative-as-fuck story (book, film, play, TV show, whatever) that you later realized had totally informed your storytelling tastes today?

Obviously it's on the brain because of yesterday, but really, the best answer to this is Into the Woods, the original Broadway production. Which I was probably a little too young for when I first watched it, but who cares. My mother, being a Sondheim devotee, taped the PBS broadcast of the original production, and that was what I watched over and over again as a kid. She figured that the fairy tale aspect would appeal to me, and that the darker shit would mostly go over my head, which was only partly true. But in a good way! (I've mentioned this before, but my parents didn't believe in censoring content based on my age -- if I found anything too scary/disturbing, I'd stop watching/reading on my own.)

Into the Woods was MASSIVELY influential. I mean, for starters, it was my first experience with a transformative work -- Sondheim basically wrote a musical fusion AU of a bunch of fairy tales, including a couple of OCs, and then Act II is the continuation fanfic of what might happen AFTER the "happily ever after." It's sharp and clever and often very funny, but also takes a good hard look at the dark underbelly of the stories we tell our children, and what the reality of living in that world could look like. Relationships built solely on physical attraction don't always last; people make mistakes with very real consequences; the family you make for yourself can be more important than the one you were born into. Even when everything is awful, joy can be found. The cynical realism still tempered by a spark of hope at the end -- that's definitely my favorite thing ever. And teamwork being awesome, and found families, and oh god that show makes me cry so much. Plus the music is, of course, gorgeous.

But most of all: Careful the tale you tell: that is the spell. Children will listen.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (Default)
Exhausted, full, and a bit tipsy, but I have to pop in and say that INTO THE WOODS is so freaking good, guys, my heart is filled to bursting.

Like I imprinted on this show hardcore as a child and watched the recorded Broadway version roughly a bajillion times on VHS and obviously no production will match that, but as movie versions of musicals go, this one was pretty damn good. Fair warning, they did...sanitize it a bit to keep the PG rating (although the darker subtext is still there if you know to look for it), and they cut one song in particular that made me :( spoiler ), and some of the pacing in the second act felt kind of off, but still: really freaking good. I love James Corden as the Baker SO MUCH I CAN'T EVEN. Ugh. Also Meryl Streep unsurprisingly knocks it out of the park. And mostly everyone else is great too.

But most of all: Chris Pine, on a waterfall, dramatically ripping his shirt open. This is a thing that happens. It is exactly as glorious as it sounds.

I need to see this a hundred more times, and then also buy the damn Broadway version DVD so that I can roll around in the perfection of the original production a bit, too. Although, with apologies to Chip Zein, I do like James Corden best of all as the Baker. He was so perfectly cast.

geek out

Apr. 12th, 2014 10:55 pm
kaydeefalls: raven smiles brilliantly (raven hearts you)
So...Jason Robert Brown sat in on my rehearsal today.

That was kind of a Big Deal.

(For people who aren't musical theater geeks -- he's a really fantastic Broadway composer/lyricist. The Last Five Years, Parade, Thirteen, Songs for a New World, Bridges of Madison County, etc. He's also married to the composer of the new musical I'm currently stage managing, which is why he was hanging out in my rehearsal today.)

I may have had a bit of a moment, there.

And hey, speaking of geeks...NYC-area fen should totally come to my geek trivia tomorrow afternoon!
kaydeefalls: shocked posner looking up at grinning scripps (posner/scripps)
Just watched the full "National Theatre at 50" BBC special thing, which I know aired a few weeks ago and no one else cares about this level of theater geekery but WHATEVER, it gave me a few thinky thoughts, mostly about casting.

So obviously this event was staged to celebrate the fifty year anniversary of the UK's National Theatre, and of course they packed in as many of their most famous alums as possible to do as many scenelets from their most popular plays. In more recent cases, they simply brought back as many of the original cast as possible -- HISTORY BOYS! -- but for others, I did think their casting choices were...interesting.

Like you get Benedict Cumberbatch in, for obvious reasons, and you give him the "dead in a box" monologue from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (one of my favorite plays, and favorite monologues, in the history of everything, incidentally). But that's really not an obvious choice. There's a reason Cumberbatch has become famous for playing intensely cerebral, brilliant characters -- he does it very, very well. So...Rosencrantz? Really? Not that he can't handle broad comedy -- I offer up drunk!Sherlock as Exhibit A -- but of the pair, he's clearly a Guildenstern. Of course, Rosencrantz's monologue is the showstopper from that play, so it makes sense that that was the bit they'd chosen, but in a massive cast of actors to choose from that includes James Corden, why on earth would you give Cumberbatch that monologue? He did it well enough, but it just...doesn't quite suit him. God, of all the characters and monologues Tom Stoppard has given us -- give Cumberbatch any male character in Arcadia or The Real Thing, give him Jan from Rock 'n' Roll, give him Housman in The Invention of Love! And by all means, give him Guildenstern in one of the cracking dialogue sequences. But Rosencrantz? Eh. You had James Corden right there. COME ON. For that matter, you had Jamie Parker, who played Guildenstern like three years ago, but who'd also be a fun Rosencrantz.

Also in the world of ...huh? casting was that Louis & Prior scene from Angels in America. Which, okay, not necessarily the first scene I would have picked from that play, but not bad. Andrew Scott was an interesting choice for Prior. I was kind of put off by him at first -- his performance had a few too many shades of Moriarty in it -- but it grew on me as it went along, and I'd be curious to see a full production staged with Scott in the lead. It's not an obvious choice, but it'd certainly interesting. But Dominic Cooper as Louis? Really? Not to repeat a theme, but you had Benedict Cumberbatch right there. Admittedly, not a showy role in that particular scene, but Cumberbatch would be a MUCH better Louis. (And the Sherlock/Moriarty shippers rejoice.) Or, hell, you dragged Stephen Campbell Moore in for like two lines in the History Boys scene, as long as he's hanging about you ought to give him Louis. He's the right type. Look, I like Dominic Cooper an awful lot, but he's not a Louis. He's not quite right for any part in that play, really, although I think in thirty years he'd actually make a spectacular Roy Cohn...but I digress.

(I do feel like younger actresses were totally overlooked the whole evening, apart from the one they got to play Eliza Doolittle -- you had a wide range of male actors, and then you had Judi Dench and Maggie Smith and Zoe Wanamaker and Helen Mirren and Penelope Wilton and Frances de la Tour, all of whom were spectacular, but...National Theater hasn't produced a single talented actress currently under the age of sixty? That's weird to me. Maybe because the History Boys as a collective were popping in and out all evening, which kept a youthful vibe going among the dudes, but all of the women were grand dames. This is kind of the opposite of the usual problem -- and it was LOVELY seeing all those fabulous older ladies get their due -- but it did feel weirdly unbalanced. They did show archival footage of younger actresses -- or, rather, of currently much older actresses back in the day -- but only the one actually onstage. Much as I love that they featured a gay couple by doing Louis/Prior, it would've been nice to get a good Harper scene in there to showcase a different sort of talent.)

But man, it was so awesome to get that History Boys scene, with almost the entire original cast represented. (Minus Russell Tovey and Sam Barnett, alas.) Having Alan Bennett himself playing Hector was, really, the only possible option. And upgrading Sacha Dhawan from Akthar to Posner was fucking inspired. I mean, my heart belongs to Barnett's Posner, but goddamn if I don't want to see a full production with Dhawan's Posner now. He was GREAT. I mean, okay, obviously all those boys are too old to be playing teenagers at this point, but still, they were clearly having a blast, and the French scene is just so funny. Best part of the production, I thought.

A bit sad that only one of the many, many scenes/monologues/snippets all evening was by a female playwright, and no female directors were interviewed. That's probably more representative of the National Theatre culture than anything else.

Ugh, now I'm going to be up all night fancasting the rest of the Andrew-Scott-as-Prior version of Angels in America. Bring Zach Quinto back as Louis, the way he played it Off-Broadway a couple of years back? Hmm, I think he'd be weird paired up with Scott. I desperately want to see Chiwetel Ejiofor as Belize, but he's probably a little old for that role by now. Amy Acker as Harper? Jonathan Groff as Joe? IDK.
kaydeefalls: theater as viewed from the wings (i live on the stage)
Today I made a bunch of fake sandwiches and a giant salt shaker. My life is weird.

This segues nicely into one of the remaining prompts from the no-longer-December meme.

[livejournal.com profile] pocky_slash prompted: How you got into theatre or what it means to you or...something. Like that.

Henslowe: Mr. Fennyman, allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Fennyman: So what do we do?
Henslowe: Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well.
Fennyman: How?
Henslowe: I don't know. It's a mystery.
-Shakespeare in Love, written by Tom Stoppard (yup, the Arcadia guy)

Fucked if I know how I got into theatre. It's just one of those things that happens. I'm a little obsessed with storytelling, as you might have noticed, what with the fandom thing and all, and live theatre is my very favorite because of the intimate relationship between performers and audience. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't in love with the theatre. My parents started taking me to plays from around when I could walk and talk -- first children's theatre, then Broadway -- and I started doing school plays in, like, first grade. I don't think I ever really expected to become an actress -- sure, I fantasized about it sometimes, but I'm way too much of a pragmatist to really believe in that. In high school, I started doing some directing, which I loved, and though I briefly clung to the notion that I would major in something useful in college -- like, y'know, English Lit -- I wound up declaring a Theater & Performance Studies major by the end of my freshman year. I just couldn't imagine doing anything else. My focus in college was on directing. I spent every summer interning at some theater or another -- all-purpose internships in small theaters, basically, doing all sorts of odd jobs and getting to know the business of running a theater beyond the productions themselves -- and got some steady work in house management on the side.

One of my first professional gigs in the year after graduation was as assistant director at a tiny theater in Chicago, and their usual stage manager had to drop out before rehearsals started, so the director asked if I could SM, too. I said yes, of course, because you ALWAYS say yes to a gig when you're just starting out, and then panicked because I'd never done any stage management in school at ALL. But I'd worked with plenty of good SMs, so I just tried to mimic what I remembered them doing, and...well, fake it 'till you make it, right? I discovered I enjoyed running shows, despite the stress. And once I moved to Washington and started working in admin at a large-ish Equity theater, I realized that no, I really needed to be in production, not administration. (I still think maybe someday I could land in the education department of a big theater and be content there, because I have very strong feelings about arts education, but it's not my true love.) While searching for production gigs around town, I discovered very quickly that no one really wants an AD, nor will they pay one much, but EVERYONE needs a good ASM and are willing to pay for one. So I fell face-first into stage management and haven't come up for air since. And now that's the only thing I do.

It's been six years this month since my first SM gig. Where I am now is not quite what I'd ever expected or planned growing up, but it suits me -- I'm a bit too pragmatic to ever be a great artist, but I derive a huge amount of satisfaction from the work I do, and I get to work in a theater every day. There have been good shows and bad shows, and some truly shitty work experiences -- I'm not too thrilled with my current situation, for example -- but I still just can't imagine doing anything else. Calling a show is like being the conductor of an orchestra, and requires just as much finesse and, yes, artistry, and I love it. ♥

And for the record: the sandwiches were cut out of mattress foam with a bit of brown paint around the edges for crust, and the giant salt shaker made out of a large styrofoam cone, clear packing tape, and aluminum foil. In case you ever need to make your own.
kaydeefalls: theater as viewed from the wings (i live on the stage)

[livejournal.com profile] ladymercury_10 prompted: Arcadia

So, Arcadia by Tom Stoppard is my actual favorite play ever written, though I have yet to see the perfect production of it. (I've seen two different productions, one in Chicago and one in Washington, both of which were really great in some areas and glaringly weak in others, but both interesting to watch.) I'm not sure if the perfect production exists? It's kind of a difficult play to get right. But god, just reading it is magical, and I live in hope that someone somewhere will stage it just right and I'll be able to see it. I wasn't able to see either the original production or its revival on Broadway or the West End, so can't judge those.

Arcadia tells two stories at once, in the same English manor house (the Coverly estate) but in two different times. The first story is set in 1809, and follows a precocious teenage genius, Thomasina, and her tutor, Septimus, as she develops a marvelous new mathematical theory. The second is in the present day, where one literary historian, Bernard, is chasing down a potentially groundbreaking story (about Lord Byron, who may or may not have murdered a fellow poet while staying with the Coverly family in that very house), while another, Hannah, is doing research for her book about the decline of the Classical era and the dawn of the Romantic. Okay, that's a vast oversimplification of the plot, but it's a start. As Hannah uncovers more and more of the history of the house, she becomes obsessed with one figure in particular: a mad hermit, name unknown, who inhabited a shed on the grounds and was trying to use maths to foretell the end of the world. The play unfolds with scenes alternating between the past and the present -- we learn more of the 1809 story from its characters as Hannah learns more about them through her research -- and eventually, the lines between past and present start to blur, until characters from both periods are onstage at the same time, enacting their stories around one another, and it's absolutely gorgeous. I won't spoil the ending, but oh, god, it's tragic and beautiful and hopeful all at once. The playwright, Tom Stoppard, is known for being occasionally too clever for his own good, and yeah, he delves into mathematical theories and literary history to a depth that borders on the arcane, but the characters are so richly drawn that they carry it off, I think. It's funny, tragic, and philosophical by turns; and, okay, from a purely technical standpoint, I do not envy the props designer on this show, because although we never leave this one drawing room, there are roughly a million props and they're all crucial to the plot, and a book that an 1809 character carries in will be then picked up by a present-day character in the next scene until it's all one big glorious mess of stuff all over the stage. And the themes of history repeating and past echoing present and timey-wimeyness just fill me with such unadulterated joy, okay.

Plus, it gives us Hannah, whom I've already discussed in more detail, and Thomasina, that brilliant, romantic girl, and Valentine, a modern-day mathematician who has possibly one of my favorite life-affirming geektastic monologues ever:

The unpredictable and the predetermined unfold together to make everything the way it is. It's how nature creates itself, on every scale, the snowflake and the snowstorm. It makes me so happy. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing. People were talking about the end of physics. Relativity and quantum looked as if they were going to clean out the whole problem between them. A theory of everything. But they only explained the very big and the very small. The universe, the elementary particles. The ordinary-sized stuff which is our lives, the things people write poetry about -- clouds -- daffodils -- waterfalls -- and what happens in a cup of coffee when the cream goes in -- these things are full of mystery, as mysterious to us as the heavens were to the Greeks. We're better at predicting events at the edge of the galaxy or inside the nucleus of an atom than whether it'll rain on auntie's garden party three Sundays from now. Because the problem turns out to be different. We can't even predict the next drip from a dripping tap when it gets irregular. Each drip sets up the conditions for the next, the smallest variation blows prediction apart, and the weather is unpredictable the same way, will always be unpredictable. When you push the numbers through the computer you can see it on the screen. The future is disorder. A door like this has cracked open five or six times since we got up on our hind legs. It's the best possible time to be alive, when almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.

And you know what? You can read the whole play online for free. So, really, there's no excuse.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (so many possibilities)
Still playing catch-up, but this one was actually supposed to be posted today, so!

[personal profile] troisroyaumes prompts: plays that everyone should see once in their lifetimes

JESUS CHRIST WHERE DO I START. See, I feel like this is a very personalized question? Like, I honestly don't think there are plays that EVERYONE should see, objectively speaking, because everyone has their own personal interests and tastes that do not align with my own, and I try to recommend theater to people on an individual basis. And also, look, theater isn't like a movie. You can't just look up that Really Important Play on Netflix and give it a watch. Theater can be expensive and hard to get to if you don't already live in an area with a thriving theater community. And also? Some plays that I think People Should See include plays that I haven't had the opportunity to see myself yet, that I've only ever read. So that feel a bit hypocritical of me.

BUT. That said, here is a totally subjective and abbreviated list of Plays To See. I should note that it is heavily US/UK-centric, which is unfortunate, but I just haven't seen or read much non-Western theater yet. And bring me your recs if you have any!

-Hamlet, William Shakespeare. I'm sorry, I really am, and it's not even close to being my favorite Shakespeare play, but it is so heavily influential in all areas of Western culture that I kind of can't handle the fact that there are people out there who have never read or seen it. This is one of those cultural touchstones that you just have to know. There are like twenty million movie versions, just pick the one with an actor you like and watch it, for the love of god, there is no excuse for not knowing this play. Other Shakespeare is also important, but I still think this is the One you can't get away with not seeing. (Runners up: Romeo & Juliet, which I'm not a big fan of, Macbeth, Othello, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.)
-And once you've done that, try to track down a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, by Tom Stoppard, for theater's best example of what a transformative work can and should be. This is one I've read about a million times but have never managed to see a live production of, because there's not been a Broadway revival in my lifetime and my university did it the year I was abroad, and I'm not a huge fan of the movie version because it really needs to inhabit the surreal world of a bare stage to be truly effective, not the hyperrealism of the screen. But god, this play. It is so brilliant. SO brilliant. And it was heavily influenced by...
-Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett. If you want to understand the evolution of the modern non-musical theater, you need to see this play. From Beckett came pretty much everything else.
-And for the equivalent of groundbreaking musical theater -- don't laugh: Oklahoma!, Rodgers & Hammerstein. Yes, it's campy and cheesy and overdone by now, but this was the first modern American musical, and everything else followed after. Before Oklahoma!, there were Vaudeville and music halls, but people who wrote musicals basically took a bunch of songs they liked and strung a loose story between them. (Unfortunately, that's become popular again in the past decade or so -- we call them Jukebox Musicals. I am not a fan.) Rodgers and Hammerstein were the first composer & lyricist team to think, hey, maybe the songs these people sing should actually progress the plot and reveal things about the characters that we wouldn't know otherwise. I kind of lack the words to describe how revolutionary that was at the time.
-I can't talk about American theater without mentioning Tennessee Williams, and how you have to see at least one play the guy wrote. Personally, I prefer Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, because Maggie the Cat is fucking amazing -- Williams is one of the few male playwrights I actually think knows how to write sensational female characters -- but A Streetcar Named Desire or The Glass Menagerie will also do.
-Blah blah blah Arthur Miller, blah blah blah Eugene O'Neill, blah blah blah Edward Albee, blah blah blah Our Town. Same as for Williams. Again, we're talking Americana here. If you're not American, I think it's less important you see these, but if you are, hello, wake up to your own cultural history. These are our cultural icons of the mid-20th century, and they're important for a reason.
-August Wilson gets his own special item on this list, though, because he's THAT important. He charts the history of African-American life in the 20th century with his Pittsburgh Cycle -- he wrote a play set in each and every decade of the 20th century, all set in a black neighborhood in Pittsburgh, with several characters appearing in multiple plays at varying ages, and it is all thematically interconnected and GLORIOUS. Fences is probably his best known; I'm a big fan of King Hedley II, though. You have to have to have to see at least one of his plays before you die.
-And hopping back over to Europe, do yourself a favor and go see The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde. I mean, anything the guy wrote was pure gold, but this one's another step above the rest, in my opinion, and the funniest of all the drawing room comedies of that era or any other.
-(Yeah, I tend to organize by Important Playwrights rather than individual plays. Deal with it.)
-Oh, christ, yes, just fucking see a production of Medea or Antigone or Electra already. The ancient Greeks knew what they were doing, alright? Also with the kickass ladies, although more heavily tilted toward the scary end of the spectrum.
-HEY LET'S TALK ABOUT LADIES. Do your sweet self a favor and see something -- anything -- written by Suzan-Lori Parks. My favorite to read is Topdog/Underdog, but I haven't yet been lucky enough to see a stage production of it. African-American female playwrights with strong voices of their own writing badass characters FTW.
-Oh so you prefer your plays dark and disturbing with a twisted sense of humor? How about some Martin McDonagh? I got The Pillowman right here, and it will give you nightmares for fucking weeks.
-Oh, so you prefer your MUSICALS on the darker side, too? Lemme introduce you to a composer/lyricist by the name of Stephen Sondheim, and point you in the direction of Into the Woods (for fairy tales waaaay closer to Grimm than Disney, and a realistic glimpse of what comes after the happily ever afters) or Sweeney Todd (for even more murder and mayhem and shepherd's pie peppered with actual shepherd on top).
-And then go see The Laramie Project (Moises Kaufman) already, because this is real and people need to know about it, and also because this is part of the power of what theater can do in the real world.
-Honorary Awesome Playwright mentions that I'm not going to go further into because there are only so many plays I can recommend at once: Yasmina Reza (Art, Gods of Carnage), David Henry Huang (M. Butterfly, holy shit why can I not find a fucking production of this to see for myself, I love the script so much), Sam Shepard (True West), Frank McGuinness (Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme), Moliere (just...everything), Neil Labute (likewise), and, yes, fucking Les Miserables 'cause you oughta know what everyone else is talking about.
kaydeefalls: theater as viewed from the wings (i live on the stage)
Today was my first official day back at the Kids' Theater. It was okay. I'm not 100% thrilled to be back there, since I still kinda hold a grudge from the way they essentially laid me off for four months and took away my health insurance, and there have been a few staff changes since I left, which takes some getting used to. But I'm getting back into the routine of it. I'm kind of expecting to leave for good at the end of this season in August. No specific plans as of yet, though, so we'll see.

Am hitting panic mode on Secret Mutant. I know that as long as I upload a complete draft to AO3 on Saturday night, I still have a week before it goes live to edit it further (yes, I am that asshole), but I do still need a complete draft. And I'm getting there! I have 9000 words already! And I'm only a scene or two away from the climax. But I don't have much free time for writing left this week. Um.

So clearly it's time for me to continue the December posting meme, for which I am also still accepting prompts. :)

[personal profile] zulu asks: What is a theatre tech issue that is most likely to cause problems, but that audience members are least likely to notice/know about?

Hmmm. This is tricky -- most of the tech issues I worry about are the ones the audience definitely WILL notice. That's why they're so worrisome. But I'll say that probably the most common problem I've encountered is with lighting -- a glitch in the light board, or a lamp blowing out during a show. Unless it's truly catastrophic (like blowing a fuse, which affects EVERYTHING), the audience likely WON'T notice if one of the lighting instruments goes out in the midst of a show. But the stage manager absolutely will, because we know the look of the show well enough to realize that it's darker than it should be over there. It leads to a fun and stressful game of figuring out which lamp exactly we're missing, which channel that is on the board, and then flipping ahead through the prompt book to see which lighting cues might be adversely affected by it, and coming up with a backup plan for those cues. All while still calling the show as it goes on. If you've got a light board operator, that becomes their problem; if you're running the board as well as calling the show (which, since I tend to work in smaller theaters, is often the case for me), then it really is multitasking at its finest.

Once I started a show and realized that one of our moving lights was no longer responding -- we were using four in that show, I think, and they were always used as specials (i.e. creating a very particular, special look on a particular part of the stage for a particular moment in the staging, rather than being part of the wash, which is several different instruments together lighting large sections of the stage; losing a light in a wash is waaaaay less important, because it's not solely responsible for making a space bright). So I had to isolate which instrument was out, then think through the show and imagine which other moments it was used for, then come up with an emergency backup plan to ensure that all of those moments would be lit using whatever normal, non-moving light was pointed in that general direction instead, all while I'm stuck up in the booth at the back of the house. Fortunately, we'd had a good lighting designer, and any good LD will program in at least one submaster on the board that's a general wash (or several -- one for stage right, one for center, one for stage left, or whatever), so when all else fails you can always bring up SOME light onstage, even if it's not pretty. I think I did have to bring up a sub for one song that time. But anyway, barring complete unexpected blackout, the audience almost never notices lighting problems. They don't know how the lights are supposed to look, so they don't realize when it looks different, no matter how ugly it looks to the stage manager.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (so many possibilities)
[livejournal.com profile] urb_banal prompted: any character from any fandom, or not: A line drawn away from yourself towards...

I'm not quite taking this in the direction she intended, but the prompt has lingered in my head all day, and this is where I wound up. I can't insert myself into a scene with a fictional character -- I mean, I have done, when I was much younger, and that's called a Mary Sue and it's all right, I feel like it's an important stage of development for any writer. But honestly, I wouldn't want to stick myself in a room with a fictional character -- or a famous person -- or any of those sorts of scenarios, because that's just not who I am. I wouldn't know what to say. I'd feel very small and quiet and dull. And I don't tend to strongly identify with the fictional characters I love, or the ones I write. That's part of the joy of writing, for me -- trying on someone else's personality for a change, seeing through someone else's eyes, not dragging them into my head.

I just sat at my laptop for a good long while and tried to think of any character from any medium, just one, that I feel a genuine personal connection to. Just one.

A line drawn away from myself towards --

It's all trivial -- your grouse, my hermit, Bernard's Byron. Comparing what we're looking for misses the point. It's wanting to know that makes us matter. Otherwise we're going out the way we came in. That's why you can't believe in the afterlife, Valentine. Believe in the after, by all means, but not the life. Believe in God, the soul, the spirit, the infinite, believe in angels if you like, but not in the great celestial get-together for an exchange of views. If the answers are in the back of the book I can wait, but what a drag. Better to struggle on knowing that failure is final.

Hannah Jarvis, from Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia, is quite possibly the only fictional character I have ever truly seen myself in, and oh god, I can't even begin to describe it. Fair warning: given the current prompts, I'm going to be talking about Arcadia a LOT this month. So I'm not going to go into detail about the play itself right now, but oh, HANNAH.

She's a no-nonsense, sharp-tongued, fierce feminist who criticizes the Romantic era as celebrating "the decline from thinking to feeling"; she comes to this manor house in search of the perfect symbol to tie her book together and instead finds herself deeply emotionally invested in the lives of a young mathematics genius and her tutor who lived and died centuries earlier. I'm not an historian nor an academic, but I'm frequently accused of either being too logical and unfeeling (in terms of romantic relationships) or getting too worked up over trivialities (fandom, social issues), and I identify HARD with Hannah's emotional transference from her own personal life to the cares and concerns of people long dead. (On a lighter note, Hannah ships Thomasina/Septimus pretty hardcore, as well she should.) She is very much a flawed heroine -- if she can be considered the heroine of the play at all; most would probably argue that Thomasina is, but my vote's for Hannah -- and she's a bit odd and lonely and abrasive. And I see way too much of myself in her. Way, way too much.

BERNARD: You should let yourself go a bit. You might have written a better book. Or at any rate the right book.
HANNAH: Sex and literature. Literature and sex. Your conversation, left to itself, doesn't have many places to go. Like two marbles rolling around a pudding basin. One of them is always sex.
BERNARD: Ah well, yes. Men all over.
HANNAH: No doubt. Einstein -- relativity and sex. Chippendale -- sex and furniture. Galileo -- "Did the earth move?" What the hell is it with you people? Chaps sometimes wanted to marry me, and I don't know a worse bargain. Available sex against not being allowed to fart in bed. What do you mean the right book?
BERNARD: It takes a romantic to make a heroine of Caroline Lamb. You were cut out for Byron.

(There are plenty of days in December I don't have filled -- prompt me! Please?)
kaydeefalls: magneto as player: "audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in." (the player)
set pic

So I saw a thing. It has a couple of guys in it, I dunno if you've heard of them, they're in some nerdy movies about mutants or something.

Short version: I kind of loved it a lot. )
kaydeefalls: magneto as player: "audiences know what to expect, and that is all that they are prepared to believe in." (the player)


kaydeefalls: eleven answers phone with newlywed rory/amy in background (OT3 companions)
So, I just saw Arthur Darvill on Broadway as the lead in Once from six rows from the front of the orchestra.

I may be having some OMG RORY feelings tonight.

This has been a good couple of weeks for me and theatre and Doctor Who actors, oddly enough -- last week I saw the all-black RSC production of Julius Caesar at BAM with, among others, Paterson Joseph as Brutus and Adjoa Andoh (Martha's mum) as Portia. Who were both really fucking amazing, though the guy playing Antony (Ray Fearon) completely stole the show with his brilliant interpretation of the "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech.

Anyway. So Arthur Darvill is apparently a really talented musician as well as a lovely actor, and I basically spent the whole show like ♥_♥ and the rest of the cast was quite talented as well and I'm more than a little bit in love right now.

Seriously, incidental enjoyment of Who actors aside, seeing these two wildly different but equally good productions in the past week and a half has very much driven home that to me, the theatre is a sacred space. There is nothing in the world that transfixes me quite like live theatre. It's not -- Broadway, or being fond of a television actor on a stage. It's just that the experience of sitting in an audience with living people twenty or fifty feet away from you creating a whole other world on a stage -- it's unlike any other feeling in the world. I feel more fully alive when I'm in a theatre than...god, any other time. It's why, for all the stress and hassle and shitty hours and worse pay of stage management, I honestly can't imagine ever doing anything else, because the theatre is everything to me. (Also, seriously, being alone in a dark, empty theater with only a ghost light for company makes me feel more at peace than pretty much anything else. I'm a stage manager, I'm often the first person in and the last person out of a theater, so it's not an unusual situation for me. But god, it's glorious. Theatre is an empty space just brimming with potential.)

I sometimes wonder if I'm...broken, or not built right, because it seems like I don't have feelings or form emotional connections in the way normal people do. I mean, not that I don't have feelings at all, obviously, I do, but not the way people around me seem to, and I'm mostly just lonely a lot. I genuinely like most people but don't particularly connect with very many of them. I've only been sort of in love maybe once or twice in my life; I can count the people I truly consider friends on one hand and I'm well aware that I need their friendship far more than they need mine because I'm a very distant and frequently absent sort of friend. When I look into my future, I don't see much of anything for my personal life -- I haven't had sex in years, I doubt I'll ever meet anyone I want to marry (or who wants to marry me), it's extremely unlikely I'll ever have kids. Barring accidents, I'm pretty much going to grow old and die alone, and I'm slowly resigning myself to that. But god, I fall hopelessly, selflessly in love every time I step into a theater. Productions like Once and Julius Caesar completely transport me. This is why I can get so angry about commercialism and Broadway -- empty trash moneymakers like Mamma Mia! or Legally Blonde: The Musical are actively profaning that sacred space for me. (Okay, I've probably never given my Broadway Rant here, but I have one, and many people who know me IRL have heard bits of it.) Good theatre, true storytelling, is just...magical.

...this post wound up being way less about seeing Rory on Broadway than it was supposed to be. Anyway. He was really, really good? And he can sing and play guitar. For real.
kaydeefalls: theater as viewed from the wings (i live on the stage)
Why I work in theater: THIS.

Theater: it's not just for gays anymore! Oh, Neil Patrick Harris, how are you real?

And then he did a snarky song-and-dance number with Hugh Jackman, and my heart exploded.

Seriously, my sole ambition in life is to someday, many years from now, be stage managing a show with this man in the cast. HEARTS IN MY EYES FOREVER.
kaydeefalls: jack grins about stopwatches (stopwatch time)
Okay. So for those of you who don't know, I was born and raised in New York City. In downtown Manhattan, to be specific, but that's neither here nor there. But, yeah. I also had the very great fortune of having parents who were avid theatergoers, and who instilled a love of theater in me from a very young age. (Since theater is currently my career, I owe a pretty huge debt of gratitude to them.) And they devoted a pretty huge chunk of their disposable income to the arts -- opera for my dad, ballet for my mom, and Broadway shows for the whole family. Starting at about age eight, my big birthday or Christmas/Hanukkah gift every year would be tickets to the Broadway show of my choosing. THIS WAS MADE OF AWESOME, no lie. And ever since then, I've been collecting every Playbill to every show I see. Primarily Broadway, but any professional production anywhere, I try to save the Playbill. Some people collect stamps. I collect theater memories. This is my career, this is my life. I haven't counted in a while, but I'm probably about up to a hundred by now -- and I've been slacking off on saving them in the past couple of years. My parents are moving out of my childhood home this summer, so I've been salvaging any of my old stuff that I still want, and my Playbill collection has only recently joined me in my current apartment.

Anyway. Back to theater. In particular, my mother raised me to believe that there is one God, and his name is Stephen Sondheim. (This is only sort of a joke.) For those of you who don't know much about musical theater, Sondheim is The Major composer/lyricist of the second half of the 20th century. He wrote the lyrics to West Side Story, for starters -- and that was just his first professional show. Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, A Little Night Music, Company, and a whole bunch of others -- all of these are Sondheim shows. I love his music LOTS AND LOTS. (The guy just turned 80 this year. This was a Big Deal for Broadway devotees.)

So when I was about 14, there was a show running on Broadway that was a revue of Sondheim's music, called "Putting It Together". That was my birthday present that year. I haven't thought about it in YEARS -- it was a fun show with some major musical theater legends performing in it (Carol Burnett, George Hearn), but being a revue, it doesn't stand out in my list of Awesome Shows I Have Seen (I prefer proper plotlines). But this afternoon, I was browsing wikipedia (like you do) and had a minor revelation moment. When I got back to my apartment, I dug through my Playbill collection and found it.




wtfjb - wtfjb2



This does not quite top the fact that I have seen Neil Patrick Harris performing Sondheim live twice -- once in "Assassins", once in another revue. I was at least aware of it at those times. Also, twice. BUT STILL.
kaydeefalls: river in spacesuit, grinning: "you can't take the sky from me" (since i found serenity)
I'm taking a directing class with the artistic director of the theater I now work at, and our first assignment was to create a proper, thorough scene breakdown of any play of our choosing. After discovering how bloody difficult and time-consuming this process actually is, I gave up on the play I'd originally planned on dissecting in favor of one I already know backwards and forwards: the play I directed for my BA in college a year and a half ago.

Oh, my heart, Carthaginians. I haven't revisited you in so long because you were all finished and stuff, but OH MY HOW I LOVE YOU SO. I think my greatest regret from college will be not having made a video recording of that show. It was so good. I mean, horribly flawed and amateur and stuff, of course, but so fucking good all the same. It's amazing how much I still miss working on that play. And, rereading it tonight, how many new ideas I have for it. Like! I completely mis-blocked that scene with Seph breaking up the Hark and Dido fight, and oh my goodness I now totally get the final monologue in ways that never occurred to me before, and and and and...

Okay, I don't generally feel a pressing need to go back and re-direct shows -- Gross Indecency is not a play I'm likely to revisit, and while I wish I'd done a better job with Art, I don't care enough about the text to try that one again -- but oh my goodness Carthaginians, let me have another go at you someday. And I have a feeling that it'll resonate with me a lot more in, say, twenty years or so, when I've been through a bit more of life and come out on the other side like the characters have.

Anyway. I realize that none of you have the slightest idea what I'm talking about -- well, except for [livejournal.com profile] jptiger, for obvious reasons -- but just indulge my random burst of nostalgia here. Also, for the love of all that is holy, read some plays by Frank McGuinness, he is a criminally overlooked playwright outside of Ireland, it's a real shame. And I'm totally going to be using scenes from a couple of his other plays for my class, if only because I can be sure that no one else in the class will.
kaydeefalls: simon/kaylee giggling together (laughter (simon/kaylee))
I very nearly fell out of my chair laughing at this one.

Of course, the revolution in Les Mis failed, but let's ignore that part.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (snog!)
Thanks to Tropical Storm Hanna, who is currently swinging past the the DC area, my roof is now leaking. In three places. All of which are directly over my bed. Waking up on Saturday morning with wet feet: so not fun.

Stupid weather.

In unrelated news, the benefit of having a job in a theater? Many, many opportunities to see shows in other theaters for free or cheap. Like Thursday night, for example, when I got to see the dress rehearsal for Carrie Fisher's one-woman show "Wishful Drinking" at Arena Stage for free. Princess Leia! On stage! She was actually very, very funny, and had some fantastically bitter and witty stories about George Lucas and being haunted by Leia action figures for the rest of her life. I know she's been traveling this show around, so if it makes its way to your area, it's definitely worth seeing. Or if you're around DC in the next month, check it out.

...okay, seriously, NO NEW LEAK POINTS, please! I'm running out of large bowls.


Jun. 16th, 2008 01:56 am
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (gonna be your bruise)
Okay, I totally had a brain fart and forgot the Tony Awards were tonight. My bad. Not that I have a TV to watch them on anyway. But that's besides the point, the point being HOLY SHIT LIN IS NOW IN POSSESSION OF MULTIPLE TONYS.



Seriously, this is mind-bogglingly awesome. Lin! Has won Tonys! When I started high school, he was a senior. He was crazy popular and directed the school musical and had half the school in love with him, and I totally idolized him. Then when I was a senior myself, he was back as the new English/drama teacher, and he totally made my day by remembering me from when I was a wee thing (seriously, I was so excited about this, it was ridiculous), and then he was my faculty adviser on the first play I ever directed. And now he has won Tony Awards. Two of them. I just...oh, my god. This is unreal. He is living my dream.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (poor moritz)
I mean, West Wing DOES bring all my favorite theater actors at some point. Joanna Gleason, Lee Wilkoff, Oliver Platt, Anna Deveare Smith...yeah.

So "20 Hours In America" brings us not only Amy Adams, but JOHN GALLAGHER JR as the teenage kid who drives Donna/Josh/Toby part of the way.

For those of you who aren't total theater geeks, John Gallagher Jr (see icon) won a Tony award for best supporting actor in a musical last year as Moritz in "Spring Awakening".

Fandom collision of great personal glee!
kaydeefalls: chihiro/spirit sitting on train, text "and miles to go before i sleep" (miles to go)
Man, I do not know what's wrong with me today, but I just can't seem to wake up. And, y'know, it's already after 4pm, and I've been at work since 9am. I just completely lack energy, and all I've wanted since I dragged myself out of bed this morning was to go back to sleep. I'm supposed to go to the gym after work, and I need to make a grocery run as well. I wonder how much of that will actually happen. Seriously, I deeply resent the phone every time it rings, because that means I actually have to open my eyes. Not my day, apparently.

Oh! That tell-me-what-to-blog-about meme. I posted that last week. [livejournal.com profile] msilverstar asked: Which is your favorite Shakespeare play, and which is your favorite non-Shakespeare? and a little bit of why.

Okay, I kind of had a mini-rant boiling up about the tendency to sort all theater into "Shakespeare" and "everything else", which bothers me in all kinds of ways and is positively ENDEMIC in Anglo-American theater in particular, but that's neither here nor there. :) So anyway. I don't really know why, but Much Ado About Nothing remains my all-time favorite Shakespearean play. I certainly don't think it's his best, but my god, do I love Beatrice and Benedick to a degree that is truly stupid. Just. *flails* The witty banter! The intelligence and cynicism and sudden blossoming of love beyond all expectations! I think it's because I was exposed to the Kenneth Branagh film at a young age; come to think of it, that may well have been my very first exposure to Shakespeare in any form. Anyway. It fills me with glee.

In the VAST realm of plays-that-are-not-Shakespeare, I think...christ. This is just silly. I can barely decide what my favorite musical or my favorite Stoppard play or my favorite Victorian-era play or my favorite...well, you get the idea. Shakespeare wrote, what, 50 plays? And then I have to narrow all the rest of the plays ever written in the history of ever down to one choice? Do you see how this classification system is flawed? How about this: top play that I want to direct someday -- no, wait, there are at least ten on my current shortlist. Play that I could see fifty different stagings of without getting bored? That might narrow it down to fifteen or so. There's Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly, Frank McGuinness's Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Suzan-Lori Parks's Topdog/Underdog, Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest, Alan Bennet's The History Boys, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, Caryl Churchill's Cloud 9, Tom Murphy's A Whistle in the Dark, Marie Jones's Stones in his Pockets, Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, Marina Carr's By the Bog of Cats... This is just off the top of my head, I'm probably leaving out another twenty or so plays of awesomeness that I'll have to resist coming back and editing in. Dear god, this IS my career, you know? :)


Jan. 10th, 2008 10:46 pm
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (poland metaphor)
I am an elitist theater snob, especially when it comes to musical theater. I worship at the shrine of Stephen Sondheim and do my best to pretend that shows like "Starlight Express" and "Legally Blonde: the Musical" don't actually exist. I'm not an ABBA fan, and I try to turn a blind eye to the continued presence of "Mamma Mia!" on Broadway. The fact that there is a movie of said "Mamma Mia!" coming out makes me wrinkle my nose in vague distaste. The fact that it will have Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, and Pierce Brosnan in it, unfortunately, made me curious enough to watch the trailer, with the sort of fascination one might have observing a train wreck.

And that's where I screwed up, because people? This movie also has Dominic Cooper in it, a.k.a. The History Boys' Dakin.

Shirtless, wet, tanned Dakin.

I have to see this movie now.

Goddamnit. Only for you, Dakin, will I subject myself to two hours of bubblegum sentiments and ABBA.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (lying h0r)
house spoiler )

In theater news (are you sick of me yet?), the rehearsal staff's official Oklahoma OTP is now Laurey/Ado Annie. We were femmeslashing the female leads. In rehearsal. Including the two actresses. I love this show so much.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (spring awakening)
Spring Awakening for the win! *bops* And 8 out of 11 overall, not too shabby.

Also, how much do I love that they had to censor their Tony performance? Because that was kind of hilarious.
kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (and now for something completely differe)
I think I'm really going to like this paper, once I finish taking notes and actually start writing it. Machismo and the Western man, in Death of a Salesman, True West, and M. Butterfly. Lemme get my gender studies bitch ON.

Although, really, for the record, I absolutely despise Willy Loman. I have less sympathy for him every time I read this play, and I've read it a few times over the years. Ugh. Misogynistic lying delusional bully. Maybe I just need to see a really talented actor make him sympathetic, but on the page, he's a complete jackass.

Gah, last paper EVER. I cannot get over this, I just can't. I mean, I know I'm not suited for academia, but still.


kaydeefalls: blank with text: "white. a blank page or canvas. so many possibilities..." (Default)

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