Waiting for the Ink to Dry

A series of journals describing the day in the life of Kelley Bright, an aspiring actress, director, writer and all around artist. Hiding and, more often, displaying unbecoming emotions at the most poignant times is my specialty. This should be interesting...

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Adaptations...

Alright, I don’t want to forget my process- so I wrote it down.

Okay. So the new adaptation project thing was interesting. Poetry is stupid. I think it is a bunch of messed up people making up a form of writing with no rules, stupid free spirits... Anyway, the point is we had to pick a poem from a list and adapt it. At first, I was like golden, we can do it. And then I saw the selection. I only understood three of the 8 poems or whatever (I am sure, if I took the time with the others… but who has time anymore). So that pretty much narrowed down the scope for me. I only related to two of them. It became a 50/50 chance for success.

So I had the whole first page to work with: Chartless, the Psalm, and Old Poem. I began reading each one, emphasizing different words because I am a dialogue girl. When that was beginning to produce fruit, I began to walk around reading each of them. This became interesting.

For the Old Poem, I felt like I needed to be in heels. It seemed to me to be a very feminine poem, maybe because it is about love. So as I read, I did a lot of womanly mannerisms. The poem, at least what I got- it’s all subjective- is about being suffocated by too much “love.” It was about getting love in all the wrong places, and being so far away from anything that resembles love that she could never taste it. This theme, along with the womanly gestures gave me the idea of a prostitute, selling “love,” and having or getting so much, but never being able to really love. It could really work for an adaptation; at least, I thought it could.

The excerpt from the Bible was interesting. I have heard it so many times that I just kind of write it off. When I walked with this poem, I basically did what it said, “you lead me,” “walk through the...,” and “lie down in green pastures.” I just wasn’t feeling it. To be honest, I just thought about the stuff I could do with it, the workable possibilities. The process was lacking. I came up with a kid waking up from a nightmare, getting up, obviously distraught, and then going back to bed, finally finding peace. I don’t know. I struggled with this whole project.

Finally the poem I used, Chartless. I was surprised that I liked this poem because most of Emily Dickinson’s stuff is morbid/death oriented. I just don’t dig that stuff. I read it, and automatically got it. To me the poem said, “I am Kelley. I can’t do math. I am no good at sports, save tennis. I can’t dance. I can’t look at a spider without crying. But God loves me, and its all okay.” It also reminded me of a few lines from a Christian Rap song by DC Talk. It says something like I may not be able to see God but I know he is there. It’s like the wind; I can’t see the wind but I can feel the effects of it. I think the second thought was more poignant that the first. When I read it, I was in my garage. My mom’s car was there, so I didn’t really have a lot of work space. There were piles to my left and right. When I read it out loud and walked around, it took a long time. It felt like I was going through a maze. I took the ideas from my reading, and then the movements and meshed them together, which is how I got the finished product. I took the idea of life’s obstacles (not being able to do math), the idea of being loved by God, and then the line from the poem about being able to find heaven with a map and did it. The heart was symbolic of God (you know God=love). I walked through a maze of obstacles, and I knew exactly where I was going to find God/love. I don’t think I need to connect anymore dots.

The feed back I got was good. I was surprised it turned out as well as it did because I was expecting to be doing this in the auditorium. There was less to work with, and more people than I anticipated. I liked the way the piece didn’t make sense until the very end for some people. I think the ah-ha moment did something. What I hoped to get across was that I wasn’t being a character. I wanted it to be me because religion is personal, and God is personal. It worked better than I had anticipated.

The thing I can’t seem to wrap my brain around is the conflicting feedback between Weber and Sean. One said, everything but the beginning was sincere, the other said the exact opposite. I think I struggle with what sincere is. I think one used it as a believable character, and the other used it as a reflection of my movements- being careless rather that purposeful. I wasn’t trying to be a character, so I don’t know how to take Weber’s comment. I think it might be that I didn’t take a long enough moment before to start. I could be wrong. I could have been acting as someone else. It is hard to be natural with everyone watching. If I assume that sincere was meant in regard to my movements, I need to change something. I need it to be purposeful, as if I know where I am going. I just… don’t know what to do about that note or if I should do anything at all. And if I do need to change that, then how because I thought I was doing that anyway.

I am glad I choose the one I did. It was very me in the end. And it was fun. It was a fun process (for this one, not the others). It was also a super fun adaptation. That whole where is she going, where is the heart, she is smiling, come take a journey with me thing made it fun for me and I hope the audience.

It was interesting to see the direction that Nick took. We did the same poem and our adaptations were so similar but so opposite. They both had similar themes. I thought it may have been because I am so religious. I would like to know why his was so serious and mine wasn’t.

Anyway, now I won’t forget.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Totally One Acts

Okay, so today is the first day I have spent some alone time at home in my room doing my homework in a long time. I am really going to fill whoever reads this stupid blog (Sean and Nick) in on what is going on in my One Act. From day one to where I am at today, I am just going to pound it out. Be prepared for a long read.
I chose this one act because it suits me. I am a John Wayne girl. I am a John Proctor freak. I believe in the good guy who makes bad decisions, but at the end of the day he wants to do the right thing. I love the moral dilemma. Some people like to see car chases or drawn out battle scene, but I just like to see the good guy make a hard, but honest decision. That is exactly what my one act gave me. The interesting little pinch in Two Éclairs is that you love the discoursed man through the eyes of the woman who loves him. It would seem that this perspective isn’t ideal, that I would need more man. But the leading lady in the show is so exuberant- so happy and content, fairy tale even, it adds everything. And as a woman, the story becomes more relatable. The hard part of the show is getting the audience to feel about the leading man how I feel about him. I love him, but am disappointed in him. I am totally up for the challenge though. I really believe I can do it, and I believe Jaylon can get there. Once again… Sonya has it down. My only apprehension with her is that struggles with the more dramatic aspects of the show. But she has so much potential.
Casting was the easy part, which is funny because I think all of the directors got who they wanted. It was just the way the cookie crumbled. I’ve already described the process in an earlier blog. The main thing for me was emotions, not so much reading. Once again, I am a girl; I relate to feelings. Eric, who I was seriously considering, gave me good lines. Jaylon wasn’t at all. When I made the two of them have sort of a “feel off,” Jaylon astounded me. At this age, I don’t think cold reads work. I am so glad I had them improve emotions because I really believe I ended up with a perfect cast because of it. I feel like I did something smart. I could have ended up with a good cast, and a good show. But I feel now that I have a great show and great cast.
Tech wise I have no clue where to start. Let’s be honest, lights and sets are beyond me. I really am trying to learn though. I have a basic, simple idea of the set, but I think I need some help from an experienced person. The more I think about it, the more frustrated I become. It seems like a math-y skill that I just don’t have. I know I want a table, with four chairs, maybe only two, defiantly NOT three. I also want a designated work space. I want a semi-large platform for the leading man’s, mark’s, artist area. This is where the airplane wing and maybe an easel will be. I want everything to be bright. I want the room to glow. I need to have a door that leads from the outside to the apartment; I think I want to put it in the far upstage center, and move the legs in to make the space smaller. I also need another exit to the bedroom. I just don’t want things to look funny. I need to talk to someone about this.
Music wise I am good. The play revolves around the two éclairs and the flying dream, more so the dream. I want to open the show with Mr. Sandman, the original version. How awesome would it be hear bum bum bum bum bum bum bad a bum bum bum ba da? SO GREAT. At the end of the show, I’d like to find a more punk, maybe male version of the same song, either that or a more melancholy version. The thing is the play ends hopefully. I don’t want to give the wrong impression to the audience. Tread lightly.
Lighting… I don’t think I have too much say because of the intricate lighting of the other shows, but I know I want it bright. I am going to talk to Jerry.
I schedule a first rehearsal for last Monday. Jaylon called me that morning and told me he couldn’t come. It was totally okay. We have plenty of time. I would like to get the ball rolling soon though. Sonya is going out of town tomorrow, so there isn’t much I can do until next week when she gets back. It looks like I won’t be able to rehearse for at least two weeks though because my life is going to Hades in a hand basket quickly when it comes to time. I did pass out some scripts though, and I know Jaylon has been working on lines. He asked me for some delivery help a few days ago. That really excites me.
I have given a lot of thought to costumes. Sonya’s character, Maude, is fluffy, excited, exuberant, but she is professional. She is coming home from work, which means she can’t be in casual clothes. Because of her flying dream, the integral part of the script, I need her to look like her personality. I thought I should put her in a white business suit with baby blue undershirt, shoes, and accessories. White and blue equals clouds, she’ll look like the sky. I love it, because it is happy and joyful and it illustrates the dream. Michelle’s character, Beth, is the little college age sister, and essentially the antagonist so I want to put her in blacks, and grays, stormy colors. But I want her to not be her- dark make-up, leggings, black jacket, and random band shirt. Jaylon is a not-working artist- enough said. To be honest, dressing men is a little foreign to me so I have a little more research to do before I announce that.
When we get to blocking, which won’t be for a while because I want to do a lot of table work, I am feeling semi-confidant. I took a stab at it with A Midsummer Night’s Dream when Sean was gone one day, and I know that way I operate. I know what I want. I think I did a pretty decent job, and I know what I would need to improve on. I couldn’t really describe how I do it… but I think it’s a little similar to Sean’s method. At least in the basics.
Alright, I think I am done now. I just didn’t want my cast to be gypped, especially if they saw what Nick Jackson is doing with his blog. Hopefully, that gives you a little more of a sense of my artistic vision. I am tired. Bye.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

South Philly One Acts

I feel bad. I love having a cast that is excited to start work on the show; I really do. Jaylon is so on top of it. He even called me today to ask about when the first rehearsal was going to be. It is so great. But I just haven't had any time to plan anything. My schedule is so full with the Philly story that it is so hard to function. I mean it. I don't get out of there until about 6:15, 6:30 every week day, which is fine. But now with the Mr. Panther stuff, One Act crap, and the growing worship leading responsibilty, I don't get to go home until 10:00 at night or later. I am not complaining; I function best under chaos, but I feel like a flake to my poor cast. This weekend I am going to get my act together. Really, I promise. Good news is I have done a lot of tech work.
Anyone have any ideas about making a large model airplane wing for my set?
So... the Philly Story.... What can I say? I get to kiss Nick Jackson... multiple times. What else can I say about it?
Actually, it has been going really well. At least, I think it is.
South Pacific read throughs have been fun. At least for me they have. I have come to the conclusion that the reason why I like the audition process is because I am super competitive, most girls are. I like the whole look around the room see the players, jab to the left feeling about it. I think that is why I like my bowling class better than I did dance. Dance was all frill. I need the spit in your face competition.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Call backs for the One Acts was... Interesting. I was so sure about my cast. I knew Sonya was going to do a beautiful job with the leading lady in my show. She was ridiculously perfect everything she read. It made my job easy. The first day of auditions, Jaylon tried out, and he did a great job with his monologue. I really liked what I saw. The second day, more men auditioned. I really seriously began to look at Eric Redman for the leading role. He didn't prepare a monologue, but his cold read was really good.
This is what got me: I saw what Jaylon could do when he prepared something, and it was really good. But Eric had good instincts and I could tell I could get him where he needed to be. I really wish that EVERYONE had prepared a monologue. Having either/or was really frustrating to me. After both days of auditions, I felt that Eric would be the best man for the play. I called both of them back, though.
Alright, so on Thursday, I take my "ideal" cast of Sonya and Eric back, I have them both read together. He did a good job. And of course Sonya was amazing. He had a decent read through. Then I took Jaylon and him read the same thing. His cold read was not working. Some people are just not natural at it, and I could tell he was struggling.
I didn't want to just write him off, because I knew what he was capable of. So I had both of them put down their scripts, and I gave Jaylon different directions like yell at Sonya for doing something stupid, tell her to get out, it's your first date, or its your first x-mas morning as a married couple, ect. He blew me out of the water. It was amazing. He had the right emotions, and proved that he understood the script and the character. I was floored. It came from no where. I was so jazzed.
I called Eric back and had him do the same thing, but he didn't have enough passion. When he yelled, his voice got strangled in the back of his throat. He did a decent job, but the masculinity of Jaylon and his fervor was totally incomparable.
I ended up casting Sonya (duh!) and Jaylon (double duh!). The sister, Beth, will be Michelle Lopez, mainly because of the image. She looks related to Sonya, and she is capable of acting the part well. All in%