Sunday, 15 May 2011

Visualize to realize

I was delighted with the turn out for the Once Bitten talk night. My enthusiasm transferred into an energetic presentation that got me more compliments than any show I've performed in! The great news is how many people are now talking about the show and have a passion to be in it and have a leading part.

My focus is casting the show correctly or to use a business analogy - get the right people on the bus and in the right seats. This is a common challenge for many businesses and is equally important in a show. We are one week away from the Once Bitten auditions and already we've heard some great performances in practise. I was giving a friend some private help earlier this week and after running the scene about ten times we built the performance from no understanding or character to a performance fit for the stage!

The key to any good audition and show is preparation and ensuring you have visualized the end result. I asked my friend to picture how the character stands and we built it from there. Again and again and again ensuring there was some feedback each time. I am listening to the show songs on repeat at the moment as I visualize in my head how the song will look including the vivid colours and shadows cast on the stage. Only once I've visualized can I build a plan for the set and how to direct the company.

Once my visualization has reached its crescendo I shall move onto the practicalities. Eventually after lots of hard work by lots of people we all realize the reality as all the constituent parts are put together for opening night. I shall likely write on this synergy at a later date. Sitting at home the show process reminds me of designing and building a new car.

The actors and actresses who want to be one of the leading parts (perhaps the gear system) should have visualized how many gears the car should have? How does the gear stick look? Is it sporty or classic? The important thing is to understand what is expected of the gear system, practise building it and test it before finally executing the end result with confidence. If it doesn't work then be safe in the knowledge you can learn from it and try again.

If you have chosen to audition for Once Bitten then I have three simple pieces of advice:
1) Make a character decision and fully commit to it
2) Repetition is crucial - so practise and get feedback on what you are doing
3) It's only a show. I've had most fun being in the chorus! Don't let nerves defeat you. We all forgive mistakes so walk in and use your nervous energy and mix it with confidence to produce an enjoyable performance. Ella Fitzgerald once famously said when asked how she sings so well that God forgives a bum note - well so do audition panels.

Enough typing. I need to disappear into my minds eye and see how our leading lady Bella transitions from shy to sassy during the song 'My lips are on fire' - I am sure this will conjure many interesting and possibly controversial images ;-)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

It all starts with the sell

Many months ago Richard and I embarked on a journey to rewrite his 10 year old Vampire musical Once Bitten and get our local dramatics society SMAOS to perform it. It shoots many yards wide of being a Twilight or a True Blood. It chews them up and spits in there face in a truly unapologetic British way. Enough on that though I'll save it for another day. I am going to use the power of blogs to tell my story as we take this new fangtastic show through the casting, rehearsing, tweaking and finally staging.

The show is written (some lib and music tweaks remain) and tomorrow night I face an audience of around 50 people as I present the show and effectively persuade them to be in it and audition for a lead role.

This is my third late night in a row as I've finished my day job and worked through the evening on tasks needed to get this new show on the road. In the past few days I've rehearsed the plot with a friend, recorded some vocals for the demo tracks, produced a PowerPoint presentation, read the script and chosen audition pieces, selected photos of potential costumes and built a fully functioning website with all the required content!

There are simply too many things to list that writing and directing a show entail. Being a director of a new show is akin to being the leader of business. Today I put on the hat of web developer, yesterday it was script editor and tomorrow it will be salesman.

I am ready to goto bed now and will lie restless with anticipation of what lies in store. I feel well prepared and that accompanied with my energy and enthusiasm are (I hope) enough to get everyone on board for one of the most exciting projects and adventures of mine and there life.