You didn’t really think I’d let you off so easily with that previous post, did you? No, because let’s face it, I am pretty darned excited that our sketch class is putting on a show and it would be wrong of me not to share that. (No really, it would actually be wrong. I don’t know what you learned in Sunday school or at home or from the neighborhood kids, but this is the understanding I walked away with – not sharing = wrong. So, let’s make this RIGHT!)
I came into class on Tuesday a bit punchy. “Punchy” occurs after I have gone to a public forum to figure out what we’re doing for our first class by way of an advertisement, because I can’t get that information from my instructor. “Punchy” quickly devolves into loud “kvetching” when I’m not getting any sympathy, the class is starting a half hour late and anxious actors are standing around asking for more information. “I dunno, break out your smart phone and look at this advertisement.” “Kvetching” turns into “hissing” in a corner as it was quickly and silently determined that I shouldn’t be the spokesperson for the group.
Ok, all of that happened in my head while I wore my “I’m a civilized, approachable, and friendly human being” mask. I chatted up all of the nervous actors as they arrived. I shook hands, talked hobbies and told them what I knew about the show. I did manage to confuse one actor who thought that I was taking a sketch class, which I am, but she thought I meant I “sketched” with a pencil, maybe some charcoal, more than likely she envisioned a crayon since we’re talking me. I had to tell her that no, sadly I don’t sketch. I don’t even doodle, because my doodles are terrible which is a fairly tragic thing if you think about it – when a doodle can be considered an art travesty. A true but entirely different story for another time.
All-in-all we auditioned about 20 people. All of them were terrific. I do mean that quite sincerely. Sure, there were different levels of ability, but I saw great potential in every one of them. The hard part was choosing. You want to reward all of those people who did well, but then for me I also wanted to give those folks who didn’t have as much experience and who didn’t have the strongest audition a chance. I’m not so proud of my writing or my sketches that I would say, “I demand only the best! I will not be insulted by your high school drama/mime creds! BE GONE!” I just haven’t reached my sketch writing diva stage, yet (but when I do, I think I’ll don a cape, a feathery fascinator and insist on wearing gloves all the time – an image that clearly states “I’ve an artiste with an ‘e’”).
Each audition was held in small groups, so we could see the actors interact with each other. Something I thought was interesting and I’ve seen before in improv classes is how the energy changes based on the group mentality. For example, if one person decided to play over-the-top, it would infect the group and suddenly everyone was high energy, leaping out of chairs, and running around the room. It was almost as if that person gave the rest of the group permission to be big. With another group, they went small. They would test the waters for “big” and then when the rest of the group didn’t follow along or give permission for “big”, the group remained small. Another group became more physical – that actually almost turned into a “we need to intervene” moment.
No interpretation was more right than the other, just very different. The benefit was that it allowed us to see this particular sketch played out with so many different possibilities in terms of emotion and energy.
A piece of one of my sketches was read only once during the course of the auditions by two different actors. Each one read it a couple of times and each time gave it a different interpretation. It was thrilling to watch. And when it came down to choosing who we wanted, I admit I went with those two actors. In fact, of the whole night they were my favorites, which may show a complete bias on my part, but they wouldn’t be part of the cast if the rest of the class didn’t also agree.
Six of my eight cast picks were chosen, so I’m very happy with that outcome.
Next week we’ll start rehearsals, and then in August we’ll have a show that will run for four weeks. I’m excited.
I was told one of my sketches will be filmed as part of the show and then be shown as part of the show. I’ve tried to get people to bet me on whether that will actually happen. My bet is that it won’t. I tried to entice my friends by setting the stakes as “a nice dinner”. (A #1 Wendy’s combo WITH a salad and we eat INSIDE – I know! Heck, I’d throw in a Jr. Frosty! Who can resist? Ok, I kid. The stakes are for a real restaurant.) So far, none of my friends are willing to bet that the sketch will be filmed. Sure, it’s a sucker’s bet where I get a lot of free meals, but do they have to be so cynical? That’s my job.
I guess the mask is off. I’m still feeling a little punchy.