Monday, August 30, 2010

Mishelle~Wanderlust {said with a 'vuh'}

Children's stories are guttural, which is why they are typically made from the most base emotions and all the actions a human being is born with. The interest in the body, the soul the spirit the way we all have the same mechanical reactions and development no matter the location, the culture, the time of day, the country, the hair cut or color, we all got skinned knees. Which brings me to the greatest thing about playing a child in a play, or writing a child into a script: that culture, race, location all those affectations don't matter.

As children we have dreams. These dreams are about the amazing things we will do and places we will go as adults. Wanderlust. As adults we have dreams about all the things we could of done when we were children {but weren't we too meek and stupid! or bold and reckless!} less attached, less...intellectual. I'm not saying children aren't smart. If anything, they are more in touch with their true brains than we as adults are. But I am a believer in clear thought, and I find that our desire to tap into our childhoods again is a sort of mental pedophilia.

My childhood wanderlust was to have the freedom of an adult, so I could do, see, eat, drink, fuck things I could not then.
My adult wanderlust is to be a kid and be free from wanting/needing to do, see, eat, drink, fuck things I could not then.

Unfortunately neither is satisfying, unless we quantify them as so, but both come from such a different place in the body and mind that there is no possible way to truly rate our lives in such a manner as what time was better.

I find most actors approach being a kid on stage by being uninhibited and silly, unabashedly larger than life, with an unbalanced scale of life vs death. But I think, that being a kid is much simpler, it's constant contemplation. Puzzle solving and discovery. And how the base human responds to that venture, is the epitome of a child-like mind.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bil - A Cast is Born (Also, Check Out the Fringe Fest!)

It's been a couple of days, so please excuse the lateness of this blog post. Please do not think, however, that this diminishes the awesomeness and excitement...


Role call:
** Little Karl will be played with innocence and love by Judith Lesser
** Vati will be played with ice-cold beauty by Chad Shevland
** Conrad will be played with attitude by Bil Gaines (that's me!)
** Cry Baby will be played with heavy emotion by Rachel Martindale
** Cruel Paul will be played with cruelty by Jeremy Menekseoglu
** Romping Polly will be played with joyful wanderlust by Mishelle Apalategui
** Pauline will be played with kitties and gin by Anna Weiler
** Sigi Sleeplessness and Sigi Awakedness will be played with a delightful German accent by Annelise Lawson

This show will also feature cameo appearances by John Enright and The Great Tall Tailor.


Also, coming up shortly at the Dream Theatre itself, as well as other venues in the Pilsen neighborhood:


Put together in practically no time at all (considering how much work went into this thing) by the ever-talented Sarah Mikayla Brown and her incredible staff, this festival marks Chicago's entrance into the emerging history of fringe festivals across the continent.  And it comes with a bang – over 200 performances and events strewn across five days with artists coming in from all corners of the country, some pretentious and some insightful, but all interesting.  And if that's not enough, there will be Old Style beer to keep you sufficiently engaged.

Get. Your. Tickets. Now.

See you down in Pilsen!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bil - Meine Kleinie Katze

I've said it before and I'll say it again: YouTube is what separates this century from the last one.  Previously, in order to do some outside research on what German children are like to help prepare for the upcoming auditions for "Devilish Children & the Civilizing Process," I might have had to fly to Germany, find a children's park, and (at the risk of seeming to strangers around me like some sort of pedophile) sit and watch the kids.  Nowadays, I can get what I need without all those costly, creepy risks.  I can even do it at my day job.

To answer the question I know you are asking, this very first video you find when you search YouTube for "German children"...

My immediate reaction was to move on from this video.  I was actually hoping to see some movement, to help me move like a German child.  But after watching this the whole way through, I find it's probably even more beneficial.  For one thing, I get a sense of how German children sound, and that's probably going to help shape how I move.

But even more importantly, I get something that I know this play is going to need: whimsy.  Childlike innocence is one thing...but this focus, this profound appreciation for something we adults tend to throw away as "cute" and "meowdorable" is something that will help the actors take our play to a much more interesting level.  "Devilish Children" is a play about children interacting with other children, and the best thing we will do for our audiences is to help them feel like children, too.

We're going to need more YouTube before we're done...

Jeremy- 4 Rules for Acting: Higher, Lighter, Simpler and More Joyful

Higher: An understanding that art is art and non art is non art. The mind must be trained to know the difference!

Lighter: A character is an entity that you reach up into the heavens and enter. It is not the other way around under any circumstances. Bad actors should really use their magic “if” and ask themselves, “If it is true that the character is really me, what would this play be like if I was its inspiration?” Oh yes, Carl the Bastard, what I really want to see is you. When Shakespeare wrote Hamlet he had this dream: OH GOD! One day- hundreds of yeas from now- Carl the Bastard will be born! And then finally this script will make sense!

Simpler: Grand gesture. Ground gesture. The simplest detail of movement that projects your entire character to the audience and to yourself.

More Joyful: Theatre is clean, it is beautiful, it is filled with music and laughter and blood and murder and sex and love and terror and hope. It is a reason to love life, and like all love, it is evil when it is false. Evil, when it comes with tricks. Evil, when it’s the same worthless love thrown around again and again and again.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jeremy - The Thinking Voice

“The thinking voice”

For twenty-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents you can purchase a two-hour DVD on Haunted Actor Training. This two hour DVD goes through the dos and don’ts of acting. Basically it’s two hours of how to keep things simple and tone everything down so you don’t appear to be over acting or appear to be some kind of jackass. In this DVD you will learn such invaluable lessons as what to yell at a passing person to frighten them without being offensive. Never say for example, “I’ll kill you.” Instead say, “Get out!” Never say, “I’m gonna stick this knife into you and feast on your intestines.” Instead say, “Get out!” Never say, “You’re trapped… The exits are all far behind you… This box on the table is filled with corpses of children… Take a peek; I’ll stand over here. Don’t worry; I’m way over here… Next to the light switch…” Say “Get out.” Oh, and make sure your Get Out is simple. There will be no, “Get out you assholes,” or “Get out mother fucker!” That is not appropriate. (Smile.)

The thinking voice

The concept of the thinking voice had been around since the threshing circles, but had never been fully understood until the birth of radio theatre. The microphone did not allow ninety eight percent of an actor’s technique. Tricks of up-thrust bosom or hip-waggle, or smirk, or belch, or eyebrow waggle couldn't help; the blind microphone revealed only the characterization portrayed by the thinking voice.

The thinking voice

Theatre dies you know. It dies over and over again. And its rebirth is usually not beautiful. It is not like a phoenix, dieing in an explosion of heat and brilliance, letting itself fizzle while knowing that no matter what it will live again. It will blaze again. No… Unfortunately it’s more like a failed science experiment that no matter how many times you think you put all the right chemicals in, you still blow up the room. In this case the theatre is not so much reborn as a new group of scientists come in and say, “Hmm… That time it blew up the room… Strange… Oh well, let’s try it again. No, don’t fuck with the formula, it say right here how to make it.” Boom…

The thinking voice

The belief that the Audience is stupid has never been written down in any books on acting as far as I know. It is spoken aloud though. It is a concept that helps… Somebody… I’ve never been able to figure that one out. I’ve been backstage when the words are spoken, usually like this: “The Audience just doesn’t get it. So fuck ‘em. Tonight we do the show for us!” But as far back as I can remember I never really knew what that meant. The DVD talks about the Audience. It doesn’t call them stupid, it calls them drunk, rude, and then stupid. A Haunted Actor it seems has the worst Audience of all of us. At least when we’re in the middle of Our Town someone doesn’t walk up to you a shout “Oh bullshit- like I’m so scared,” and in the dark cop a feel of Emily’s breasts. (I’ve lost my train of thought… Oh yeah…) Of course the Audience is not stupid. The Audience is only bored. The Audience has only stopped listening. The Audience has gotten lost because he already knows how the play ends and doesn’t really like the monologue that you’re gushing at the moment.  The Audience is upset. The Audience is intelligent and yet has somehow been forced into the worst role of the play… (I’ve lost my train of thought again…)

The thinking voice

How do we express ourselves only with our voice? How do we use the thinking voice? What techniques must we master in order to reap the benefits of the thinking voice? What are the benefits? Are you serious? Really? Okay… Imagine a world where less is less. Imagine a world where tone and articulation and projection are beneficial to the actor. Imagine a world where it is just as important that the Audience understands you as well as hears you. Imagine a world of incredible acting where the thinking voice leads you in one direction as the thinking body moves in another. Imagine a world where we our dreams can be properly expressed through words instead of only feelings. Imagine an actor who thinks through the words he is speaking and uses every moment to express himself instead of crap shooting his lines against a wall. Imagine the sounds of love and not just the sight of it…

Oh… And I bought the DVD… Party at my place?


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bil Gaines: A Blog is Born

Attention blogosphere: you are entering a world of pain. This here blog is going to steal all your brainpower and recycle it into the collective consciousness of human existence.

That's right.

Dream Theatre Company now has a blog.  And it kicks ass.

And it's not just one person blogging.  It'll be a collective effort from the cast and crew of our upcoming or current production (depending on whether we're in rehearsals or running a show).

Hot on the heels of the completion of the Agon Trilogy, Dream Theatre is preparing for the biggest, craziest, bloodiest children's show you've ever seen.  You thought you liked the blue blood spilling out of Company Member Rachel Martindale in "Electra?"  Jumped at the red blood sprayed into the face of Company Member Anna Weiler in "Orestes?"

Just wait until you see what color comes out of the German children in "Devilish Children & the Civilizing Process."

...Actually, it'll probably be red, just like in "Orestes."  But there will be much more of it.

This is a cautionary blog, friends.  It's a show about cautionary tales.  Take caution, it might frighten you into being a good person.

Auditions for this show are coming up next week, on August 25th, with callbacks on the 26th.  Check out the website for more info!