Yes, this is a theater site. Thus the focus should primarily be on entertainment and what not. However, there is little more entertaining drama than October baseball.
The Cards-Rangers sit tied as I type: 1 win apiece. The series heads to Arlington, TX with the momentum pendulum well in the Rangers’ favor. A series billed as an offensive explosion waiting to happen has featured pitching more than bats. Last night was no different. The home town team came up on the short end, but what drama getting there.
The starting pitching was very good. From innings 1-8, only a single run was scored. This run came off of the bat of pinch hitter Allen Craig. In the 9th, the fun began (for the bad guys).
The old baseball adage goes that it is a game of inches. I am not sure if I have ever seen that adage played out more than the top of the 9th inning in Game 2 of the 2011 World Series. Leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler bloops what looked to be a routine flyball in no man’s land. Usually, only ground balls are referred to as “seeing eye singles” but this was the exception. The outfielders were playing what is called “no doubles” defense…a little deeper than normal. Kinsler’s shallow pop gets him a ticket to first base. If Holliday or Jay were playing in one step (or less), that’s out number one….a game of inches.
Next up: Elvis Andrus. He was looking to bunt, but no need. Kinsler swiped 2nd off of Jason Motte’s slow delivery. The canon of Yadi was about an inch shy. The tag of Furcal, an inch shy…..a game of inches.
Andrus lines a single into RF off of the man who has been nearly unhittable for three months (Motte). Kinsler takes 3rd. Andrus nabs 2nd off of a misplay by the best player of the last decade (Albert Pujols). Had Albert’s glove been an inch closer to 3rd, Andrus stays on 1st….game of inches.
Eventually, both Kinsler and Andrus scored on sacrifice flies. The Cards couldn’t get the run back in the 9th and lost 2-1. That is awesome October drama in the game of inches.
This is the 3rd and final part of a description of how an actor might get from point A to point B with a character.
First, I explored the initial character analysis. I try to do this as early as possible in the process. However, remember that this is a process. Character analysis should be continuing until final curtain.
Second, we explored some of the early goings on of acting. Most notably, I discussed my process in regards to learning lines of dialogue.
Finally, we have reached “tech” week or “hell” week…whatever you want to call it. The character has been analyzed, the lines learned. You are now playing a character on stage and saying a bunch of lines.
I don’t think that adding bits and pieces to the character during the final week of rehearsal is necessarily advisable. However, I include this late in the run for a specific reason: it includes both rehearsal and performance processes.
During the first and second parts, we have figured out ways to identify the emotional, philosophical, and mental states of the character. We have found a casual, natural, and comfortable way to manipulate the dialogue to meet the demands of the show’s logistics and the character’s identity.
Now, we have to do it. We have to secure the character’s physical identity. We have to convince the audience that the movements are authentic.
This is an interesting step in the process. It is certainly the most superficial part of the process, but perhaps the most important. While the audience may not be able to FEEL the character’s emotion, they will be able to SEE his physical movement. Thus, extraordinarily superficial but also important. This is what makes Michael Keaton a crowd-pleaser (see: eye brow acting).
Now in this character, I have to start out as a lazy lawyer that turns into a go-getter. I start as nervous around certain characters (Jessep, courtroom), condescending towards others (Jo, Dawson), and too casual around others (Jack, Sam). Some physical subtleties can be integral in portraying the changes in behavior.
Arm Crossing: I start with a lot of arm crossing. This signifies a tightness and guarded nature (around Jessep and courtroom). It also shows condescending (Jo). As the show progresses, this should progressively subside.
Eye Contact: With Jo, this should increase as the show progresses, generally. Also, it should be uneven with Dawson and Jessep.
Feet and Hands: As emotions grow, the limbs will become more active. It happens in life. It should happen on stage. Kaffee has a flamboyant sureness about him that might be expressed through wild arm movement. This will be evident with the Jessep scene at the show’s climax and with Jo during a couple of different scene.
Other Physical Characteristics:
Drunkenness: I have to be drunk in one scene. This is a challenge since it comes directly after a non-drunk scene. Generally with a scene like that, I would actually do something offstage to reach a different state (ie-run around the building to get tired). This is not an option in this show. Really, I am not sure at this point how to reach the state. Wild arms and legs might come into play.
Tension: A few times, physical tension has to come into play. Another word for this might be overpowered. Being as tall as I am, it is hard to look defeated on stage. At times, Jo and Jessep defeat Kaffee. Little things like standing up or sitting down, moving upstage or downstage, or dropping the shoulders can help reach the emotional level that the actor is seeking.
These are just a few examples of how I plan to reach the character of Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men over the next couple of weeks. There are plenty of different ways to get there and everyone is different.
Hopefully, I can emotionally, philosophically, mentally, and physically accomplish my goals and get my message from point A (Me) to point B (The Audience).
*Musical versions available
Much Ado About Nothing
Father of the Bride
It’s a wonderful life*
Arsenic & old lace
A Christmas Carol*
The Philadelphia Story
Of mice and men
Inherit the Wind
Miracle on 34th Street
Death of a Salesman
On Golden Pond
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Little Mermaid
Back to the 80’s
Sound of Music
Nunset Boulevard (Nunsense Sequel)
Guys & Dolls
Little shop of horrors
Jesus Christ Superstar
Hank WIlliams Lost Highway
Ring of Fire (Johnny Cash)
Dear Prospective Director,
CCS is seeking directors for the 2012-2013 production season. Some adjustments have been made from years prior. They are listed below. The 2nd page is devoted to the actual application.
Dates have not been set for any of the shows. However, we will proceed with the usual time slots in mind. Although these are not necessarily set it stone, the general format to the season is as follows:
- July: Youth Musical (16 and under)
- August: Large Scale Musical
- September: Play or Musical
- October: Play or Musical
- December: Play or Musical
- February: Play or Musical
- April: Play or Musical
Additional Guidelines and Notes
- All directors must be CCS members. Non-members who show interest will have the opportunity to become members at any time before putting in for a show.
- All submissions must include a 2nd available time slot.
- The expanded stage space and backstage space at the Avon Theater allows (nearly) all shows to be performed within the theater. Large-scale musicals are included.
Previous Directorial Experience:
Issues experienced as a director:
Why should this show appear on the CCS stage?
Challenges that accompany this show:
This is the 2nd part of a three part series on my method of preparation leading up to the show A Few Good Men.
I think the best way to do a show would be never having to open up the script book. Let me elaborate. When we memorize lines, study lines, and practice lines, we are formulating a delivery and cadence that will become standardized. I try to do this with limitations. Ideally, we don’t want these lines to sound rehearsed. Obviously, rehearsal is a necessity. Therefore, I take a non-conforming approach that, while criticized, works for me.
I try to learn my lines not as written but rather as material to use for suggestion. I think the dialogue will be much more natural if not calculated word by word to spoon-feed the audience the writer’s message. This forces me to learn the meanings of each line rather than the words. If the president simply reads words off of a teleprompter, the audience can generally see that it is rehearsed, same old same old, political jargon….rhetoric. There is no authenticity to the dialogue.
Authenticity is the end game: the goal. On stage and in theater, we operate in a hypocritical nature. We want to portray authenticity, but we practice ad nauseum in a rehearsal setting. Thus, a synthetic performance is promoted.
Memorizing the meaning of the lines rather than the words also enables me to be malleable when necessary. If I forget the word that was supposed to come next in an exchange, hopefully my vocabulary allows for me to input a synonym with ease. Memorizing meaning rather than the words tends to leave less to chance and allows your brain to focus on different portions of the performance rather than scrambling for a word for word sequence.
Obviously, saying many of the lines word for word will happen by happenstance if nothing else. Great! Your fellow actors appreciate their cue lines.
Past the lines, I try to get into a character by reaching back through emotions in my own background. To me, this is definitely the most challenging part of acting: obtaining a character that not only the actor but the audience can feel and relate to. Buzz words abound…”understanding a character”. I wouldn’t necessarily call it nonsense, but it is a personal achievement that can often get lost on an audience.
More will be on this later….
Next up: Show Time
Character Analysis: The PRIDE Method
This methodology is certainly a work in progress. Not all of the letters of the acronym are all that useful, but acronyms are fun….thus, I use the acronym.
I am currently playing a role in the upcoming show A Few Good Men. I began to work on this character analysis shortly after being cast in the role. Hopefully, I have comprehended the part of Daniel Kaffee in a correct, useful, and understandable manner.
Personality (why do they say a line in a certain manner)
–Cynical about the US military: He does believe that the military exists to serve a certain function in terms of national security, but he is not necessarily sold on the methodology. Basically, Kaffee is not sure that the ends justifies the means.
–Sarcastic: His sarcastic, and sometimes condescending, behavior suggests a man that thinks too highly of himself.
–Guarded: His refusal of entering the courtroom and his initial intimidation from Jessep suggests a young lawyer that, although good professionally, is unsure of himself.
Conclusion: The character is an ironic dichotomy in and of himself. Although relatively smooth and fast-talking like a prototypical/stereotypical lawyer, Kaffee is rather guarded given his history of plea bargain and his father’s ghost.
Role (in the story)
–Protagonist….probably. Although he is defending 2 young men on murder charges (that may be right or wrong), he is also the primary antagonist against the US military
Conclusion: Each member of an audience will bring with them unique experiences. While a more liberal audience member might see Kaffee as a beacon of hope, a more conservative member might see him as the problem with society. In the end, he is a law man that is truly in search of right and wrong while maintaining his position as the defense attorney. In this particular case, it is hard to identify right and wrong similar to the Milgram Experiment. Kaffee knows this. He searches for truth in a muddled agenda that he struggles to comprehend.
Interaction (with other characters)
Jessep: There is a father/son dynamic that co-exists within the context of his father’s shadow. Eventually, he must face both the man (Jessep) and the ghost (his father…the courtroom)
Jo: She feels like an older sister to him that pushes him to do the dishes. He doesn’t want to admit that this older sister (whom he is more talented then) may be right from time to time. The older sister (Jo) convinces the younger brother (Danny) to stand up to the father (Jessep)
Sam: They are co-workers and drinking buddies. They have an emotionally detached relationship that must become emotionally attached in order to understand the case. While Sam knows Danny’s background, he would just as soon not discuss the demons of Danny’s past.
Dawson: Throughout, he sees Dawson as a weak-minded Marine that simply can’t think for himself. He sees little “honor” in this. It evolves into a respect for a man that values the code. While he doesn’t believe that Dawson is necessarily right in following the order, he has a devotion to Dawson. He also slowly gains a respect for the devotion Dawson has towards the Marine Corps.
Conclusion: Danny’s background as the son of a great man seems to creep up in many of his interactions. He talks about it at least once to 3 of the 4 characters above. The fear of Jessep symbolizes a fear of his past and . Jo knows this and imposes her opinion upon Danny. Sam tries to avoid the obvious conclusion. Dawson, while not directly mentioning Danny’s father, re-iterates that Danny is not a “great” man…whereas his father was. Upon the final act, Dawson salutes Danny showing that he has reached a level that dad would be proud of.
Development (growth, change, flat, round)
Although his cynicism is not entirely “healed”, Kaffee manages to adapt to the idea of honor, code, etc. When Dawson salutes him at the show’s conclusion, this is most evident. Kaffee has learned what honor means to him and attempts to further educate Dawson on the term ‘honor”
He gets past the haunting ghost of his father and the shadow of what must have been a great man. Stepping into the courtroom is exhibit A. Taking on Jessep is exhibit B. The dialogue where Kaffee tells Jessep to respect him and not call him “son” personifies this detail.
Conclusion: Daniel Kaffee is a dynamic character. He accepts his place as a Naval officer, albeit reluctantly. He has begun to understand not only the meaning of honor but fighting for a cause and justice. His father’s shadow no longer casts such a heavy load upon him. Kaffee begins to build his own shadow.
Emotion (background/history shaping behavior)
Father’s shadow and his opinion shapes much of the character’s emotion…makes him unsure of himself against the backdrop of high expectations
Conclusion: His ironic, sarcastic demeanor is a front for a soul stuck between fear and brilliance. If Daniel Kaffee can only escape from a shadow brought on by a great father, he could become a great man himself.
Communicating this message to the audience is the next challenge…