Saturday, February 27, 2010

Life of a SLACer

So this weekend I saw Salt Lake Acting Company's production of Too Much Memory. Before I rant and rave about what I saw, I want to talk a little bit about how amazing this place is in genreal. So let's back it up a little and go back in time to a magical place called last semester in Acting 2.

This man, Chris Clark, had our class buy tickets to this random little theatre in Salt Lake. I had no clue what it was, but I was pretty happy because this place charges 50$ and over for season tickets, and we were getting them for around 30$.  What's not to enjoy? So with tickets in hand I go to this building:

Its a nice little place, but considering it used to be a church Im thinking of gym floors and cultural halls. Well, I walk in and the first thing that happens is one of the head hanchos of this place takes us around to check out the theatre. She shows us a little cafe with yummy food and the place is covered with photos and paintings by local artists. So far I am very pleased and we havent even gotten into the actual performance space yet. When we finally did wander in there, (and yes, we did wander in since they just let everyone float around the place) I am greeted with this remarkable set:

It really looks like it goes on forever, doesnt it? And its so brillaintly set. I suddenly knew that this show was going to be something special. Then the show started and I realized something else for the first time.


Really though, it's true. The man is a genius, and this theatre is genius for pulling it off so well in an area where everone else in the world is doing 7 Brides for 7 Brothers for the umpteenth time. Anyways, the show is amazing, the set is amazing, and the actors are amazing. Particularly the actor Daniel Beecher as pictured below.

It was great.

So, thinking it was maybe a one time thing, I go to this place once again. To go see a show called Masterclass. 
Once again, it was amazing.

So I once again start getting excited as this week rolls around and I get ready to see the newest show, Too Much Memory, which is a modern retelling of the story of Antigone. I had just gotten back from KCACTF for a competition and was excited at the idea of seeing an actual theatre company perform and not a university. Don't get me wrong, Anton's Uncle and Tea were the best shows ever, but it's nice to see professional actors doing their thing on stage like at SLAC. 

So, I sit down in my chair, staring at another beautifully simplistic set and begin watching as the actors begin warming up on stage, making a square around the space with tape, and talking to the audience. This proved to be the overall feel of the show, and with only the exception of the chorus character, it worked very well.  In fact, the whole show was overall a great one.  In fact, the whole point of this entry is to say how much I love this theatre. SLAC is the best around. They're my new homeboys. End Scene.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Universal Tongue of Movement

I recently returned from the KCACTF theatre conference in St. George. It was a great learning experience and I had a great time. I thought I would write a little bit about things I've learned while there. 

  • My school is awesome. We may not have won all the competitions, but our school had some of the most honest and natural actors I saw that week. Our teachers are doing well. Very well.
  • I am awesome. I know that sounds a little pigheaded of me, but its true. I learned some great things while I was there about strengths that I never knew I had. I will always be on the path of learning and progressing, but whenever an obstacle gets in my way, I'll overcome it. And if I don't right away, I will later. It's empowering to know that about oneself.
  • Winning is not the final goal. There was so much to learn from this aside from the competition alone. Some of these lessons I'm only learning now, which is why I've edited this post. We learn, we grow, and we move on a little wiser.
  •  Earplugs are truly a godsend. I was in a room full of snorers. I admit, I do too. I wont deny it. But I cant hear myself do it. I will never go anywhere without earplugs again. Thank you Levi.
I also want to take some time to write about shows that have changed the way I see my craft. I had the chance to see a show called Anton's Uncles while I was at KCACTF. It was phenomenal. It was a movement piece based on Chekov's Uncle Vanya. It was so fascinating to see how they used movement to convey the actors emotions. It wasn't just for spectacle. Everything they did had a purpose. Everything they did seemed like an outward execution of how these people felt inside. It was beyond words. In thinking of the show, I looked back on some of my other favorite shows. They all are my favorites for that same reasoning. That type of theatre connects with me in a very personal way. Here are some photos and clips from some of my favorites:

Another Picture of Anton's Uncles. It was performed by Theatre Movement Bazaar.

This is a still from Death of a Salesman by a New York based company called Theatre Mitu. I dont cry easily, especially when watching film or theatre, but I was an emotional mess after this show. 

This last picture was from a performance by the Montreal based circus troupe Cirque Eloize. It called Nebbia, the Italian word for Fog. I saw Cirque du Soleil shortly afterwards, but this show is the one that really touched me. So much was conveyed even though very little was spoken. 

I think the reason I loved these shows so much is because I didnt need to rely only on words to understand. There is something so noble and basic about the way our bodies move. It tells so much. I hope one day to be able to control my body in that way. I want to be able to craft stories that everyone, no matter the age, race, gender, or religion can relate to. I want to speak the universal tongue of movement.