Friday, July 23

Understudy Rehearsals

The excitement of opening has past and now we are in it for the long haul here at the Utah Shakespearean Festival.  The weeks after opening aren't as calm as you might think as we have understudy rehearsals for all of the shows as well as fittings to make sure the understudies have costumes.  

What is an understudy, you ask?  Well each role in each show has to have a person to cover it in case the actual actor gets sick or hurt or has some other emergency that prevents them from being in the show.  Our understudies are (for the most part) already acting at the Festival.  They have to learn these additional parts (usually larger roles OR several smaller roles) in case they are needed to step in. 

We have been rehearsing the understudies for the last two weeks.  My rehearsals are just about done.  I have a couple of music and dance rehearsals left and one more hour of onstage rehearsal for the big court scene in Merchant of Venice. 

Now, one might think "oh this probably goes fast because the actors are already in the show and they know the blocking."  WRONG!  The actors have been concentrating on their OWN blocking while in the shows and may not even be in the scenes with the character they are understudying. 

... Did I mention these same actors are also participating in Camp Shakespeare, doing publicity things, Curtain Call luncheons, etc?  Yeah, we all keep very busy here over the summer.  Needless to say conflicts arise and the ladies who do all of our scheduling have a hard time making it all work.   Luckily for us, our scheduling Stage Managers are super awesome and they make it work.

I am looking forward to being done with understudies.  I know the actors, costumers and crew are ready for this to end too.  But we all recognize the importance of having understudies and understudy rehearsals.  After all, the show must go on.

On a personal note... my hubby and puppy are visiting this week!  It is so nice to have them here when I get home from work. Husband Matt has seen Merchant of Venice and will see Much Ado this week.  Next week we will squeeze in "Mackers" as we USFers affectionately call MacBeth.  We have also been to Zion (we hiked the Narrows), Cedar Breaks, Brian Head, Panguitch Lake and the Petroglyphs.   It's always so much fun to explore out here and even better to do it with someone you love.

Thursday, July 15

We have opened!

I am back at the Utah Shakespearean Festival this summer. Rehearsals/build were very challenging, but we have opened and the shows are getting rave reviews! (Well mostly, and those that aren't are picking up steam and I am confident their critics will be raving soon enough!)
(Emily Trask as Portia, Chelsea Steverson as Nerissa, Tony Amendola as Shylock, Ryan Imhoff as Gratianio, Grant Goodman as Bassanio and Gary Neal Johnson as Antonio - - Photo by Karl Hugh USF 2010 ©)

I have Much Ado about Nothing and The Merchant of Venice. Both shows I have done before, both have their own challenges.  I really like both of my shows.  Really.  I realized over the course of rehearsals that this is my 7th time doing Much Ado!!! Only my second for Merchant.  Yes, I like old Willy (fine, Mr. William Shakespeare if you must)  enough to do his plays over and over and over. I really do!

This summer I have two Shakespeare's.  I have never done this track before and will probably never do again!!! Having two giant shows in the outdoor theater is the hardest thing I have ever done... and I have done quite a bit, thankyouverymuch! I have a cast of 21 and a cast of 24 actors to shepherd through this journey.  It wasn't easy but luckily for me I have great casts and fantastic crews.

For those of you who are new to this blog... (as if anyone reads this - - ok, ok I know at least ONE person reads it AND thank you for that, Mr. Vice President!!)...

I am a Stage Manager.  I make sure the play happens.  I call the light and sound cues as well as keep the actors on track and make sure the artistic vision of the director and designers is maintained. I flip the cue lights that make the actors enter on time and do a lot of other Manager-type stuff to keep my two shows running smoothly.  (Reminder: We have six main stage shows and two Greenshows so I am one of a tribe of Stage Managers) My job is not easy but it is really fun if you like to be organized and in charge.

Ummm... yeah... I like both of those things....

More to come. I was accosted by a "fan" on opening last week for not keeping up the old bloggy so I wanted to bang one out.

Click here to go to the Utah Shakespearean Festival web site

If you have any reason to be in Cedar City, Utah this summer, you will be horribly remiss if you do not at least see one show at the Festival.  HORRIBLY.

 (Matt Tallman as Claudio, David Ivers as Benedick, Gary Neal Johnson as Don Pedro, Robert Ramirez as Leonato - - Photo by Karl Hugh USF 2010 ©)