Posted by: Rodney Robbins (January 15, 2010)
Inside my head is one very pissed off character! He's a character in my new play and has good reasons to be angry, but why does all that old anger come out today, or at lunch or when someone says hello? Understanding the roots of anger can help a playwright create more vivid, realistic and consistent characters. Understanding the roots of anger can help actors be more convincing on stage. Here is what I learned.
Anger is a perfectly normal, rational and vital emotion. We need it to survive physical attack and to maintain both social justice and our rank in the pack. We need anger to turn on automatically when we are in danger of being killed by criminals, alien robots and storms. We can only survive in human society when anger is automatically triggered to fight against being treated unfairly or in the face of an innocent being hurt or abused. The tricky bit is when anger appears to be triggered by smaller, less important events.
Someone says hello and your character gets angry. Why? Maybe the person saying hello has ALREADY threatened your character's job, car, body, livelyhood or something else your character needs to survive. Perhaps your character already feels physically threatened due to illness, a recent car accident, the death of a loved one or some as yet to be revealed horrible secret!
Your character gets unusually angry when another character tells him of the hot date he had last night. Perhaps your character knows the other guy's wife, or the girl, or that the other guy has fleas, or HE wishes HE was having some fun for once. Your character is angry because, "It's just not fair!"
I'm using these tools in scenes I'm writing this week. How could you apply them to your professional life?
Posted by: Rodney Robbins (January 13, 2010)
I'm about as pro-gun a guy as you are likely to meet in the theater. I've competed in, or at least tried, almost every gun sport there is from action shooting, to high powered rifles, to trap and skeet. I've been an NRA certified instructor and literally taught people how to carry guns in public and shoot guns in self defense. Despite all that, I won't allow real guns to be used in my plays and won't work on any play that allows real guns to be used on stage--even with blanks!
I'm from North Carolina where Brandon Lee was killed by a "prop gun" on a movie set. I just watched a horrible video from Florida about a community theater director who shot his friend and lead actor in the head with an "empty gun."
Let me tell you the one secret that all Gun People know: All guns are always loaded!
If you have a real gun on stage, someone WILL point it at another human being and pull the trigger. I absolutely guarantee it. I'll tell you something else; people are killed every year by "empty guns."
There is absolutely NO reason to ever carry, use or display a real gun, or a blank firing gun, on stage. There are plenty of prop guns out there that look real but will not chamber or fire any bullet. Many theaters have a sound effects library and they've all got two pieces of wood they can slap together. The dramatic or comic effect of a gunshot can be easily and safely created by special effects without the risk of anyone getting shot by an "empty" weapon or loosing their hearing from a gun that "only fires blanks."
If you want to play with guns, take a glass and go to the gun range. If you want to run a safe set, never allow them on your stage.
Posted by: Cindy Ripley (January 12, 2010)
You know that incredible buzz of enthusiasm that everyone shares at a live performance of an exceptional performer? For some of you that might have been The Beatles,Billy Joel, Liza, Elton, Patti or Lady Gaga! (Must admit my heart was pounding as I was 2 feet from Hugh Jackman a few weeks ago). Imagine that enthusiasm fueled by 1600 kids who are PUMPED about musical theatre and ready to share performances with adjudicators and kids alike in Atlanta this weekend. Ahh, the Junior Theatre Festival...definitely must be on you "bucket list" if you haven't been- simply as an attendee, or with students. iTheatrics, MTI, kids, teachers, Steven Schwartz, Seth Rudetsky, kids, fun, theater, kids, Radio Disney, showspace, celebrities, parents, surprises, get-togethers, "Annie" at the Fox, and did I mention kids? Also the chance to be the first to see the about to be released Broadway jr. and Kids productions...Flat Stanley, Aladdin Kids, HSM 2, and more. What a fantastic opportunity to decide on a new show..with feedback no less! HOPE TO SEE SOME OF YOU THERE.....and hope some of you will think about next year. Next blog post....choosing your show. I think I am more excited than the kids?? EEKS! CR
Posted by: Caty B (January 1, 2010)
Speaking of colleges, my Boston Conservatory audition is quickly approaching. I'm a bit nervous for the dance portion because A) I am not a dancer and B) I'll be auditioning at a school that is filled with dancers. But I think my other materials should be ok, granted I get an accompaniment track to Rauchy (110 in the Shade). That's one of my songs, the other is Just a Housewife (Working). My monologues for BoCo are Kate's hunger monologue from Taming of the Shrew and "First Moment" from Savage/Love by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin. They were not my original 2, but I decided I should print off and highlight the info I need for each audition. A lovely resource I must say. Make yourself a binder of things you need for each school (checklists are also a good thing). My other monologues are from Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty and Lisa Loomer's The Waiting Room. I have to learn yet another for U of Arizona who assigns monologues from a list. That is from The Moonlight Room. I have a looooot to do. Oh yeah, and I have to find a monologue for my audition for The Producers. Anyone have a comedic monologue?
much love and good thoughts-
Posted by: Caty B (December 28, 2009)
I honestly think I've worked out the tap combination that Mr L taught us at the tap workshops. I'm rather proud of myself. I am, however, going to look up videos on youtube of lessons on tap to see if anyone can show me how in the world to do a double time step. It's supposed to be easy but I cannot seem to manage it. Hop, shuffle, step, fa-lap, ball change. correct me if I'm wrong.
Steel Mags seems to be coming along. Rehearsal in my family room that we never use was a little bizzare but who cares. We blocked the first act! and the second is no where near as long. I do need to memorize my lines along with my monologues for colleges.
I shall continue this later. Mom is asking for her computer back and mine is wack.
Much love and good thoughts-
Posted by: Rodney Robbins (December 24, 2009)
Normally, I'm all about personal attention, but sometimes at Christmas, it's the thought that counts. So, if you are behind on sending holiday cards to your theater friends, colaborators, prospects, media contacts, tech crew, lighting designer and such, consider a quick e-mail or mass text. Honestly, we are ALL too busy for long personal phone calls from business acquaintances. A quick note is just fine--at least in my book.
So, open that e-mail program or bust out that cell phone and get texting . Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Have an Amazing Yule and a Wonderful New Year.
Now, my kettle is whistling so I've got to mix up some hot chocolate and turn on "It's a Wonderful Life." My very best wishes to you and yours.
Rodney Robbins, the Singing Playwright
Posted by: Ryan Mikita (December 16, 2009)
Come see me in "42nd Street" at the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, FL.
The show begins December 11th and runs through January 24th.
It's a unique take on the production, seeing as we decided not to do any of the choreography from the Original/Revival productions. An entirely new take on a classic show, created entirely for the stage, featuring a cast of only 17 people!
It's truly a great production, come see it while you still can!