Rumors Control, Finale and Coda: So Falls The Curtain…

The Little Carver Civic Center now bears no trace of the Brocks, Gormans, Ganzes, Cusacks, or Coopers.  There’s nothing left for Officers Welch and Pudney to investigate.  We struck the Rumors set today, and all the props and set pieces that helped bring the play to life have been taken down and returned to their respective places of origin.

Needless to say, it was a rather bittersweet two days.  From the cast’s final bow yesterday afternoon, to our post-show celebration at Pappadeaux last night, to the drive home after returning the last of the props in my care, it’s been a time heavy with goodbye.  And I kinda hate goodbyes, especially after the experience I’ve had these last two months. Continue reading

Rumors Control, 2nd Weekend: “This is so going in my blog…”

My apparent secret desire to be an actor has been a subplot in the PDP narrative for a few years, so I suppose it was natural that it would find its way into Rumors, especially after I stepped in during a couple of rehearsals to fill in for unavailable cast members.  With that (to say nothing of the persistence of my boss), my professional stage debut was more or less an Inevitable Fate.

Of course, being inevitable and all that, Fate wasn’t exactly bent on making it easy for me.  Buoyed by enthusiastic opening audiences and strong word of mouth (including a great review from Deborah Martin at the Express-News), our second weekend would see our best crowds yet, with Sunday’s show nearly filling the house.

I’ll let you guess who was scheduled to play Officer Pudney that day. Continue reading

Rumors Control, Opening Night: The Arrival

It all came to this.

Two weeks of auditions.  Six weeks of rehearsals.  Days spent on building the set, securing props, publicity, promotion, and phone calls and texts and E-mails to cover every miscellaneous detail you can think of and probably a few more.  All for this.

One moment.

Opening night for Rumors. Continue reading

Rumors Control, Week 5: I Love It When A Play Comes Together

There are moments in the creative process that are hard to define, hard to explain, hard to set down in words or pixels.  But if you’re an artist, you KNOW them when they happen.  Whether you’re working toward the first performance, the first screening, or the first edition, they’re the landmarks that keep you moving forward, until you reach that ultimate goal.

The hope of capturing those landmarks has been a driving force behind the “Rumors Control” series.  The chance to experience and share those moments, be they planned or spontaneous, when a character, a laugh, a scene is found.  The belief that before it was all over, I’d get to write a post like the one you’re about to read. Continue reading

Rumors Control, Week 4: Is This How Mark Valley Got Started?

LEE
You won’t rest until I’m up there on that stage, will you?

NIKKI
Nope.

It’s my fault, of course.

Since I wrote that blog about my acting class, some three years ago, she has concluded that I have some manner of secret desire to be an actor.  I’ve tried to dissuade her, but she persists nonetheless.

I suppose it doesn’t exactly help my case that I’ve enjoyed my ‘onstage’ moments as much as I have.  Which brings us back to Rumors. Continue reading

Rumors Control, Week 3: “Well I could have been an actor, but I wound up here…”

I figured out a long time ago that I have little talent for acting. I can’t build a character out of the slightest nuances like Gene Hackman or Paul Newman can. The keen intelligence that Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn bring to their best roles is far beyond my reach. And my American accent’s nowhere near as good as Hugh Laurie’s.

(from an old blog about my acting class experience)

Working with actors as I do, I’m often asked if I ever think about becoming an actor myself.  Of course the answer’s yes.  I’m nowhere near as good as the talent I’ve seen in the last three or so years (not to mention the talent I’m working with now on Rumors), but I do enjoy those moments when I have to step in and play the actor for a read-through or rehearsal.

Of course, answering the question is an invitation to the obvious punchline “What I really want to do…”  And I had a chance at both this week. Continue reading

Rumors Control, Week 2: Off Book, On Track

The student in me is enjoying working on Rumors as an incredible learning experience.  The ex-teacher and still-blogger in me is enjoying them as an incredible teaching experience, an opportunity to offer readers a glimpse behind the curtain and introduce them to some of the basic terms and concepts of acting.

One of those terms, “off book”, is a trade term for actors who’ve memorized their dialogue and therefore don’t have to go back to the script when they’re rehearsing or performing.  Of course, it should go without saying that the ability to memorize lines is one of the most basic and most important skills an actor must possess.  And that was one of the goals of this first week of rehearsals, to help the actors get off book as they continued to refine their performances. Continue reading