It has been a week since Merrily closed and I have had some time to gather myself, focus on other things in my life, and think back on how this process has affected me. I will be honest and say that it was certainly not my favorite production I have worked on in my life.
What I learned in this process is a good place to start. The main thing that I have made huge strides in since August is my musical ability. By that I don’t mean just singing, although I think that has improved too. I mean mostly my improvement has come in my ability to work as a musician on complicated music. Before this process, I never once counted music while singing a song and I have learned how to add that to my repertoire. My ability to sing a harmony part confidently has improved, though I am still very weak in that area. Through these advances, I have also become more comfortable acting while singing because I am more certain that I won’t fall out of time with the music. The dancing was certainly not difficult in this show, but it tested my limited abilities.
As far as acting goes, Frank is not the most dynamic character and that was a challenge. I have certainly played parts in the past written with more depth and more import at least to my eyes. I was able to find moments of the show that I really enjoyed, however, and those tended to come in the scenes where my friends were abandoning me and the scenes that Gussie and I got to know each other. I was most successful in finding parts of myself that related to Frank in those moments of his life and I felt as though those were also my strongest scenes. I’m not sure I made many huge strides in my acting in this process other than the improvements that always come from just spending more time acting.
The fact that I did not really enjoy performing this show is probably a good thing to prepare myself for work outside of here. Unless someday I am well-known enough to do the kind of work I want to do, I will probably spend a lot of time in shows that I’m not a big fan of. With this, I have some experience in how to go out there and give as good a performance as I can even without being in love with it. It’s easy to give 100% when playing Hamlet, but a little harder when you are Soldier #2.
This process has also put a bit of doubt in my mind about being a musical theatre performer in my professional career. I will certainly start out that way, but singing is not very fun at all for me and I am ever-so-slightly worried that I may be hurting my voice while I do it. I just need to keep that thought in my head and mull it over if I am cast in a musical outside of here. I’ll need to decide if I just want to take my chances as a non-musical actor.
Many of these reflective posts that I have read are very emotional and I feel a little bit like I’m doing it wrong right now, but it really wasn’t a very emotional process for me. I think I did a good, professional job that was the best that I could have done. I can look back on this show knowing that I did everything I could with it and look forward to my next part. I have a feeling that one might be a bit more emotional for me.
This show started off great. Throughout That Frank I was totally into it and having some fun. One area that I know I need to improve in as an actor is that I need to act with as much commitment as I did to start this performance all the time with no exceptions. If I was able to do that, I would be in a very good place as an actor. I was very curious as to if the end of the show would get to me emotionally, and it almost did. I was a little emotional when shows like Macbeth and Vanya closed but this one didn’t really get to me. I guess that will happen sometimes.
I think this was one of my strongest shows vocally and I may be on the verge of improving as a singer in a pretty large way. Boy, I hope so.
We had two larger audiences today and a lot of people related to William, so there was a lot of energy at there. I am encouraged that I am still finding new meanings for lines and moments in the show. I take that to mean that I am still in the moment and working hard even if I’m not enjoying it. If I wasn’t finding anything new, that would be a good indication that I had checked out and had started phoning it in. I’m glad that I am not doing that.
Both of my parents were here for the show tonight and this was my dad’s first time seeing the show. They both seemed to have a good time but it is hard to tell with them sometimes.
I recently listened to the cast recording of Hadestown and the main character in that is a very light tenor. Listening to him makes me think that maybe I subconsciously weigh my voice down to make me more of a baritone than I really am. I will play around with lightening my voice a bit and who knows, maybe that will make singing a little bit easier and possibly a bit more fun for me. Who knows?
This was a performance riddled with mistakes that seemed to really engage the audience. Theatre is strange. I totally muddled up a verse of my lyrics in That Frank and I was off in several places for the rest of the performance, but it’s not like I wasn’t focused or engaged. Things just kept slipping past me but they didn’t seem to get in the way of the story.
I am still struggling with the show itself. There’s just something inside me that hates doing a show that seems to have less and less conflict as each scene goes by. I know that outside of here I will hopefully be employed in many shows that I don’t like and this is probably very good practice for giving a good performance in those situations, but it is definitely difficult to go and do this show 6 times in a weekend.
This performance was pretty good for it being a pretty small audience. Patrick was there and laughed a lot which I think loosened everyone up. The scene after Franklin Shepard, Inc. where I am telling Charley that he is out of my life was maybe the best I have ever done it. I also am just now really getting comfortable and into the swing of Opening Doors. It is such a complicated song and in rehearsals, we did not run it more than maybe ten different times. It makes me curious about the timeline of rehearsals for professional theatres. Obviously they have fewer weeks of rehearsal, but they don’t take up a month with music rehearsals and are there far more hours in every day. That sounds nice.
I am always blown away by the process for musicals here that it takes a month and a half to learn everything and then we are stuck with maybe a week to work on the acting of the play. It is necessary, but it leaves me a little frustrated and feeling like we are moving very slowly in a way that I don’t feel in plays here because every second of those rehearsals is focused on the acting. And the acting is the part that I like. The singing and dancing bore me to death, but they’re necessary.
In the past, the more in depth and exhaustive a rehearsal process is, the more fun I have with it. Assuming I am ever cast in a solid professional production somewhere, I am looking forward to the added time they have to work on the show.
I also was not really happy with this performance. The middle half of the show actually went very well. I felt really in the moment and was playing tactics and focusing on my scene partners, but I had a slow start and it seemed to fall apart at the end. It was a very small audience, but I don’t like to use that as an excuse for a bad performance.
I also have a hard time critiquing my own acting, so maybe I did fine, but it felt off and disconnected. It’s very possible the audience enjoyed it and got the story, but it certainly wasn’t a fun night for me.
My voice was in a bad way today. I should explain that when I say that, I don’t mean that it was as bad as some people in the cast who lose their voice and then stay up drinking all night and come in the next day surprised that their voice isn’t back. My voice was bad today for me who drinks a lot of water and gets 8 hours of sleep every night.
A lot of my family members who very rarely see me act and some of whom have never heard me sing were here and I wish I could have been in slightly better shape for it. It was a very good audience with a full house so I’m glad they had a good time, but it’s always annoying to not have done as well as I know I could have.
This show is long. And although the second performance felt a lot easier than the first one, it is still a lot of performing for one day. I am used to acting for 5 hours in a day, so that isn’t really the hard part. It’s just doing this show twice in a day is very difficult for me vocally.
I only started learning how to sing after I got here, so I am very very new to it and although I am proud of how far I’ve come, I’m very nervous about going into the world as a singer. First of all most of the time when I hear myself singing in a recording, I don’t like it. And not in a self conscious way either, because I approach it as if I am listening to someone else and if I heard someone else singing the way I hear it on recordings most of the time, I wouldn’t like their voice. I also just don’t like singing or most musicals but that is beside the point if it will get me an acting job. I would prefer to just be a non-musical actor if there weren’t more jobs for people who can sing.
My mom saw the second show of the day and seemed to like it. So that’s nice.
This performance in contrast to the one before it, went very well. I think what worries me about this show is that it is probably the least consistent production I have been in in a long time. I really don’t know if I’ll come out of any given night totally disappointed in how I did or believing I really could do this acting thing in my life.
It is hard to prepare for the show not really knowing how it is going to go. With Macbeth and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, I was pretty confident that the show would be what it was whatever the audience thought, but this show seems to fluctuate in quality every night. Maybe that is because of there being several less experienced people in critical parts, or maybe it’s the leads being lazy, or maybe I’ve gotten worse. There’s really no telling. I just know that I am nervous about this show before I go onstage in a way that I usually am not and don’t like.
That being said, this performance was great.
This performance was a tough one. I don’t think I did anything differently to get ready for this performance but I did not feel as ready to go on and do it as I usually do. There were a couple of minor line flubs near the start of the show but nothing major and then after that for most of the show, a lot of moments just felt off and weren’t landing in the way they have in the past.
I also got to the end of the show and said the wrong lyrics for a few bars in the beginning of Our Time for the first time in about a month of singing it off-book, so that was aggravating.
I guess it was just an off night for me and that happens sometimes, but it is very annoying.