Monday, November 29, 2010

Murder Mystery MADNESS.

Have you ever done a project that you were NOT proud of???

It's official! I'm definitely sailing on that boat! I probably wouldn't usually burn bridges by blogging near-artistic-death experiences (I'm just getting the hang of this "networking" thing) buuuut, I gotta say....my fellow artists were fantastic. I've worked with several before (we were all pulled from the same agency), but I also got to meet some fun, new people. I loved the other actors on this project, they were such troopers! Okay, hold on, let me start at the beginning...

I get a call from my brand-spanking-new and wonderful agent. She says I'm up for a project in a city about an hour drive from my house, and it'd be an easy project. It is a benefit for a pretty cool nonprofit. From her point of view, it's only for resume credit and networking, since it would also be free. Well, in my mind, I immediately see an opportunity for some characterization/experimentation I normally wouldn't pull while getting reviewed in the local papers. I don't consider for a moment and say YES! She gives me the details; it's a murder mystery, I'll be a brainy bridesmaid in a wedding, it'll be really easy, just show up and act (possibly improv)...Sounds right up my alley for filling 2-3 otherwise empty weeks, since I'm booked doing some VO work during the day.

So I get an email with half of the script attached. I was in a show with two of the actors at the time, and we were thinking it might be a 15 page script/10 minute gig based on our agent. The script is 45 pages. And wait! The email says it's only the FIRST HALF. Script is actually 90 pages. One of my friends drops out immediately. BUT okay! no prob! I'm still on board! I can do it! Though, to my chagrin, the prospect of character experimentation swiftly flies away.

But then (dun dun dun)....I see that one rehearsal is planned. ONE. And it's only an hour and a half long. Ummmm.

So I show up, guns out, ready to ask for either 1) a cut script! or 2) more rehearsals! But "director" won't budge. "Director" says she's making this easy on us by having one rehearsal. I'm definitely not the only one protesting (though I'm one of the few that live far away) so we keep at it. We finally get another rehearsal scheduled. At this point, "director" says to just improv, that it's okay to make it up!! *RED FLAG!* Well, not only is that unfair to the playwright and the audience, but the script is a comedy absolutely FILLED with one-liners, not to mention a murder mystery to solve! We have to carefully drop hints AND comedy! NO improv will work here! I begin to wonder if "director" has ever done theatre before but I keep my mouth shut and decide to just go with it.

Moral of the story: ...okay, I haven't figured it out yet! I was mortified when two people recognized me during the mingling portion (and one told me that I can do better than projects like these...hmmm) which might not be a fantastic thing for my credibility . But on the upside, two people recognized me and wanted to chat with me about it! Though I stayed in character, I can twist that around and make it a nice compliment! And better yet, the actors all had this really fun rough-and-tumble approach, and we all kind of spilled our guts on the floor...together. It was kinda fun after all! (I just want to point out here that we, as a talent pool, have figured that our agent was mislead, instead of our agent misleading us. Just want to be clear on that.) In the end, we had 100 or so people in the audience and only one person guessed the murderer because the murderer was not even in the cast. By script, the murderer is a person in the audience and NEVER had a line, entrance or exit. Would you have ever guessed that???!!

But aren't we just a gorgeous cast :)

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