Monday, January 31, 2011

Beauty & the Beast, Part Two

Well, the show has ended. Over two weekends and six performances, we played to over 600 people. (And now we've nearly all got colds, but they'll pass.) The magic and the memories of our beautiful show will remain.

Many thanks to our fantastic audience members, my talented fellow cast members (Pete, Dave, Erika, Lindsey, Austin, Alex, Clare, Abby & Maguire), our delightful stage manager Peggy and, of course, our phenomenal director Tim Thompson.

It has been a wonderful journey, and I look forward to working with all of you again.

Love, Micah

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Beauty & the Beast

This month, I am returning to the community theatre stage as “Beauty” in Warren Graves’ adaptation of the classic fairy tale Beauty & the Beast. (Just in case you’re unfamiliar with the “original” tale and are stuck in the Disney-fied version, here’s the text of Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s story: Once again, I will appear opposite the magnificent Pete Fernbaugh, a.k.a. “Beast,” under the direction of the incomparable Tim Thompson. We all last collaborated on Towngate Theatre’s 2009 production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

I’d been craving the stage. In November, I worked wardrobe on the Wheeling Legally Blonde show. In December, I was the stage manager of a local production of Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker. Each time, I was reminded of how much I love being out there performing. Not just when the audience is there, but each night of rehearsal. Each night of discovering something new about the character or about the story. Learning lines and then bringing them from somewhere organic, somewhere real. Being the character rather than playing her. Getting to know the other actors and getting to know the crew. (There’s not much time for that in three rehearsals and two performances as in the case of The Nutcracker or a day spent ironing men’s shirts in preparation for an evening performance as was my experience on Legally Blonde.)

Maybe I had romanticized the experience a bit, having been away for over a year, but the rush is still there. I love having someplace to go each night, something to do, knowing that we’re working toward an end-product that will (hopefully) be simply breathtaking.

Last night was tough. I have this laughing problem, and while it’s improving, as it usually does over the course of rehearsals, there are still moments where I wish I could stop laughing and I simply don’t. There were missed lines (though not because of the laughing), botched blocking, forgotten cues. We started late, we ran late. A bunch of my lines all sounded the same, and I wasn’t speaking loudly enough. But at nine o’clock, I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay and work it out. Instead, I went home and couldn’t sleep because I kept saying those lines all the same every time I rehearsed them.

We open next Friday. Between now and then, we have seven run-throughs to work out the bugs. I know, I know—in live theatre, there’s no way to work out all of the bugs. There’s always that chance of the unexpected happening. There’s always a chance that Charlie Brown will say “abstinence” instead of “abstention” and Lucy will burst into uncontrollable laughter on opening night. (Yep, it happened.) But that’s part of what makes it so exciting.

Beauty & the Beast runs Friday, January 21-Sunday, January 23, and Thursday, January 27-Saturday, January 29 at Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre in Wheeling, WV. Shows are at 7 pm (21, 22, 27-29) and 2 pm (23). Tickets are available at 304.242.7700.