Me as Natalya, Gyda Arber as Greta and Iracel Rivero as Lucia
So I thought I'd be able to write a pretty thorough blog about the rehearsal process and I have not. It's a lot harder than I thought to articulate the daily work that goes into creating a character and being part of a show. We had a good opening weekend with friendly audiences. The cast is fantastic and it is very exciting to be on stage with a live band for the first time.
One of the most challenging things in doing this play is the different levels of reality. It is a show within a show, a play about a live TV show taping in the midst of a revolution. I and the other actors are playing actors who have stock characters and then break out of those characters to communicate with the audience. Actually, we interact with the audience as our "character" characters as well. The stock characters based on European ethnic stereotypes are quite broad but not out of the realm of possibility-the "wild and crazy guys", caricatures of Eastern European men on SNL years back, come to mind.
It's interesting to see the audience's reaction to what the characters say, some of it quite racist. Lucia talks about being victimized as a Spaniard by the "so-called Mayans". The first two nights there wasn't much of a response, but the third night I heard nervous laughter and "ooh, wow". Iracel Rivero, the actress playing Lucia, says it with such sincerity and sweetness that you don't pay attention to what is said, but how it is being said. Afterwards, Patty O' Pattycake, the Irish orphan says to the audience, "She is so pretty."
To me, that is very frightening and true to life. More attention is paid to the style and charisma of speakers and leaders and what they are really saying gets lost or is less important. The audience also gets emotionally involved with the characters' sentimentality and identifies with being a victim or a member of an oppressed group. That's a great basis for creating propaganda and getting people to follow a leader, using myths, stories, songs, slogans, etc. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the run.
Tomorrow, I'm doing a one night only performance of "Lisa Ferber's An Evening With Molly Hadafew" at Manhattan Theatre Source for their Estrogenius Solo Voce Festival.
The character is taken from Lisa Ferber's extremely funny mystery musical noir Oh Mr Cadhole! produced about three years ago. I played Molly, a secretary who sings "I Like A Man Who Treats Me Bad". My inspiration for the hair, by the way, was not Betty Grable but my great Aunt Sally who lived with my mom and me when I was six. She wore a fake hairpiece that she would put in a box on her nightstand every night. As she got older, the piece would wobble on her head because she didn't do so well with pinning it down so I used that to make Molly's hair wobble when she walks as well. Plus, finding shoes that make me walk with an exaggerated swagger (the heels hurt so I look like I've had a bit of a rough night for the past twenty years) add to the hair having its own life. The script is very fun and how could I not love singing "You Left Me For A Tranny (And I'm Still Drinkin')?