Opening Night Buttons

So it’s 3:30am the morning after our “soft” opening for our educational outreach audience, and I felt pretty good about the show. I think everything is coming together really well, and it’s been…exhausting.

I got a lot of positive feedback and the note that I apparently spit on the second row of audience members (which I think is just impressive), but I am still really nervous for tomorrow’s opening. I have terrible stage fright anyway, and playing a role like Lavinia means so much to me that I think I’ve put double the amount of pressure on myself to succeed in this show.

Counting tonight’s new injuries, my total bruise count for the show is something like 73.

There are moments where I want to collapse and sleep until forever, and there are moments that I want to preserve forever just so I can remember how awesome my life is sometimes.

This is an incredible cast. Tonight we were sitting at The Blue Cat and I just sat looking down the line at everyone talking and laughing in their own discussions and I just, in that moment, felt so lucky to be a part of this group of people.

It’s not about the show–well, partly, I suppose, as the show is the impetus, but it’s more than that. At least to me. And maybe it’s because I’m tired and freaking out about tomorrow so I”m feeling a little sentimental, but as Aaron pointed out to me tonight “we’re a family”….and we kind of are, I suppose.

In the show, we have these necklaces that represent our character’s affiliation to particular Roman gods or Goddesses and identify them as Romans. The average audience member will never know this, but our stage manager Nikki did hours of research on which god or goddess is appropriate for each character, so each character has a specific and unique pendant with one or two gods that best represent their character.

For instance, I have two. At the beginning of the show, I wear a pendant with Fides, the goddess of Loyalty and Laetitia, Goddess of Happiness. 

After intermission, my pendant is Muta, the goddess of Silence, and Angerona, a goddess who was thought to relieve people from pain and sorrow.

Everyone’s pendants  also have a legit Roman coin dated at about 1, 700 years old. There is something about wearing that much history in a tiny disc around my neck that just boggles my mind absolutely every time I stop to think about what that coin has gone through and seen.

So tonight, I left mine at home like the responsible actor I am, and I had to replace my pendant with a button at the last minute as my personal emblem becomes a key prop later on and I didn’t want to screw over my other actors by making them mime it.

As chance would have it (and I know this is stupid), I left my button version on tonight when we went out and wore it as tonight became the perfect combination of drinks, discussion, goofing around, poor life choices, bad ideas, sword fighting and a gorgeous early-morning/late night thunderstorm that culminated in a fantastic feeling of friendship and general awesomeness at how lucky I am to know the people I know.

I have a great fear that someday, I won’t be able to remember moments like these because it seems like so often, simple moments like yelling Shakespeare in the rain get forgotten to leave space for shopping lists and computer passwords, and that makes me sad. I don’t know why my simple  button on a string means so much more to me now, but it’s kind of nice to know that I’ll be able to wear a reminder of such a perfect night when life gets in the way.

Running Our Luck.

Well, it happened, and really without much to-do. Saturday was our double run, and it went…actually, really well.

I think we all needed the speed-through as well, and, honestly, as ridiculous as things got, there were some fun and awesome moments that we are keeping. It’s kind of neat when being an idiot on purpose leads to finding some truth about your character. I also learned that Aaron does a terrifyingly accurate impression of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Jesus. That may have been my most favorite thing to happen at a speed-though, ever.

On Sunday, our company photographer came to take some stills of the show, and he gave me some really amazing feedback about my performance, so that was nice to hear. I also think I finally have the costume change down to a science, if not an art just yet.

I’m also covered in bruises. I’m kind of getting used to it, but I’ve got some really impressive ones after this weekend– including bite marks on my face. My chin and Andy’s teeth had a small run-in during one rehearsal, to the amusement of everyone else but me.

Our first “theatre emergency” occured on Saturday, when we discovered that our light board simply stopped working. Keep in mind that it’s been turned on twice in its entire existance, so having our brand-new board die suddenly was slightly disconcerting for me.

There is something lucky happening with this show. (Knock on wood). Everything is coming together well, and today, Jake sent me a picture of the lighting board his school uses with a note saying  “would this work?” …It’s the exact same board. Same make, model, everything. I don’t know what fates smiled on us today, but I am thanking them from the bottom of my heart about every 30 seconds.

We also spent a goodly amount of time finishing the space, and having it come together so well was a really great feeling. The set looks genuinely impressive. I’m really excited to work in the final project for the rest of the week.

Speaking of thanks, on Saturday, I was walking around the set to get ready to go on, and I saw a man in a mask with a dog standing off to the side. At first I was concerned that some random vagrant had wandered in from the District so I started to go get Jake, but this mysterious man suddenly waved at me and I realized that our visitors were Mike Carron and his dog, Bam-Bam. He was rocking a mask to protect his immune system from germs, but I do say he made it look quite dashing.

Mike had arrived to say hi and to deliver some cookies– and we also recieved the news that wonderful, wonderful Mike is now cancer-free. I. Was. Estatic. I don’t know what it was about seeing Mike or having him suprise us with a visit, but I was a hot mess for my opening scene– the one place where I don’t have to cry (much), I spent every ounce of energy trying not to burst into tears because I was just so happy that Mike is going to be okay.

I guess I figure that God owed me one for my dad, and I’m glad that I got to cash it in for Mike.

This week is going to be ridiculous. We’re working scenes tonight and then running Tuesday and Wednesday, and we have our first real audience for our first ever College Night on Thursday.

We also might be drastically changing some of the costuming, so I will win not one but TWO quick changes. Gotta love opening week.

Sticky Buisness! (Or, A 5 Shower Kind of Night)

Last night’s rehearsal was kind of a hot mess. Quite literally.

(SPOILERS)
***If you haven’t figured out that bad things happen to me in the show yet and would like to be suprized, I suppose you shouldn’t read this post) ***

Because we ran costumes for the first time, this meant that I also got to work with the whole “bloody” package. Before the show, I put on my dress and we distressed it quite a bit and put a goodly amount of blood on it as well. It looked fantastic, but because the material of the dress was so thin, it completely bled through (ha) the fabric and I was covered in the stuff– and this was 5 minutes into rehearsal.

Thankfully, there is a mop sink in the space, so I awkwardly jumped in there and rinsed off as best I could. That was shower #1 of the evening.

We ran the show and it went okay. There is a lot to be worked out, especially in terms of transitions, so there was a lot of stopping and starting, but tonight we are going to work a lot of those so I am excited to see what the show feels like when it flows.

There were also a lot of weird spots. Last night I combination forgot I was going to get pushed/tripped and hit the deck pretty hard in the middle of a scene, so that was entirely awkward. Since starting this show, I have developed this perpetual bruise on my right leg, so I’m really grateful for the long dresses that I wear. At least no one will be staring at my weird shin bruise while I’m trying to act. Aaron (playing Titus) also somehow managed to stab himself. I’m just impressed with that one.

Speaking of awkward– so after my quick change (when I change into the dirty/bloody dress), I quickly realized that we hadn’t given the fake blood enough time to dry, because the dress was sticky. And when I say sticky, I mean there was a moment when I couldn’t get up because I was literally stuck to the floor.

The remarkable thing was that because the dress was so sticky, it also kept sticking to itself– so by the time I got done running the blocking for the first scene I wear the dress for, it was bunched up and over my butt and underwear– and for some reason, in that moment, I just thought to myself “well, this is happening, might as well use it”.
I am usually very self-concious about portions of my body– I’ll wear a towel, no problem, but anything that reveals anything higher than 3 inches above my knees is right out– and apparently, all it took to get over that is being thrown on stage with no choice but to deal with it.

It was embarassing, yes, but I figured, hey, after everything else that my character has gone through, having people see my underwear is probably the least of my worries.

Running that scene was an odd experience. I was so sticky that it was hard to work with the other actors, plus bunchy costume issues and the distration of the gore made it really hard to focus. It also turns out that the mint flavoring in the blood burns my mouth pretty badly after awhile.

On top of all of this, I was trying desperately to remember the things that we’ve worked on, and that flew straight out of my head the minute I hit the stage, which is really frustrating and made focusing even harder.

So we got to intermission and I went to go take shower #2 of the evening. While I was getting ready, I happened to look down at the stage and realized that the floor was absolutely covered in blood. Ooops. I have no idea why the thought didn’t occur to me to take a picture, but I will be regretting that one for a long time.

After we ran the scene, we had a quick conference with the directing staff who decided that there was just too much blood, so after rehearsal, I got back in the dress and we worked on getting the right amount of blood. (And I took shower #3). After looking at it for awhile and trying different things, eventually we decided that our best bet was going to be to start over completely from scratch (after I took shower #4).  

I took the dress home and prayed to every god I could think of that it would turn out okay in the wash, and what do you know, at 2AM I pulled a pristine dress out of my washer. God bless you, Ben Nye. After breathing a long, long sigh of relief, I took shower #5 (which meant washing blood out of my wig as well) and I went to sleep. Kind of.

At rehearsal, Jake told me that after my character can no longer speak, I also am not allowed to speak. Backstage or anything. This was immensely frustrating because it turns out that I am a terrible mime. It also didn’t help that half of the cast thought this was hilarious and took it as an opportunity to ask me ridiculously complicated questions and “accidentally misinterpret” my answer. It was actually kind of fun to see what they came up with based on my “signs”.

I have decided that having Jake as a director is amazing until 45 minutes before I go to bed. There comes a point in every process where the show kind of takes over my life, and because I’m sharing my life with my director (whose life it is also taking over), it can be overwhelming at times. I have been struggling with this, because I both love and hate the fact that there are times when all we can find the energy to talk about is the show.

Tonight we’re going to get notes from last night’s run, and I am anxious to see what the directing staff thought. We’re also going to try some more of the special effects tonight so I am excited to see how they turn out.

A few people have asked me why I have been blogging this rehearsal process. Honestly? I’m not sure. I suppose there is something about getting my thoughts down that keeps me a little saner, but I think a lot of it has to do with this experience as a whole. This has been such a cool process, and one where I feel that I am growing as an actor, so I wanted to keep a record of that. And I figure someday when I’m old I can read back and be like “oh yeah, one time I played Lavinia and it was amazing”.  (So what I’m saying is that it won’t hurt my feelings if you think these are boring).

 

Tonight, we dine in hell. Or at least rehearse there.

I just got off the phone with the (so very, very nice and funny) contractor who is in charge of construction at our theatre space, and he has informed me that the air conditioning should be functional by Friday! Hooray! I am very relieved that our patrons will be able to be comfortable while watching our show. Well, as comfortable as they can be, I suppose, granted the show they’re watching.

I stopped down there this morning to do some quick things and it. is. HOT. It’s actually hotter inside than out, which is interesting. It will be something of an acting challenge tonight, I think. Act, sweaty actor! Act!

However, the best part of today is that tonight we’re running in costumes for the first time. Kate, our wonderful costumer, has done an incredible job on a shoe-string budget creating an insane level of detail and authenticity to the world. It’s so strange– when I’ve gone downstairs to look at the costumes, I immediately understand the world that these characters live in, just by color and texture and feel. Jessica, who is playing Tamora, has some incredible custom-built pieces that rock my socks just seeing them on the hanger, so I am very excited to see them under the lights.

I also am running the “gore” for the first time tonight, and I am both nervous and excited. Excited because I think it’s really going to help me in a couple of the scenes that I’ve been struggling with, nervous because holy shit do I have a fast costume change with about 14 things to do. I want to do a behind-the-scenes-video of my costume change, just to see how ridiculous it must look from not my perspective.

I am a list person, so I have been working on the various lists I need hung in my changing area to keep me from going insane, and it seems like every item I come up with presents three more things I need to do before THAT particular thing can get done. This show is a strange beast.

I’m very excited to get an audience. Yesterday I had a group of 70 (SEVENTY) call and confirm, so that was an amazing feeling, and on top of that, there has been a lot of positive buzz about the show in general, so I am hoping it will be well attended.

Tonight, the biggest focus is going to be getting through that damn quick change and seeing how the show feels as a whole. I am so excited– I have four hours before I even need to get ready to go and I keep watching the clock like a kid on Christmas. As the Black Eyed Peas once wrote,  “I just have a really good feeling about tonight”.

Is it weird that I’m this excited to get blood all over me?

 

Building Rome In A Day

Yesterday was “build day” at our space.

And a space we have.

I’m not going to lie, it is an impressive-feeling space. The ceilings are high enough in the Stern Center to give plenty of room for our drape, so between the drape and the lighting rig, it looks incredible. I’m really excited to work the show as a whole.

I also am entirely proud that I was able to set up four dimmer packs and a board with a system I’d never worked in before in less than an hour. The wash is going to be a little uneven because of the possibilities of direction and shadows, (3-sided rig on a 4-sided set) but last night I had the revelation that it actually works for the needs of the show. I need to work the lighting cues and make sure the lights are coming on when they’re supposed to, but they are working, and that’s the most important thing.

We also shot the adverts to the show this weekend, so on-the-fly learning imovie enough to put together the ads was a frustrating (if ultimately successful) venture. They wound up coming out really nice. Here’s this week, if you’re interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmDYN7GGWGc

There is going to be a really fun article by David Burke in the paper about the show on Saturday, so I am excited for that as well.

I’m exhausted and happy. I’m disappointed there isn’t rehearsal tonight– I feel like we had a ton of momentum and now I have to put that on pause for two days while I wait for the run, but I think it will give me some time to absorb what we worked on at rehearsal and get a few more things done for the show that I’ve been putting off.

Last night I couldn’t sleep and so I decided to finally put together my stumps for the “reveal” scene. I did some research on the internet to come up with the best way of doing it, and oh my god. They are disgusting. Like, they make me uncomfortable to look at and I made them. I am excited to see how they read under the lights, because I think it’s going to be awesome. In a horrific sort of way. Which, really, in this show, is the best thing possible to happen.

So as not to give away spoilers, I will refrain from posting pictures until after the show is over, but afterwards, I am determined to publish a “So You’re Doing Titus Andronicus…A Comprehensive Guide to Guts and Gore”. It’s going to be epic.

The Things I’d Like To Do.

Friday was a rough night for me. I don’t do well with being bored. It bothers me when I hear people say they are “bored”, because I don’t understand how, in this fantastically amazing and interesting world, you can’t possibly find one single thing to do, but as there was no rehearsal, the internet was down, Jake was sick and I wasn’t feeling so hot, my evening became an antsy night of sitting by the fire reading a book on Rome. (My life is so hard, right?). So I won’t say that I was “bored”, but I most assuredly, I wasn’t overly busy.

We did wind up going out later that evening and it wound up being an interesting night, which was awesome, and I had a long (and even awesomer) talk with Jake about what I’m doing and the things I’d like to do, which basically was a self-admission that I need to get out and do something creative with my skills.

So then I checked my Facebook, and, really, like some sort of weird hand of fate had intervened, my wonderful friend Andrew posted a short note saying that “hey, I think we should put up your show again”.

Two years ago, for my final directing project, I adapted Sam Shepard’s poetry cycle “Savage/Love” and it was…pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

Somehow, after about 20 minutes of messaging back-and-forth, it was decided that “hell, let’s actually go for it”, which is fantastically exciting and terrifying, all at once. Right now, we are waiting to hear back on a proposal I’ve got in at a theatre company in Minneapolis, so we’ll see what happens.

I just think it’s funny how things work out–out of nowhere, Andrew messaged me at exactly the right time to make me feel like that maybe, things are going to work out for me after all.

On top of that news, last night we ran the show for the first time off-book, and it really went pretty well.

Before rehearsal started, Aaron (playing Titus), threw down the challenge of “go big or go home tonight”.  I still haven’t gone as “big” as I’d like to, but having that challenge there gave me something to focus on. During Act 3, which I have dubbed “the worst day in the world”, I have a short 3-minute offstage break before I go back on, and last night, I had a moment where something “clicked” and I just said “fuck it, go big or go home, right?”  So, when I came on, I just hit the deck and started (pretending) to cry with every ounce of effort that I had, and what do you know….

Bitches, I cried. (Just a little bit). But still! Progress!

It was actually hilarious– I started crying (for real) and then got so happy and excited that I was crying for real that I stopped crying for real because I was too happy that I was finally crying to cry. Stupid actors.

So there’s that.

Oh, and the rape scene went a lot better last night. Probably because Jake “forgot” to tell me that Andy was going to pull a knife on me, so I’m in the middle of one of my lines when I think “annnnd now there’s a knife on my face”. Awesome. Although, last night I came up with an idea so vile and disgusting that it may not make the final show. I don’t know whether or not to be ashamed or proud of that. I talked it over with Andy and Jessica and Jessica’s vote was “hell yes” and Andy’s vote was “that’s awful”. We’ll see what happens.

Plus, I wrote a sweet song about Titus on my ukelele. Rock.

Woof.

One of the most frustrating things about dating your director is that sometimes, “boyfriend” mode is activated before you’re ready to shut-down “director” mode.

Last night I had a TERRIBLE rehearsal. I came SO determined to work and be amazing and awesome, but the combination of worrying about….everything and, I think, TRYING to be awesome devolved into one magical moment where I had the concious thought “I should probably try not sucking right now”. And, as it seemed, the harder I tried, the more it wasn’t working, so the more I felt like a failure, so the harder I tried….

After rehearsal, Jake told me that, at least for him, that was the first time he’d been uncomfortable during 2.3 (the rape–well, pre-rape scene). I had a moment of

This. This is what my face looked like.

So some of the cast went off for drinks at the Blue Cat while Jake met with our kick-ass AD Steph, and when he came home, I essentially apologized to him for the shit job I’d done.

Which, of course, he refused to accept, being the good boyfriend he is, not wanting to me feel bad, but in that moment, I needed my director to say “hey, I acknowledge that you felt bad about your performance, but I trust you to improve from here”.

Since we’re doing email notes (efficient! timely! awesome!) rather than notes sessions after runs (boring! Long! nap time!) I’m waiting to get my notes from last night, so I will be anxious to see what I will get told to work on.

Woof, though. Having a rehearsal that bad is…frustrating. And terrifying.

But if anything, this process is forcing me to let go of things more than I have have needed to before, and I think that’s good for me as an actor.

We’re running the show off-book on Sunday, so I don’t know how emotionally present we are going to be after the 90th time of asking for lines, but I going to sit down before then and do some real work on both this character and on being present in the scene.

 

I have not another tear to shed….

Full disclosure: I’m dwelling. I know I’m dwelling, but I’m the type of person that needs to have something to dwell on during a show, or the overwhelming stage fright I combat will kick in and then, really, you just don’t want to be around me.

And right now, the dwelling flavor of the day is “crying on stage”.

I don’t know what it is. In private, I will cry over the dumbest things. Jake once found me weeping on the floor during an episode of Doctor Who and didn’t blink (ha). But for some reason, I am having absolutely immense difficulty getting tears flowing for this show.

It wouldn’t be a big deal, but let’s take a look at the tape:

This is my first line in the show:

LAVINIA: In peace and honor live Lord Titus long;
            My noble lord and father, live in fame.
            Lo, at this tomb my tributary tears
            I render for my brethren’s obsequies,
            And at thy feet I kneel, with tears of joy
            Shed on the earth for thy return to Rome.
            O, bless me here with thy victorious hand,
            Whose fortunes Rome’s best citizens applaud.

Two mentions of tears right out of the shoot.

But wait, there’s more.

During Act 2 Scene 3, (the “rape” scene), Demetrius says:

 Listen, fair madam: let it be your glory 
To see her tears; but be your heart to them
 As unrelenting flint to drops of rain.

So, textually, there’s tears there.

And then there’s the big one. After I return to Rome with Marcia, she brings me to Titus and he finds out what’s happened. Upon the reveal, Titus says:

Now I behold thy lively body so?
Thou hast no hands, to wipe away thy tears
Nor tongue, to tell me who hath martyred thee.

Over the course of the scene, he tells me that Bassianus is dead and my two brothers have been arrested for it. And Titus says…

Look, Marcia! ah, son Lucius, look on her!
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears
Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honey-dew
Upon a gather’d lily almost wither’d.

It is just such a frustrating experience to WANT to cry and knowing that textually, it’s such an important part of the story, so important that Shakespeare wrote all of those references into the show, but having this strange mental block about the whole thing is just awful. It’s there, in the text. Lavinia cries– a lot. Last night I spent a great deal of time watching stupid videos on Youtube trying to figure out both what the hell I could do about the situation, which is just pathetic, I think.

At dinner last night, it kind of became a joke as I sat at Village Inn trying to cry at the table, and my friend Andy pointed out that “maybe you shouldn’t worry about using tricks to cry, just focus on the emotion and the tears will come”. That was immensely frustrating– I am so deep into this part I realized that I’ve started dressing like her. I have done mountains and mountains of research and work. I have looked at every single line of text in the show and squeezed every drop of information from it. I know who Lavinia is, I know how I want to play her, every night I live through her pain and sorrow and shame and it’s awful. I leave rehearsal in a foul and terrible mood because I feel it so strongly– and I still can’t cry.

Hell, I’m tearing up right now at the frustration I’m feeling about not being able to cry.

Letting go and not worrying about it has to be the key. There comes a point where the overthinking just makes things worse, but I am so invested in this– I don’t want to suck. I want people to feel what I’m feeling, to experience something visceral and real because of what I’m doing, to be moved and to have an amazing emotional experience– because I think that’s what is so amazing about theatre– you have the opportunity to genuinely affect people and I think Lavinia is such a great vessel for that.

There is a part of me, too, that simply has something to prove. For my entire life, I have wanted to be an actor. I started out interested in musical theatre, but fate and vocal talent conspired to make me less than an ideal candidate for that type of work. Over time, I absoultely fell in love with Shakespeare, and that’s what I would like my focus to be on. However, I know that I am not the world’s greatest actor, and when I decided to be a theatre major, I went into it believing that the experience would be a magical actor’s studio type of thing that forced me to improve lest I be left behind. While I loved my time in school and I did grow both as an artist and an individual, it was noticed early on that I am a good writer, director and designer– and those were areas I was encouraged to explore, and I did very well in them– but even as I was designing costumes or building sets, I wanted to be acting, and that always seemed to be an after-thought to everything else. There was a moment when I was sharing my plans for after college with someone, and when I said that I really wanted to go to grad school for acting, there was a pause and then “You’re such a good writer– have you thought about going to school for that?” . I was devestated. Keep in mind that this was after four and a half years of working towards my major– was this the first time I was going to be told that I wasn’t talented enough to be an actor?

I am full of self-doubt, and I think that’s okay. Any actor who goes into an audition expecting to be cast is probably not someone I’d want to work with, but so much of me wants to succeed in this role, to prove that this is something I CAN do and I CAN be good at it, I think it’s all combining into one giant neuroses-inducing clusterfuck that is impeding my process.

Tonight we’re working on the scene where Lavinia is able to disclose who raped and mutilated her– and I’m making it my personal goal not to worry about whether or not my eyes are tearing up, but focusing on the experience and seeing what happens.

Fucking actors.

I. Hurt. Everywhere.

Rehearsals for Titus Andronicus are going really, really well. I think. It’s hard to tell, honestly. I have been living with this show for nearly a year and a half now, so, as Jake pointed out to me a few days ago “You know, we really haven’t been rehearsing THAT LONG”. It feels like forever, in the best way possible.

Last night we worked out the rape scene, and it was…something. Our absolutely brililant fight master, Denise, was really great and really made sure that everyone understood what was going on and was the most awesome about answering questions and hearing ideas.

It is very interesting being “victimized” by good friends. While in my head, I know that it’s all prentend and at the end of the night I’m going to go have a drink with my “rapists”, there is still something deeply unsettling about being thrown and grabbed and made powerless, especially because there are moments where I really CAN’T fight back, even if I wanted to, and that is such a powerful experience to have happen during this moment of absolute frustration for my character. I’m a strong person– and so much of the fight is being choreographed to make me seem as weak as possible, because having the audience thinking “wow, Lavinia could kick thier asses” isn’t condusive to the scene much, so it’s been awesome having people I can trust being the ones tossing me about.

We also worked “Titus feeding Lavinia” last night, and that was…awful. We’re using oatmeal (because it’s delicious and I don’t understand anyone who say it isn’t), and holy gods did it make a huge mess. I’m a very persnickity eater, and having Aaron physically hold me down and spoon food into my mouth was so humiliating and demoralizing, in a weird way, it was really wonderful to get to experience that, especially because we are using that scene as the basis for how Lavinia survives for so long, and the truth is horrible to witness. Aaron, across the board, has been absolutely incredible to work with. I don’t know many other actors who would think to text me after rehearsal to make sure I was okay, especially, because really, last night I wasn’t.

This show is a weird beast. On one hand, it’s this absolutely fabulous role with all sort of dramatic interest and human emotion, but it’s also so dark and painful and just agonizing– once I’m in a show, I have a hard time separating my character and my personal life, and I think this is a role I need to be able to leave at the door and walk away from, just for the purposes of my own sanity. I’m always a bit shaken up after rehearsal, especially on the “rape scene” nights, because there is just so much to handle, the level of loss and pain and sorrow, but I also don’t want to be the bitchy actress complaining about it the whole time.

We’ve been working blocking for the most part and haven’t really delved too deeply (at least on my stuff) on acting, which I think is okay. It’s much more difficult to act when you’re worried about remembering where to stand, but I think my biggest concern is for the rape scene and the scenes immediately following.

The show is set up terribly– well, at least for poor Titus. My character gets raped, comes back mutilated beyond recognition, is found by her uncle (aunt in our production) and taken to her father. MEANWHILE, while all of this awful stuff is happening to me, Titus witnesses his two sons being accused of murder, his eldest son is banished from Rome and then I show up, so he has to deal with me, and then wait, there’s more! I can’t imagine the acting challenge that Aaron has to deal with.

We’re working that scene on Thursday, so my personal goal is to try and really access the emotion inherent in the scene. We’re re-blocking it (self-admittedly, I have become distracting in my hand-less gorey glory), so more of the focus can be on the action in the scene. However, I begged Jake to keep the part where Titus comes and comforts me– that is such a powerful, special moment. It is not often that anyone treats me like a child, and Aaron, just as a person, is so big and powerful and mighty, but in that moment, he’s so gentle and just so broken at the sight of his daughter, it’s really moving.

I’m also, god damn it, going to fucking cry. I don’t know what it is about crying on stage. I can weep and weep and weep at home on my own, but the minute I step into the space, it’s like my tear ducts shrivel up and die. I’ve been doing some work on how to approach it, and I think, basically, I am just going to sit there until I cry. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I think it’s more mental than physical at this point. I’m an ugly crier, too, so poor, poor Lavinia just won’t have anything going for her.

I am already projecting major post-show depression. This is one character that I care so much and so deeply about, I think it’s going to be really strange walking away from Lavinia and living my normal everyday life (without having to search for horrible, awful things on the internet nightly), but I kind of think it’s cathartic to be able to just hit those absolute low points and be there for awhile, and then shake it off and have friends give you hugs and go for french fries.

Because you can’t eat french fries with bloody stumps.