I haven't posted as often as I'd like because I've been trying to learn a monologue for this show I've been cast in, The Eight: The Reindeer Monologues. The show's being done as a post-Christmas bonus to the Birmingham Festival Theatre schedule, and although I had declared a moratorium on acting until 2006 they tempted me into this one. The gimmick is simple: Vixen claims Santa's raped her, and so each reindeer has a say. If that sounds funny to you, come see it! If that sounds to you like the kind of cheap pop revisionism that hasn't been fresh since R. Crumb got tired of it... you and me both, kiddo. But as it turns out, the script is sharp, funny stuff, a real actors' showcase. It doesn't settle for coasting on the gimmick. And with this cast it's going to be the kind of show I'd love if I weren't in it. I'm sorry that it's apparently going to be a limited run, since it has cult potential. Doing it after Christmas is a neccessary evil since the impetus to do it started so late. It'll shine briefly, but I expect it to shine bright.
I'm playing Comet, a Santa apologist who appears to have been prepped with talking points and speech coaching courtesy of the Heritage Foundation. All those anti-drug assemblies in high school will finally pay off, and I'm so excited about putting that secularized evangelical speaking style to work.
BTW I got a voice work tip from NPR's Fresh Air last week that's really working for me; Terri Gross spoke to a voice trainer who said that you should never think about your diaphragm at all. Don't breathe from your diaphragm, but think of taking sips of air. What she calls "by the ways." Like when you've just made a statement, and then you think of something else to say, and you sip a little air so you can say "By the way?-" That's how you breathe. That may or may not make sense or seem worth worrying about, but I've been so self-concious about breathing from my diaphragm that it's given me a really labored and unnatural speaking pattern... Back in the day I needed to be made aware of the diaphragm because I was breathing from my ribcage, which is no good for a would-be actor, but I didn't understand that once I started breathing from the diaphragm I needed to get out of my resperatory system's way. This sips of air stuff seems to be helping me get the air I need to speak while keeping my from taking forced and unnatural-seeming bellows-breaths. And yet I'm too lazy to look up the name of the woman who passed on this tip and give her credit. That's gratitude for you.