Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Skinny on my Characters in "The 39 Steps"

  Ah, Miss Anabella Schmidt. I had an extremely difficult time with her. Ditzy, angry, down-trodden, embarrassed, goofy--I can do that. Confident and sexy? I'm trembling in my boots. It got to the point where I dreaded rehearsals when I knew I would be playing her. In the end, though, I think she got the most laughs of my three characters. And due to the blinds splitting, falling off, and rising sporadically, I also got to exercise my improvisational skills. Besides, who doesn't love a ridiculous death scene?

 Memorable Anabella moments:
  • It feels like an age since rehearsals first commenced, so I honestly can't remember if someone told me to make the "Alt-na-shell-ach" so long and guttural. But I like to think I thought it up, especially as it became a running gag.
  • I can't think of anything I'm more proud of in this show than the fact that I did not laugh when the blind fell down. I helped Michael put it back up in character, and fooled my own mother into thinking it was part of the show. Woot woot!

  Margaret was my fastest change, and thanks are due to Shirley and Kellie for making sure I was always ready by the time Chuck yelled my name. 

  Memorable moment as Margaret:
  • Really, the only thing that comes to mind as Margaret is looking at Michael over the table and always noticing a trail of sweat making its way down his face (which he had JUST WIPED backstage. Seriously, anytime Michael was not onstage, he was wiping extremely large amounts of sweat off his face). Anyway, I'd look at Michael and brace myself for when I had to kiss him. Poor Michael, he never once complained about the fact that my nose seemed to be perpetually runny. But apparently I'm the kiss-and-tell type. I am no gentleman.

  The second act felt quite relaxing in comparison to the first. Just one character, and no costume changes (besides a robe I put over my dress for the last scene). From the first reading of 39 Steps (which was a month or so before the audition), I wanted to play Pamela. The other characters, fine, whatever, but Pamela was the real meat for me. The proper British accent (RP) has never been an issue for me, and Pamela got to have some excellent screaming matches. Such a treat for me!

Memorable Pamela moments:
  • I always hated the stocking scene, where Michael trails his hands down my legs since we're handcuffed together. I think Johanna, our director, could tell I was very much out of my comfort zone, because the first time we worked on that scene she made us do it about a dozen times. Probably so I'd stop grimacing so much. But even by the last show, my inclination was always to slap Michael's hand away. Not sure why it bothered me so much more than the kissing.
  •  My wrist was bruised for probably two months solid from the handcuffs. Which was completely my fault, because I would always jerk my hand around. Michael was too soft with me, I kept forgetting when I had to yell, "Ow!" because he would barely twitch my hand. Pansy.
  • Our car scene was probably one of the most difficult things for us to get down. Turning in unison, let alone turning to the correct side (we forgot for a while that we had to lean the OPPOSITE way that Chuck would turn the wheel), plus timing the bump in the road made for a few hilariously terrible rehearsals.

The blind that had a mind of its own.

"This renders the engine . . . completely silent." It's weird/funny knowing EXACTLY which line was just said by our expressions.

The car scene that gave us so much trouble.

The whole cast, including our wonderful understudies/extras!
  I almost want to do a third post, just thanking all the incredibly talented and kind group that were backstage. Heck, they each could have their own post. Jade, who always made sure my props were in place and was a most excellent sign-holder. James, thanks for all the dance parties while I was waiting to go onstage. Kellie, who made my hair look fabulous every night. Kayla, who made my face up like a movie star. Eric, who built such an incredible set. Johanna, for having such an amazing vision and for giving me such an incredible opportunity. GAH, you guys were all awesome, I could ramble on and on about it forever! Know that even if I didn't mention you by name, though, I really appreciate everything you did. Every person added their own bit of awesome, and the show would have suffered if even one of the people involved had not been there.

  It was incredible. Thank you one and all.

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