Showing Off On Stage (or I must be mental)

“You are the third princess,” the teacher said.

We were putting on the 2nd grade play and the princess would be played by three of us. I got to be the princess chased by the witch, rescued by the prince, and reunited with her father. I loved the part until I found out I had to run up to my father and kiss him. Or more accurately kiss a short, red-headed boy, D., who called me names on the playground. D. refused to be kissed. Said he’d walk home first. We settled on a hug.

When it came time for me to run around my tower room and scream while the witch chased me, I failed to scream. I squeaked. The teacher picked a boy, RT, to scream for me. I had to run in circles pretending to scream and RT would give it his screamy best off stage.

In the 3rd grade I played a troll under the bridge. In the 4th grade I joined the choir, and in the 5th grade the choir teacher kicked me out. The first day after summer I sang, she said with her hands on her hips, “What happened to my pretty bird?” No more choir.

Another step in getting ready for the spotlight (for a recital that was cancelled).  This pose was insanely difficult and I almost fell over backwards before the shot was taken.  If posing is hard, how hard is actual acting?
Another step in getting ready for the spotlight (for a recital that was cancelled). This pose was insanely difficult and I almost fell over backwards before the shot was taken. If posing is hard, how hard is actual acting?

Tonight I looked up acting classes here in town. Somewhere along the way I’ve picked up a horrific stage fright. I go blind. I lose my voice. Why would any sane person subject themselves to such things? For a better story.

A Mr. Shelly Lowenkopf suggested acting classes and I made the mistake of telling my husband… I’m thinking of taking classes here. Oh, the things I will do for my characters. I hope they love me as much as I love them.

9 thoughts on “Showing Off On Stage (or I must be mental)

  1. Great photo. Who cares if you had fallen over backwards; what counts is, like the man said, the decisive moment. Good on the subject here, and good on her photographer.

    The classes available at the Paramount look pretty good. You may have to decide, for the short term at least, exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish. Acting for acting’s sake — in order to act — vs. acting as a means to writing. Those “You Can Never Get It Neat” workshops sound especially appealing, to me anyhow. The page which covers her philosophy on the instructor’s Web site quotes Phillip Seymour Hoffman, approvingly: “You can never be too weird.” Sounds like good advice for writers, too!

  2. I can’t count the times I’ve wished I had someone to do my screaming for me. . .

    Acting classes. Color me impressed. 😀

    Just be sure to watch “Who Am I This Time?” before you go.

  3. P.S. Re: acting to act, vs. acting to write… Of course the main thing is that you get from the experience what YOU need. And there’s a third option — that you start out thinking you need the one thing and find out you need the other.

    All of which is true. But Mr. Lowenkopf, that sly impresario, better beware the mob of angry villagers — avid readers all, armed with pitchforks or not — who will be out to get him should you opt for the stage exclusively.

  4. You know me, as a long-time musical theatre brat, acting classes sound like fun! I think my musical and performance training has definitely informed my writing and my career. (I find it’s a LOT easier to stand in front of people and read from my writing than it ever was to stand up in the vicious vocal performance studio classes I attended in university!) The practice/rehearsal ethic has paid off when it comes to my willingness to put my bum in my chair every day to write. I also find I pay loads of attention to pacing, cadence and character – from musical and dramatic points of view.

    Another option you might consider is to have an actor read your writing (with character development in mind.)
    I have a friend who is a stage actress and she even used excerpts from my first novel as fuel for an acting exercise that later became a monologue.
    Also, working with the whole troupe this summer on my play really had me spoiled. It was a new world – seeing how they went about bringing the characters to life (and they could smell expository crap a mile away!)
    Yes, novels and plays are different beasts, but now, as I go back to finishing my novel in progress I can see clearly (and sometimes painfully) where it lags and wallows along the way.
    Curtain up!
    PS I’ve always loved that photo (and envied those legs!)

  5. If UNLV had let me, I would have minored in theatre. I took several classes and I was in a one-act play which got me nominated for an acting scholarship. (When I tried out for it, I was horrible.) I have often thought that what actors do to prepare for a role is similar to what writers do when writing characters. If you take these classes, I look forward to hearing about your experience!!

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