Truth is Comedy

We started our morning with and Audition Monologue Workshop with Jonathan Burnstein (who is dating the girl from the dance auditions… thanks, Randy)

I went first, performing my House of Blue Leaves monologue. Well, this was probably the most difficult workshop, and I found myself resisting a lot of what he said… not on purpose, it was just extremely frustrating. First, he told me not to do it with a dialect, it is not the idea of the character, but the person that lives in the character. He had me talk about what was going on, which was something very vulnerable and scary for Bunny. He told me to make this a conversation, the dialogue and to imagine his reactions. He told me not to approach comedy any differently than drama. “Just talk to him, Shakiera”. He told me to get in touch with my honesty, and that part of being an actor is being off balance. He got through all of us, leaving us with this wisdom, “You have to bring YOU to the character, it has to be real to you.” A few of us were near tears in frustration trying to understand this concept.

Our next workshop was much more relaxing. This was our Audition workshop for the camera, with Jodi Collins. We read a comedic scene, which I freakin’ Nailed! I felt like I had the timing of Debra Messing on Will and Grace! We were learning how to audition for 3- camera sitcoms. After we each went up and performed our scenes with notes, she went through each and every one of us (with Randy) and told us our “types” based on our look and what she saw.
First, Your “type” is who you are in your group of friends. My type: not a city girl, Indie, with an edge. Very quirky. I would be the best friend in an mainstream, but lead in an indie. She saw me as grounded, quiet strength, and power through acting. Earthy and smart characters. Celebrity types: Hilary Swank, Joan Cusak, Judy Greer.

Our final workshop of the day was Money Matters! This gave everyone a headache. It was basically: How to do your taxes as an actor. we learned to keep everything for 7 years, about 1099s and W-2s, tracking our transportation, write offs, and receipts.

Aaaannnnddd then we saw PORGY AND BESS! I thought I would be upset, as I know the opera really well, and this is a VERY cut version with added spoken dialogue. All I could think of was Bob reading Sondheim’s angry letter during Dramatic Lit one day about this play. However, this play was phenominal. I can see why Audra McDonald won the Tony! She and Norm and everyone came out to talk to us afterwards. They were all so beautiful, and so humble. We found out that two of the swings were out and that they had to fly in the strawberry woman who was doing the show at another theater! It was amazing! You never would’ve known. These performances were breath taking.
I asked the cast why they thought it was important for this show to be reformatted in this way. One cast member answered that musical theater is more about story-telling, while opera is more about vocal styling, and this way they were able to make the story more accessible to a wider variety of audiences.

I bought this soundtrack tonight on my ipod, too. 🙂 Tonight I will dream of stars….

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