Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Squirrels in the Attic

I've been suffering from self-induced lack of sleep lately because I've been rehearsing for a show... it's called Squirrels in the Attic (written by Pat Lawrence, author of Jarred Into Being) and is described as follows:

Lindsay Spencer, a free spirited, single woman in her late twenties, returns to her parents' apartment after she's in an auto accident which her father, Charles, feels guilty of causing. Charles dotes on his only daughter, but her mother, Florence, is a more realistic critic of her daughter's shortcomings. Florence, who is loving, but ordered, lofty, and patronizing, is dismayed to learn that her husband has invited Lindsay to live with them while she recuperates from the auto accident. When Florence learns that Lindsay's boyfriend, Claude (an aspiring comedian), is also moving in with them, she is furious. Florence gives Charles an ultimatum: either he un-invites them or Florence is leaving him - for good! The sidesplitting conflicts of lifestyles, living arrangements, and Florence's “secret life” not only bring about a greater understanding between mother and daughter, but also lead to a hilarious conclusion.

I play Lindsay.

We open tomorrow. I mean, technically we have a preview audience tonight but I've been told it will more than likely be a group of high school students lured there by the promise of extra credit points. I can't wait to play pretend amongst the bright glow of cell phone screens....

So now comes the time where I convince you why you should spend $10 on a ticket and watch this awesome show. (Other than the obvious to see me, of course.) Here are the reasons I came up with:


You can check out our nuts!
No. For real. This cast is a bunch of nuts. Some bigger than others.

Be amazed by riveting stage direction!
Will it be a big plop? A loud plop? Will the plop be
big enough for the people in the back row to see?


Find out if these actors killed me
for posting this photo to Facebook!
 They didn't. But they wanted to.
They're probably just waiting until we close. 


Meet my horny boyfriend!
He's only 18 in real life. I'm 38...
and currently feeling incredibly old. And cellulitey.


See what our house looks like!
This was during rehearsal when all we had was a couch
surrounded by a bunch of crap taking up space on stage.
Will there be walls? Will there be additional furniture?
Or will you have to squint and pretend it's a home?


See if I finally get breasts!
There was a box labeled 'breasts and suit stuff' in the costume room...
will my costume include either? 


See if I've improved!
This is from the front page of the script.
It includes my name. Which is pretty awesome.

This show was originally produced for the very, very first time, back in 2007 and for some reason I was fortunate enough to land the role of Lindsay Spencer. It was a freaking awesome role. 

I usually get cast in the smaller comedic roles... which I love, don't get me wrong; I believe those are the roles that are the most fun and add the spice and flavor to plays and I know my strength is in comedic timing, which comes naturally to me - and that means it doesn't feel like work. When I landed the role as Lindsay I was nervous. At this point I'd only been cast as the lead twice before (and surprisingly, one was in a musical; luckily my big solo number was redirected as an emotional instrumental). 

My point is, being a lead is stressful for me: the roles have way more depth, way more responsibility, and way more lines. As a character actor you can away with so much -- especially the funny roles. It's easy for me to play the self-deprecating role; it's much harder for me to play the vulnerable, emotionally exposed role. But I rocked it back in 2007. The whole cast was freaking awesome and to this day I love them all to pieces. 

Fast forward five years and here comes this show again... finding its way to the Elizabeth Reinholz Theater, home of the Beloit Civic Theatre in Beloit, Wisconsin. Which, by the way, I had no idea existed. I knew about the auditions for quite a while, and really wrestled with whether or not I would give it a go. I had just come off another holiday show - three years in a row of every weekend from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I was tired, burnt out, and I had just learned how to knit. There were scarves to be made!

Also, I wasn't as young as I used to be. I felt old and frumpy and scatter-brained. How would I ever learn all those lines again? I had already done this role, why do it again? I had a two year old. I had a cat. I had ... excuses.

But I went. And was cast. And the show is not at all like we did it the first time and the role is not at all like I did it the first time and that's the awesomeness of theatre - it's never the same thing twice. The whole show was approached by the director from a completely different direction and it was all so new. Even though I had stood on a stage with those same exact words once before - every single word was different. And the show is freaking awesome. Just as freaking awesome as the first time, but in a completely different way.

And so here I am. Here we are. Weeks of rehearsals filled with stage direction like just stick your head in her hole and I want you sitting on tits on a bull. (Would you be scared if I told you it makes perfect sense to us?) Weeks filled with fond memories and funny inside jokes with my amazingly talented castmates and a jackass who would not stop insulting me until I finally cried like a little baby (there is always one) ... weeks of Starbucks and gluten-filled treats that I couldn't eat and anxiety and stress and lack of sleep and laughter and trying to remember that stupid line (why can't I get that freaking line?) ... and now we're here.

We're all here.

Waiting for you.


SQUIRRELS IN THE ATTIC
Beloit Civic Theatre
1225 Fourth St. Beloit, WI 53511
http://www.beloitcivictheatre.org/
April 26, 27, 28, May 3, 4, 5 at 7:30 p.m.
April 28 and May 5 at 3 p.m.

Adults $10.00
Seniors (60 and over) $8.00
Students $8.00

Box Office hours:
Reservations are taken during the weeks of performance only, and maybe made by calling the theater Box Office at (608) 362-1595 or at reservations. Box Office phone is open from noon to 5:00 pm (Monday - Thursday) and from 6:30 - 7:20 (Thurs - Sat). If you call outside of regular phone hours, you may leave a message on the answering machine and we will return your call.

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