Monday, February 21, 2011

The Play is a Memory

This weekend was the opening weekend for The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams at Lakeside Community Theatre.  AND IT WAS AWESOME.  I have just really enjoyed working with this cast and with LCT in general.  I said in a previous post that it's been really nice to step outside of my comfort zone both with this material as well as with the venue/company, and's true.  My castmates are cramazing (that's crazy + amazing, in case you were wondering):

cast of The Glass Menagerie -- Top: Benjamin Keegan Arnold as Tom Wingfield, Victoria Irvine as Amanda Wingfield; Bottom: Juan Perez as The Gentleman Caller, Mandy Rausch as Laura Wingfield

I haven't even missed singing in this production, and I've loved getting to really sink my teeth into this role and the beauty and depth of Tennessee Williams's writing. In a perfect world, we could do a "talk-back" after one of the productions so that we could talk to the audience about all the beauty and symbolism and autobiographical elements of this play with regards to the author's own life, and then have them watch it AGAIN and really appreciate all those things, just like the cast has come to do.  But, even without doing that, I feel like if the cast understands all these things and applies them to their individual performances and really commits to the beauty of the play, then it will be enjoyable to even the audience members who haven't ever read or seen the play.

Another thing I've really enjoyed about this whole process is understanding my own process as an actor a little bit better.  If there's one thing that's to be said for having a decent amount of roles under your belt it's that you hopefully learn a little bit about yourself as a performer each time: what memorization technique(s) work best for you, how you research a character/role, and, at least for me with this role in particular, how to really let yourself be vulnerable onstage. 

Having done only musicals, and musical comedies at that, I haven't really ever had to expose and bare myself to an audience really before now.  I don't want to give away any spoilers (though, if you haven't ever read The Glass Menagerie, I am wondering how you got through your education without being forced to at least once and I worry for you...), but there is a scene where I really just cannot care how bad I look, and just releasing myself to the emotion has been really freeing. 

I would REALLY, REALLY like for my friends and family to come see me in this show, if nothing else but to come and see me because you love me and want to see me try something new...but also to see what I feel like is a pretty darn strong production with some fine acting in it. 

You have the following remaining opportunities, so DON'T MISS IT:

Friday, February 25th at 8pm
Saturday, February 26th at 3:00pm
Friday, March 4th at 8pm
Saturday, March 5th at 8pm

In the meantime (notice how I didn't say "downtime") between show weekends, I'm starting rehearsals for my next project:

I'll be playing Peppermint Patty in Denton Community Theatre's production of SNOOPY!!! which will run in mid-April.  I'm a part of a spectacular cast with a lot of old friends and a couple of new ones, and a really unbelievable production team.  Just last night I attended my first rehearsal (they started last week while I was in Hell Week for GM), and it was a 3-hour tap rehearsal!  Whew, I am already sore today, but this is going to be a really fun show.  So it's back to being busy for Mandy! Let's go!