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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Unflattering photos and other miscellany!

When one is inserted into a pre-existing company, the first few weeks of rehearsal are, in a word, insane. In, like, a good way, but also in a way that makes me want to hide under a rock.  So this post might be kind of all over the place, and also indulgent, in the sense that its main function will be for me to try to get a handle, through writing, on the stuff I've learned.

Presenting, a random assortment of information from the past two days:

Am understanding gradually the definitions of those theater-y terms of which I had always feigned knowledge.  Like: An understudy is someone in the cast who regularly plays one role (or "track," which often means an assortment of multiple roles) but who "covers" one or two (or more) principle roles. Often in the ensemble, he or she fills in when the person usually playing the corresponding principle role is out sick or on vacation.  I, for example, will perform in an ensemble track (called 3F, if you want to know the sexy insider lingo) and will understudy the principle role of Elphaba. A stand-by is someone who does not perform regularly in the cast but whose only job is to fill-in for the principle role to which they are assigned. For example, both Elphaba and Glinda have a stand-by (respectively), and neither stand-by plays another role in the production. Stand-bys are first in line when the principle is out. The understudy is next in line after that. A swing is someone who understudies a number of ensemble roles-- essentially, an ensemble understudy. Dude, these folks are ridiculously on top of their shiz. One really cool gal named Kristen knows all the vocal parts and dance combos for every single ensemble track (I think there are twelve total)! Then there are these other people called universal swings who rove the globe heroically filling in for WICKED companies if they need a track covered when that show's casting is in flux. Insanity!

Unrelatedly, here is an unflattering photo of me at my wig fitting:

In other news, I found out from Steve the associate conductor that Stephen Schwartz wrote into WICKED's score a bunch of musical allusions, or quotations, from The Wizard of Oz. He revealed to me that the melody during the "unlimited, my future [is unlimited...]" section in "The Wizard and I" is the same tune as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow!" My head nearly exploded!

Since I am a replacement cast member, my staging rehearsal has thus far involved the dance captain playing all other people's roles around me while I try to map out my particular pathways along a sort of Battleship-like grid (there are numbers across the front of the stage to describe stage L versus stage R, and then there are other markings to determine depth of my position).  Without getting too into the nitty-gritty, let me just say that today really made me appreciate just how precise and detail-oriented WICKED is.  There is, of course, room for interpretation -- and, dare I say, acting! -- but everything from a head flick to the angle of one's stance is evaluated for its clarity of expression and cohesiveness with the whole.  Musical theater is a veritable playground for those with OCD-like tendencies!  But that's what you gotta do, cuz that's what, like, makes it good and stuff.

Yes, yes, long-windedness alert, I know.  There is just so much to describe!  A few more bullet points...

I walked to rehearsal today through what I suspect would be one of the less picturesque parts of San Francisco (Van Ness Ave, or something like this?).  Must consult the NFT guidebook my bro gave me for Christmas.

Really indulgently: I took some blurry photos with my phone of me at rehearsal and sent them to my ├╝bermensch bf in New York City, and I was all like "hey-o, boyfriend, I'm at rehearsal wearing your t-shirt, let's flirt technologically!"  That's not the point... the point is: Thanks to the magic of Bluetooth (which, until a few weeks ago, was -- like the words understudy/stand-by/swing/etc. -- a term I uttered with total authority but had no idea what it meant conceptually, logistically, morally) I was able to upload said photos to my computer!  Now YOU can flirt with me!  Behold!  Me in my bf's t-shirt!

(For the record, I don't think it is appropriate for you to flirt with me.  I have a boyfriend, for God's sake, take it easy.)

And then I took a photo of the first pair of shoes I will wear onstage!   Behold!  The shoes I wear in the first scene of WICKED!

Well, friends, it's been real real fun, and this post has been positively roller-coaster-iffic.  I need to go shower now because, well -- based on what I've said about the grueling nature of the past two days of rehearsal, I'm sure you can extrapolate just how often I've been able to shower.

(The one, perhaps singular, benefit of a long-distance relationship is that hygiene becomes obsolete.)

(Kidding!  I've never been hygienic.)

(Kidding again!)




  1. You make me laugh in ways very few can. I wish you all the best on this crazy adventure you've embarked on...oh, and tell them to transfer you to the London production next year, thanks. Aa x

  2. Those boots are fierce. Where can I get a pair/can I borrow them some time? love being able to read this..bookmarking this now :)