5 W’s in Acting Class

Acting class started last night. Delayed by one week to allow for additional registrations. The class consists of 8 people: Kelly Howell and I, (sister and brother), Matt and Jeff McGahren (brothers), Jayne Jacobs and Ryan Bauer (mother and son) and two others unrelated to anybody else in the class. A real family affair mostly.

It’s good being back in class again. A refresher is never a bad idea. Questions I had forgotten that I need to remember during auditions when doing a cold reading or a monologue:


Followed up by the second question: How does that make me feel?

Some are unknowns. Items not provided in the context of the script but that could help in understanding the character, in providing a “back life” for the character. The questions more specifically:

Who am I? How does that make me feel?
Who am I talking to? How does that make me feel?
Who/What am I talking about? How does that make me feel?
What is/was the event? How does that make me feel?
Where am I now? How does that make me feel?
Where was the event I am talking about? How does that make me feel?
When was the event I am talking about? How does that make me feel?
Why am I talking about it? How does that make me feel?

And any other Who, What, Where, When, Why that can be asked. You can and probably will provide the incorrect answers to these questions, but that?s ok. Make a decision and play the character with those answers.

Pay Attention! Listen to what the other character is saying. Act and React to the situation. A lot of what acting is is reacting to your fellow actor. To do that you need to pay attention. It’s not good enough to just spit out the next line when there is a pause.

I do know this, but it’s funny because Tammy and I were watching Inside the Actors Studio and Robert Redford was the guest. Mr. Redford was talking about his first acting class and having to do a scene with another student. The other student refused to listen and just spat out his line whenever Redford paused. When they went to perform the scene for the class, Redford finally had enough, grabbed the other student, shook him and then sent him sliding across the stage. That is a reaction, but I am sure it is not the one the other student was looking for. Well the other student was not looking (listening) at all.

The Sunshine Boys Opening Tonight

Overture, curtains, lights
This is it, the night of nights
No more rehearsing and nursing a part
We know every part by heart

Overture, curtains, lights
This is it, you’ll hit the heights
And oh what heights we’ll hit
On with the show this is it

Tonight what heights we’ll hit
On with the show this is it

Remember this, from The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show. I think it is very appropriate. This is the first play I have am in (well other than grade school) and I am excited. I have never thought about these words until just now. I started to write “Tonight’s the night, on with the show this is it” and it reminded me of the opening theme or Bugs Bunny. It suddenly means more to me than I can express. A life time of memories floods forth from childhood. Not at all what I intended to write here.

Anyway, please come out to see me and the rest of the cast:

BEN SILVERMAN Michael Nelson
AL LEWIS Kenneth Bergess
NURSE Monique Diaz-Piedra
Directed by: Richard Dillon

The Sunshine Boys – Update

This definitely is a learning experience. You know I was suggested for this small part (2 parts actually: EDDIE and PATIENT) by Jayne Jacobs a few weeks after rehearsals began. Not that this is an issue with learning lines. It’s just the figuring out of the being where I need to be and doing what I need to do during the rehearsals. The physicality. Everybody else already knows. As Chris Harris told us in class “memorizing the lines is just a technicality”.

What I have learned in just two nights of rehearsals: You do need to know, memorize, own your lines, but you also need to be intimately aware of the other actor’s lines to know your queue. You need to be aware of what the other actors are doing. You need to know how other actors react.

An example of the last statement: At one point I (EDDIE) come rushing onto the stage to step in between WILLIE and AL who are in an argument. WILLIE is saying his sentence, I have hold of him to keep him from AL, and I am waiting to say the next line. Well the actor playing WILLIE will keep going in a rant until I start my line. But of course I am waiting for him to end so I can say my line. Everybody was waiting on me. What I learn here is that if I know how the actor acts and what his lines are I should know how and when to “interrupt” correctly.

Play Notice: The Sunshine Boys

Jayne, from my second class with Chris, called me on Friday night having just returned from rehearsal. The person who was to play a very minor part could not and the part had to be recast. She gave me the phone number of the director (Richard Dillon). Well I called and was given the part based on Jayne’s recommendation. Auditions are good, but friends are better. As in anything else in life, it’s who you know!

Play: Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys”
Director: Richard Dillon
Where: Polk Street Players
Description: Two old vaudevillians have been separated for ten years. When the son of one tries to get them back together for one last fling, hilarity ensues.

November 5 – Friday, 8:00 PM
November 6 – Saturday, 8:00 PM Dinner Show
November 11 – Thursday, 8:00 PM
November 12 – Friday, 8:00 PM
November 13 – Saturday, 8:00 PM Dinner Show
November 19 – Friday, 8:00 PM
November 20 – Saturday, 8:00 PM
November 21 – Sunday, 2:30 PM