As most of you know, after 9 years of auditioning, I was finally given a leading role in a play called These Shining Lives, written in 2008 by Melanie Marnich. I was cast in the role of Tom Donohue, ironworker and loving husband of Catherine, who is the main character we follow as she deals with the Radium Dial Company.
I've had a lot of fun being a part of this show, as I have with every production I've been part of, but this one was kind of neat because we were such a small cast and crew. Everybody varied in age and experience, and we got along pretty well and helped each other with suggestions and things for making the show, or our performances, better. The funniest moment I could remember was after a rehearsal, Mark (Mr. Reed/Leonard Grossman) asked me, since Mandana was married, "so, how does it feel kissing another man's wife?" The joke kind of goes along with the first time I met Mandana's husband, as when he shook my hand, he mentioned how he'd kill me later. Ahh, good times.
We premiered to a full house on Thursday, March 29th, and it was incredible! The rush, the tension, the strain on my voice as I bellowed my lines... Man, it was great. My only complaint was that it took several shows before the tech (lights, sound and projections) were finally done without any problems, and by several, I mean 6/11. We still managed to put on some great shows, but it was annoying that even when the show ran in its own theatre, it took so long to get it all worked out without any hitches.
Two nights that glow brightly in mind for performances include April 12th, when the lights went out on stage. Third scene in, this close to the end of it, and bam, darkness. Thankfully, the leading lady, Mandana, and I kept the audienece entertained while still remaining in character. Thank goodness we were both good at improv (props to McGill Improv for helping me hone my wits for that). People laughed like you wouldn't believe and the show still went off well.
The following night, we received the honour and privilege of having a descendant of one of the characters watch our show! That's right, Leonard Grossman's granddaughter just so happened to be in North Vancouver, visiting from Chicago. She was just in the neighbourhood, saw our poster, and came . The whole cast took a picture with her, as you'll eventually see once I scan it. Really freaking cool!
Probably one weird thing I have to note is that on some nights, my very last line would generate laughs. For those who hadn't seen the show (everyone but the 4-5 people I know that came), my final monologue has my characters, Tom, at his wife Katie's grave, paying his respects at the burial. Mr. Reed, Katie's boss at Radium Dial, is there as well, and I confront him for playing a part in her death. My last line, after giving the guy a verbal thrashing, is "just so you know, every morning I wake up, and wonder if today's the day that I am going to kill Rufus Reed." I've had at least three audiences LAUGH after I delivered the line. Why the laughter? Though my director believes it's due to the uncomfortable nature of the conversation between Tom and Reed, your guess is as good as mine.
We performed one last time on May 10th for a competition that would've net us a trip to Kamloops (the Fruit Loop capital of British Columbia) to perform the show there. We didn't get as much time as I would've liked to rehearse in the new theatre, since we spent so much time trying to get the lighting cues right, but the show still turned out pretty good, regardless of one or two cues being pretty off. Ugh, to think we still had tech problems at the worst possible time.
I managed to enjoy a couple of the shows myself, having watched Bea's Niece (an author in an asylum trying to get better after her husband's death), Cemetery Club (three friends coping with the losses of their husbands in different ways), and two shows that I forgot the names of, both performed by a drama club with high school students (one was about a teacher giving an oral exam to a class on what she should do to a cheating husband, the other was a non-linear telling of what the school system'll be like for creative kids in the future with horrifying results). As much as I like being part of films and plays, I don't watch as much as I should. Oh well, maybe when I get more money...
On May 12th, during the awards ceremony, Mandana and Jenny were given some awards for their performances, but right before they were called to the stage, we received the shock of our lives when we found out that "These Shining Lives" received an award for "Best Backstage Organisation." Every cast member's jaw dropped at that. We could hardly believe it, given some of the drama that went on there (won't go into it), but we all thought the exact same thing; if we got the award for it, how bad were the backstage issues for the other shows? Maybe it had to do with us clearing the stage after our show in the best condition, and wrapping everything up at 23:15, but I like our assumption more.
And that's the story of what happened during the first half of April concerning These Shining Lives. I want to take a moment to thank those who came out and watched, and the cast and crew for being so awesome. Oh, and what else did I do during the month, and for this half of May? That'll be told in the next update.