Friday, August 13, 2010

Find Some Choral Gigs . . .

While looking at jobs, I was struck by the number of positions listed on Mostly they're part-time gigs and an easy source of cash, with gigs in several parts of the US. Check them out!!

This is the what their jobs page currently looks like:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Other Pleasantries and Such

Continuing on the idea of theatre courtesy, I've also noticed other of their folk saying 'thank yous' that aren't really about genuine gratitude. From the director, stage manager, stage minion or actor, the words mainly seem to acknowledge patience, talent and work contribution. Lots of times, its used in ways such as:
  • Acknowledging an announcement: For example, a places call ("Five minutes to places") is responded to with "Thank you, Five"
  • Conclusion: After general announcements, these words conclude me speaking ("Blah blah blah, thank you")
  • Multi-layered use: Appreciation for patience, Apologies for the wait and Cue to stop/start -insert action here- ("Thank you, name," and the scene continues until the next cue)
Kinda standard. But an outsider, say a pianist, may hear subtle shades of meaning within the chatter. And it can be entertaining - especially in auditions:
  • An actor's potential for being cast (Definitely - Oh, not a chance)
  • An actor's potential for getting a date (I won't cast you but I find you attractive)
  • A director's irritation (Go away - What on earth was that - For the love of God, stop)
  • Groveling (I was a jerk earlier and am trying to compensate for it by being overly polite after the fact)
  • Overeagerness (I'm so excited to be here I say everything with ridiculous enthusiasm)
  • Toadying (You are superior to me - I live to obey your every whim)
Just try not to laugh when the meaning is too transparent.

Another oddity I discovered this summer is something I'll call the 'mid-season meltdown' - a spontaneous crying fit that occurs for no specific reason. I found summer stock really intense, as did several of the students that I worked with (Huron Playhouse is an extension of Bowling Green University, so its a mix of students and professionals). It was challenging, glorious, and astonishingly draining, and any of the following caused many to crack: missing a loved one, learning the lines, songs or choreography for up to 3 shows at once, lack of sleep, constant close contact with the same people, loss of wallet or car keys, not bathing in two days . . . One member found herself sobbing when she couldn't find her dance shoes, another as she quietly did needlework in the box office. My own occurred in the middle of a full-run rehearsal of a show: I'm in the pit, tears streaming down my face for most of the second act (I still have no idea why). All I know is that hasn't happened since I was 10, when my mom forced me to perform for someone and I
really didn't want to.

Friday, August 6, 2010

. . . You're Welcome

Courtesy is big in theatre. In a theatrical collaboration, artistic personalities are shoved together for long hours and deal with stress and deadlines - often without necessities like sleep, caffeine or air conditioning. Manners become very important in maintaining the peace (or at the very least, a functional level of animosity). To my mind, this is why actors and singers always cram pleasant things into their conversations - i.e. 'You're the best', 'you're amazing', etc. Pianists get to hear a lot of positive comments, but it's the courtesy phrase, "Thank You," that tends to get the most mileage. And an astounding range of meanings are wrung from those two syllables.

Volumes are conveyed by factors beyond word choice - the person's facial expression, tone and timing can change the meaning from actual gratitude to mere acknowledgment, hopeful toadying, etc . Here are some common 'Thank You's' that audition and rehearsal pianists will run into at some point:
  • Pure Gratitude Thank You: You saved my life out there!"
  • Relief Thank You: You didn't screw up, I was worried when I saw you
  • Perfunctory Thank You: I am a self-obsessed actor/singer who has already mentally checked out but I have enough experience and training to know you never piss off a pianist
  • Slightly Chagrined Thank You: I know its totally wrong for me to bring this song to an audition but I didn't care enough to bring something else
  • Surprised Thank You: Wow, I was expecting something less professional
  • Impressed Thank You: God, you're actually good!
  • Non Thank You: I secretly blame you for a bad audition
  • Bashful Thank You: Please don't think less of me after you've seen me totally suck
  • Shameless Self Promotion Thank You: I want you to speak positively about me in the future
  • Intelligent Thank You: I will do my damnedest to be charming because I need you on my side

What's funny is that a lot of pianists would prefer to have the stupid LH at the bottom of the page (or to not need to sightread 'The Beauty is" from Light in the Piazza) rather than a sincere thank you . . . Or I may just be speaking for myself.

Please feel free to add on anything from your own experiences.

Monday, August 2, 2010

No Rest for the Wicked

Actually I've been resting a lot today. Summer stock ended yesterday at 4:30am (or so). When a show concludes, something called 'strike' happens. They dismantle everything, pack it up, put it on a truck and clean up whatever is left over. My contribution revolved around the orchestra pit and erasing scores, but then I wandered around and assisted other tasks, which included folding up stage backdrops, pushing wheeled things up a ramp and onto a truck and stacking chairs. There was a lot of shouting and pizza involved.

I drove the 7 hour commute yesterday from Ohio to VA, and have been in a coma for over 12 hours, but wanted to update since I've been MIA since May. I return to my church gig this Sunday, and start up my 3+ academic gigs within a month or so.

I will definitely comment more on the summer, when I get my eyes uncrossed.