Two years ago I joined a senior acting troupe called The Silver Streaks. It’s a small group connected to a local theater and we put on 2 or 3 plays a year. I did local theater when I was young, but had quite forgotten how difficult it can be. Acting looks so easy. Learn your lines and away you go, but there’s so much more to it. You need to create a character that people can connect with and then you need to sell that character to an audience. You don’t just learn your own lines, you have to learn everyone else’s too, because someone will inevitably forget something and you need to be able to cue or pick up the missing bit. Timing is critical and requires hours of practice. You need to know where your marks are on stage and how and when to get there. You need to remember to always keep one foot facing forward and to project your voice. Regular volume just won’t work. You need to know how to improvise if a prop is out of place or missing. Most of all you need to know how to connect to your audience and make them feel a part of what’s happening.
Our current play is called The Dusty Disco Ball and last night was opening night. I play an aging Disco Queen who haunts a woman’s dreams and it’s a fun play with lots of physical comedy and quick timing. Our audience was small last night and there were a few lost lines and prop failures. Our bed fell apart and I tripped on it, music cues came too early and our choreography didn’t quite come together. Oh well, that’s life as an actor. The trick is to make it look like all of it was planned and I think we managed to pull that off. The audience was with us all the way and there was lots of laughter. Tonight will likely be smoother, but if not we’ll find a way to make it work.
That photo is of all the actors. Missing is our writer/director and backstage crew of two. For now, I’m going to let you guess which one is me, but I promise I’ll give you the answer soon.