It's Like Talking to a Brick Wall
If you had told me on my first day of college that the pinnacle of my college acting career was yelling at a brick for half an hour, I would have suggested a list of therapists that you could see. Hell, if you had told me all this near the end of 2016, months after I had already decided that I would be doing The Myths and Bricks Project as my senior acting capstone, I still would have thought you were nuts.
But here we are, nearly a month after my final performance. Have I finally accepted it? Have I finally embraced that I did this weird little one-man play? Well, sort of.
It may not look it, but it's been one of the most stressful experiences of my theatre journey so far. For those of you that don't know (the two people I shared this article and didn't see the show), I am in the process of finishing up my theatre degree here at Northern Michigan University, and as a graduating senior, I have to participate in a big capstone project that serves as a culmination of all that I've learned in my time here. Most students choose to act in a show, or direct a short play, or do some big designing project. Me? I chose to direct, star, and design a one-man show.
And who says I'm not ambitious?
The process behind Myths and Bricks started all the way back in November 2015, when my class of Juniors had to submit proposals for what we wanted to do. I really wanted to act or direct, but my options seemed limited. Just on a whim, I was searching Playscripts.com for short shows with bare minimum casts when I stumbled on Myths and Bricks. I read it, immediately thought "What in the actual Hell is this?" and moved on.
But something about it just stuck with me, and with each new script I read, the more this dumb little brick play grew on me, until I was completely certain that it was something I wanted to do. I whipped up my proposal and sent it in in Early December.
I didn't really imagine doing a one-man show, but just over a year ago, I got a letter in the mail saying "You wanted to do it, go for it!" My initial reaction was "Holy shit, I'm actually doing this!" It was immediately followed by thinking, "Holy shit, I'm actually doing this..."
Of course, I couldn't do anything for another eight months or so, after my busy summer with Lake Superior Theatre and my first semester last year. But right around November, I started looking at it again. I wrote papers on what it all meant. I wrote pages on how the brick was a visual pun on the "cornerstone of the entire universe." I wrote an entire character analysis on the brick. It...it was a weird time.
Finally, I figured that I was ready to really jump into rehearsals in late December, over a year after I made the decision to perform it. I figured that I had done all the hard stuff. I had a production concept. I had an entire detailed anaylsis of the play. I had the designs and plots down. The hard work was done. All I had to do now was memorize and perform it. Easy stuff, right?
Wrong. This was one of the hardest shows I've ever done. Jumping from emotion to emotion, from energetic and bold to soft and thoughtful, often at a split second's time, was exhausting. But it was oh so rewarding.
Overall, the reactions to the show were much more positive than I had hoped. The piece itself is one of those "artsy, postmodern, self-indulgent" pieces that so many people, myself included, seem to make fun of, but with the way I played it, it really seemed to strike a chord with many audience members, including my dad, who cried. HA HA DAD, YA BIG BABY.
No, but seriously, I had a really great time working on such a drastically different piece than I'm usually working on, and I feel like I really learned a lot as a performer. It's definitely a piece I want to return to eventually, something that the entire NMU faculty seemed to agree upon. But enough jerking myself off...well, at least until the next show wraps. ;)
I'm now currently working on the show The Addams Family, which is set to be my final show here at Northern Michigan University. I'll be playing Mal Beineke, and it's looking like it will be a really fun way to end my time up here in the tundra of Marquette, Michigan. Keep your eyes open, as I'll be writing a post about my makeup design for the show in the near future, as well as any future updates! And as promised, here's another cute pup picture to look at.