Friday, January 27, 2012

Emily: Un-American ASM backstage at Hairspray.

Emily, a sophomore at Wakefield High School, returns to Signature in the Schools for the second consecutive year as assistant stage manager with Un-American. To help prepare them for their roles in Un-American, both our stage manager and assistant stage manager had the privilege of shadowing the SM and ASM of Hairspray during a performance. Assistant stage manager, Emily, reflects on her experience. Be sure to see Hairspray now extended through February 5th and Un-American, performing for the public on February 6th and 7th.

Emily hard at work during a rehearsal
How was your experience shadowing the assistant stage manager of Hairspray during a performance?          
Hairspray is one of my favorite musicals so when I heard that Signature in the Schools would be using the Hairspray stage I already was so excited!  After seeing their amazing performance I was even more excited to get the wonderful opportunity to shadow the Assistant Stage Manager during one of their performances.  I had a really great time getting to see everything that goes on backstage before, during and after the show.  I learned more about the job of an Assistant Stage Manager through questions I asked and information told to me by the person I shadowed.  For example, she told me about her responsibilities during rehearsals and I learned how they differed from mine.  

What did you take from this experience and how can this help you as ASM for Un-American?
It was a valuable learning experience to get to see the job and responsibilities of an Assistant Stage Manager during a live performance.  Not only were my questions answered, but I got to see the stage in use.  Every stage is different at Signature and it really helped me as the Assistant Stage Manager to spend time backstage during a show and see how this stage works.  Also, I got to see the layout of the props list that they used during the pre-set of the show.  This gave me an idea of something I could put together to help with our show.  This experience will improve my performance as an Assistant Stage Manager for Un-American.  

I really appreciate getting this opportunity and the time and courtesy given to me by the Assistant Stage Manager that I shadowed and others backstage. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Remembering Marcia

We love you, Marcia. How appropriate that this year's Signature in the Schools production,
a production that will be dedicated to Marcia, centers so much on the idea of
there being room enough for everyone. 
Thanks for truly living what you teach and making room for every walk of life,
every mode of thought, and every personality that walked into your world.
Your love has been an example to us all. 
This one's for you, Marsh.
Marcia Murdock Gardner.

October 27, 1945 - January 20th, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meanwhile, back in the rehearsal room...

We are in the home stretch of our rehearsal period as we put together the finishing touches on Un-American.  With only one week left of rehearsals before we go into tech, our entire team is giving their all to ensure that all of the pieces come together.

We were able to sneak a picture during a recent rehearsal as actors Cameron, Jose, and Jason polish their scene:

Cameron plays Taylor, a neurotic but lovable winner; Jose plays Jorge, a yoga-loving peacemaker; Professional actor Jason Lott plays Tom Toppleman, host of the 11th most competitive gameshow on television, Brain Drain.  
 Be sure to come to either of our public performances on February 6 and 10 at 7:30 PM.  Tickets are free of charge; reservations are recommended. For tickets, call the Signature Box Office at 703 820 9771.

The anticipation is building for the world premiere of Un-American. While you wait for its impending opening, check out what has to say about this year's Signature in the Schools show:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Signature in the Schools Edition

Adrian, a freshmen at Wakefield High school will not only be making his Signature in the Schools debut in Un-American but his first stage appearance since elementary school. Adrian walked into the audition room hoping to get a chance to work behind the scenes but director, David Zobell and playwright, Joe Calarco had something else in store for him. Inspired by his audition, Joe created the character of Alejandro for Adrian, a character that speaks almost exclusively in Spanish.

Up until Monday, one key feature of Adrian was his signature Bieber-style hair-do. As much as we loved the long hair on Adrian, Alejandro needed a slightly shorter look for the show. So our trusty costume designer, Leslie Cook, took him to Shirlington's own Hair Cuttery for a minor make-over.  Adrian left rehearsal on Monday scared but excited.  "Wish me luck!" he shouted to his cast as he left the theatre.

 Here is Adrian just moments before his makeover.  Emotions are running wild!

Thankfully Adrian was in good hands with the nice people of the Hair Cuttery.  They took good care of him and gave him quite the haircut!  Afterwards, he and his hairdresser posed for a picture.

 Adrian's hair hasn't been this short since he was in military school in Colombia!
Come see the transformation yourself at either of our public performances: Monday, February 6 and Friday, February 10 both at 7:30.  Tickets are free and seating is general admission.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

An interview with Signature in the Schools Veteran, Amanda

Amanda returns to Signature in the Schools for the third year in a row. Through her year, she has worm many different hats (both metaphorically and on stage) with SIS.  Her freshman year, she was the Backstage Manager for the Shakespeare, Will. Her sophomore year she was the light technician for Image is Everything. This year she will be making her SIS stage debut, creating the role of Grace, in the world premiere production of Un-American.
How is working as an actor different than working backstage?
            Working on stage versus off stage is very different for two reasons. First, I have different responsibilities. Instead of being in charge of set up and take down, my roles as an actor are to know my lines and cues and most importantly act. Second, I get seen. When you are working backstage, although you have an important role, the audience does not know you are there. This year however I get to be seen and known by the audience. This also means I get to watch the show from a different perspective. I am excited to see these differences and new experiences more when we get to our performances!

How has this changed your understanding of theatre?         This shift from off to on stage has changed my perception and understanding on theatre in a few ways. Being off stage I got to learn about acting by watching, yet this year I get to learn by experiencing. Also, after working off stage and now on stage I get to see the big picture. I now understand that they actors do not wholly carry the show on them, but the things that the audience does not see are sometimes the most important. Having this mind set about the show, I get to appreciate more as an actor what happens backstage.
What has been the biggest challenge as an actor thus far?
            The biggest challenge this year as an actor is understanding that when a light, sound, or other cues are told to be taken note of by the crew I am not responsible for knowing them. Also understanding that I on a different side of the show, where as an actor I have to be vulnerable as a person in order to play my character. This also means that everyone can see when I make a mistake.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Page to Stage: Popcorn and a Movie!

This upcoming Monday, January 9th, at 6:30 PM, we'll be holding a very special Page to Stage downstairs at the Shirlington Library. Come on down to watch the original film Hairspray, written and directed by John Waters in 1988. Set in 1963 Baltimore, the comedy deals with issues such as body image and racial segregation. The movie stars Ricki Lake as Tracy, the “pleasantly plump” teenager; Divine, as her overweight and overbearing mother and features Sonny Bono and Jerry Stiller. Afterwards, stick around for a few minutes to talk about the movie, the musical, and the different ways they tell this timeless story. The movie's free, the popcorn's free - why would you not want to do this? We'll see you on Monday!

"The movie is a bubble-headed series of teenage crises and crushes..." 
Roger Ebert

"Waters's best movie"
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

"The Waters film for your grandma, who will probably be only a little bit freaked out by it." 
Tim Brayton, Antagony and Ecstasy.


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