aureantes: Portrait bust of Alexander the Great (Default)
( Apr. 22nd, 2008 04:46 am)
This is definitely on my to-read list, when it comes out.....Claude Rains is one of my favourite actors of all time.  A noted stage actor and teacher by the time he arrived in Hollywood, he believed that the film camera would catch any insincerity* of acting in its unsparing lens.  Although Errol Flynn seized my attention first in the Warner Bros. swashbucklers, I soon came to appreciate the greater skill and nuance that it took to embody the villainous/complex roles in which Rains excelled -- for example, his performance as Sir John Talbot in The Wolf Man (1941) is both the deepest and deftest amidst an otherwise-cursory lineup of soon-to-be-stock roles in the horror genre. 

(* My father, btw, tells me that the key to great acting is sincerity....."once you can fake that, you've got it made." :P)


My last entry was about the woes and stresses of acting in this musical that I'm in (and here's the website for the group, if you're curious -- I set it up myself, as well as being responsible for all the artwork).  This entry will be about the lighter side of things....such as my wonderful hats and what I can do with them (no, not that...).

I have this great brown-and-black suede broadbrimmed hat with silver ornaments and a braided band and tail that the lovely Litharriel and her cousin Raney gave me the summer before last -- it's a very dashing accoutrement, and I've managed to use it to great effect so far in the musical, as of last night when I brought in all my fanciest hats.....this, together with an "outrrrageous accent", of course, won me the epithet of "Senor Zorro" from my fellow actors -- and I will not complain if that stays in the show all the way to the last performance.  Also, the very handsome dark-brown fedora Litha bought me when we were weekending in Bloomington is used in the danced chorus to my first solo, for which dress shoes that make a good 'tap' impression are a must...

Other highlights of ad-libbing that have become part of the dialogue:

* Upon being introduced to my fellow cast members in the show, I kiss hands (with the ladies, at least :P) and say in turn, "Bewitched" (to Connie), "Bothered" (to Jeff -- 'Jeff Conway', actually, as Tom was not up on real names he might want to avoid), and "Bewildered" (to Laura, aka Jeff's ex).

* After my over-the-top dramatic schmaltz-it-up treatment of "It's Warm and Wonderful", when I say I "get compliments from both sides of the fence,' Connie asks, "You mean you get compliments from both Democrats and Republicans?" -- and I reply seductive-rakishly, "Even from Libertinarians...."

My singing's going very well, especially with having my solo/duet pieces transposed up just about a third (from Tom's standard non-singer's C Major) and having figured out upper harmonies where I need them on the ensemble numbers (where, in addition to the perpetual low Ds and Cs, having four people just in upper and lower unison would sound ghastly).  My dancing is...spontaneous and inspired, everyone agrees. :-|   And my acting in itself is, I think, quite "flamboyant" enough even without retaining any of the standard drag fare that Tom had originally written in, and apparently for a definitely older style of gay (there's only a very ambivalent reference to having done Charley's Aunt, and not precisely liked that very much, and a suggestion for "high heels, fishnets and feathers" that gets a rather ~:-S~ take from me -- not to name names as to where I got it...).  Tom was very fond of La Cage aux that's where his character idea of Martin came from.  My own (decidedly younger and more metrosexual) conception owes far more to John Barrowman and Johnny Depp, and does not by any means want to be pigeonholed as merely a queen when he's a veritable chameleon. Just so ya know..../:)

Connie and I (though both very 'dominant' IRL) are BFFs by the end of the show (okay, she's not exactly Judy Garland, but I've always had a soft spot for the odd girl/guy out in a dramatic love triangle, cf. Eponine); as for the actively-romantic element, I'm sure you can figure that out from either my comments or the program's layout of songs.  Not too much in the way of surprises there, but a lot of singing and cattiness and hamming it up along the way (>:)...) -- so I'd say it's worth seeing to see it in action, even if the "hokey"-ness is a bit much to accept as realistic.  The Logic Nazi in me is constantly wincing......but hey, I'm not on the user-end when it comes to this particular exercise of suspension of disbelief, and my mind is wound up with the logistics of things and relationships and making them as believable as possible.  If we get even halfway close to my perfectionistically-high standards, I'll have to consider that sufficient and satisfactory for the audience at large, whose minds aren't quite fixating on all the same things that mine is.

So, that's the rundown of things as they are in rehearsal....and if anyone in the area (seeing as this is going out to my Facebook feed too) feels inclined to come out, just drop me a line well-ahead if you can, and I (if I can, given my shortness of time online for this week at least) will email you a flyer with the $2-off coupon that goes out to our regular mailing list.

Apart from that.....yep, I'm rather busy with this, so I wouldn't expect too much from me socially or personally until the end of the month.  If it happens it happens, but I'm not counting on being able to do too much (or especially start anything new in the way of RPing, which is also acting of a very immersive kind) until this is over and can be safely gotten out of my system so other engagements and issues can get due attention. 

[Scene: Aureantes is laying out a series of printed-out photographs on the tables in the art studio, with 1 adult and 6 children (ages 7-9) in the general vicinity, paying more or less attention.]

"Who's that?"

Me: "That's a good question." (continuing to lay out photos)

"Who's /that/?"

Me: "Hmm, good question." (blithely -- devilishly, even -- laying out more pictures)

"Who's /that/?"

Me: "Well, this one goes with that one.... (matching a couple same-character shots)

"Who's /that/?"

Me: "Good question -- come and see."

And then they (the kids) gathered around and finally started to get it....ah yes, 'twas my nefarious plan, perfectly timed (as it happened) to coincide with a mini-flood of PotC-tie-in valentines and chocolates. Oh, the humanity. And oh, the running around hyped up on sugar...Mark and Danielle were at each other's throats, my kneaded-rubber erasers were being snatched at every turn from those I'd lent them to, and Mark proposed to put a lollipop in the electric pencil sharpener.

"Are you daft???" I exploded in full Scottish mode -- "Are you bloody daft?? -- don't put that thing in there!!"

Note: Scottish accents are funny enough to defuse tension, but aggressive enough not tae foockin' mess aroond with.....i.e., excellent for classroom use. >:)

Anyhow, I had all my best sketches and action drawings and proportion-diagrams pinned up on a folding screen to set a good example, in lieu of doing a demonstration drawing for them (only works if they're looking, you know...) -- and actually, I do credit some very dramatic and well-shaded shots for the kids' improved attention to shadow and modeling, plus Sharon's excellent work on her previous chosen task of rendering light/medium tones and not over-aging her middle-aged male photo model. Charlotte did some excellent work on her drawing, and is far better at observing and rendering than she thinks she is -- plus, she gets the idea of coming back to a subject later to chart one's improvement. That is worth a million hard-outline drawings posted on the refrigerator, folks -- let all aspiring parents and teachers take note.

(The lead in pencils is not lead (anymore), but I still must maintain a hard line against poking each other with pencils, as graphite-poisoning is still/also a liability. I told Mark there were to be no makeshift (let alone involuntary!) tattoos given in class..."Don't get me started there," I said. :-|)

*Is considering hanging the radio from the ceiling to avoid student tampering during class*

They had to be threatened, some of them, for running around the room and roughhousing and snatching things (and pictures -- you think I want any of my photo morgue's contents ripped?). "Do you want to be here next week?" I demanded. "Drawing is not supposed to be a chore! -- if you want to do it, then do it, focus on it!"

And similarly to Kevin's reiteration of "Modern art" (yes, the boy is home-schooled.....) to explain why his people's eyes and central features are so close together in a giant head. "Even modern artists learned how to draw people right before they went off on their own styles," I said -- "you can't just copy the way that that looks on the surface and bypass the whole thought process underneath it."

(Of course, I know that some 'modern artists' did absolutely nothing of the sort...but cut me some slack on the accuracy -- I'm tryin' to teach here. :P)

To summarize, though, I saw a lot of improvement in everyone that was trying. A lot more visible thought, visible decisions, good questions and clearly attempting to render what's there -- and they have absorbed (well enough to remind each other of it) the Very Important Concept that good drawing from a model (live or photo) involves looking at the model AND NOT THE PAGE the vast majority of the time.

It was a bit of Helen-Kellerage (the "w-a-t-e-r" gestalt-moment), gradually spread out over the activity portion of the class, as they gathered that all the pictures were of the same person -- and a real person, even though they were different roles and situations, different times and hairstyles and....well, especially the hairstyles. Thank you, People magazine, for that timely concert photo. I give Charlotte major bonus points for all the questions and concerns she posed, and her way of addressing what was really (though she doesn't yet know it) a very advanced photo-subject for her age. I'm giving them all major challenges -- but I'm trying to give them major incentives and play on their natural interests too.

Hence my own motto/quote for the day: "You gotta find a hook."

....Oh, and I gathered up one lone valentine from the tables afterwards....yep, folks, that's my title for this little slice of life's constructive mayhem.../:)
My articulation of recent self-exploratory (no, not that kind...) endeavours and revelations has been back-burnered yet again because of having a large muddle of theatre stuff in the way of getting decent online time -- I'm not going to complain about the lovely Litharriel's visit getting in the way of my online time because,, I'm just going to leave that sentence unfinished. Besides, we do have posts from way back when (no, not that far back...) on how we *cough* first met....out of your dreams and into those naughty Victorians and their vegetational symbolism....>:)

Anyhow, grrr. So I won't be back online till late Sunday night due to having three more performances to handle and endure without the moral support and criminal partnership of my beloved bride, but I really do need to try to write down the dream I had while napping after dinner, as it was rather...hmm, adventurous and transparent?

So. I'm over at my mother's twin sister's old house, and there's a somewhat nebbishy-looking accountant-type guy sitting at the diningroom table with a laptop, and I've been told he's working on a movie script for an upcoming big-name sort of film (no naming names here, but it's right in my line of interest).


Insert 'classic attention-getting behaviour' in the other room, proving that Aurey really has watched too many Errol Flynn swashbucklers. Well, actually, you see, there's this really big medieval black-iron chandelier, and I'm swinging around on it by one hand holding a sword in the other, and pointedly shouting "Gandalf!! Noooooooooo!!!"

(Don't ask....I think there was something about Gollum earlier as well, but it's a tad vague...)

Anyhow, I swing around the room and let go to leap onto a long table with people standing on it, and land precariously (impossibly, actually) at an angle barely holding on by my feet but then stand up easily and say wittily, "I brought my sword."

(Actually, that bit does start to make sense now...:-?....and no I was not 'just happy to see them'.../:)...)

And then there was also a bit in a room with some kids I didn't know from anywhere, but we were all drinking various beverages of some type and I proposed a toast to summer vacation. I know, I know, it's bloody November, but it wasn't November in the dream....I was just being friendly, okay? I have no idea how they got there. Little anklebiters run all over my mental landscapes...*growls*

Actually, though, this reminds me of a dream that I had recently as well regarding having a school in the house (again), and doing some saving of kids from repressive physical-&/or-mental circumstances to come study here....I was due to teach history, and there were two very basic points I was going to make to my students starting out the was "Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it" and the other one was that (as I'm really getting quite a refresher on lately) "History is written by the conquerors."

(No, no, I didn't get into "Might makes Right", okay?....sheesh....honestly, I haven't even got a hinkypunk in my bedroom.../:)...)

Bit of a mishmash here, I know, but I really have been having a damn hard time getting back into the habit of posting anything personal, as things have gotten so densely personal and revelatory with me lately. So, a little thinly-veiled mental materia is something to start with, so long as it doesn't leave me stuck as a black poodle (...).

I'll get to belatedly addressing my 'edifice complex' shortly in AlchemyGold, I suppose...

And a happy Thanksgiving to all, btw--it certainly is good to have quite a few things to be thankful for this year. I'd get into enumerating them all but then, that's a bit personal...swinging on a chandelier with a naked sword, on the other hand, that's completely normal.


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