1/18/23. We had our first rehearsal from 6-9. Since this was the first rehearsal we only did a read-through of the entire play and our director laid down the road map of how rehearsals will go and what she expects of us. With the first read-through, there wasn’t much acting involved, we were getting to know the play and the characters for the first time. After the first meeting, I started to work on researching the play and did some homework.
What has really helped me with doing the homework and analyzing this play was using Hagens methods and Using a couple of sections of Rosenfeld’s Acting and Living in Discovery, I had used some questions from the book to help me get started. Here are my first impressions of the play: I thought that it was an interesting read. I liked that it switched back and forth between the events that happened before the attack and the events that happened after the attack. I feel like you don’t see that in a lot of plays. The description of the characters was good, it helped with figuring out their personalities and set the tone for the play. One of the questions in the book was if this play triggered any memories. It didn’t trigger any memories for me but it reminded me a little of some cop shows like NCIS and Blue Bloods and how some shows like these have a similar setup to the plot. Before reading this play, I had never heard of it and had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. When reading the play I did imagine myself as the main character, sometimes I tend to do this when I read a play for the first time. I imagine how I would dress in certain scenes and have certain mannerisms.
I was more nervous about some parts of the play. Stop Kiss touches on the serious subject of hate crimes against people of the LGBTQIA+ community which can sometimes make some people uncomfortable performing. Also, the way it can be performed can be a little uncomfortable. I am a little nervous about how we are going to go about addressing the attacks throughout the scenes in the play and how we are going to pull it off.
I really like this play. It’s not like any other play that I have read, I don’t think that it is absolutely amazing, out of this world, nothing can touch it, but I like the story and the fluidity of it. Again I like how it flip-flops between the different scenes. I also do feel like this story needs to be told because like I said above, there is a hate crime/assault that is against the women in the play. This brings up the subject of harassment against the LGBTQIA+ community that needs to be addressed. Violent crimes like this happen and we don’t talk about it a lot. Yes, the topic is uncomfortable but how else are we as actors and performers going to bring this to people’s attention?
This week we worked on some table reading and got into the nitty gritty stuff. Our director asked us questions about what was happening in each scene that we read and what our characters truly feel and the reasoning behind some of the dialogue. I believe that doing this helped me and everyone get into the mindset of what the play actually is and helped us realize how complicated our characters are. even the supporting and smaller characters. One of the questions that I was asked as the Nurse was why is she giving Callie all of these lessons and tips on how to take care of Sara and not her family. Does she feel that Callie is the best option to take care of Sara when she is discharged from the hospital? What does she see that no one else sees? These are questions I had a hard time figuring out because I had never thought of them before this rehearsal or when I read the script. One roadblock for me is that there is not much in this specific scene or my part of going off of, but that is something that I have to dive deeper into.
I have also on my own time been examining and researching the play. As I was doing this, I realized how relevant the story is for today’s world and how it affects us. In the play, Callie and Sara are violently assaulted, a hate crime was committed against them. I feel that this play brings up a heavy topic that should be addressed more and this play does a good job of bringing awareness to what is happening to the LGBTQIA+ community.
I continued analyzing the play and wrote down some of the things that happen in each scene. Here are the first two scenes:
Callie is in her apartment on the phone with George. They had plans to go out with friends but she is late. Sara buzzes to be let in. Callie has a bunch of junk on her sofa with newspapers, a box of kleenex, several dirty socks, mail, video tapes, and a bra. She puts the bra in the bedroom. Sara walks in with her cat, Caesar. Sara sits on a pile of books. Callie grabs some of the junk and puts it in her bedroom. Callie asks Sara if she wants coffee to which Sara says yes. Callie and Sara get to know each other. Sara asks how long Callie has lived in New York and Callie says 11 years. Sara lived in St. Louis her whole life. Sara explains that she has a job in the Bronx. She is there on a fellowship. Callie brings Sara her coffee and they toast. They get to know each other more. Callie explains that she is a traffic reporter for a 24-hour news radio station. Sara checks out the apartment. Callie explains that she has lived in her current apartment for five years, two of which were spent by herself. Sara says how she lived in St. Louis her whole life, she even went to college there and lived in an apartment with her now ex-boyfriend Peter. Callie asks Sara if moving to New York was a big jump for her and how her friends are taking it. Sara had to interview for her fellowship five times. Callie hands her a Magic 8 Ball. They share a smile and Sara gets up to leave. Callie looks at her watch, then asks what Sara is doing the coming weekend. Callie invites her over on the weekend to take her out and go around the town. Sara goes over to talk to Caesar. Sara leaves Caesar with Callie. The scene ends here.
In a hospital room with Callie and Detective Cole. Callie is sitting on an examination table. Detective Cole stands in front of Callie and asks her questions. Detective Cole asks her questions about an attack that happened to her and Sara offstage. Callie explains some of what happened. Callie explains to the detective what the man the attacked them did.
This week we are starting to move away from the table work and started to get up and move around. We played some games to get us into the groove of things and to help us trust in each other as actors and motivate ourselves to make good acting choices.
We started with playing a game where we would count up to 20. one person would start us off and the next person would continue but if people said the same number at the same time, we would have to start over until we got to 20. We played several rounds of this and eventually played it with our eyes closed. The second game we played we one where we had to make a noise and do a motion at the same time and everyone had to copy us. The next thing we did was one that I enjoyed, we had to perform and scene that was a couple of seconds long where we had to walk in, walk around and then leave. We had to come up with a scenario where something happened before we entered the room, then have something to do in the room, and have an event that happens after we left the room. We had to do all of this without talking. After the scene, everyone had to guess what happened before the entrance, what was happening in the scene, and what was going to happen when the person left. My scenario was that before I had entered the room I had gotten into a fight with my brother, I enter the room all flustered and angry, I then start to cry and leave to go cry to my mom. We went on to do some more team-building games to help us all work together and not only were they fun but they were very helpful in getting us moving and preparing for blocking the play.
I continued with writing down some things that happen in each scene:
Sara and Callie. Sara talks about how one of her students stands up for her in front of a man who sexually harasses her. An eight-year-old male student of hers. Callie’s phone rings but she doesn’t pick it up, she ignores it. George’s voice is heard over the voicemail inviting her to come and hang out with some friends. Callie offers Sara a beer and asks if Sara wants to order in. Callie explains to Sara that She and George are friends with benefits who date other people. Callie says that they might get married, but who knows? Sara questions marriage. Callie critiques her acting skills. Sara talks about her and Peter living together for seven years. Sara is in New York for two years and then wants to travel to Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Micronesia. Peter wants to come and visit Sara. They order Vietnamese food. It’s 6 pm and a loud noise starts above them. Callie is used to this, she says that it happens every Thursday and Saturday at 6 pm. Callie refuses to go up and tell the person above them to stop and Sara says that she is a chicken for not doing so. Sara starts to go but Callie stops her. Callie orders the food but Sara wants to go up.
Mrs. Winsley and Detective Cole. Mrs. Winsley witnessed the attack and Det. Cole is questioning her. Mrs. Winsley was in her house. She didn’t see Sara and Callie do anything before the attack, all she heard was screaming. The man was beating them up pretty badly. Mrs. Winsley explains that she is a fitful sleeper and was awake reading when she heard the commotion. She explains to the detective that her husband was out late. Det. Cole asks what he does for work to be out so late. She says that he’s a book editor. Mrs. Winsley said that she yelled out her window that she called the cops and threw Spider plants at him to get the man to stop.
Callie, George, and Sara. Callie puts a bouquet of flowers in a vase. There is a knock at the door and George is on the other side. She is surprised because she was expecting Sara. George hasn’t heard from Callie in a while.
Today we started blocking and getting comfortable being in Studio 115. We ran through half of the show till the end starting from scene 16 to the last scene which was scene 23. Since I am only in two scenes I don’t have to move around too much, all I have to do is stand. I am excited about this week because we are starting blocking and I get to watch the entire show.
We also started working on transitions, since we don’t have a pull-out couch yet we had to use acting blocks. Also by this time, we were supposed to be off-book. We were mostly off-book but we are allowed to call for lines. What I did to help me with memorizing my lines, and I do this a lot especially since a lot of the time I don’t have anyone to practice with, I record myself saying my scene partner’s lines and pause so real-life me can say my lines. We did not use props so we had to mime the things we were using, and instead of using a gurney, we had to use an acting block. In this rehearsal I learned that I need to plant my feet more, that is something I do naturally, and never had to think about that up until now.
I had started my vision board for the visual section of this project. I searched some pictures on Pinterest that gave off the feeling of my part as the nurse and both scenes that I am in. I found eleven photos but I had to narrow it down to eight so that they could fit on my powerpoint. overall, I think it came out really well and am very happy with it. I also added two other pictures from other productions to showcase what other actresses wore.
Today we worked more on blocking the scenes. This rehearsal was a little different because we had our designers come in. We had a bit of an audience! This was a good chance for the lighting and sound designers to get a good impression of the show and determine what the show is going to look like. We had also gotten some notes from the rehearsal before, I learned that I need to plant my feet more and not say things like “like” and “I mean”. I first I had not noticed that I did this, now I am more mindful and have gotten better at not saying them. For this rehearsal we worked from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm.
This time we had our props and the gurney but still weren’t able to use them, and we still did not have a couch, so we used acting blocks again. We are still getting comfortable with the transitions and still figuring out what needs to go where and when but I feel like we are getting it down. By now I feel like getting more into my character and somewhat getting into the mindset of a nurse. A nurse works about 12 hour shifts and sees many patients, so as a nurse, or playing one in this case, I have to think “one patient done, on to the next one.” I feel like as a cast were are getting close to where we need to be and we are all working together to get there.
Today we worked a lot on scene transitions. This mostly consisted of us moving furniture that was going to be used in each scene, we haven’t practiced with props yet. This was helpful in getting us used to moving set pieces around and transitioning into the next scene smoothly. How we did this is we started at the top of the show with the first scene, our director had the actors in the scene start at a certain point that may be in the middle of the scene and then move onto the next scene and do the same thing. We did this the entire block of rehearsal. This was really nice because it helped us with transitioning from one scene to another smoothly.
Today we continued with blocking in Studio 115 except this time when we ran each scene, our director had us stop and asked us questions about what our characters are doing in the scene, what they are feeling and what they want to get out of the scene. In my case since I am the Nurse in this play, I was asked what I was doing before I entered the room in which the scene that I am in takes place, I answered saying “I was seeing other patients before seeing Sara. Since I am a nurse, I work three 12-hour shifts each week and am constantly on my feet.” I was also asked why I was asking Callie questions about Sara and is this the first time Callie and I talk about Sara. I answered with “I want to get to know the patient but since she is in a coma, the closest person I can ask is Callie. Yes this is the first time Callie and I talk about her but I know some things about her due to the information that was given to me on a sheet of paper.” There were other questions like this and the other actors of course were asked similar and different questions. This helped me more with getting into the mindset of my character. This has also influenced how I say my lines and now I feel like there is more thought behind them.
A note that I was given from the night before form our director was “maybe “I’m gonna give her a bath now” is already a suggestion to Callie.” This is one of the lines I say to Callie. When I first read this I was not sure what this means. Does Callie know that Sara gets baths? Maybe the nurse is showing Callie how to do other things for Sara and she might know that at some point the nurse was going to suggest it to her and maybe ask about it. As I am writing this, I feel like it is closer to the second question, because to me as the nurse, it is obvious that Callie wants to take care of Sara and the I know that she is capable of it and Callie is persistent. This note is one that made me think a bit.
Today did another run-through, this time we started using props. Thankfully I don’t have too many props to mess with, all I have to use is a clipboard and pen. We have gotten to the point where we don’t need to call for lines anymore. I started my research portion of this project and am finding some really interesting things. Right now I am researching what was popular in art and music. Since this play takes place in the 90s, I feel like this was a time when people were branching out and new forms of art and music were coming alive. So much science and technology was discovered during this decade as well. Doing this research is really helping me get into the world of the play. It is helping me analyze what world the play takes place in. It now makes sense that this play includes topics of LGBTQ, because, in the nineties, a lot of laws were put into effect regarding same-sex marriages. We are about to start tech in a couple of days and I am both excited and nervous!
The notes I got from the last rehearsal were “paraphrasing “her body looks fine, if that’s what you’re afraid of” and “paraphrasing “it won’t hurt my feelings, you know, I’m sure she’d like it better if you do it.” I honestly don’t know why these two lines sometimes trip me up. But knowing this I will go over my lines more to make sure that I am not paraphrasing.
We did another run-through in Studio 115. This time we did it all the way through without stops or calling lines. I am continuing with the research and finding out some really cool things about the nineties. Toward the end of rehearsal, we had to quickly go over spots and angling so that the audience can see both me and my scene partner.
As we get closer to tech, I feel like we have/are getting what we need in order for the show to run smoothly as far as acting a transitions go. Still no couch or gurney but we will have those for tech. Right now, for me the anticipation is rising and the stress of getting all of this done is starting to set in, but I know that it will go away and I will do well. We will all do well. We have gotten so much done within the short amount of time that we had and we are having an awesome time doing it.
Tonight we started tech! And this time we finally have a pull-out couch and are now able to use the gurney! I also finally got to try on my costume for the first time. Today we only went through scenes 1-7, so I didn’t have to go on, the first scene that I come in is scene 16, but our director wanted all of us in the studio. I have mostly been working on my research while I sat in the hallway outside of Studio 115. This was really nice because I was able to get a lot done, my one issue was trying to not get burn out and get too distracted, so I set myself timers and goals to accomplish within those times that I gave myself. One of the goals I set for myself was to finish the second section of my research. I was researching science and technology from the nineties, which I did accomplish and learned some interesting things. For example, I didn’t know that the Hubble telescope was launched in 1990 and the construction of the International Space Station was in 1996.
Today was another day of tech. This time I did get to go on in the scenes that I am in. I believe that it ran pretty smoothly, we are starting to get used to using the gurney and the pull-out couch. in between scenes, I continued doing more research, this time focusing more on learning the politics and societal issues. I mention this in my research but there was a lot of issues and topics revolving around the LGBTQIA+ community. The nineties saw a lot of marches and gatherings protesting the law against same-sex marriage with many famous celebrities supporting them. Tonight I was determined to get all of my research done, and I did!
Last night I did not receive any notes on my performance, which makes me think that I have improved, but I will keep working to keep improving. Tomorrow is our last day of tech and then the three-show day starts!
Today was our last day of tech! Today we ran from scene 8 till the end of the play at scene 23, then we ran the whole thing as if we were putting on an actual performance. I have to say that I think it ran pretty smoothly and we all worked together to make it so. I still have more last-minute things that I need to do for my website. I had to add a little more to my journals because I didn’t put as much as I needed to and I forgot to add my visuals and character analyses, but I managed to get all of that done before I had to turn it in before we open tomorrow.
I am excited about the opening of our show! We have all worked so hard and have gotten so much done with the small amount of time that was given to us. It was a lot of work, sometimes we had weeks where we had multiple rehearsals several days in a row and we worked for many hours.
Today was our first show and boy was I nervous. I forgot to mention that we did not receive any notes from last nights run through, so there was not much for me to work on or change. I did not think my nerves would hit me this hard, as soon as I was about to go in for my first scene, my heart was pounding. Other than my nerves I was ready to go. I had my costume on, and made sure that the props that I used were in the correct place for when I needed them.
I think our first show went really well, we did a quick warmup to get us all started and then it was game time. After doing my first scene I noticed that I had dropped a line but I kept going. Tonight I will look it over so that I don’t forget for tomorrow.
Tonight was our second show and things were kind of similar to last night, except I was less nervous. This time I felt more confident and started to tune out the audience and I didn’t drop any lines. Tonight went really well and everything ran smoothly. Again, we did a warmup and then game time.
Tonight was our last show and it went really well! But now I am sad that it is over. It went really well again and I didn’t mess up, I became more confident and at times I forgot that the audience was there. I am so glad that I had the chance to be a part of this project/opportunity, I got to work with a group of wonderfully talented people and an awesome director who made this a fun and productive experience. I feel like this has helped me grow as an actor and I may have learned some things about myself.