Ready, Set… from Andrew Carr

Posted by on Mar 10, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

NOTE:  Andrew Carr wrote this just before opening night. Ready, set…. We’re ready for an audience. As characters Thurston Wheelis & Arles Struvie say, “Come oooon out!” It’s been an enjoyable rehearsal process, but now the fun begins when the most important ingredient in theatre is added: an audience. Those who have never worked on a theatre production might not realize the dimension that an audience adds. I’m not referring simply to bodies occupying seats; I’m talking about living, breathing people who respond to the actions on stage. Unfortunately, because most of us fill our entertainment needs by sitting in front of a screen, we’re conditioned to sit, watch, and be quiet. If we do attend the theatre, we are often so self-conscious (are we worried about disturbing those around us?) that we unknowingly remove ourselves from the production. We don’t realize that an active audience – one that participates with its laughter, boos, tears, etc – is vital. We, as an audience, complete the art form. It’s not actors, designers, directors, or technicians that make theatre what it is (left to themselves, they create screen art), but the audience that makes live theatre the most experiential art form that most people ever experience. Haute culture aside, as an actor I would be lying if I didn’t admit that a responsive audience aids my performance. That’s not to say that I don’t give it my all every show; I do. But an audience sharpens my performances. It’s as if they energize me, and as a result help me give more through my characters. Call it artistic symbiosis. So, if you’re coming to see Greater Tuna, Chazz, Hjalmer, Natalia, Steve, Marsha, Eric, Payton, Hannah, Justin, the Board, and I ask you to throw caution to the wind, don’t worry about what the person in the seat next to you thinks, and bust a gut if you feel like it! We think you...

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Next Steps in the Rehearsal Process…from Andrew Carr

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

I have script just about completely memorized and the show is blocked (actor speak for knowing where I’m suppose be onstage at any given point in the show). Now comes the fun part: running through and polishing it. It’s always my favorite part of the rehearsal process, because it’s when the characters start to take on their own unique identities. This show presents a real challenge because there are so many identifies to flesh out (and keep straight); but that makes it all the more fun. Some of the character development is already starting to come together. For some reason, the two females characters that I portray (Bertha and Pearl) have been the easiest ones to forge. I’m not even going to venture a guess as to why. This week also begins the challenge of working on the numerous quick (costume) changes that Chazz and I undertake. The goal is them to appear seamless to the audience, but getting to that point is going to require choreography akin to a musical theatre production. Stay...

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Meet the Actor: Andrew Carr

Posted by on Feb 9, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

As I sit here running lines (actor speak for memorizing the script) for Act II of Greater Tuna, I reflect on the three decades since I first stepped on a stage. I caught the acting bug in 1979 as a freshman at St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio.  It was a special place: three shows a year, high production values, and a director, Doug Montgomery, who expected high professional standards from his student actors. Those years provided me with a strong foundation and discipline in the profession, but more importantly it instilled in me a love for working together with friends to create art. That same sense of community was present as I worked towards my B.F.A. in Theatre at Ohio University. There was friendship, creativity, laughter, and a sense of purpose – not as a showcase for individual talents, but where actors, the production team, and audiences alike came together to learn more about themselves (the essence of theatre is, after all, to provide a “window to the world”). I’m not exactly sure when it occurred, but sometime during my sixth or seventh year as a professional actor, I realized something was missing. The aspects I’d loved about those earlier days were gone (friendships, community, purpose, etc.), and were replaced by a sense of competitiveness, desperation, and a neurotic self-absorption within my fellow actors and myself that I found compromised my personal values. And, of course, I was completely broke even though I was working two jobs, one of them being “professional actor.” I’d simply wanted to act: to create real characters that honored the playwrights who created them within a community of actors who made their living working and growing together as artists and professional colleagues. Entities like that, I sadly found, were rare in the professional theatre world, and I had neither the knowledge, financial resources, nor the tenacity to create one from scratch. I walked away from my acting career in 1992, with the belief that if I were meant to do it again, the opportunity would make itself plainly known. In the two decades since “retiring” from acting, I dabbled in the theatre from time-to-time, but also found a lot of fulfillment as a middle school teacher and, for the past eleven years, full-time parenting. But still, I must admit, I missed theatre. Then last winter I spied a casting noticed for a play (Southern Hospitality) directed by Hjalmer Anderson. I knew Hjalmer only by name; he was one of a small group of local drama teachers with a “rock star” reputation whose name often came up in conversation with other student teachers while I was pursing my Master in Teaching degree at UW in the 1990s. I saw a few of his productions at Woodinville High School, and could feel that same sense of professionalism that had been fostered in me as a...

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