My Mockingbird 

I love theatre. I love being on stage. As much as I love the stage, I also for as long as I can remember, have wanted to direct… and I finally had my chance. I directed To Kill a Mockingbird for our Fall production. 

I can see your eyes! Yes, I chose to direct a cast of over 30 actors as my first production. And before you ask, Yes I am crazy! But who could say no to Mockingbird? It’s a beautiful, powerful story. It is a story of truth…. of love and hate. I remember reading the book in middle school, and once again in highschool. It was one of those books that stay with a person. So yes, I was honored to direct this play. With everything happening in our country, it was a story that needed to be retold.

Ok, so more about the show. Let’s start with the set….

Hello, fabulous set! Welcome to Maycomb, Alabama! My friend Gilly designed this set. He took what I had in my head, and made it 100x’s better than my vision. The man is honestly a Master in set design. Such a creative soul. He’s one of my favorite people, and not because he made my set fabulous, I liked him before I knew of his mastery carpentry skills.

I wish I had taken a picture of the Courthouse. You can see some of it in the collages I will post later. It’s simply amazing to have the turntable…. you see, you just roll off the doors, turn the houses around and roll on two more platforms…. BAM! Courthouse.
I think, for me anyway, the hardest part of directing was casting. You really have to put aside your relationships. In Community Theatre, you become a family. It’s so hard to not break someone’s heart. I focused on the show only. There were some roles I knew instantly, some I struggled with, but in the end I followed my gutt. It could not have been any more perfectly casted. That i am proud of.

These actors were phenomenal. Each and everyone of them, together, brought this story to life. I wish I could talk about each one of them, but this blog would turn into a novel, and who wants that? Though I do have to talk about a couple…. 
The kids…. my Scout, Jem and Dill. These three young actors were impressive. They took direction with ease. These were the ones that lifted me up when I felt like giving up. Just watching them on stage was well worth the stress of my first time directing. Olivia (Scout) is such an amazing actress. This kid makes me smile just walking on stage. Mason (Jem), this young man is going places. He makes me see that no matter what your struggle is in life, you can still be amazing. I love this kid! Nathaniel (Dill) has so much energy, the kind you wish you could bottle up and sell. He has such awesome stage presence! Very talented, and will forever be my DillButt.

My Jean Louise (older Scout), I knew casting this role wasn’t going to be easy. I needed a story teller. See the role of Jean Louise was that she was remembering what happened… telling us the story. When this lady got onstage, I knew instantly that she was my Jean. If you have never seen Ramona on stage, you are missing out! She is such a pleasure to watch on stage, so incredibly talented.

Then there was Atticus. To be completely honest, I hoped this man was going to audition… when he told me he was, I could not wait for his audition. He didn’t prove me wrong, Brant was my Atticus. Pure perfection. I pretty sure he was made for this role… move over Mr. Peck!

My friend Erica auditioned and took the role of Calpurnia. Erica is a beautiful soul, she is a mother of a toddler and an infant and still found time to this show, many nights with a baby strapped to her. That’s commitment. Erica was very passionate about this show. She also singularly got our cast together to go to the highschool and talk to the Honors English class, that had read To Kill a Mockingbird, to talk about our community and racism. I adore her. Oh, and not only that…. she roped her husband into playing Reverend Sykes.

We found our Tom Robinson working at KFC. Well actually Gilly found him…. walked right up and asked him if he’d ever been interested in acting. To our luck he was! Quentin is an absolute doll! Such a natural on stage. So happy to have him!

And then there was Jewel… Ike, who played Mr. Gilmer, begged his beautiful wife to play the roll of Helen Robinson. Thank you Ike! She did so well! 
I could go on and on, there are so many I missed. Thank you all for being apart of this journey in my life. For making my dream even bigger on stage. For Mark who was the meanest Ewell ever! For Jess who gave Mayella the perfect sass. For Jim who played Sheriff Heck, he always gives his all. To my beautiful Miss Maudie and Miss Stephanie who were flawless. For Rebecca for stepping up and taking an extra role when our dear Laura had to have surgery. To all the techies, you all rock! To every person who helped get that amazing set done, thank you! To the kids that sat through an entire courtroom scene without flaw and kept me giggling with your face expressions. To all the Townspeople, the Mob, thank you for so graciously being apart of this show. To Ike who always keep my attention, thank you for doing what you do so well. To my Boo, Jerry, thank you for everything. A big thanks to my wonderful friend Vicki for helping me stay in line during rehearsal. To Christy for taking over as stage manager, you will always be my hero. Most of all to my producer Della, my rock! I just adore this lady, she is honestly the best! Thank you! If I forgot someone I’m sorry, I still love you!
So the season is over. The fall production was a success! I’ve never been so proud of being apart of something powerful. Til next season…..

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My stage.

I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. Truly uncomfortable. I don’t like the mirror. I don’t find myself pretty. I’m an average “girl next door”, always have been. In highschool I was weird. Yes, weird. I was not popular and attractive. I was small and mousy. Boys didn’t look at me the way they did other girls. In highschool I loved acting, but was never “leading lady” material. I have never been afraid to perform in front of others, but I have been afraid to “be” in front of others.

…..And I’m OK with that.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found more of myself. A way to be “OK” with that reflection I hated when I was younger. I found it on stage. I found my beauty.

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Why do I love being on stage? (I’ve been asked this quite often) It’s simple…. Because acting releases me.. Releases my soul.  I am not the best actress. I am not the prettiest, the smartest, the talented one. But I am the one that will give 110%. I pour my heart into my character, and I become her. It makes me feel alive. I am at home.

My theatrical year in review….

As we close 2014, I think back to what an eventful year it has been……and what an incredible year I had on stage! I got to do Mama won’t fly, Les Miserables and Southern Fried Funeral…. what an honor, such a wonderful year of production! Here’s a little look…..

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Had a few costume changes…..

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I had so much fun doing this play! Worked with so many fabulous people! I wish I could list everyone…. but it’s impossible…. So I will share some backstage pictures 🙂

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And a couple I stole from ACLT Facebook page (shhhh..)

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Mama won’t fly….. great cast…. funny play

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Yes…. those are dead cats on my head! No seriously…. loved this scene… hilarious….

And we can’t forget old Great Aunt Pawnie….. crazy old lady… this is how we age Bobbi to a 98 year old lady.

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Nothing like getting to slap your friend (Hi Melissa!), I’m sure she’ll find a way to repay me sometime in 2015…

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This year I had my first “lead” role. It was such an honor, and I hope I did Sammy Jo justice! I even went blonde…. and cut bangs…..
All for the love of theatre!

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I had never in my life had sooo many lines, I grew so much in this production….. I feel I have been updated to actress, instead of extra…. what a feeling!

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Now this next play I wasn’t in, I worked on tech and did work and design of the set…which is an honor in itself. But this production was special… it was my husband’s first role… he impressed me so much!

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Now not only was my husband in it, but the whole cast has a piece of my heart…..

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Here is my handsome husband with one of my dearest friends…. (yes that’s Melissa again… such an incredible actress, I’m honored to call her my friend, and she’s so much more than that)

…..and another with one of my beasties (yes I said beasties)….. I love this pic, two of my favorite people!

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The whole cast was phenomenal!!!!

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So there’s my theatre year in review….. Oh what a year it’s been! Looking forward to 2015!!!!