Thursday, July 17, 2008

Backstage with "The Bluest Water"

A typical evening for The Bluest Water finds the actors arriving between 5:45 and 6:00 to begin their preparations for the show. While the crew initializes the playing space, tests the lights, sound, and effects, places props and setpieces, warms up the projector, and lowers the curtain (busy busy busy!), the cast enters its own routine. For most this begins with hair and makeup. Since the space is so intimate, most cast members do not use much on their faces. (The exception would be the two actors who feature in the opening sequence, soaked with water and covered in mud-mimicking makeup.)

Tanya Anderson, Michael Stablein, and Sally Southall apply their makeup.

In the 'calm before the storm', there is always a balance between light-hearted socialization and the This time also provides the actors a chance to review before stepping again onto the stage.

Brian Chaitin (Cuddy understudy) reviews his lines before his first time in a performance!

Cast members Wanda Bond and Thomas Bell sneak an opportunity to sign a castmate's birthday card.

Stage Manager Maria Hayden notifies the cast of the time remaining to get ready.

As 'places' is called, and the curtain speech begins on-stage, a few final preparations are made and the performance begins.

Michael Stablein and Natalie Caruncho soak themselves just before the opening sequence.

Actors wait in the wings for the first entrance.

As the show is progressing, there is not a great deal of "down-time" for the cast, particularly without an intermission. The actors do enjoy the moments of reprieve they get but always keep a close eye/ear out for what's happening on-stage.

Wanda Bond, Thomas Bell, and Derek Arey enjoy a few minutes to chat and relax.

The monitor in the Green Room provides a glimpse of the stage to keep everyone prepared.

Especially since the audience is seated on the stage, the backstage area (which is already quite small) demands care to be taken in quietness at all times ... in the wings, on the stairs, or even in the Green Room. It also serves as makeshift dressing-room for quick-changes.

Michael Stablein goes through one of his quick-changes
(in this case, from "Wet Bobby" to Nathan).

As with the play itself, the backstage goings-on before and during The Bluest Water are a unique experience. Just because something is routine doesn't mean it can't be interesting, or fun!

Jared M Anderson
Endstation Blogger

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