Saturday, November 1, 2014

On with the shows!

I now have two more shows to my (very amateur) acting credit. Little did I imagine at the beginning of last year when I more or less stumbled onto a free acting class for seniors that it would be an ongoing activity in my life.  But, as I recounted in an earlier post, most of us in the class continued, putting on one show on our own and then participating in another set of classes and a show at the library in the fall. This year we were thrilled to have our original teacher, Hassan El-Amin, returning to conduct two more workshops (made possible by the generous support of the Skillman Southwestern Library Friends).

 Hassan is a member of the Dallas Theater Center's Brierley Acting Company, and it was proposed that we coordinate our workshop and show with the DTC's current production. In February that was the delightful Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure in which Hassan had the role of the King of Bohemia. The class got off to a bit of a rocky start, with several of us writing our own Sherlock-inspired skits, while Hassan both endeavored to critique them and hone our acting skills. In the end we performed a combination of some of those skits plus scenes from various professionally-written plays about Sherlock Holmes. And just as in our previous efforts, scripts were still being clutched and lines fumbled until the actual performance when everything miraculously came together.  In addition to our usual premier at the library, we also had the exciting opportunity to put on the show one afternoon at Wyly Theater where the Dallas Theater Center was performing their Sherlock Holmes.
For our August-September workshop, we were given the choice of several renowned plays from which to choose our scenes.  They ranged from Hamlet to Arsenic and Old Lace, with the common theme being that all had been made into classic movies. I played Blanche DuBois, sparring with Stanley Kowalski in a early scene from Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.  It is somewhat intimidating to take on roles made famous by the likes of Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando, but I think my co-star, Gilbert Rodriguez, a newcomer to our group, and I acquitted ourselves fairly well.  A bonus was getting to attend the final dress rehearsal of the Dallas Theater Center's current production of Driving Miss Daisy in which Hassan has the role of Hoke Coleburn, the chauffeur.  We were the only audience that evening so it seemed like a performance given just for us. The play, and Hassan, have been garnering excellent reviews, here in Theater Jones and Culture Map Dallas.

I've also really enjoyed designing all the programs, flyers and posters for our shows.

I wish I'd had this experience earlier in my life, not because I've discovered an unexpected talent and taste for the theater, but because I've found it beneficial in a more personal way.  Hassan has shown us that being an actor is, among other things, learning how to present yourself.  And performing before an audience, even just before others in the class, helps to banish inhibiting self-consciousness. But, as they say, it's never too late to learn.  

1 comment:

  1. Julia, this is so exciting! Congratulations, and keep us posted as you progress. How fun to "do" Blanche.