Knox College Repertory Theatre Term XV

February 14, 2010


Filed under: Caroline Castro — Caroline @ 12:01 am

I think I’ve gotten closer to Harper this week. I’m Harper by the way. In Millennium Approaches. The whole acting process is inevitably that: a loooong process that I have slowly discovered. Poor preliminary interpretation of words, then some impulse and forced physical reaction, then dangerous intellectualizing of the character, then true understanding of dialogue, then connection to body and mind, and NOW: tweaking, enriching, enjoying.  Tactics in tone and Laban movement have been mapped onto the script, elements embodied, but finally, emotion and real understanding has been reached.

I feel like I know what Harper wants; she desperately and pitifully wants what most human beings seek: love and genuine life. Love that desires passionately and life that does not pretend to be what it is not. Life that risks and love that doesn’t lie.  Not settling to settle down, not a fake calm, but a fiery, moving, shifting existence that burns away pretense and heats up spirited truth. Life that does not act on expectation but on the basis of desire and devotion and improvement. It’s a challenge playing Harper because of the opposing forces of longing hope and instant fear that blaze within her, but she faces the challenge of the living: doubt and revelation.

I enjoy her scenes, I enjoy her moments, especially her gloriously sensible hallucinations, and I’m starting to enjoy her hardships and strength in attacking her obstacles. Mostly, I love her.

January 30, 2010

Embarassing Moments: Rep Term:

Filed under: Caroline Castro — Caroline @ 7:26 pm

Before Rep Term, theatre people didn’t know me too well… And now, along with new friendships, embarrassing and painful moments have occurred. I don’t mean drama—please, we’re all theatrical, but I seem to be having the best of luck making a fool of myself.  Before Rep Term, I saw myself as graceful but, so far, I have become a clumsy ogre-like creature or something…

Last week in rehearsal, I flung my scene partner, Lindsey Murrell (who plays Mr. Lies) onstage—no exaggeration here: she flew and had to duck and roll to safety—and yesterday during movement class while exploring Laban elements during mask work, I elbow punched a bruise into Kat Reiser’s right eyebrow.  Horrible…abusive… and completely unintentional.  Funny, but bad… and clumsy!  Rep Term is supposed to be a transformative process but if I accidently hurt one more person, I will seriously feel like a fuming, raging Godzilla crashing into all elements of the production process.

Today the embarrassing moment was more manageable because I welcomed it. We had an amazing fantasy make-up workshop with Knox alumna Allison Greaves and I got to make myself up as an antelope. Alix Dewald painted herself as fantastical fox and Carlyse Owens made herself up as a sort of “tree princess” with green skin and varying sizes of glitter.  We went to dinner with our faces on and shocked a few non-Rep Termers in the caf. Some people tried to pretend that we looked completely normal. Others asked about our Lion King appearances and others just stared. Ah, the mystery of Rep Term continues… and, it keeps introducing new facets to my personality, some animalistic and others ogre-like.

January 23, 2010

Keep Running, Running…

Filed under: Caroline Castro — Caroline @ 2:25 pm

I sang, popped, and shimmied all through Perestroika’s run-through last night with Black Eyed Peas songs running through my head.  This is my first run-crew experience and though I was lost at the beginning, I got into the choreography of it all by the end.  Their song Imma Be from their E.N.D. (the Energy Never Dies) album quickly became the theme song of the process.  Not all the lyrics are relevant, but the music (going through my head—because of course, we were very quiet backstage) relieved some of the stress of the rehearsal.  Along with other duties, my job was to place and remove a heavy platform onto the stage, which I, of course, weakly (and slowly) bumped into position. Though fumbley during the stumble through, I was at least comforted by the opportunity to dance skillfully in the wings.  Through striking and placing props, I’m actually in more scenes in Perestroika as run-crew than in Millennium as Harper, which makes everything feel more rushed and urgent and anonymous in a very important way. Mostly, I just enjoy miming jokes with people off-stage without the pressure of staying in character. It’s fun.

Yaaay Rep Term!

January 16, 2010

Playing Catch-up with a Squirt of Retrospection: Day#1-Week #2

Filed under: Caroline Castro — Caroline @ 4:06 pm

Caroline CastroRole Call—You can’t always get what you want…

Nice clothing. Character shoes. Deep breaths. Auditions on day one of Rep Term had energies buzzing, stage lights glaring, and all of us wondering, What will we be doing these next three months…?

Before we found out our parts, we were each given numbers to better facilitate roll call.  I wanted number eleven, but being a Castro placed me at three.  Thirty-six of us count off, yelling our numbers instead of our names to accelerate the ritual of attendance—and I couldn’t help but think that this is the only time in my Knox career that I will ever be “a number.” We weren’t going to remain numbers though, our roles were given out the next day.  I was very much on the fence about acting because I wanted to do educational outreach. I wanted to pioneer an outreach program at Knox, but the idea of character development dueled with my educational plans.  The challenge of discovering a character drew me in but I didn’t know which role would win out until I saw the cast list.

Then I saw Harper next to my name.  The lead female role.  It scared me and motivated me, but I didn’t know how to accept it.  I’ve never done a mainstage show…I’ve never really acted at Knox aside from two roles with more lenient commitments.  But Harper requires a lot.  A part of me wanted this challenge though, because it really would present an entirely new experience for me.   I kind of knew I needed it, but wasn’t sure I could handle it.  I think many people felt that way with their roles, as actors and crew-heads, people were assigned the unexpected (for the most part).  And, for the most part, I’ve seen people embrace the surprise of Rep Term and allow new character come from their roles.  Many of us did not get what we wanted, but I’m confident that time will show we got what we needed.

In You Begins the Virus of Time (That’s a line from the play)

After one week in, it feels like a month—but it feels that way in the best way possible. So much happens educationally, relationally, and personally during Rep Term here at Knox.  We stepped into Harbach January 4th and while sitting on the mustard carpet-cushioned chairs, we were told two reasonable truths, “Good morning everybody, you are now property of Rep Term, this is your priority.  But also, your bodies are your responsibility.”  The first week introduced the challenge of time management (i.e. making sure to fit homework, rehearsal, rest, gym time, and three meals into one day), but as we finish our second week, I’ve come to value personal time. We get downtime and we use it to the fullest.  I get to miss people on campus and cherish them when I see them.  It’s nice to not be able to take people for granted.

The structure of Rep Term requires time. The whole concept is a process—discovering characters, spending time with the company, and surrendering one’s schedule. It puts life into a different perspective because of its rigid frame of time, yet security rests in the expectations of each day. I know I will be working on Rep Term every day, even on my days off, but I enjoy the focus.  Instead of being pulled by three different disciplines of a regular schedule at Knox, I can put all my energy into the varied needs of one project.  I hesitated at the idea of Rep Term and its intensity, but I continue to grow in gratitude for being a Rep-Term company member.

Oh, and I’m Caroline Castro, a junior here at Knox. I’m a Creative Writing major with a focus in playwriting.  I love theatre because it brings people together, it makes them think and laugh and is capable of reminding an audience of life.  We get to live longer than any of the characters onstage who breathe for three hours every show night, and we can be just as eternal as a work of fiction.  Theatre is a great place to explore feeling and feeling is a great way to live. I’m excited that as a Rep-Termer I get to play all winter and hope that our work inspires those able to attend!