Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pre-Show Rituals

Actors all have their individual pre-show warm-ups – Vocal exercises that seem nutso to random passerby, but are excellent for warming up vocal cords, to yoga and Pilates stretches on the set, to under-breath tongue twisters while pacing backstage (Jake Elsas, who plays the Wizard, and myself traded variations on “The Big Black Bear.”)

But this is the first show I’ve been involved in where the cast has bonded to such a degree that they do group pre-show rituals. Because it’s such an ensemble piece, and there’s so much happening onstage, they play improv games in order to get the creative juices flowing, as well as sharpening focus and concentration. Yes, it would seem nutso to the random passerby as they stand in a circle and shout things like “Zip! Zap! Zop!” while rapidly jabbing fingers at each other. But it’s actually helping them get their energy levels up after what seems like the ten thousandth show. (None of us can remember what life was like before the show, though I’m sure we’ll figure it out soon.)

My favorite part comes when Stephaine Boltjies, our awesome stage director, calls for places. We all circle up, do a Go Team hands in, and then shout “OZ!” and dance around to the Go Bananas song for a few moments. There really is nothing better than being able to dance with your cast. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Ask Toto A Question # 17

Dear Toto,

I've always wondered about your background. No disrespect to Dorothy, but it's obvious that she's a "hick from the sticks" or "local yokel" (as they say in the urban port cities). You, on the other hand, are far more worldly and self-assured. It's simply undeniable! For example, when you and Dorothy travel to Oz, who greets every sight with a slack jaw and eyes a-poppin'? Hint: it's not you. So where do you originally hail from and how did you ever end up on a dreary little farm in Kansas? (I will understand if you can't say anything due to matters of national security, but I sincerely hope that will not be the case.)


Curiouser and Curiouser

Hi Curiouser and Curiouser!

I originally hailed from my mom, though thankfully, I don’t remember a thing about the experience. A lot of people ask me about my breed, and to that I say, hey, YOU try drinking out of a water bowl and coming away with a spotless muzzle….huh? What? Breed, not Breeding?


My breed is Mutt, with an emphasis on terrier. And as to Breeding, I do the best I can. Again, Exhibit A – Low Water Bowl Means No One Comes Away From It Looking Awesome.

As to how did I end up on a farm? Well, um, gosh. Let me ask YOU Curiouser. What’s the first thing you remember out of your whole life? Do you remember being small? Do you remember how you got home from the people hospital? No? Neither do I!

As far back as I remember, it’s always been me and Dorothy, Dorothy and me. There’s not a day that goes by that she’s not in. She’s the very first thing I remember out of all my days. I don’t remember anything before her, and I don’t wanna remember anything without her.

Cause Dorothy’s pretty damn cool.

As far as my cool collected demeanor when we landed in Oz, it’s because, well, I’m awesome. NO, no, it’s just…I’ve got my priorities. Do I wanna stare at the colors? Do I wanna star at the short weird people? NO!

I wanna make sure Dorothy is safe at all times. We’re in the strange land, meeting strange people, seeing strange things. There could be danger at every turn. I gotta make sure my woman is safe and sound and gawking at whatever she wants to gawk at.

So there you go. It’s about priorities. And breeding. HA!

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