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SMC|Academic Affairs|Blogs from China|Reflections of Blair & Giglio (9/24/08)

Reflections of Blair & Giglio (9/24/08)

Reflections of Lauren Blair, “American Reflections” Cast Member

“American Reflections, Broadway in Concert” opened last night. The audience may not have been very big (we'll chalk that up to the presidential debate), and a few of us may have been feeling a little less than 100 percent (all of us tired, many of us still recovering from the wicked cold that has made its way through the cast, and two of us with severely bruised shins due to the sneaky placement of a particular speaker offstage right), but regardless of a few shortcomings I consider the show to be quite a success! The comments from the audience members have been wonderfully positive, the directors have been smiling (a lot), and the cast and crew are finally getting to experience the product of the past two months full of blood, sweat, and tears... a show to be proud of.
 
Only last week I wondered how we would ever get this revue off the ground.  There seemed to be an impossible number of light cues, costume changes, wig changes, props, not to mention the root of the show, our music and choreography.  How would all of these pieces fall into place? 

My skepticism lasted until late Tuesday night after we had successfully made it through a dress rehearsal.  It was a far cry from Monday's rehearsal which can only be described as chaos, but let's face it, we had 17 actors crammed into one hallway each attempting to complete 15 costume and wig changes without missing a cue. 

After the rehearsal was finished we all walked into that hallway and couldn't help but laugh hysterically. It looked as though a tornado had ravaged it completely.  The directors worked out a few kinks and by the end of the night on Tuesday we had ourselves a real show.  Bring it on!
 
I realized last night as I put on my make-up in the dressing room that we are only two weeks away from taking our show to China.  It always amazes me how quickly time can pass especially while doing something I love so dearly.  Theater is in my blood, as it is in many of those I am lucky enough to share this adventure with.  It makes all the late nights of rehearsing, aching knees from crawling around like cats, throats fatigued from hitting high c's, weary minds from thousands of lyrics, sore arms from endless shots, and bruised shins from sneaky speakers worth every painful moment.  Theater feeds my soul, warms my heart, gives me purpose, and brings me the truest joy.  That's what I look forward to the most... sharing something that means so much to me with all who will come to see “American Reflections” but especially our audience in China.  What an adventure we have waiting for us!

Reflections of Darren Giglio, “American Reflections” Cast Member

The Beginning

He was sitting quietly, appreciating the subtleties and mostly overlooked wonders of the world around him.  The wind blew a breeze of softness through the cold air, creating a peace.  The peace passed and pleaded with his mind, asking it to join him in a rare stillness.  But then it happened.  The desk on his bedside rattled with a ferociousness that reached his brain instantly.  For an instant, both he and the Labrador were under a certain sensory rush.  Then, arguably collected, he turned to see it, the cause of this unsuspected interruption.  The telephone was in the midst of its third vibration in a four-part series.  Glowing in what could be described as a bright blue light, he comfortably curled his fingers around the dark, plastic frame.  Curious, he answered. 

China

I received a call to audition for a musical revue unlike any other I have ever been a part of on that day.  “Audition for a musical to perform at Santa Monica College then take it to China?  You know, if I did something wrong, you could just tell me.  There’s no need for sick jokes.”  This was along the lines of what I had been thinking in that moment.  But it had turned out that this opportunity was as real as the Jackson 5.  Loving performing in musical theater, having never traveled outside the country before, but always having a desire to, and being told about some of the others who were invited to audition, one could accurately guess what I said. 

Auditions

I was anxious.  When you are left with general information about an event that catches your attention, you are often tempted to speculate about the details.  I arrived at the audition feeling flattered.  Surrounded by talented people, every individual there I had worked with previously, seen in a production, or heard about at some point.  Needless to say, I was anxious when I arrived and anxious when I left.

People

Having either known or worked with most of the individuals, getting officially invited to go to China was at first sweet and sour.  On one hand, I was thrilled.  On the other, part of you is hurt for the talent that was turned away.  However, over the weeks that have passed since rehearsals have begun, it has become clear why each individual was chosen.  If talent and personality were made of energy, we could power a building with this cast.

As I am sure you will read more about in my love button Kendall Lewis’ piece, the unfortunate part about any show is the end.  When any show comes to a close, not only do your efforts feel concluded, but also your bonds with wonderful people feel taken away.  This is mostly due to the fact that chemistry is one area of theater I have always enjoyed the most.  In a process that is so elaborate and consuming of time, energy, and will, you become close with people you work with on and off of the stage.  The endings of the musicals are often reminiscent of Frodo’s ship passing into the sunset at the end of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – although some might argue that watching that scene would be more painful than the ending of a theatrical experience. 

The End

Like the beginning, he found himself searching for silence again.  Unlike the beginning, the emptiness lurked in the quiet corners of his focused mind.  He felt the change.  His previous experience left him desperately searching for the ability to adjust.  Nevertheless, regardless of his longing for the next vibration through the air and the desk, he felt improvements in his core.  Flashes of shimmering, frightening tones of reds, beautiful palettes of green, complimented by draping curtains everywhere.  Surrounding these images were active, vibrant bodies that would enter and exit his mind quickly and consistently.  He paused, and then he smiled.