Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NOTES FROM JUSTINE- Just A Reading opens tomorrow night, April 28!

Notes from Justine

All about the Acting and Writing
Notes from the Just a Reading rehearsals Thursday 4/14 and 4/21.

Just A Reading is a play ABOUT acting and playwriting. More precisely, it’s about a writer writing about real people who are also actors who then play themselves. They must “act” like the real people they actually are. As such, rehearsal for Just a Reading is a rehearsal process about acting and writing. Together these two elements have to combine perfectly, to intertwine to make us believe, at least for a moment here or there, now and then, that what we’re watching is really happening.

Acting-wise, this is the ultimate job. These are roles any actor would salivate over. To begin with, the play has ultra-realistic, naturalistic behavior at its most extreme. You think Brando got away with mumbling? This show has potential for mumbling, shuffling, under-played acting at its best. But then the “actors” (played by the very talented ensemble of Jenn Boehm, Michael Sean Cirelli, Brandon Ferraro, Cas Marino, Alexandra Mingione and Stephen Reich) get to... wait for it...act! They show us their professional abilities to inhabit a character while pretending to do a cold reading. Tricky. Then, as the stakes get higher and higher tempers flare, emotions rise and the melodramatic passion lets fly! Whew. Fun, fun, fun if you’re crazy enough to love acting.

The writing, of course, has to support all this realism/transition/belief in two worlds with deftly smooth transitions and language that seems to say little while really telling us everything we need to know in order to care about, laugh at and worry for these flawed, needy actors.

What about directing? I’m afraid Chanda Calentine has a thankless job in this one. She is working incredibly hard juggling a million balls in the air, all for the sake of a disappearing act; her own. The direction of this piece (at least for much of the play) will be at its most brilliant when invisible: she makes the actors and writer look good. She makes them look real. They are lucky to have her and I am lucky to be privy to her process, but you the audience may never believe she exists. That is, if she does her job!

Just A Reading, written by Ryan Glass & Directed by Chanda Calentine, opens this Thursday, April 28th at 8pm at Looking Glass Theatre, 422 W.57th Street, NY NY 10019.

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director

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