Actors Civic Theater

Quality theater in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Blogs and other news

view:  full / summary

Agnes of God-Rehearsal

Posted by Mary Randolph on March 9, 2011 at 12:51 PM Comments comments (0)

Last night we finished blocking Act I of AoG. Whew! I 'm sure there will be changes, as we continue this journey. I find it very important to allow my actors the opportunity to have input into this process.  If something feels natural, I like them to explore the moment. Of course, I need to have the final say, and sometimes theatricality and practicality need to win out over "what feels good," but I think it's important to allow them to experiment.  Yes, this can make the rehearsal process go a little more slowly. That's why I built more time into the rehearsal schedule for this show.  But, I feel it's crucial to have actor input, especially with a show as organic as AoG. When I played Agnes, I remember Raymond not blocking the show until really late in the rehearsal process.  The production was in the Theater Downstairsof the Pittsburgh Playhouse, with 3/4 seating.  This allowed us more flexibility in our choices.  On the proscenium stage of the Baverso Theater, our choices are more limited, and since the play is so mercurial, some of my choices have to be made almost exclusively on theatricality. I know this can be a little frustrating for my actors.  Been there.

I hope we have great audiences for this production.  I have 3 strong, talented actresses that are really pouring their hearts into their performances. Each of them are coming from completely dfferent places in their lives. It's really exciting to see how they're bringing their uniqueness to each role.  As an  actress myself, it's a pleasure to celebrate how these performers are interpreting the characters. As a director, it's a challenge to allow them their uniqueness, while guiding them in the vision I have for the play.  I have to say, this has really been a great adventure so far!

Agnes of God-Taping

Posted by Mary Randolph on March 6, 2011 at 6:53 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, today my lovely actors graciously partook in a taping for a cable program that will air in the Coraopolis/Moon area  I believe the station is MCA? Even though they are still early in the rehearsal process, they were really exciting to watch!

I probably look pretty silly in my interview.  I'm better at saying things other people have written(ie scripts!). When I talked about working with Raymond Laine, I got a little choked up, and on my way home remembered I didn't mention that the reason I was so emotional was because he is no longer with us.  Oh well.

I'm so grateful to Pilar and FRAC for allowing us this opportunity. I hope it gets the word out to others about this show.  Our actors are so strong. This is a show not to be missed!

PS~If you live in the Coraopolis/Moon area, look out for showings from Sudio 420!  That's the FRAC show. Not only will our segment be on it, but it also features teachers and artists from the art center!

Agnes of God-Auditions 3

Posted by Mary Randolph on February 16, 2011 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Whew. I would have to say these were the most grueling auditions ever.  It occurred to me this morning when I was watching The Bachelor on Hulu (I don't watch it all~I skip to the end of the dates and to the rose ceremony) that the audition process is kind of like this show.  Now stick with me here...On The Bachelor, the title character gives roses to the women with which he thinks he might have a future. Ok, so maybe he just thinks they're hot, but let's say, for argument's sake that it's because he wants to find true love. The bachelorettes left empty-handed after the rose ceremony~that's what they call it. Really~ have to pack their bags and their pride, leave the fairy tale, and go back to their real lives. As fewer and fewer women are left, the decision becomes more and more difficult for the hopeful groom. 


Sometimes the choice just comes down to chemistry.("Chemistry? Yeah chemistry!" cue the consummate bachelor, Sky Masterson.) The other women may have been wonderful, but that connection just wasn't there~or wasn't as strong as the connection with, say, the petite blonde with the gap between her teeth that makes a cute whistling sound every time she laughs.


I could have cast this show about 3 different ways.  However, I'm confident that the cast of women I've chosen are the best choices to bring my vision of Agnes of God to the stage.  A few auditioners were my friends, all talented women. And I would have loved it if it was a match and  I could have cast them.  It all came down to chemistry. And, as a director, I have to trust my instinct, even if it means that people I care about don't get a rose. 


I don't mean to sound~well~dramatic.  I mean, after all, when all is said and done, it' is just a show in a small theater in Pittsburgh; but to those of us whom love theater and have dedicated ourselves to the craft, it is our passion. So, maybe it sounds silly to someone not involved with theater to hear us get so worked up over "just a show." And it certainly is healthier to remind ourselves that it's all just make-believe; but to many a performer director, and technician, it's an affair of the heart and soul. Be it acting, singing, dancing, directing, or  building the set, or lighting the stage,  we are filled with cautious exhilaration as we embark on a love affair with our cast mates, director, stage manager, technicians, and finally each and every member of an audience. We become vulnerable and yearn for acceptance and approval.  When the audience laughs or cries with us, when they show their appreciation by applauding our efforts, we become almost giddy with delight.  When a show closes, we need time to mourn the loss.  


Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could feel passionate about every thing we do in life?  If we could greet each day with fervor and lust for life, for our jobs, for our relationships? If we opened our eyes each morning and stepped onto that stage we call life and bask in the ardor of  the breaking day?  With each new show, we performers and directors and technicians get to fall in love all over again.  To feel the flutter and flush of a budding romance and new adventure.  Maybe I'm exaggerating; but I think not. At least that's how it is for me.  And that's why I take what I do so seriously. Why, as an actor and singer I put myself out there for dissection during an audition, why, during a performance, I bare my soul in front of people I don't know, or, more terrifying, people I do; and that's why, as a director, I spend sleepless nights contemplating who gets the final rose.  Silly you say?  Maybe.  But, maybe it's just that you've never been in love.

Agnes of God Auditions 2

Posted by Mary Randolph on February 9, 2011 at 2:16 PM Comments comments (0)

Last night was call backs for Agnes of God. What an incredible experience!  So many extremely talented women in one spot!  Although I love directing, this is the most difficult aspect of the job~choosing the cast.  So much needs to be taken into consideration; and when one has so many talented individuals, it becomes an even more daunting task to choose a cast that will (hopefully) eventually become one entity~An ensemble that will work together to make the show the best it can be.  I'm so excited to roll up my sleevs and get to work.  The cast will be announced soon, and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with these incredible women!

Agnes of God-Auditions

Posted by Mary Randolph on January 27, 2011 at 10:04 AM Comments comments (0)

This week Actors Civic Theater held auditions for Agnes of God. This show holds a special place in my heart, as I played Agnes at Point Park, directed by my mentor, Raymond Laine.  Raymond was definitely the most influential person in my theatrical experience. To this day, no one has influenced me more.  Raymond lost his battle with lung cancer a number of years ago, but is still a strong force in the lives of all who knew him  He is sorely missed.

I was so amazed at the incredible talent that came out to audtion for this show.  I very easily could have called EVERYONE for callbacks.  There was not one weak performer. How exciting it is to have the dilemma of choosing just three extraordinary actresses!  Callbacks are February 8th.  To say that I'm looking forward to them would be an understatement!


Until next time~