Prince of Egypt

Time: August 13, 2010
Place: Neighborhood Theatre Group
Role: Ramesses
Director: Faith Blevins
My Reflections

Prince of Egypt review

“Another working day has ended” — The Police

Another fun show has ended. It was actually one that I didn’tanticipate doing, but when they lost their Pharaoh about three weeks beforeopening, I was contacted and happily agreed to join the ranks.

The show began the year prior with me being contracted towrite the script to connect the songs from the Dreamworks movie. We couldn’tuse the movie script, due to rights or something. But even so, it would be hardto directly move a movie to the stage, and even tougher to move a cartoonmovie to the stage. So the writing began. After many revisions, I handed over afinal script, which was then edited a little more. Mainly, some things wereadded and other things were taken out. That was fine with me, but it doespresent a problem when people ask, “Did you write it?” Well, yeah…mostly. Aswell, it’s not about me. The purpose of the show was much higher than that. Inthe end, it’s much easier just to change the subject to something more shocking:”Wow! CNN said Morocco was annexed by the United States today .Yeah, I know!!!”

After the writing handoff, I attended one rehearsal toreview and possibly assist with any script understanding issues. There weren’tmany. The director had things well in hand, so I wasn’t needed much. Time flewand weeks later, I was in the audience with Erin #2, watching the show. Ienjoyed it for several reasons–mainly, it’s very rewarding watching your linescome to life, and secondly, the production went very well.

In 2010, they decided to redo the show. They had another Ramessescast, but he had to drop out fairly close to opening, so I was called in. Noproblem. I was pretty sure I could pick up the lines fast. It would be sad if Icould not. They were pretty much the ones I had written.

The rehearsals went well. There were old faces from previousshows that I had done there before, and some new faces too. Comradery (oddnote: MSFT Word does not recognize that word. Go figure.) grew fast and jokingbegan in no time. Although I suppose some people are new to me and don’t knowwhen I’m teasing. Hint: I’m always teasing.

While I missed being outside, the indoor theatre had itsmerits. The sets could be more advanced and the weather wasn’t a problem. As well,we could do matinee shows since the sun wasn’t a factor. I like great sets. Cannever get enough of that. I also witnessed one of the most impressive setchanges ever. It was after the Red Sea scene, going back into the desert. Wow.So much going on that seemed like chaos, and yet went smoothly. Perhaps that’snormal nowadays. I guess I just don’t witness it as much. Too many theatres aregoing the “Our Town” direction. I worry that the imagination aspect will growinto imagining the sets, the costumes, the actors, and the dialogue. If thathappens, I will demand a refund. Well, if the music is good, then maybe not. Ido love good music.

For my costume, uh, it wasn’t much. I called it a blacktunic, though it more resembled a dress. The fabric was also pretty thin. Yeah,that was a little shocking on the first rehearsal wearing it. I did alsodiscover a very fast costume change in the script. I suppose I should havewritten in more time for it, but it slipped by me. The kicker is that there’seven a line from the queen about changing out of the sweaty clothes before thebig dinner feast. Oops. Missed that one. Mea culpa.

I enjoyed my role. It’s fun to play mean. I only wish therehad been a few more intense rehearsals before opening, but no matter.

I must note how well the magic tricks came off during thesecond year of the show. With everyone working hard to create some spectacularspecial effect, the results impressed me. It’s great to see so much attentionto detail. Magic is something that fails miserably if not done right, but issimply amazing when performed well.

The run was quick being only two weekends, but that wasfine. We always had enough seats to accommodate everybody. The downside is thatyou don’t play to sold out houses, but the bright side is that people aren’tturned away.

I did have a few family members and friends come see theproduction, which was really nice. Special thanks to Shawnel, Teri, and Braedynfor coming on opening night. As always, I don’t mind if people don’t make ashow I’m in. Again, I feel it’s there if you like; if not, that’s okay too. I justdon’t care much for double-standards. And I’m the first to admit that I usuallyprefer to see shows where the tix are at a price I like: free.

“Things Go Wrong” — Chris Isaac

Some problems did occur, but no dislocated knees this time(those were some loud screams I must say. Don’t think I ever want to experiencethat). Lines flubs occurred and served to be quite humorous. Personally, I findthat’s the only way to handle them: laugh them off. Well, not on stage, butlater on.

My cohort in Act I, Moses, played nicely by Ricky, ended upcutting his hand one night during the first scene we were in. A basket hadbroken apart and the pieces were combined for subsequent shows. It would seemodd to receive a bad cut from something like that, but low and behold, after wethrew the basket down and hid from the others, I saw him grimace and hold hishand. I looked down. Didn’t see much. Waited..oh, blood. Waited. Oh, tricklingblood. Waited…wow, that looks darn bad. We did continue the scene, but I was a littleconcerned. The show went on. I imagine aside from actually losing one’s hand,most actors would carry on, and I would too. But if stitches were needed…well,I suppose I would keep going and just hold the blood in. But I wouldn’t behappy about it! When it comes to getting stitches, sooner is always better. Ohterwise,they give you a shot of anticoagulant around the wound. It’s pretty messy, butsort of neat. Science, yay!

Another odd event was a strange scream that happened afterthe magician’s song. What was weird was where it came from: stage right. At firstI thought it was from the audience, but then seemed to determine that it wasoff-stage, where people don’t usually scream unless they’re hurt. I againwondered, “How bad is this? Is someone hurt? Will the show stop? Did I leavethe oven on? Oh, wait, I don’t cook. Did I even eat today? ” Later, I was toldit was an actress from last year who had come see the show and was simply exclaimingher joy after seeing a song she enjoyed.

Um…okay, then.

Having a ton of makeup on my face was nothing new, but thedetails required did make it quite an ordeal every night. The eyeliner pencilsdid make my eyes sore after a few tech rehearsals, so I bought an eyelinerbrush–pretty much an ink-pen brush, but with less-than-permanent ink. That servedvery well and was worth the money spent. A few nice volunteers allowed me tosit in my chair and relax for a while. (I got pretty sleepy on occasion.) Still,so much makeup around my eyes caused them to be sore and tired each night. It washard to work after performances. Honestly, it just doesn’t seem worth it to meto go through such a routine every day of the year. Thus, I do not.

Our dressing room area had a lot of fun activity alwaysgoing on, mainly with more than one person always ensuring the back of mytunic/dress wasn’t off–or something. No clue what the mike pack looked like.And yet, I rarely ever turned my back to the audience.

The place was Grand Central. People were always coming andgoing, getting dirt applied, putting on wigs, adding makeup, removing makeup,donning swords and staffs and rods, teasing each other, demanding to give hugs,and so forth. Often, there were many sweet goodies as well. I saw cupcakes andcandy several times. Oh, how I would have loved to partake. People evenconsumed their dinners in there. The smells did make me hungry.

But no, I didn’t do a lot of eating when there. For me, itwasn’t an issue, but it is strange. I’m used to about 17-20 small (and I meansmall) servings per day, usually occurring every half hour or so. Yet, when I doa show, I can be at the theatre for up to six hours without having anything toeat, and I’m fine. Still, that means I have to eat a smattering of caloriesbefore bed. I can’t finish the day at 600 calories. What would people think? Wouldthey force-feed me candy or healthy stuff?

I was pleased how everything turned out, even despite the “greatplagues issue.” Like clockwork, Ricky and I were told we needed to work on theplagues number. I guess there wasn’t enough intensity in the antipathy betweenMoses and Ramesses, but I felt I was at my limit. Aside from thrusting aswitchblade into Moses, I wasn’t sure what more my character could do todemonstrate the idea of “I’m very angry at you!” Despite the consistent andeven surprising need to keep drilling that section, I didn’t mind it. It wasnice to have a goal. It’s great to have something to always strive to improve. Otherwise,acting can get stagnant.

Therefore, another fun show for the resume. Good people metand friended. Memories made.

It was a good thing.

Next: Your Phantom Friend