Posted by: nancykenny | May 29, 2010

Funny Is Work

Think all theatre is the same? Think again.

Shakespeare is different from LaBute; a clown show is different from a restoration piece; comedy isn’t drama… The basics are there (actor and audience) but as a performer you need to really on completely different skill sets for each one.

Currently, I am working on a Farce.

In theatre, a farce is a comedy which aims to entertain the audience by means of unlikely, extravagant, and improbable situations, disguise and mistaken identity, verbal humour of varying degrees of sophistication, which may include sexual innuendo and word play, and a fast-paced plot whose speed usually increases, culminating in an ending which often involves an elaborate chase scene. Farce is also characterized by physical humour, the use of deliberate absurdity or nonsense, and broadly stylized performances. – Thank you Wikipedia.

My blog post today should begin almost exactly the same way as this one that was written two years ago by Kris Joseph. Except replace How the Other Half Loves with The Amorous Ambassador.

(The Amorous Ambassador) is one of the most technically challenging plays I have worked on in a long time. One week into rehearsals, we’ve … blocked the play — “skeleton-blocked”, I’d say — and we’ll spend the next two weeks of rehearsal polishing it and refining it and playing with it until it shines and gleams like it should, so that we can provide a fitting and fun opening (for the fine folks at the Upper Canada Playhouse.)

It’s been a crazy week. The theatre has an odd shape (the audience practically surrounds you on three sides) and the blocking has to be very specific in order for everyone to be able to see everything. Also Farce requires such precision in all your movements for all the gags to work that I feel like all my concentration has been on choreography (though with all the entrances and exits, should it be called “dooreography”?) instead of character development. The energy, the pace, everything is heightened. Don’t stop to think or you might discover a plot hole! It’s a lot of hard work.

However, running through the entire performance on it’s feet has made learning my lines a breeze. With lines and blocking in the bag, I feel like I can now turn my focus towards my character and her wants.

What does she want? To get laid. And later, to hide her boyfriend from her father, who she thinks is a moral and upstanding citizen. This being a Farce, of course he’s not. Hilarity ensues.

If you’d like to see the fruits of this labour, go to the Upper Canada Playhouse website and book your tickets now. This theatre sells-out entire runs on a regular basis and this one is going to be no different!


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