Monday, July 28, 2014

The Bloggers of Neverland

Christopher Huntley, center, rehearses Peter Pan with other members of the cast.
Our Summer Players are hard at work—rehearsing five days a week—getting ready to bring the story of Peter Pan and Neverland to life. There's a lot going on behind-the-scenes with this cast of 37 kid and teen actors working through music and dance rehearsals. This week, three of our student-actor bloggers take you there as they reveal show secrets, give you an insider look into their process as performers and take you inside rehearsal. Meet all of our bloggers, here.

Acting at SCR: Our Neverland
by Christopher Huntley

Christopher Huntley, center, during rehearsal.
1 p.m. is hardly the time to start a job. Is it a job if you really love what you do? Are these 37 young actors working or playing, or perhaps both? J.M. Barrie may have had the best idea when he wrote, "I won't grow up, I don't want to wear a tie, or a serious expression, in the middle of July."

Many of these actors have been passing through SCR's iconic glass doors for years—in my case, seven—beyond them is something quite extraordinary. These sacred halls, rooms, nooks and crannies conceal our Neverland, an island of perpetual adventure and marvelous make-believe. Though we have grown up in our time at SCR, like the Lost Boys, we remain kids inside. All of us came to the theatre a few inches, maybe feet, shorter and naïve beyond our own current belief. Each day, we are reminded by our sage mentor, Hisa Takakuwa, that the heart of the story of Peter Pan is a child's ability to build and live in worlds that have imagination and make-believe.

Since I'm only 16, it isn't hard to reach back into my childhood. In fact, that is my claim to Peter. No, I'm not the usual casting choice—think about it: the most famous performances had a former female gymnast cast as Peter Pan. But I'm at a pivotal point in my life, with childhood fleeting and adulthood looming ahead. This role is a vehicle to reclaim the childhood I am leaving behind, which is truly a blessing.

Day after day, we come home with sore legs, weary voices and scrambled minds. Do we regret it? Not for a second. At SCR, we are pushed to explore and discover characters, and in turn, ourselves. I would never know how "vertical" I carry myself if it weren't for Hisa and musical genius Erin McNally. These partners-in-crime, together with their whole team, do something magical: they encourage 37 Orange County kids to push their boundaries as actors and as people. I have been incredibly lucky to have worked alongside these phenomenal directors for six summers now and to grow up in this theatre.

By the time the curtain rises on Peter Pan, our cast will have spent more than 150 hours rehearsing together. The blood, sweat and tears shed onstage everyday are apparent in each scene and song. From the initial audition to final curtain, Peter Pan has been, and will be, a journey to rival Barrie's fantasy tale itself. Come see for yourself and join us on a trip to Neverland this August, as the Summer Players present Peter Pan. 

More Than Just a Game
by Ben Susskind

Jamie Ostmann (Slightly) directs a a meeting with Lost Boys.
The cast of Peter Pan at SCR has been hard at work rehearsing the show. Besides learning the show, we each are learning about acting in general. I have learned how to add more emotion in a scene, how to build a story and how to never never lose thought of what character wants in a scene and his/her emotion towards other characters. These skills can make an actor look as if he/she lives in the show. When performing a classic like Peter Pan, every detail counts to make a show perfection. These are the kind of directions that make SCR's Summer Players shows so amazing every year.

When doing a show, you always need to be a team player by helping others. This means you need to always be at you best helping other play up the best in them. To be a successful cast member, you always need to check in with others to make sure they know what they are supposed to do. We are always learning from other cast members, and they are learning from us and that helps keep things in balance.

In our Peter Pan, we are down a more figurative route. Instead of making all the sets, and other design aspects very literal, such as Peter really flying around in the air, we are taking this show though a whole new light. We are putting a new meaning to a play as this show is basically one big game on a stage.

In our version of the show, Peter is showing the Darlings how to have fun within their own household; all they have to do is believe. When Peter "flies," he really is just jumping on the bed, but the Darlings believe he is flying. We never lose sight of the nursery, which helps to support the fact that we are just playing, building blanket forts, playing tug of war.

A Day in Rehearsal
Photos by Emme O'Toole

Having trouble viewing the slideshow? Try watching it here.

Want to learn more? Come and see the show playing August 9-10, 15-16.

No comments:

Post a Comment