Weekly Happy Moment – Enchanted April

Enchanted April
Rose (me), Lottie, and Mrs. Graves in Act I

Its been a while since I’ve written a “happy moment” but this week, I definitely have something to write about. Tonight is the opening night for the play that I’m in called “Enchanted April“. From a novel originally written by Elizabeth von Arnim, the play – a romantic comedy written by playwright Matthew Barber – is set in England and Italy in 1922. Four unhappy English women respond to a newspaper advertisement about a castle to rent in Italy. Once in the sunshine of the Mediterranean all of their troubles seem to dissipate as they rediscover themselves. It is an absolutely brilliant piece, one from which my close friend, who is also in the play, and I, often quote. Although it was set in an era from nearly 100 years ago, the issues and thoughts it conveys are very much relevant to today’s world.

We started rehearsals in January and have been hard at work twice a week for nearly four months. I have never been in a full production before and it has been a great experience. Our director, Ingrid McCarthy, is exceptional at what she does and although we are an amateur group, she has pushed us to perform at a very high level. Its very difficult to imagine in the beginning…the very bare bones beginning…what the production will look like in the end (although I think Ingrid had a good idea). And now that it has all come together, to me, its nothing less than spectacular. I can only hope the audience enjoys it but I don’t expect them to have the same appreciation. How could they? They didn’t see the progression.

I can’t say I didn’t have moments of great frustration. I love my character but it took a while for me to “become” her. Her name is Rose. At the beginning of the play she is depressed, uptight and at times unpleasant, and extremely pious. She seems to use her piety as a way to push other people away and almost as a security blanket. I couldn’t imagine how one could play a depressed person energetically. But slowly and surely I evolved into her. By the end of the play she is vibrant and alive which was much easier to embrace. The greatest transformation came when we started wearing our costumes it became so easy for me to step into her…literally. The other challenge was to learn to project my voice. I’ve always spoken softly from my throat and my director constantly pushed me to speak louder. Now, when I hear my voice ricochet off the auditorium walls I can barely believe it was I who had spoken!

Rose
Rose in Act II

There are so many positives to acting – the boost in self-esteem, learning about a process and about yourself, and the natural high that comes with being on stage. Successfully learning one’s lines is an achievement in itself! Believe me, when I saw the script I almost died. The number of lines I had were, quite frankly, overwhelming. But I know them all now. Most of them come out of me without a second thought. I used to be terrified of speaking in public to the point that I would turn beet red and start shaking. I can’t say that I’m not nervous about tonight…that would be almost unnatural…but, as my director said, you have to harness the nervousness and take advantage of the adrenalin to enhance your performance. I really feel a nervous excitement about tonight rather than a dread. The sheer pleasure of performing, delivering a smooth performance – ideally it would be flawless but we are only human – I can’t even express. By the end of the second act, I’m almost giddy and not because its over but because it was FUN!!

If you ever get the chance to try acting grab it! It is extremely rewarding and it has been one of the best experiences in my life. Tonight we start a seven performance run and I can’t wait!! It is truly an enchanted April!! Wish me luck!!

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7 thoughts on “Weekly Happy Moment – Enchanted April

  1. I loved this movie!!!! Oh my, I wish I could be there to enjoy, enter your world, and cheer on Isobel Rose.

    (I could relate to your character’s transformation. In the course I teach for abuse victims, one of the relational styles is “Church Lady”, who keeps people from knowing her soul with pious platitudes. Transformation happens when she allows herself to taste life outside her construct, come alive to her longings and invite people to enjoy her on the journey.)

    It would be a joy to watch you help Rose bloom!

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    1. Thanks, Kinzi!! It really is a wonderful play with some fantastic characters. Its interesting what you say about the “Church Lady” – that’s Rose exactly!

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  2. It is indeed a joy and a plesure to be on stage. It is also a form of total escapism. You can’t be who you are day-to-day … unless you are playing yourself!
    This charming play has so many lines that are relevant today.
    Who doesn’t want some enchatment to show itslef to change what we have into what we wish for … but as Lottie so cleary holds dear: Oh but you must! it’s essential … even if it isn’t true … and I really do believe if one considers hard enough … things can happen.
    And they can.

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  3. I would have done anything to cross the miles to come and see you perform as Rose.
    Actually I’m in London right now and if I knew I would be there on time I would have swam the ocean to see the play.

    Enjoy it, for this is certainly your night &…
    Dazzle them as only you can do.

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    1. Thank you, Abu Fares! Too bad we couldn’t bring the play to you!! 🙂 I absolutely enjoyed myself tonight, we all did, and by the sounds of things, so did the audience!!

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