Monday, February 2, 2009

The Final Performance

Photo of Cast and Crew of R3 by Rick Malkin

I can’t believe yesterday was the last show! I hope that everyone who wanted to see it got the chance to do so!

The show went really well and the audience was awesome! Not too many things went wrong today. The only noticeable snafu was that the fog machine didn't work. I am the one who is supposed to turn it on before the dream with the ghosts and I went to my place last night and there was a little red light on the control that said “heating”. Usually there is a little green light that says, “ready”, so I knew something was wrong. I’m not sure what the problem was, but when H.T. (Nashville Shakespeare Festival Runner) gave me the cue to turn it on I pushed the button and nothing happened. It was really annoying and there was nothing we could do about it, but fortunately the scene still looked sufficiently creepy thanks to Anne Willingham's lighting design!

I wish that Nashville was a town where this show could run until people stopped coming, but unfortunately we have to have a scheduled closing date. In the dressing room last night all the women agreed that if we could, Denice Hick’s Richard The Third was a show we could happily have performed for months! I can understand the Shakespeare purists who think that that the Bard should not be changed (sometimes it is nice to revert back to the original without all the frills), but after you have seen a show like this that worked so well, I don’t see how you could not have a change of heart. This production was such a joy to be in and I am so thankful that I got to have the experience of being in it and getting to work with all those amazing people! I love all my lovely theatre people and I can’t wait to work with you on other projects!

If any of you blog reading people have any questions about Belmont Theater, or The Nashville Shakespeare Festival's Apprentice Company, or the show please feel free to ask!
Love, hug, and more love

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Show Must Go On!

Christy White as a Messenger with Phil Perry as Hastings in Richard the Third

Well, all I can say I that Brenda Sparks (Queen Margaret) and Denice Hicks (Nashville Shakespeare Festival Artist Director and Director of Richard the Third) are two of the most amazing women I have ever met. I’m sure anyone who knows them will agree with me, but you will be even more amazed when you hear about last Sunday's show.
Saturday night Brenda was not feeling very well. She had a sore throat and was worried that she had strep throat. She went on with the show as usual that night and did a wonderful job.
The next day (Sunday) she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Strep. She got two antibiotic shots and took the Magic Mouthwash, but was still feeling horrible when it came time to go on that afternoon. So, about half an hour before the show went up the decision was made that Denice would go on as Brenda’s voice! Denice sat at the side of the stage next to Tom McBride, our wonderful piano player, and said all of Brenda’s lines and sang all her songs! Denice did such a great job and even though Brenda couldn’t talk she went on and walked the part! I have never seen such an impressive performance in the theatre. Brenda gave that show everything she had. She went over the top physically and it worked so well! I just can’t express how blow away I was by their performance.
The audience was amazing too! They just went right along with us! It was so appreciated! This one of the big reasons I love the theater. Anything can happen!

(editor's note - Brenda was well enough to perform for 237 high school students on Tuesday morning. - all props have been disinfected and the actors and crew are washing their hands over and over again)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Notes on The First Week Of Production

Brenda Sparks, Claire Syler and Christy White giving the news
I’m sorry I haven’t updated in so long! I have just started back to school, but now I will get back on my bloging schedule.
We opened last Thursday and the show went well. Opening night is never the best performance because we are all still getting used to performing in front of an audience and figuring out how they will react to the show. However, even though the opening show is not usually the best performance it is always so much fun! It is so exciting to finally get to be in front of an audience! It is so wonderful to finally have the last part of the puzzle. Among actors it is common knowledge that the audience is one of the most important parts of the show, but I’m not sure that a lot of audience members know that. I just want all of the people who come to see our shows or who go to see any kind of performance to know how incredibly important you are to us! We are not joking when we thank you for coming to see us! We love you so much because you give us so much energy! You give us you laughter, you anger and your sadness and it is so helpful and wonderful! THANK YOU!
Sorry, that was a soapbox moment. We just love getting to play with audiences so much! I think one of your best ones this weekend was the school matinee. There were only a few because the larger school that was going to be there couldn’t come. You would think that having such a small audience would be kind of a downer, but it was awesome! They were so ready to play with us and it seemed like they had so much fun! One thing I love about kids is that you never know quite what they will do. That performance was no exception.
Belmont student, Liz Young as Young Elizabeth

After Liz Young sang “The White Cliffs of Dover" Words by Nat Burton, music by Walter Kent (c) 1941 Shapiro Berstein & Co. /EMI Pubishers. Permission requested. as Young Elizabeth, 5 and a half-year-old Mary, Brenda Sparks’ (Queen Margaret) daughter, stood up, clapped her hands and said “GOOS JOB!” It was so cute and I’m so glad that she was so excited about it.
We will be back on Thursday and we will be going all weekend!
If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Visit The Shakes YouTube Channel

Opening Night at Winter Shakespeare

We had our last dress rehearsal and we go up tonight! There are always a few hiccups right before a show open and R III is no exception. On my part I feel like I did ok. I did have a couple of little problems though. I always say that I refuse to run my lines right before I go on stage. It ALWAYS messes me up. Tonight was no different. I was going over one of my lines that I’ve been having trouble with right before I went on stage and when I got out there I said that line instead of my first line! I hate when that happens! There was also a moment when I was one stage at the wrong time and I saw something my character wasn’t supposed to see. That was awkward, but you just have to keep going and work with it! That is actually one of my favorite things about the theatre. You never know what is going to happen! Some of the funniest things I have ever seen of done on stage have been accidents!
Hope to see you at Opening Night Tonight!

If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Messengers ....

Sunday night we had our second tech run and I got to wear my make-up for the first time! It was awesome! I always get so excited when we get to put on our costumes and our make-up because it informs the characters so much! For example, I am a messenger and Denice asked fellow Belmont student, Liz Young and high school student Marcus McClain and I to perfect a uniform “messenger run”. We had worked it out a couple of days before the dress rehearsal, but when I put on my costume, wig, and make-up it COMPLETELY changed the way my little messenger character runs! I love that costumes and make-up can do that! Editor note:Nathan Lee is also a Belmont student in the production.If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Christy White

photo by Brenda Sparks: Colin Merrick, Liz Young, and Markus McClain as Young York, Young Elizabeth, and Prince Edward in Richard the Third

ShakesNote: The Nashville Shakespeare Festival is dedicated to Belmont student involvement in our Winter Shakespeare programming. Contact the Belmont Theater Department for details on their excellent university training programs.

We also serve thousands of high school and middle school students year round !

1,600 Students Already Booked to see Richard the Third
Schools already booked to attend:
Antioch High School
Artios Academy
Battle Ground Academy Middle
Cane Ridge High School
David Lipscomb High School
East Literature Magnet School
Glencliff High School
Harpeth Hall School
Hillsboro High School
Hillwood High School
Hunters Lane High School
Maplewood High School
McGavock High School
Montomgery Bell Academy
Nashville Big Picture School
Nashville School of the Arts
Overton High School
Pearl Cohn High School
Smyrna High School
Station Camp High School
Stratford High School
Whites Creek High School

32 Richard the Third workshops and 6 Hamlet workshops booked at 13 different schools this month alone

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Christy White as Julia in the Nashville Shakespeare's 2007 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Two Gentleman of Verona, directed by Claire Syler. Picture: Jeff Frazier Costume: June Kingsbury

My name is Christy White and I have been asked to write a blog about my experience from the perspective of a Belmont student in The Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s second Winter Shakespeare production of Richard the Third.

This is not the first time I have done a production with Nashville Shakes. This is actually the fourth! I was in the Byron & Beth Smith Apprentice Company for 3 summers (2005-2007) and I loved every minute of it. I was so excited to learn that Belmont was going to be partnering with The Festival for their winter production! I think it is so important to be able to be involved professional theatre when you are still a student. It gives you a real look at the profession you are going into and it gives you connections in the community!

We just had out 17th rehearsal and we are about to move into tech! I have been having so much fun at rehearsals! We have been slowly working through the show for the last couple of days, which has been really nice. I have a couple of the smaller roles so I have just been getting to hang out a lot. It is always so interesting to watch the professional actors doing their work. They are all so enthusiastic about the show and it is infectious. I think one of the things I like most about the theatre is that it does not seem like work. All of the professionals look like they are having such a good time! You basically just get to play all day. Yay theatre!

I will write again next week – let me know if you have any questions!

Picture: Christy White as Julia in the Nashville Shakespeare Festival's 2007 Shakespeare in the Park production of The Two Gentleman of Verona, directed by Claire Syler.
Picture by: Jeff Frazier
Costume: June Kingsbury