Archive for the ‘Rehearsal’ Category

Sandra (Michelle McKenzie-Voigt), Leah (Kiah McKirnan), Jamie (Robert Hilliard), and Ste (Charlie Wein)

Our dialect coach Jeremiah Davis stopped by our rehearsal on Friday to check our progress. We sat in chairs and ran the lines from all the scenes we have blocked to date; this proved surprisingly challenging. We’re used to running things on our feet, so keeping the energy and pace up while sitting down was a bit of a challenge. After we ran through each scene, we stopped to get notes from Jeremiah. We are very fortunate to have him working with us; he is doing an amazing job guiding us so our accents are authentic (and consistent).

When we finished working with Jeremiah, we blocked a portion of Leah’s acid trip scene, which is one of the funniest scenes in the entire show. It didn’t take very long to block and we had a good laugh doing it.

Our director and one of my castmates have been nominated for Broadway World Chicago awards; more on that next time.

Until then, have a beautiful day!


I must apologize for not posting an update recently; my schedule has been rather hectic. I promise I will post at least twice a week, more if I can.

“Leah” Kiah Mckirnan

Rehearsals are moving right along. We still don’t have a stage manager, but we are getting along just fine without one. That’s not to say that we don’t NEED one, I’m just saying that we have managed fine without one. If we don’t have a stage manager by tech week, I will start to get extremely nervous.

Each rehearsal we have been taking a few pages from the script and working on blocking and character. Aside from a few minor “bumps,” the blocking rehearsals have gone smoothly. The most challenging rehearsal to date came last Saturday when we reviewed everything that we blocked so far. We were asked to be off book for this rehearsal so we could focus on acting instead of looking down at our script. A couple of my castmates had their lines memorized, but the rest of the cast, myself included, needed to carry our script pages at various times throughout the rehearsal. We ran everything a couple times and for the most part it went really well. We are making progress!!!

Because of my big mouth, we now have a running cow joke at every rehearsal. More on that another time.

Until next time, have a beautiful day!

Some actors spend a great deal of time doing character work, figuring out their every emotion and motive.  Other actors just do what the script and director tell them to do.  What happens when the director and actor don’t agree on a blocking or character choice?

At rehearsal last night for Beautiful Thing, we ran into that situation.  During the scene, my character’s mother is telling embarrassing stories about me as a child to everyone on stage.  It was initially blocked so that I stand with my back to her with an annoyed/embarrassed look on my face.  To me, this felt right.  Our director, however, wanted to try something different – now I was directed to look at Ste in a “help me out” kind of way, which felt completely wrong to me.  So I was faced with the decision of either voicing my opinion or letting it go.  In this situation, the decision was easy; I had to say something.  After explaining my thoughts about the new direction and exploring our director’s motivation for the change, we decided to try it a completely different way, and it worked.

This was just one of the many director vs. actor situations we have had/will have while working on this show, and that’s okay; these things happen in every production from Chicago to New York and all around the world.  I respect my director and think carefully before I challenge a direction he has given me, and I only speak up when I feel the action doesn’t fit the character or if the blocking feels awkward.  Even when I voice my opinion, I keep an open mind and allow the director to do his job.  There will be times when I don’t agree with the director or even other actors’ choices, but it’s not my place to make a fuss about it.

Acting – it’s a challenging but beautiful thing.

See you on Monday with my first video blog.  Until then, have a beautiful weekend!

We now have two blocking rehearsals under our belt.  During our rehearsal on Tuesday, we blocked another fight scene, this one between Kiah (Leah) and Michelle (Sandra).

The rehearsal would have been shorter if we all hadn’t kept laughing.  At one point, we had a conversation about naming each person in our cast after a Disney character.  We also discussed how to make the pot smoking in the show look as realistic as possible.  Some other topics discussed: post-Christmas Boxing Day party, being Jewish, and leather bars.  Just another typical Beautiful Thing rehearsal.

Tomorrow, the cast and crew of Beautiful Thing show their support for GLADD’s Spirit Day. Until then, have a beautiful day!

This was certainly an interesting weekend. We found out that our Wilson Home (rehearsal space) was double-booked, leaving us without a place to rehearse. This is just one of the many challenges of sharing a rehearsal space. So we were forced to come up with an alternate location, and chose my new apartment. We chose my place because of its central location and the lack of furniture, which leaves lots of room to move around.

At this rehearsal, we started blocking pages 41-48, which involves a big fight between my mother and me. Our fight choreographer is not scheduled to start until next month, so we skipped that part.

I must say, the rehearsal was more challenging than I thought it would be. We started in the middle of a difficult and emotional scene where I stand up to my mother. This scene hits very close to home for me; it could have been pulled directly from my as-yet-unwritten memoir. The challenging part was tapping into Jamie’s emotions during the scene, which brought me to a very unhappy time in my life.  I got through the rehearsal fine, but later that night as I was home alone, I just unloaded. I have been trying to erase these bad memories for a long time, and now here I am digging them up. So I spent my night writing about myself and Jamie, which ended around sunrise Sunday morning.

All of that after working on 8 pages of the script. Strap yourselves in; this is going to be one hell of a ride.

Until next time, have beautiful day!

On Saturday, we had our second rehearsal, this time at our “Wilson Home.”  I call it our Wilson Home because it’s on Wilson Ave in Chicago.  For the next 3 months, this will be our second home, a place where we will laugh, cry, and create magic. 

Three months of rehearsal might seem long to many, and it is in fact a long rehearsal time for a straight play.  But this was the only way to do it, given the schedules of the actors, artistic staff, designers, and 3 big holidays between now and opening night.  So we’re not rehearsing every night, at least not yet. And besides, I’m glad we have this lengthy time together.

The poster for the show is being released today!  Wait till you see it!  Tomorrow, I will have that and what went into creating it.  Until then, have a beautiful day!

Last night we gathered for our first table read of the script.  We started the rehearsal by introducing ourselves, followed by a welcome speech by our director John Nasca.

After the table read, our dialect coach Jeremiah Davis gave us notes and helpful tips for taking on a South London accent, as well as a very helpful handout he had prepared.  I must say, Jeremiah really knows this dialect; he gave the cast some great notes and pointers.  We all are very excited to have Jeremiah working with us!

We had our first rehearsal at WTTW studios.

Kiah Kiah McKirnan (Leah), Charlie Wein (Ste), Robert Hilliard (Jamie), Michelle McKenzie-Voigt (Sandra), Patrick Rybarczyk (Tony) and dialect coach Jeremiah Davis. Photo by Tiffany Nasca, our Assistant Director.

Charlie Wein (Ste), Robert Hilliard (Jamie)

Patrick Rybarczyk (Tony) and dialect coach Jeremiah Davis.

Kiah Kiah McKirnan (Leah), Charlie Wein (Ste)

The best line of the night comes from John Nasca: “Put your diphthong away.”

I have some exciting news about an upcoming promotional event, but I can’t tell you until tomorrow. Until then, have a beautiful day!