backstage at bare

By Eric Engelhard & Hattie Andres

Before every performance of bare, each of us are exploding with enormous amounts of excitement and energy. As a cast we are a group of friends with strong, close relationships. We have so much fun together! In the few-hours of our nightly pre-show preparation, we work to fine tune the aspects these off-stage, real-life relationships and then apply them in our performance. In addition to all the necessary make-up, costume, and prop setting, we all have unique, personal, or even strange pre-show rituals.

5-6 PM: Arrive at ArtsWest. It is up to each of us to determine how early before the 6:00 call time we need to arrive. If you need extra time, this is where you get it. Many of us have quite a commute, from places as south as Tacoma, east as Issaquah, and north as Everett. To make the 6:00 call time, most leave early to allow for any traffic complications. Before 6:00, actors are often found lounging in the green room, grabbing a last minute bite to eat and catching up with each other. Laughter is never of shortage backstage!
6 PM: Actors and band called. The 6:00 call time is set by the Stage Manager (SM) and works as a deadline for the cast, crew, and band. The SM calls anyone who hasn't arrived yet. You don't want to get this call!
6- 6:30 PM: Physical and vocal warm-ups, make-up, set props and quick change costumes. We use this time to set any props. Some of us play multiple characters and have frequent quick changes during the show. All quick change costume are preset where we need them. Each actor has their own specific technique for executing their quick changes. Usually it’s only a matter of seconds between buttoning your last button and needing to be on stage! Some of us start applying make-up. For bare, not a lot of make-up is required. This is due to the smaller size of the ArtsWest theatre and the teenage characters that we portray. Some use this time to prepare physically and mentally. Yoga and other stretches are popular choices for physical warm-ups.
6:15 Fight call and lift call. These calls are for our safety. Those in the sword fight are called on stage to run their fight choreography. Also, those in opening number dance lift perform the lift in time with the music. These calls are used to fix any problems and as a memory refresher.
6:30 PM: Mic-check. At this time, everyone's mic is checked. One by one, the sound technician has each of us sing a selection from one of our songs in the show. The best part is choosing which selection you want to sing. People switch songs, sing in a different genre, or even sing non-show songs! During each person's check, the sound technician balances volume and fixes mic placement problems. We then sing the opening number, “Epiphany”, to balance the whole cast's levels.
6:30-7 PM: Finish setting props and costumes. Continue applying make-up. Whatever wasn't finished before mic check is done now. All props and costumes need to be set before the
house is opened to the audience at 7:00. In the separate men and women dressing rooms, each actor has their own station. Some actors choose to use this time to focus on the show, keeping mainly to themselves while others engage in lively conversations to keep the energy flowing between cast mates. There’s one thing for certain – someone’s always singing! Legally Blonde, Dreamgirls and In the Heights appear to be favorite sing along material at the moment.
7:00 PM: House opens.Group vocal warm up. The theater is opened to the audience and therefore closed to the performers. You would have to be very sneaky to set anything you forget without the audience noticing. Also, we now get together as a group to warm-up. Bar
e is vocally challenging material. The vocal chords are muscles just like any other in the body, so warm ups are important to keep the voice healthy. One of the favorite vocal warm-ups is the “Giant Banana” arpeggio. For those actors who struggle with time management (we won’t name any names), vocal warm-up is used as a time to multi-task by finishing make-up or a physical warm up at the same time.
7-7:30 PM:
Finish applying make-up and getting into costume. Focus. Almost time! Now is the time when we finish whatever else there is to finish. There are a few strange and quite funny last-minute focus exercises. Tongue twisters are a frequent and seemingly random outburst from everyone. Those who sing the Act 1 closing song, “One”, run through one of the tougher harmony sections together. First, for fun they sing as country singers. They do it a second and final time, this time as if it were the real performance. During this second run, they make purposeful eye contact with the others in an attempt to deepen their connection with each other.
7:28 PM: Places called. By now you better be finished or else you're probably going to miss your entrance! The Stage manager calls “places” and we move to our first entrances. Some actors are already completely in the world of the show, completely silent and focused while
others prefer to offer pre-show hugs and whispers of “break a leg”.
7:30 PM: Curtain. After places have been reached the hou
se lights dim and the music begins!

Claire Edgerton (Ivy) arrives early to set her hair in hot rollers

<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Hattie Andres (Tanya) focuses on her breathing while doing her
routine warm-up of sun salutation

Blaire Smith (Sister Chantelle) ensures that her lip gloss is popping
in preparation for her portrayal of the Virgin Mary in a dream
sequence later in Act I

Justin Huertas (Matt) achieves perfection by leaving himself adequate time to get into costume

bare: a pop opera runs thru July 26 - only 3 shows left!

ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery
4711 California Ave SW

Thursday, July 24 @ 7:30
Friday, July 25 @ 7:30
Saturday, July 26 @ 7:30 or (206) 938-0339

Buy tickets NOW, they're selling fast! $15 general admission, $10 for 25 and under, $5 for TeenTix members.

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