Box Office: 843.577.7183 | Home | Login | Press
Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

January 17, 2009

“Gettin’ Piggy With It” by Resident Actor Sonny Kong

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 12:54 am

Tonight is opening night, so my process is nearly over. Honestly, I thought that after college, my days of process-based rehearsal would be over. However, I’m glad and extremely fortunate that this is not the case. With every show so far, I’ve had a very detailed process in terms of character development. One of the main reasons is that the rehearsal periods at Charleston Stage are a little longer than most companies for which I’ve worked in the past. Usually, you are given about two weeks to put up a show, so the end result is completely product oriented (versus process).

However, we’ve been rehearsing Charlotte’s Web for about a month, minus a 10-day break in the middle (so we could go home and see our families!). This extended rehearsal process gave me time to investigate vocal choices, ultimately settling on a higher-pitched, almost cartoony-voiced Wilbur. Also, because I’m taller than most of the cast (and trust me, this is very rare as I’m only 5’6”), I played around with some physical options that would make me seem smaller. With a bend in the knees and wiggle of the tail, things seem to be working well.

As for bringing this classic tale to the Memminger, I had already been well prepared. Catawba College, my alma mater, trained me to perform in diverse arrangements, “thrust staging” most of all. Thrust staging involves having the audience on three sides, exactly the way Memminger is set up. This requires Wilbur (and the rest of the cast, of course) to interact on almost all sides, making sure to never miss a beat. Back acting (or bacting, as it is sometimes referred to) requires complete concentration and awareness of the body. The end result ensures that every seat in the house is the good seat!

Opening night is imminent, so after warming up my body and voice, my process will be complete. Who knew working on a children’s story could require so much work? It just goes to show that the opportunity for true artistry can be found in any medium.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Follow Us:   FaceBook-32x32  Twitter-32x32  Vimeo  flickr  blog_button
Charleston Web Design by Hannush