Theater Masks

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

I got to go to BEA for a day

A few weeks ago, my agent Rachael had posted a contest on Twitter through another site to win a free pass to BEA for a day. I entered and forgot about it. On Wednesday I got an email that everyone who entered won a free pass to the event. As it turned out, I had plans to take the day off already to go into the city to meet Rachael for lunch (more on that in a little bit), so yay - I got a full day out of it! I woke up with Caitie to catch her usual bus to work (not something I was thrilled about doing on my day off, but hey, I get to sleep late every day in two weeks, so no complaining, right?). When we got to the city, I walked to the Javits center and spent twenty minutes trying to figure out where to go to register. It turned out I was on the wrong floor, but eventually figured it out. When I registered, I received a tote bag with a couple of books in it - one The Passage which I really wanted to read anyway, and The Age of Miracles, one Caitie tells me is supposed to be fantastic. I spent the next couple of hours wandering around the expo floor, looking at books, talking to a couple of authors, and being generally amazed at how VASTLY huge the place was. At eleven I had to make a choice: a panel on writing strong females in middle grade books or a panel of actors talking about taking words from the stage to the page (based on a new book about Actor's Equity coming out). Both are right up my alley, so it was not an easy choice to make! I chose the latter on instinct, and was glad I did. The speakers were Estelle Parsons, Andre deShields, Nick Wyman, David Henry Hwang, and Robert Simonson. I was so very impressed with all of them who spoke from such experience and clear love of their jobs. deShields especially impressed me - the man is just a fountain of wisdom! There were a couple of highlights from the panel. First, deShields when asked how he takes a character from the page to the stage said, "you need to find the character's music." He went on to explain that even if it's not a musical, every character has a song, and you need to listen to him to find it. Once you have, you'll be able to know who the character is better. Hwang talked about how he usually will get an idea for the beginning of a play and an idea for the end, but the middle is different. He said he'll often need to force characters to do what he wants at first, but then they start talking to him and he just transcribes what they say. It's a fascinating way of writing - one that I have to confess to not being entirely unfamiliar with as well. Parsons talked a but about being serious about acting - when she's in a play she's completely focused on her role, no matter how large or small. She feels it's disrespectful when younger actors have their computers back stage or whatever - they should be focused on giving their best performance during the time the play is running. After the panel ended, I went to meet Caitie and Rachael for lunch. I don't have a ton to share about this, other than that I am so glad she is my agent. Rachael is excited, enthusiastic, and clearly working hard for me and her other clients. She also likes many of the same things we do (we even got the same meal!), so lunch was easy and comfortable. I left feeling very comfortable with her as my agent, so it was a very successful meeting. We walked back to the convention center and parted ways. I went back to wander around a little bit more, and then left the center to wait for Caitie to get out of work. It was a wonderful day - one I would love to experience again next year!

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