Larissa White, on the cold hard streets of karaoke more commonly known as Lari King, comically explores the wealth of emotions that come at the hand of being robbed at gunpoint, and the way her world perspective has shifted, for better and worse, since.
I hit a moment two nights ago where we starting using the actual pill bottle and pills for H Mac's attempted suicide. I was a tad worried, just because knowing me I would totally choke and for real die on a tic tac of all things. I mean what a way to go right? We got to the moment though and having the pill bottles in my hand, feeling the tangibility of them and the act of putting them all in my mouth and looking into the mirror to decide whether or not to swallow them was a pretty intense and a little too real feeling.
The terrible thing about though, is that moment in and of itself was hilarious. These pills were stuffed to the brim in my mouth, and one by one they began to fall and plink against the floor. I lost my shit. Not just laughing, but sobbing. It shuttered the show to a stop for a moment. While myself and Anna tried to get ourselves back together.
The mixed emotions followed me backstage and it took me quite a few minutes to get it together. With the tangible pills it was the first time the moment clicked in my mind. The frustration that Heather is feeling. She exposes her soul only to have her best friend who has turned into a monster turn on her. In that moment she's lost everyone. Her other best friend and her boyfriend among them. She feels worthless and that's only amplified by the fact that she's too stupid to even get the pill bottles open.
The writer did an excellent job building all of these elements together for H Mac and it so easy to get into the frustrations and childish feeling that she's going through, and get to a point of declining self worth that taking the pills really does seem like the only option that H Mac has, even though she's too scared to really do it.
I'd be kidding myself if I said I was waiting to write this post till everything for this semester was more finalized when in truth it's really just because I haven't gotten around to it. I do have lots of exciting things to come for this year, so get excited.
I will be doing two shows and a concert with New Line Theatre's 25th Anniversary Season.
The season kicks off with Heathers the Musical in which I will be playing the dizzingly ditzy Heather MacNamara. It runs October 2nd- 24th at the brand new Marcelle Theatre.
Next I will be doing New Line's 25th anniversary concert entitled 25 to Life! which runs January 5th and 6th at the Sheldon Concert Hall.
Finally I will be playing the troubled young Heather in American Idiot running March 3rd-26th at the Marcelle Theatre.
It has been quite some time since I've updated this bad boy, but it's been the busiest semester I've ever had, and now that the school semester is over I'm not slowing down. I'll be working on two shows this summer. One I've already announced, Threepenny Opera, and in recent developments, Legally Blonde; which I will be taking on the role of Elle Woods at Take Two Productions. I am beyond stoked to do this role. I believe there was a time in elementary school that I had convinced myself that I wanted to go to Harvard Law School, and used the study montage more than once as a motivational tool when school became stressful.
July 24, 25, 30, 31 at 7:30 pm
August 1 at 7:30 pm
July 26 at 2:00 pm
Bayless High School Auditorium
4532 Weber Road, St. Louis, MO 63123
Hope to see you all there.
We finally made it. This weekend marked the opening for Bonnie & Clyde, and I feel as if it crept up on me and took forever, if that's even possible. I've been performing since I was in elementary school in many different venues and variances in audience, but this show is special. It's my first professional theatre experience, and God Damn It! I was nervous. I always get nervous though; in a "Why do I do this to myself kind of way." It's almost become comforting now, and I usually take the day to reflect on why I got into performing in the first place.
First of all being a kind of an only child, shout out to my half-brother Mark (you da best), I got majorly doted on, thanks mama, and went through some big pretending phases i.e. I was Ariel, a dog, and a cat. I was completely committed to those characters, and I have a scar to prove it (I fell of the couch when I was a cat.) These pretending to be other people and animals garnered a lot of attention, and I basked in it, and viola a performer was born. That and I got to where a cat tail once and swish my little booty across the stage. From that cat tail moment on I've constantly been in shows, and I didn't have a break in performing until college when I took up writing. That means at least three times a year since I was seven I've had opening night jitters.
This shows opening has been unique in many ways. In all of the openings of the past, that night was the first night that we had put the show in front of an audience. New Line does a preview kind effectively easing us into the process. However; New Line also get reviewed, and that is something I have never had any experience with, so while was saying it was going to be fine I was fetaling in a corner of my mind. Also New Line has an after party where the cast and audience can mingle and interact under the calming influence of booze and mood lighting. All of those changes in how I normally experience openings collided into a whirlwind of emotions. Now, I realize I'm making myself sound like a neurotic mess, and I am, up until about three hours before the show, and then slowly the panic ebbs and all that is left is intense excitement and pride in the theatre that we have created over the course of the last few months.
Bonnie & Clyde is, dare I say, my favorite show yet. It has all my favorite things. Great music, rich history, guns, and sexual tension galore. Bonnie Parker is a bad good girl if that makes any sense, and playing her has been so much fucking fun! There have been so many people who have guided this character and my portrayal of her, and I thank them for that, 'cause lord knows she wouldn't be able to hold a candle to Matt's Clyde without them.
When I first saw Bonnie it was as this sexy, manipulative seductress, and Scott helped me see that only how she saw herself. In reality she is a girl, a girl stuck at the age of twenty with huge dreams and no way of ever achieving amongst the soul crushing circumstances of the depression in the middle of the Dust Bowl. Once I'd gotten that in my head Dowdy was there to help me answer questions about her. Questions that no one would ever know the answer to, but instead would add layers to Bonnie and keep her from being one note. Lastly Alex, my roommate, the one I'm supposed to be sharing this blog with has helped me tremendously. Even after rehearsal is over we talk about the show, and about Bonnie, and the more we talk the more we discover. He's the only person in this production who's directed me before so he knows my habits bad and good, and helped me keep from doing them. With all of this guidance I feel as if I've grown as actress and singer and maybe even poet ;). I feel as if I got a free acting and vocal lesson every rehearsal, or at least that's how I tried to see it.
I urge everyone to come this show. There has been a lot of hard work put into it, and it's fun to see it pay off. I hope to see everyone there.
All the Best ;)
At this point I would love to say that I have the show completely memorized back to front, like the back of my hand, and all that jazz, but I can't. What I can say is that I have the show memorized enough to really start playing around with it, and this is one of my favorite times in the whole rehearsal process.
The discovery and finding the rhythm and the flow to the show and especially to Bonnie. As Alex has so wonderfully pointed out to me several times I have a very distinct vocal pattern. It would be very easy to impersonate me. I have this habit of breathing into my words and making sounds either before or after; especially if I don't know my lines. So, at this point in the process I am very much aware of it, and I am hell bent on sounding like Bonnie now not like Larissa, and I finally feel like I'm making some headway with this headstrong character. I also feel like I can start experimenting with different things and playing around. It's scary awesome you can be in it sometimes, and that's one of the reasons that I do love performing ever so much.
Today I realized that the show is only two weeks out from now, and holy shit I nearly had a heart attack. This process has completely zipped by. This week will be another one of full runs, and then
after that we start adding everything in, and then we get to show you guys what we came up with. I fully intend to have a blast this week with Bonnie and really let her flourish, and see what she can become.
School has started and things have gotten really crazy. I probably shouldn't be writing right, but doing my homework, but oh well I don't want to work on that right now. There are more important things to do; like tell everyone how I dyed my hair.
I'm taking the John Malkovich approach and creating my character from the hair down. The other Alex and I dyed my hair. Now, I have dyed my hair many a time, and by many a time I mean that I've been to the salon and had someone else dye my hair for me, so I was just a tad bit nervous for how this was going to turn out. Alex and I put it off for a couple of days debating on whether or not we wanted someone with a little more experience in the dyeing department to help us, but in the end we said "Fuck it," and decided to we'd just go for it. From this experience I have learned some very cool things that you all can choose take with you or not.
1) Dye is awesome, and ours was a pretty purple. (My favorite color.)
2) It makes your head itch the longer you have it on.
3) If you use argan oil in the dyeing process it makes your hair soft.
4) Postpone washing your hair as long as you can after dyeing it to let the color set.
5) I don't know if I made the one above this up.
6) If you draw penises and flowers in your hair with the dye it doesn't show up after you wash it out.
7) Thank God there aren't penises and flowers visible in my hair.
8) Make sure you have a place to wash the dye out of your hair.
9) If you don't you can just hop in the shower.
10) Be careful not to get the dye in your eyes. (Be smart people)
11) Clean out the applicator bottle.
12) If you don't it explodes!
13) Use a bowl and a brush if it is available to you.
14) If not use the applicator bottle.
15) If not use your hands.
16) Wear rubber gloves.
17) If your hair starts to fall out well...
18) Hair grows back.
I keep forgetting that silent movies have the potential to be good, and because of that I've been avoiding
watching the silent movies that Scott has so kindly lent to me for research; however last night I finally sat my ass down with Alex to watch "It" starring Clara Bow (not a scary clown.) We started the film thinking "77 minutes! God damn that's long for a silent movie," and we ended the movie cheering at the TV "OH MY GOD! She knocked that bitch the fuck out! Clara Bow is amazing."
Before I had gotten the chance to watch these movies Scott had told me how surprised he was by Clara Bow's acting, and how natural it was for silent film, and I half-heartedly believed him, but after seeing it for myself I was completely blown away by her. It's no wonder that Bonnie was entranced by her, hell, I was entranced with her, and found myself in the mirror after the movie was over trying to mimic her sassy eyerolls and cockeyed
smiles. She was unabashedly herself and seemingly got everything she wanted. Bonnie being someone who had nothing and was beaten down by life before it had really even begun I can't see how she wouldn't idolize Clara Bow. It must have been excruciating sitting in a dark theatre in the middle of the Dust Bowl watching Clara be a fierce, confident woman who cruises around on a fucking yacht in her free time. With so much glamour and vivaciousness shoved down the throat of a have-not you'd probably either come to wholeheartedly resent that lifestyle or be enraptured by the dream that one day you'd have it, and I think we can guess where Bonnie Parker lay on that spectrum. I empathize with why Bonnie jumped aboard the Clyde bandwagon. She saw a way out and an adventure; which her marriage to Roy Thornton at the age of 15 failed to provide.
Side by side with Clara's picture
the emulation is obvious.
Watching this also gave some understanding as to why they got into knock down drag out fights. Bonnie
emulated Clara Bow's sassy confidence and take no shit attitude, and Clyde was raised in a bible thumpin' household where a woman was subordinate to her lord and master. With those two together it was only a matter of time before shit hit the fan.
I'm super crazily, awesomely, excited to announce that I have been honored with a nomination from the St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards for outstanding actress in a musical. I know this announcement is coming at everyone a little late, but I had so much to say beyond that of the announcement itself.
I became active in the St. Louis theatre scene in June of last year when I auditioned for New Line Theatre's Bonnie & Clyde, and ever since the community and everyone I've met have been so warm, welcoming, and kind to me. Especially New Line Theatre and Scott Miller for giving me the opportunity to play and play with the dynamic character that is Bonnie Parker. I was terrified walking in to the first rehearsal and thank goodness I had my roommate Aled there to help me nut up and realize I had nothing to be afraid of. This company and experience have helped build my confidence; which I so desperately needed.
Everyone who came out to the show and wrote about the show were so nice and encouraging. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not from here, but you all have made it feel like home.
A couple of weekends ago I didn't get a callback for a major audition, and you know what? I'm feelin' great. Not in a I'm feeling great, but sobbing on the inside, but a I'm happy with what I did feeling. This is the most in control vocally I've felt, and that's something that I was having problems with, so I count this as a huge win. I think I'm in that point now where I'm like "oh well" *looks on my calendar, Oh shit! I have an audition next week is it really already February *fumbles and bumbles around the internet for the company's website and season. I've also found that I'm never going to wear a dress to an audition ever again. Mainly because I can't stretch in a dress, but also because I feel hella powerful in a pair of slacks and a blouse and same kickin' heels. Seriously I felt like I could conquer the world, or at the very least save it Buffy style. So now that I've started finding my vocal control, I think I'll finally be able to unwind a bit. Like be more than monosyllabic. For example
"I like your top."
"Oh thanks, I got it at Forever 21 for like 17 bucks. Livin' on that college budget you know. Hahahahaha"
To any casting director person in general I've ever met I have a personality I promise you just make me nervous. I was talking to Patrik the other day and he put it perfectly . That talking and being social is a muscle that for some people you have to consciously flex. I'm definitely that sort of person. In fact, and he'll hate me for airing this publicly, but when we first me my freshman year of college Patrik thought I was a complete and total air head, because I didn't say much of anything. More than an anything I won't say much because A. I don't want offend or inflict my opinions/beliefs on anyone unwillingly or B. I don't always say the most appropriate things so I have to actively engage my filter; which is why writing has become a perfect outlet for me. My audience can stop reading at any time; which makes them willing participants and my filter is actively engaged so I say what I want exactly how I want it to be said. With all that being said I know that talking to new people in person is something that I should probably, definitely, without a doubt work on, because I think it would be helpful if my voice on paper and in real life matched.
This is the thought that I have been obsessed with for weeks now. Coldly calculating a way to give myself the best chance to show off my talents to casting directors. Picking 16 bars worth of music to sing is like picking a sentence. Something that's exciting, a complete thought, but also shows off your personality, and oh yeah, hast to fit into what their looking for their shows. It's stupidly hard in my opinion and constantly over thought. So what did I do when I needed to pick my 16? immediately started to over think it. Of course.
This brings me to my voice lessons. Part of what I love about them is I get to hand off my music to someone else who gets to think for me while I play around and explore all the different ways to express the song. This is when the personal connection to the song happens. Also I sing in front of the mirror, because I figure if I can connect with myself I can better connect with someone else; which falls along the same vein of loving yourself, so other people can love you- self-help, but actually helpful bullshit. Back to my voice lessons though; and finding the perfect 16. The best and only advice I can give to you is hand your music off to someone else you trust whether that be your voice teacher, your roommate, an honest stranger on the street, and work it till it clicks, and if it doesn't click so what? Pick a different song, a song that you enjoy and repeat the process. Stop making it a burden, and make it a game. I hope this helps, and good luck to everyone picking their music for this audition season. See you all there. ;)
This past weekend was certainly a crazy one. Not only was I gearing up for finals week, but I was on set Friday for the student film "Me, Myself, and I," and that same Friday I embarked on Theatre Lab and The Players Project Theatre Company's 24 Hour Play Festival as an actor. Below are some pictures from the set courtesy of Gaby Deimeke Photography.
In "Me, Myself, and I," I played the main characters girlfriend Jenny who decides to break up with him after he fits her a picture of himself for her birthday. Everything for me was inside; which was awesome as it was pretty shitty outside. I feel for the cast and crew that had to be out in it for any length of time. The role was easy enough I have a vast amount of experience in regards to the art of heartbreaking, so we finished up my part around 4pm giving me enough time to go grab something to eat before I spent a good part of the night at Webster Groves High School where the festival took place. So, just a little bit more about Theatre Lab and The Players Project Theatre Company.
Theatre Lab: is an actor-driven theatre company that allows for shows and projects to be: conceived, produced, performed and directed by our actors, here in STL. -"We are actors. We're different."
Right after we drew for shows.
Alright, back to it, Friday night we drew for shows and I landed in the drama Trinity Park, by Wendy Renee whose setting was in a park, written for 3 women, and holiday prop was a candy cane. The revolves around Cici, Bailey, and Ruby, three sisters, who are asked by their mother to reconcile after two years of not speaking to one another. When Bailey and Ruby head to the park they discover that their oldest sister Cici is homeless, and drama ensues. Our director was phenomenal, and I'm so glad I got to work with her. As I am not a formally/collegiately trained actress I missed out on a lot of the exercises that other who are trained do, and our director did a great job of integrating them into our process; which helped me develop a depth and intentionality that I don't I would have have been able to find so quickly otherwise. The rest of Friday night went by fast. We blocked, we conquered, we got of there by 10 and went to bed (maybe not that.) I told myself before I started this that I was going to memorize the night before so that I could sleep on it, because once that happens the words are stuck up in my brain, but of course that didn't happen, so I got up early-ish the next morning and punched the lines into my skull. After everything seemed to just fly by. We ran and ran and ran our lines. We went over the blocking. Then it was time for tech; which went great, and then food, and then show. It was all over with so fast that after it was over I didn't really know what to think, but after going and sitting down to watch all the rest of the shows, I was overwhelmingly impressed by everyone. These were 20 minute shows that people took and created something spectacularly funny, creepy, a mixture of both, and dramatic all in 24 hours. That's insane to me. So, I applaud everyone that was involved. I had an absolute blast, and I hope one day I'll get to do this again.