Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aladdin Rehearsal

I haven't mentioned it, but several weeks back, I took a part in a play at a theatre in Ankara with some of my friends. I am playing the small non-speaking parts of the dragon and a taxi driver in a British pantomime version of "Aladdin." The play is being produced by the Turkish American Association (TAA), an international organization that brings together English-speaking people from the diplomatic community living in Ankara with English-speaking Turks and puts on performances. It's been great fun working alongside people from all over, and hearing the many different accents the English language can bear.

For those of you that don't know what a British pantomime is, because I didn't at first, it's raucous, slapstick, audience-participation, Holiday tradition theatre for the family. The lead characters usually are played by an actor of the opposite sex, there's always a random animal (the dragon), lots of cross-dressing and bloomer-flashing, silly puns and dumb jokes, musical numbers, and just all around silly entertainment.

It's been 9 years since I've been in a play, and every part of the process has been slowly awakening old memories, reintroducing itself like an old friend. For instance, while sitting in the makeup chair today, the lighting and the warmth from the lights brought on a memory of the makeup room at Mary Washington College, staring at myself in the mirror, wearing ghostly make-up as I was getting read to play the dead, tortured mother in Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author...and remembering how performing that tortured character 8 performances in a row started to affect me! Luckily, the dragon is not getting to my head. I have been able to successfully distance myself from this complex and extremely deep character!

Here are some pictures from rehearsal this weekend. Today was our last rehearsal before the dress rehearsal and performances which are next weekend! My friend and teaching roommate, Stacy, is playing Aladdin. Her boyfriend, Liam, is playing Aladdin's brother, Wishy Washy, and her 7-year-old son, is playing a ghost and the great genie of the lamp. Forty of our colleagues and students are coming to watch us Saturday night!

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