Sassy Actress, with a Side of Quirk

Life Musings by a Real Drama Queen

Rehearsing at The Rose!

Howdy Y’all!

My first post coming from Nebraska! It is currently my second week of rehearsal and I am loving the cast and crew of this show. Seriously, there is not a bad person in the bunch- which is a good thing since we will be spending a ton of time with each other. Our director, Graham, is this cheeky British man who is an absolute gem. He is funny and really gives us fun choices to play with even though he is trying to recreate the same blocking and feel of the original production, which he directed at The Rose last season. He rides a fine line between recreating what worked with the first cast and allowing us to shape the show into something that is truly all our own. It is going beautifully and I have no complaints!

The rehearsals have been going so well, in fact, that we our 8 hour Saturday rehearsal was shortened to 5 hours on Friday and then shortened again on Saturday to only 2 1/2 hours! Brilliant! We just have been whizzing through the script and even though we were asked to be off book by Saturday, most of us have been working without our scripts for the majority of rehearsals. I am so happy that this cast is on their game. We are also going to start beginning our rehearsals at 10 as opposed to 9 which is also a nice bonus.

As for the house, it is GORGEOUS! And humungous. We are staying on the Metropolitan Community College Fort Omaha campus in a big 3 story house they rent out. The houses rooms are huge. I have felt really comfortable living in the area and have been digging the beautiful views from our porch.

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Our Porch

The surrounding area is also pretty accessible. A short hop on the highway brings us to the theatre and downtown. Speaking of the theater, The Rose is freaking amazing. The theater itself is grand and huge and full of spectacle. The stage is quite large and the proscenium is super traditional. It is made to look like the stage goes right into the sky. The house seats about a thousand and has a balcony and a mezzanine. It is truly an incredible stage.

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We, however, are rehearsing in the Hitchcock Black Box Theater since the stage is being used by the mainstage production of Cat in the Hat. That space is also great, since we might not always be on huge stages while touring. It is just big enough to hold our imaginary set with plenty of room for play.

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Did I mention I had to learn to skateboard?

This past weekend, we had our first full day off. On Saturday, after rehearsal, a bunch of us went to Oktoberfest. It was super crowded but the beer and music definitely made up for it. A bunch of people who work at The Rose were also there so we had a nice posse to chill with. Overall, it was a great time. I even drank some beer which I haven’t really done in the past year, and I have no regrets.

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Madeline (Lilly) and me at Oktoberfest!

Yesterday, our full day off, the whole cast and SM went to the Omaha Zoo which is about 10 minutes away from our house. Ohmygod I LOVE ZOOS! And that zoo is by far one of the nicest I’ve been to. It is clean and the exhibits are all really interesting and they recreate habitats in buildings. One of my favorite parts was an exhibit that was underneath the Biodome. It was all about creatures of the night. They recreated a cave which you could walk through and bats were flying around. There were snakes and other reptiles in displays, which I was thankful for (no snakes out in the open for me!). My favorite part about it was the Swamp exhibit. You actually walked through a darkly lit faux swamp that had huge crocs and gators strewn about. You walked on these bridges and were definitely safe, but it felt a little terrifying at the time!   

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Penguins!

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Monkeying Around

So that’s all for now! All of the beautiful pictures were taken my friend and castmate Timothy Regan, so I can’t take credit for those! Plus, if you know me, you know I rarely take pictures myself (though I did take a ton at the zoo!). I’m off to rehearsal and whatnot. Oooo and a little secret- I will be driving the box truck on the tour! The only girl to do so. Yahoo!

xoxo

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High, Flying Adored

Howdy! Today’s the day people! I am off to Omaha, Nebraska to rehearse for my upcoming tour! Yippee! I am currently in Hotlanta for a quick layover before my second flight to Nebraska. I woke up mad early at 3:30am to get to the Scranton airport before my first flight from Scranton to Atlanta, which departed at 7. It was an easy, short trip, made entertaining by an old guy who literally talked my ear off. He was even more of a talker than I am, and that is definitely saying something! Now I am just chilling so I thought I would enrich you with a short post.

I was very prepared for this trip and if you know me, you know I am a hardcore snacker. If you don’t know me, well, I’m telling you that I am always munching on something, otherwise I get hangry. Yes, hangry. Hungry+Angry=Hangry. Now that we got math out of the way…so I came to the airport equipped with TSA approved snacks and even an empty water bottle to fill up once through security. Some things I like to travel with are plantain chips, LaraBars, and especially Kind bars. I adore those things! My mom also got these little energy nugget things (appetizing, right?) which are essentially LaraBar nuggets. They are pretty damn tasty.

Anywho, I had to wake up so early because the airport was about an hour away and I wanted to give myself plenty of time to check my luggage etc. Being that it was 5am when I got to the airport, I wasn’t really hungry for a snack, even after drinking a medium coffee just an hour earlier. I got some peanuts (they still give those out on Delta flights!) and tea on the first flight but I still wasn’t hungry. That is, until I landed in Atlanta. All of a sudden I was STARVING! And all of the snacks were suddenly inadequate. So, naturally, only one thing could satisfy this roaring hunger…a Five Guys burger.

Now I only discovered Five Guys about a year ago, but lemme say, it’s probably my favorite place to get a fast food burger. I find that the staff is incredibly nice and the fact that you can customize your burger so much makes me giddy! I also freaking love that they can wrap your burger in lettuce, making it bunless. It was heavenly. I got an everything bacon burger in a lettuce wrap. It was perfection. It was 9:30am. It was so wrong yet so so SOOO right.

So that’s where I am at. All that prep work and I bought a burger. But I’m not mad haha. About to board! Next post will be from Nebraska,, the Cornhusker State!

Bon Voyage!

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Off to See the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Omaha…

That’s how the song goes, right? So for all of those who don’t know me, in short, my name is Dionna and I am a sassy, quirky actress gearing up to go on tour with the Omaha Theater Company. I leave Sunday and will be touring in two legs, one from early October thru Thanksgiving, and again from January 5th-March 8th. Being that this is my first tour, I was looking all over the interwebs for information on how to prepare, what to expect, and the experiences previous actors had had, but I came up short. I found that a lot of actors didn’t really log their experiences on tour and therefore, there wasn’t much literature on the subject! (Minus my friend Shaun who does an awesome vlog about his experiences on the Addams Family Tour. Check it out on youtube, Living Out of Suitcases)

I decided to change that! I am going to be blogging on tour about anything and everything. Part of my blogging will be to help other actors gearing up for a tour (specifically a non-equity one) by telling my experiences and what I learned. I also wanted to do this as a way of remembering all the awesome places and things I see and do while traveling cross country.

I have tried blogging before and found it difficult, not for any lack of love for writing, but because my blog wasn’t really focused, because, well, I wasn’t really focused. I loved food and health so I tried to do that, but I learned very quickly that I hate writing down my recipes since I kind of just improvise when I cook. I tried to do something more health based, but then I realized that my own views on healthy living are constantly changing so I couldn’t really vouch for that either. I am hoping, however, to change that with this blog since it is so specific. I hope to also continue writing about the ups and downs of being a theater artist because I think it is still a bit of an unspoken subject. Everyone knows about film and tv actors because they are famous, but theater artists still tend to be under the radar. This blog is primarily geared towards theater people but I also hope to shed some light on how difficult (and rewarding) a life in theater can be to those who aren’t necessarily well-versed in our craft. Because, lemmetellyou, if I get asked one more time why I don’t audition for American Idol or if I want to be famous some day, I am gonna vom.

So enough about me and more about this tour. I am flying out to Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday to start rehearsals on Monday for the show “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse”, which is, yes, a children’s theater show. To all you children’s theater haters out there saying that it is less of an art form than say, a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical or a Mamet play, poo poo on you. I will not try to convince you that children’s theater is indeed still an important necessary art, but I will say that without it, most of you actors probably would never have become actors in the first place! I think that children’s theater is just as hard, if not harder than a Shakespeare play or a big band musical because children are the most honest and brutal audience. You can’t pull one over on kids. If it sucks, they tell you, which is why I really believe that you must take children’s theater just as seriously as any other genre within the theater arts.

Okay. Now that my soapbox moment is over…I leave to begin rehearsing for this great show on Sunday. It’s a van and box truck show, so the cast is very small (6 people) plus a stage manager and we have to drive either the van or the truck during tour legs. I personally can’t wait to drive the box truck…Is that weird? In the show, I play multiple characters including a sassy cousin named Garland, a grandma, an fbi agent, and so on. I am really excited about it and will fill you in more about the show once we start rehearsing!

Another thing I will probably be discussing about at some point in different posts is what to pack and how to stay healthy on tour. I have packed for the tour already but have no idea if I packed too much, so I’ll give you a low down on what you need once we start touring. I also am a huge proponent of staying healthy, so I am also going to be talking about how to do that while on a budget (per diems, helloooo) and while on the road, when fast food is plentiful and healthy eating can be a challenge. I currently don’t eat a super specific diet (I tried paleo, vegan, perfect health, etc.) but I do try to eat whole foods whenever possible and have been avoiding gluten for over a year (though that may change on tour…we will see). Regardless of your own personal eating habits, I hope to give you some advice on how to eat healthfully while on a budget, traveling, and performing a LOT.

So yeah. I will probably post again on Sunday while in the airport about my favorite airport snacks. I am also going to post later today about what to pack in your carry-on. I am a big fan of a well stocked carry-on, because you never know if your luggage will be sent to a different aircraft carrier or will be lost in the shuffle of a transfer, so I always make sure I have essentials in my carry-on. But more on that later!

I hope that this blog proves to be helpful to theater artists of all kinds, whether you ever go on tour or not. I think that some of the advice and experiences can be helpful to anyone in the business, as we all travel at one point in our careers. Who knows when you will be stranded in Albuquerque and need to know where’s the best place to grab lunch on a budget? I will let you know when I tour there in February. And if you aren’t in theater? Well, I’m sure this blog will be both insightful to this hidden craft and entertaining. If not, well, go take a Buzzfeed quiz or something.

Bon Voyage for now!

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