By Abram Yarbro and Holly Mancuso
Microburst Theatre Festival opened last week, and it has been great to have an audience. As Lee Hall explained in an interview, “Whether you are a writer, or an actor, or a stage manager, you are trying to express the complications of life through a shared enterprise. That’s what theatre was, always. And live performance shares that with an audience in a specific compact: the play is unfinished unless it has an audience, and they are as important as everyone else.”
This week we’re fortunate to hear from actors Clayton and Madison about performing and producing this show.
“It’s week two of the run, and we could not be more excited to get back in the Margetts! Our names are Madison Dennis and Clayton Cranford, and we’re two of the actors in Microburst. Our fellow cast mates and good friends Emily and Cooper talked a bit about the rehearsal process and working with the playwrights, so we thought we’d share some of our experiences performing these ten-minute plays, thus far.”
Clayton Cranford plays Evan in The Piano Room, Mr. Samson in Different But EquaI, Dad in Memory Jar, and Fletcher in D&D and the Big Date. Madison Dennis plays Mila in The Piano Room, Jeanne in Different But Equal, Stephanie in A Death in the Family, and Josephine in D&D and the Big Date.
“One of the most challenging parts of performing in this production is moving from character to character. Not only does it take extreme focus to flip in and out of distinctly different characters in little to no time, we also have to deal with the technical aspects that go along with that: hair, make-up, clothing, shoes, accessories, and so on. Thankfully, the set list (or the way the shows were ordered) was done so each of us actors only have one show back to back. These quick changes require us to re-enter the stage with new clothes, hair, physicality (which can include vocal placement or dialect!) and frame of mind within a matter of seconds, minutes if we’re lucky. But the challenge is also what makes this production so exciting to be a part of; it stretches you as a performer. And talk about an adrenaline rush!
And as wonderful as it is to perform these characters, and it really is wonderful, the most enjoyable part of being in this production has been working with such incredible people. Everyone involved with this production knows that it’s all about George. He’s been delightful to work with; he is incredibly supportive in his directing approach and makes what he wants very clear. Thanks to his leadership, everyone is on the same page, which saves lots of time and energy when tech week comes. The stage managers and dramaturgs have been just as wonderful to work with. The playwrights have all been incredibly supportive and giving. And getting the opportunity to work so closely with Emily and Cooper has been a blast. There’s been a great energy on this production from day one, and we believe that plays a significant role in any production’s success. We are very lucky to be surrounded by such talented, warm, giving people.
We hope you’re able to come see us this week!”
Make sure you get your tickets for Microburst, which runs through Saturday, March 14th. Check out arts.byu.edu for more information.