Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Unexpected Pleasure

A moment of the play today turned into THE MOMENT of the play. Let me share it with you.  All throughout the evening, as the story unfolds, we have seen Lizzy and Mr. Darcy struggle through their romantic journey to it's happy conclusion, not without some tension in between.  In our production we have marked that journey's end with a kiss shared between Lizzy and Darcy.  Tonight as the actors went in for the kiss an audience member, a male I might add, said audibly "Thank God!" to which the whole audience responded with laughter and joined the scene by clapping for the lovers.  It is the end of Lizzy and Darcy's story as we show it in this play but it is not the end of the play.  The play concludes with a last letter by Jane Austen that I perform after the dazzling kiss.  Tonight it proved to be a tricky thing to get the audience's attention, as I had already cued the lights to change into "Jane Austen Land" but as they were still enjoying the kiss moment the light change had no effect to draw their eyes to me.  I waited. And when the time seemed right, somewhere between the lulling down of the clapping and silence, I spoke. Being a romantic first and a technician second, I didn't mind the extra beat at all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Triumphs in Performance: for today only

We had a great show today.  It was something of a mix of reasons why.  A willing--and by this I mean willing and ready to JUMP IN to the world of the play-- and informed audience always helps. I also think we are all hitting our strides, finding our laughs, solidifying moments, calling cues based on the audience, talking to each other, REALLY.  There's nothing that can replace real talking.  And I don't mean acting like you are talking I mean really talking to the other person across from you.  One might ask, how can you NOT talk to someone? And to you I say think about how you speak on the phone with someone while you are on facebook or looking something up on the computer.  Attention can be as divided when one is on-stage--I catch myself whenever I can, and I know I am getting better at staying right there right then with my castmates, IN THE MOMENT as they say--but reaching out is infinitely more interesting and helps to reinvest.

I think of my family a lot when I do this show, not only because I'd like them to see it yeah that would be nice but because Austen was a highly skilled observer and wrote relationships so expertly--especially the family.  My missing my family prompted me to write this to them:  Hola familia. Just wanted to share some info on how our show is going.  Our performances are getting better and better and our audiences, of mostly older folks but some yougins, come into the theater cranky and leave smiling.  Yeah Jane Austen kicks ass. I think about you all often as she was a master at writing relationships, especially ones within a family.  I miss you all quite often and wish you could see the show, be all in the same room together.  Know you are all my inspiration and that I dedicate many of my shows to you and your good works!

Friday, September 21, 2012

I love the theater: Tech week for pride@prejudice at the Capital Repertory Theatre

For those of you who don't know what a tech week entails, here is a preview of the next few days:

Rehearsal Schedule

DATE: Friday, September 21, 2012

TIME                          ACTORS                                TO DO                                   SPACE

10:00AM                                                                     SM clean up
and prep                                 Theatre

11:00AM                                                                     Dry Tech                                Theatre

12:00PM                     Full Company                         Half Hour                               Dressing Rooms

12:30PM                                                                     Tech w/ Costumes                  Theatre

4:00PM                       Dinner Break

6:00PM                       Full Company                         Half Hour                               Theatre

6:30PM                                                                       Continue Tech                        Theatre

11:00PM                     End of Day


11:00AM Aubrey for 45 minute fitting in Costume Shop

11:45AM Michele and Gisela for 15 minute shoe fitting in Costume Shop


11:00PM Production Meeting

We work under the lights, sound and on the set that have all been meticulously designed for this process which is the synthesis of theater--the technical elements with the breathing human. And ouala! A PLAY emerges . . . 

Today we actually got through the entire first act of our play with lights and sound which is exactly what we set out to do!  I make a note of this because I find it a rare occasion when cast, crew, designers and directors all get what they want done in one day.  There are many technical elements to get cohesive and many more ways of working that can prove challenging when put in one room together--and that is the beauty of creation! Challenging one another, respectfully, can bring great things into being that would not have been had we all been polite or disinterested.  This is one of the reasons why I love the theater.

Rehearsal shots of the cast (minus me!) and a manhole cover in Albany, NY. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Taking Measure of Today

For those of you who follow this blog and have been coming back for new news--my apologies.  I have been extremely slacking in responding to the world around me in the micro and macro.  For those who may look here only when I mention it on fb, as I suspect a few of you do, thank you for coming back. For those who don't give a crap, well nothing's changed then, eh?

Today:  Having a healthy dose of studying work that I love.  I am up to something, not sure yet.  In my preparation for the next play I will do, pride@prejudice a deconstruction of Jane Austen's classic novel with the same name except with an and instead of an @, I have been watching different cinematic visions for the beloved tale.  Most of the films have been done in England, not surprisingly, and had a cast and crew of mostly British people.  There is something to this--having an ancestral connection to a piece of literature is invaluable, especially as the work is firmly rooted in the customs and language of the writer if not at least influenced by them.  But literature is meant for all, thank goodness, and as English is a language I use and speak fairly well--I am not from this country, a great excuse when I mix up expressions--I am "owning" the material in my own way. And thus the watching of film adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.  I have watched the 1980 BBC 5-episode version with Elizabeth Garvie as Elizabeth Bennett (recently), The 1995 BBC mini-series with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth in the leads (not so recently viewed--it's gloriously long) and the 2005 Keira Knightley version directed by Joe Wright (twice! once appreciating the economy of the film yet very emotional effect, achieved in part by the great compositions of Dario Marianelli, and the second with the Director's Commentary feature turned on which was most illuminating--he sure loves Keira!)

I have been resisting the urge to watch other adaptations of Austen's novels because there are so many and because it will inevitably lead me to one of my favorite films of all time Sense and Sensibility screenplay by Emma Thompson directed by Ang Lee. I DID however indulge myself, I mean instructed myself on one of my favorite directors by watching Lee's film Eat Drink Man Woman--gorgeous, with Austen-like issues of decorum, sisterly-bonding and love, of course love.

(images are from

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday 8 July 2012

Sitting in the Starbucks again--how many crazy things, especially things that should probably be private, happen in a Starbucks? Just finished talking to J, a good friend of mine who's been in the business for a bit.  I was sharing with her how I've been struggling some with this time in between. In between the gigs we try to get to line up as best we can one right after the other.  Sometimes though it doesn't.  6 months she said she's been off one time, some time ago.  Holy shit.  She said hobbies become really important at that time, new interests, things that make her a better person--she's pretty cool.  How many artists out there have turned in on themselves, getting self destructive?  Raise your hand. Don't be shy. I'm with you.  That's why I'm in this Starbucks right now. Trying to chase this shit out of here. Listening to old beats from long ago. Mos Def. Liz Phair. Can't listen to Joni right now I'd just lose it.

J started writing.  Why not. One of my favorite quotes bolsters me: ""Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
© Gisela Chípe
all rights reserved

A New Direction or A Radical Departure from earlier sunshiney posts . . .forgive me

Saturday 7 July 2012 (posting this today because I was being a chicken sh*t)

OK. Right now I'm in a Starbucks--don't judge me-- trying to get myself out of this funk.  Here's how everything stands: I've been back in NYC now for about a month.  I've been auditioning, getting back in touch with friends, and occasionally babysitting.  I've been claiming unemployment--yes. Me. I feel somewhat apprehensive about taking unemployment as I am a capable, bright, able-bodied young person with more than a few good years of work in her.  It's something that most artists have had to take on occasion in between work or to help supplement their incomes, especially New Yorkers as they live and work in one of the most expensive cities in the nation. named NYC the no. 1 most expensive city and says, that "A New Yorker would have to make $127,935 a year to have the same standard of living as someone earning $50,000 in Fort Smith, Ark., the least expensive city." Isn't that nuts?! So here I am in the most expensive city in the nation, an actor, unemployed.  Yikes.

 I should say that I am very blessed in that I actually have work lined up for the Fall of this year and early Winter of next year. I also have representation--a commercial agent AND a legit agent, both very established.  So as actors go I am actually doing pretty well.  So why do I feel tired just thinking about my future.  Shouldn't I feel excited, inspired by what is to come, or rather what is right in front of me or not yet discovered yet that I can make grow?

I write this knowing and feeling like a whiny b**ch, but I do so in the hopes that some of you out there, artists or not, may have felt this way before and so that we can commiserate.  And so here I am recording my experience--embarrassing details and all.
copyright of Gisela Chípe
all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Some lovely reviews coming in for Hamlet: Prince of Cuba that originated at the Asolo Repertory Theatre.  For the first time in US History of Theatre one company has performed the same play in two productions in two different languages. We also shared the show with audiences in Miami and were well received.  Let's make this have a future!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hamlet: Prince of Cuba Opens at the Asolo Repertory Theatre

Come see this vital piece of theater as we re-imagine one of the best written plays on earth!  Join us as we learn what it is to be human through Hamlet's journey, viewed through the lens of Cuban leaders in the 1890s.  It's gorgeous.  

More information can be found on the Asolo Repertory Theatre's website here. Sarasota, FL awaits you!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

YENTL: A music theater experience at the Asolo Repertory Theatre

That's right another opening, another show and it's a classic with a modern twist.  Yentl is a story about a young Jewish girl in the 19th century who has a passion for learning the Torah, but is not permitted to because she is a woman.  So, being the strong, fierce and only supporter of her dreams to study, she moves from home, dresses as a boy and gets into a whole lot of shenanigans.  The music of Jill Sobule shakes the dust off this classic story of Shakespearean proportions and brings the youth and vigor of young minds to the forefront, not to mention hormones.  Come see the show and see me play Hadass, the young Jewish girl Yentl (as a man) marries--I told you she was getting herself into trouble!  It's wonderful.  It's brave.  It's timely.  Check it out for yourself! 

Picture is property of Asolo Repertory Theatre and used with permission.