Noises Off

I think most of the time people consider straight plays to be easier than musicals. And to some extent, I think that’s correct. Musicals have all that singing and dancing and whatnot. But I think Noises Off could give a musical a run for their money.

Noises Off is a farce, a very zany play that involves a lot of running around. In act one, the cast of Nothing On is in their final rehearsal and everything is going horribly wrong. In act two, it’s a performance in the middle of their tour and everything is in even worse condition- especially since now the set is turned around and the audience is watching the pantomimed antics backstage. And in act three, it is the final performance of the run and nothing at all is going the way it should.

I auditioned not knowing which role I should go for- Poppy, Dotty, Belinda, or Brooke. I was lucky enough that the first or had me read for all four roles multiple times. (I actually filmed my audition prep process if you’d like to see it- comment below if you think I should post it!) In the end, I was cast as Belinda.

(Side note: my costume might look familiar. It’s part of my Dapper Day Elinor ensemble!)

I’ve done some challenging shows in my day, but this was probably the most fun challenge I’ve experienced in a while. The first hurdle was that I missed the first two weeks of rehearsal because of A Chorus Line- but the director knew that before I auditioned and cast me anyway. (Always post your conflicts on your audition form!)

The hardest part for me once we got into rehearsals was remembering which cue lead to which line. Belinda’s bits tend to be non sequiturs, so there isn’t a good set up to trigger the next line of dialogue. And since all three acts follow a similar structure, the same cue line in all three acts could lead into completely different responses. I literally made myself little cue cards to keep in my skirt pocket to prompt myself through tech week. I was fine without them once they opened, but the sense of training wheels has been very reassuring.

Belinda is also a challenging character to play. She’s a perky optimist, so how do you keep her from getting boring? She’s a major gossip, so how do you keep her likable? She’s saying all these nice things, but is she completely genuine or a little bit sarcastic about it? It’s been fun to play a character with so many options.

The show was booked for a three weekend run, nine performances total. After last Friday, performance number four, the guy playing Lloyd broke his arm, so for the Saturday performance the actor playing Tim stepped in to play Lloyd and one of the stage crew stepped in to play Tim. I described it as “a very sweaty performance.” It was nervewracking for sure, especially since it felt like I had just hit my stride, but the actor now playing Lloyd is delightful and I worked with him last summer on Charley’s Aunt, so I was happy to have scenes with him this time.

Tomorrow begins our last weekend of performances; I’m planning on vlogging my way through the last three shows. Stay tuned, I may have more edits to this post as we wrap up this run!

Dapper Day Queen Elinor from Brave

Fall Dapper Day is somehow always harder to plan for. Dapper Day in the spring naturally lends itself to soft pastels and fluffy petticoats, but picking something in a fall color scheme is harder. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s just me.

I went through multiple options for my Dapper Day attire until I finally settled on Queen Elinor from Brave. I love the character and I hadn’t sewn anything in that rich green color before. I also decided to make it easier on myself by making a skirt and cape instead of a dress.

The skirt was self drafted- if I’m making a dirndl or circle skirt, you can bet I’ve drafted it myself. (Comment below if you want to see tutorials!) I made a basic circle skirt (with pockets) out of a gorgeous green taffeta I had in my stash that had been sitting around for years, waiting for the right project. The zipper came from my stash too, so I ended up not paying anything out of pocket for the skirt! I also pulled out my trusty Malco Modes skirt.

The cape was a little more complicated. I wanted to do something special with it. I bought a super basic New Look pattern for a cape and used the hood pattern piece from McCall’s 5534 (it’s out of print, but if you can find it it’s a super cute hooded bathrobe pattern). I bought a cream and green plaid and a black textured fabric, and made the cape fully reversible. I also made little ears and sewed them to the black hood. Why? So I could turn into a bear, of course! It was lightweight, easy to wear, and added just the right touch to the outfit.

I paired the skirt with a cream colored lace top from Forever 21 and a brown leather belt from…someplace. Walmart, maybe? I’ve had it since college, so who knows. The boots were bought at TJ Maxx after a long, nearly fruitless search. Really, why is it so hard to find plain brown lace up ankle boots without zippers and cuffs on them? But I found them at last and paired them with lace trimmed socks folded over the tops. My hair was straightened and I added a pearl circlet headband from Claire’s.

Dapper Day was actually scheduled to be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the fall, but beforehand I needed to go to Magic Kingdom to meet Merida (obviously). It was by far one of the best meet and greet experiences I’ve ever had. Merida was very sweet when I came up, and in order to make things easier (I get weirdly awkward and nervous when I meet characters and I have no idea why) I blurted out “Hey, Merida, I’m dressed like your mum and I can turn into a bear.”

She stopped and looked at me in confusion, and I took off my cape and started flipping it inside out. You can actually pinpoint the moment that she realized what was going on.

It was so great. She adjusted my ears for me and we posed like bears, and then she told me to make my best mum face and scold her (but she kept sticking her tongue out at me). It was a great interaction, and as I was about to leave, she stopped me and with the most sincere expression said “you’re beautiful.” I’m not going to lie, I got a little teary walking away. It was a great moment.

After a few more shenanigans at Magic Kingdom, my friend and I moved on to Studios, where clearly photoshoots had to happen, especially in front of Great Movie Ride.

All in all, it was a really successful (and comfortable!) outfit, and one of the best dapper days I’ve experienced.

I call this my “wannabe trolley dancer” pose. But mostly I’m just tickled that my horse has a mace, and an axe, and is also on fire. #thisisberk #waitwrongmovie #DapperDay #elinor #disneybound (at Prince Charming Regal Carrousel)

Carousel time with this lovely lady!! J’aimie is wonderful and literally one of the best people to spend Dapper Day with. @lostsunprincess (even though right now I’ve lost her somewhere in the park?) (at Prince Charming Regal Carrousel)