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Kelsey Hoover

Breaking Up With a Show

So, a week ago today, we did our final performance on my first college play. It took me a long time to warm up into a comedy role (see previous blog post), but eventually, I found my own and was able to have a lot of fun with the show, and of course the people in it. Although Peter was far from my first comedy, I’m willing to say it was one of the most quotable shows I’ve ever done, by far. Which makes it so much harder to say goodbye to, especially given my sense of humor (Obscure movie and theater quotes make up the majority of what I find funny). Particularly because I didn’t know anyone at Capital heading into this year, I latched on pretty tightly to the cast and crew for this show. I wrote a detailed letter to everyone (as I do at the end of every show) explaining this, and then had to face the facts. A theater production is a relationship, and I needed to break up with everybody.

I thought heading home for the holiday would be helpful, a good way to take my mind off of things and what not. But as I was dragged into my conservative, hate filled, theater despising hometown, I found myself clinging to theater bonds, and subsequently Peter, stronger than I had on campus. At first I tried to fight it, but the show followed me everywhere. The first day back in Bradford, I watched a movie with my mother where they told a sailor to go port and he went to the right (I think that was a technical mistake, since no one ever brought it up), I made so much Italian food, and I nearly drove my car off the road when listening to Sirius’s “On Broadway” station and the only thing I heard was “In Peter and the Starcatcher.” It was almost like my life wasn’t willing to let me forget.

But, as my family pushed so strongly against my intent to add a theater based dual major to college career, I embraced it more. I marathoned a good portion of NBC’s Smash, since I wanted something to watch to entertain myself, totally forgetting Christian Borle was in it until after I started (I’ll probably write a retrospective on that experience later, but so far, funnily enough, Tom is by far my favorite character). As I set out to go Black Friday shopping, I found myself wanting to message the people from the show to ask their opinion on clothes, and I never ask people for their opinion on what I’m wearing. Bonds formed by spending 20 hours a week with someone are hard to break, that’s why I have such set opinions on the people I worked with over the summer. Maybe it was because I wasn’t being given acceptance from my family, but I wanted desperately for people to tell me that my life decisions weren’t stupid (even if it was just over buying a blazer).

For a while in high school, I was nicknamed the queen of clean breakups, as I stayed good friends with my ex long after we broke up. And reminiscing on that when I went to the movies with my friend this weekend but this whole thing into a new perspective for me. Perhaps the best kind of breakup in this case isn’t a clean break, but one that slowly fades away. The only thing that’s easy to quit cold turkey is, well, cold turkey (and mostly you have to stop that when you run out of left overs). Sure, three players a piece have signed onto Capital’s two productions (which run the same weekend) but just because that cast will never share the same stage again doesn’t mean that what we did is worth forgetting, quite the opposite. I chose the featured image I did out of all of the images from the show because the evening the show was over, I hung my mermaid costume up on the wall in my dorm, as a way to remember things by. Your first show is always going to be special, and while I have a sneaking suspicion that things could turn out like they did for me during high school marching band (read: freshman year show was by far done the best and was the best received by the audience), I want to remember all of the specialness that show had. And while the open space in my schedule is going to hurt for a little while…

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Shoop.

~Kelsey

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Don't Laugh: Stories in Comedy and Embarrassment

I acknowledge I am in college to learn. There’s times when I’m more willing to accept that fact than others, though. It’s fine when I don’t know the answer in my stats class, because we’re all on the same level. It’s the performance ensembles that I’m in where I feel self conscious and afraid to make a mistake.

I currently play 3rd trombone in Big Band, Capital University’s highest level jazz ensemble, and a day has not gone by where I don’t immediately tense up at the idea of going to rehearsal. Our lead trumpet player, Rachel, has been in the ensemble for four years, while I’ve only been playing the trombone for three and a half. No normal person could expect me to play on anywhere near the same level as her. Yet, that’s exactly what is expected.

This blog post wasn’t sparked by the constant numbness I feel regarding Big Band. If you would like to hear that rant, find me any day of the week at 3 in the afternoon, I’d be happy to tell you about it. This blog post was inspired instead by my involvement in a production of “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Throughout my high school career, my theater and choir director insisted that I was a brilliant character actress and loved to put me in roles accordingly. Upon coming to college and having a resume filled with comedy roles, that’s immediately what I was thrown into again. There’s just one problem: I suck at keeping a straight face.

Which is really interesting, because I love comedy. I’m probably one of the only people who can say they’ve seen every episode of Whose Line is it Anyway?. I’m in the Fat Tuesday Debutantes, Capital’s improv comedy club. Yet, I really am terrible at improv. I tend to only be involved in “all plays” during Fat Tuesday Debs because I know that everyone else is going to come up with better scenarios and jokes during the small group games, and I’m more than happy to sit, watch, and laugh in the audience. And then there’s my problem in live theater. I have a very random sense of humor, so I tend to laugh at things other people don’t find funny (Or, if you ask Michael, I’m just laughing at his face). This is kind of a problem when playing a character who makes most of the jokes, though, because I tend to crack myself up.

I feel like I should clarify, for any future casting directors reading this, that I can hold a straight face with a little bit of practice. It just kind of makes me feel terrible that the first impression that a new cast gets of me is that I’m someone who is terrible at acting in comedies.

In a perfect world, my dream roles are bratty, wealthy royals who have a broken childhood. In Peter, I play a bratty wealthy royal who has a broken childhood. Oh, but I forgot to mention something. That character’s a tropical island king that speaks mostly in Italian cooking terms. My history of trap acting is a story for another time (they don’t call me the “trap queen” for no reason), but it’s surprisingly this character that gives me the most trouble in the show. I suppose that’s fair, as it is the biggest role of the four I double, but being so close to my ideal role, it’s quite frustrating. My character speaks mostly fluent English, but the aforementioned Michael, who plays my son, speaks very broken English on several occasions throughout the play. He delivers these lines with such a sincere face that I can’t help but burst out laughing (This is probably why Michael is a theater major and I am not).

I know, provided I get over the giggles before show night, that it’s not really anything to be embarrassed about. I know not being as good at playing an instrument that you’ve been playing for less than four years as someone who’s been playing for over ten isn’t something to be embarrassed about either. In high school, I was expected to be on top of everything in the music suite, being a darling in both the band and choir director’s eyes, but college is a new start, a new beginning and a chance to be embarrassed.

~Kelsey

Image from the public domain.

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About

Kelsey Hoover is a 19 year old aspiring playwright and actress, currently living in Columbus, OH. She is available for film and photo shoots, convention appearances, and live events. She is a Slytherin. Visit the contact page for more information.