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BWW BLOG: To Chekhov: My Experience with ANTON IN SHOW BUSINESS

BWW BLOG: To Chekhov: My Experience with ANTON IN SHOW BUSINESS

Jess here. Sorry about my vacation away from BWW. I've been up to my eyeballs with school and extracurricular goings-on nonstop. One of my undertakings in particular has been SUPER cool; I've actually been understudying my first play on campus, "Anton in Show Business."

"Anton in Show Business" by Jane Martin is a wonderful show that I have loved taking part in. It follows Casey Mulgraw, the queen of off-off Broadway, Lisabette Cartwright, a naïve Texas homegirl, and Holly Seabé, a famous TV actress, whom collectively are on a quest to put on an Anton Chekhov classic: "The Three Sisters." The irony here is that Oklahoma City University is actually rehearsing "The Three Sisters" as we speak, and having two shows running at the same time, where one satirizes the other, is just the kind of thing that OCU kids live for.

The real beauty of this show, however, is the fact that all of the roles are played by women. Some actresses play men, but there have been no men involved in this show, neither cast nor production-wise.

I have gotten to watch this entire show come together in three short weeks of rehearsals and have been nothing but inspired the entire time. Seeing such strong talented women put this production together has been incredibly humbling.

The show run was March 23-24, and we had the opportunity to present an understudy showcase on March 25. It was a bit nerve-wracking because I have never done an actual play before, so acting for the first time in front of an audience was... daunting.

I was the understudy for two roles: Holly and Joby. Joby is, ironically enough, a critic disguised as an audience member, so needless to say, the character really resonated with me. Her sarcasm and endless criticisms were extremely comedic and were aspects I thoroughly enjoyed. Holly on the other hand, was a bit of a stretch for me. I could handle her humor alright, but learning to carry myself with elegance was somewhat of a challenge.

This show really speaks as to the culture of theatre today, and how there is so much more that goes into a production than what is actually seen onstage. There's drama, there's gender equality issues, race issues and relationship issues, yet actors persevere and keep their performances clear of any alternative ideals. Actors are strong and do what they love, despite any similarities they may be dealing with in their own personal lives.

This show also taught me the importance of understudies. Often times, people view understudies as unimportant, yet this show proved otherwise. You never know what could happen to the overstudy, so being prepared to go onstage at any given moment is a real skill, and is a vitally important position.

I really loved being part of this show. I hope to continue to do plays like this one in the future, and will continue to push myself to improve as an actor. Until then, I'll hold this show in my heart and be grateful for the valuable experience I've gained from it.

"You can't divide art today into categories neatly, what matters is the means, not the ends." -Stephen Sondheim

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From This Author Jessica Vanek

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