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The Official Website of Richard Reilly

Acting Naturally

Richard's Writings > Acting Naturally > the Oliver! experience

Synopsis of the Oliver! experience

Working with a company the magnitude of Cabrillo Stage has been very special. No other company can do what Cabrillo Stage does, because no one else has the backing and resources of a college behind them. They have built a set the rival of anything you'd see on Broadway. They have an army of workers, all paid, and college interns to exploit as well. Even the actors are paid. I've learned much, both stagecraft and personally.

Overall, it was a good experience, but it had its disappointments, and many times it wasn't fun - it was just plain hard work, with long, long hours. But I accomplished my primary goal: to pay my dues, and set the stage for a good role next year.

Excerpt from the Oliver! experience

I came in at a slight disadvantage, because the final rehearsals and performances of Annie overlapped with the first few rehearsals of Oliver!. I was excused from these with no hard feelings, but I missed the "getting to know you" period for the cast. Also, all the smaller parts were assigned during this period (the old lady who robs Oliver's mother, the Hussar who shoots Bill Sikes, etc.).

On top of that, almost everyone in the cast has worked together before, from previous Cabrillo Stage productions or from Mountain Community Theater productions. Mountain Community Theater is another local community theatre group of 14 years or so, similar to Easy Street Theatre Company, the folks who put on Annie. And all these local groups have very limited budgets (under $20K); unlike Cabrillo Stage, which spends $200,000 each year on their sole production.

So, the first learning experience taught by Cabrillo Stage was feeling like a kid who had transferred into high school halfway through the year. It took a while to develop the little friendships one develops among a cast - it took a while just to learn everyone's name! 45 people in this cast, plus a producer, director, stage manager, asst. stage manager, asst. producer, and piano accompanist (This is the crew we saw on an every-day basis. There were many more, sewing costumes, building sets, etc.).

In addition to all this, I was pretty sick during the first month of rehearsal, which didn't make me a very lively companion (but I dare not miss a rehearsal!). Every day, at rehearsals, sharing just a little bit more of ourselves, in-between scenes. It was sometimes lonely.


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