In this installment Mississippi’s Finest Actor, Kary Rogers, takes you through essential techniques for acting on film.
See previous MSFA video here
So I’m currently in rehearsals for a student directed one act called THE PROBLEM by A.R. Gurney. It’s a two person play with a male and female. So this is pretty much my first leading role. I’m playing the male; it is a stretch.
It is really short but I love it and it reads like an improv scene. The characters basically “yes, and” each other through out. This is perfect because I first met the female lead, Jonette Wilburn, through the local improv troupe the Lab Rats. We’ve been having tons of fun playing and exploring the characters.
Our director, Markii Bout, has been great to work with as well. She’s guiding us towards the vision she has for the show but also letting us play while we get there.
Alas, I’m afraid it will all be over too soon. We have our one and only performance April 23rd in the lab theatre in McComas Hall. You will come. You will enjoy it.
A bit of video I shot while at University of Southern Mississippi for the Mississippi Theatre Association Festival in Hattiesburg Mississippi January 10-13 2008.
A word from Mississippi’s Finest Actor to other aspiring actors in the magnolia state.
I mentioned that I was in a new show, but I haven’t written about it. So what better way to talk about it than on opening night! Sanders Family Christmas is the sequel to Smoke on the Mountain, the play we did in May ’06 and took to the Mississippi Theatre Festival in January ’07 and pretty much swept the awards. We have the entire competition cast back, except one (we miss you, Bruce) to reprise their roles. The “new guy” Drew has jumped right in and we are excited to open tonight.
We are doing 12 performances of the show and almost the entire run is sold out. There are some seats left, so if you want to come, call 662-323-6855 to reserve your seats. We run everyday except Monday starting today the 6th through the 16th. There are two shows each Saturday and only matinées on Sundays.
I enjoy playing Dennis and it has been great to be back with the rest of the Sanders family. I’ve had to work harder on the music this go around because it is more difficult and complex than the first show.
I struggled with playing Dennis during the initial run of Smoke on the Mountain. Many times I did not feel as connected to the character as I wanted to be. By the time we started rehearsing for the festival, I felt more at home being Dennis than I ever had. I’m glad to say that that feeling has carried over to the new show.
I think we have a great show on our hands and I can’t wait for audiences to see it. Y’all come now, ya hear?
I was in Atlanta from Wednesday through Sunday. We had a blast. I saw a lot of good theatre. I’m still mostly theatre illiterate and I really enjoy any opportunity to see good theatre. With the best community theatre shows from 7 other states in attendance, I was in for a treat.
The first one I saw was Tennessee’s Escanaba In Da Moonlight by Jeff Daniels. It was hilarious. The set was great and these southern actors had the upper Michigan accent nailed. I thought I was gonna die during the slow motion fart.
I also saw a broadway caliber show from the Manatee Players out of Florida. They did a version of Sweeney Todd that was amazing. I wish I had been a little more familiar with the show, since it had to be cut to no more than 60 minutes in length. But regardless, the poor stage at Spelman college just wasn’t big enough for this production. Apparently, they have something like a $900,000 a year budget. And they are building a 12 million dollar facility. I wish I could say that they bought a win, but aside from a few technical snafus, this show was smooth and the cast was outstanding.
These two shows won and will continue to nationals. There were other smaller, simpler shows that were still very strong. At MTA, I would have been shocked if we had not won. I imagine this comes from my inexperience of attending MTA and not coming away disappointed or upset for the last 20 years. I don’t mean to sound like a cocky jackass, but we had a really good show and I saw all the rest, and while good, they just weren’t quite as tight as ours. But at SETC, out of seven shows that were our competition, I could only say with confidence that I thought we were better than one show.
With all that said, we came in runner-up, which is 3rd place. If one of the other two shows drops out, we would go in their place. Best of luck to Tennessee and Florida, bring it home to the south. Yeehaw! Also, two of my friends and castmates won Outstanding Performance: Madeline Golden (Vera) and Krista Vowell (June). The awards were well deserved. One adjudicator told Madeline that she was the best Vera he’d ever seen. He also told Marcus Vowell that his Stanley was the strongest he’d seen. Another adjudicator told Krista that if he ever wanted to know how to feel about what was going on at that point in the show, he would look to June since she embodied the spirit of each moment. Starkville’s got mad talent, yo!
Otherwise, I ate a lot, managed to swing one ball game at the SEC Championship (where my Bulldogs lost), saw Andie MacDowell, went to an improv jam and hung out with my wifey and my SCT family. It was a great time.
The Mississippi Theatre Association festival/competition was this weekend. Starkville Community Theatre took Smoke on the Mountain. This is the show we did last season. It was a smash: 14 sold out performances. The play selection committe decided to resurrect the show for competition, so I got to dust off the overalls and play Dennis again. I was really excited about the prospect of getting the Sanders family back together.
We had to recast one part due to the previous actor moving to another state. Anyway, let me just get to the results and I’ll give my thoughts afterwards.
All Star Cast Member, Marcus Vowell
Best Supporting Actor, Bruce Lesley
Best Actor, Kary Rogers
Best Actress, Madeline Golden
Best Director, Pattye Archer
Overall Technical Excellence
Warren McDaniel Award for the Best Production. As the recipient of the Best Production award, SCT will represent the State of Mississippi at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) in March 2007 in Atlanta.
Like I said, we cleaned up. This is the first time in 20 years that SCT has won. For my first go at competitive theatre at MTA, I’d say it went pretty well.
We knew we had a good show but we had no idea that we’d walk away with so many honors. We’re all terribly excited. Excited doesn’t even really begin to describe it.
First: the show. We had 30 minutes on the stage for rehearsal. We spent almost 20 minutes of that trying to figure out why the keyboard wasn’t working. We mocked up a keyboard to look like an old piano since that would be easier than transporting a real piano. It ended up being a bad patch cable but it was a very scary 20 minutes. We had time to spike the set and sing one song.
Now this theatre is literally 13.5 times larger than ours and we really didn’t have time to do a proper sound check. So we left the rehearsal without feeling very confident about how it would all come together in this cavernous new space.
After waiting forever for the speaker for the evening to finish, we took the stage. We had 10 minutes to set the stage, 60 minutes to perform and 10 minutes to strike. During setup the guitars fell and had to be retuned. We decided the demons of Ole Miss were after us so we had to cast them out (in the name of Jesus, amen).
The show went great. We all felt good about it. Comments from the adjudicators ranged from “great chemistry within the emsemble” to “I saw Sweeney Todd where the actors have to sing and play their own instruments. This was better.”
Now I had no expectations to be singled out, I stepped on the stage for the first time less than two years ago. I felt that my peformance was solid and if I was recognized at all, I might land an All Star Cast. Well, I didn’t. Another performer from another group said he loved my performace and that he’d cry if I didn’t win best supporting actor. I was flattered but dismissed it.
When I wasn’t announced as All Star Cast, I was honestly like “oh well, but not unexpected.” Then I recalled what the other guy had said to me and thought that my role was a supporting role, so technically I’d qualify for Supporting Actor, but Best? Nah. I left the idea run through my mind for an instant but was not surprised or disappointed when my name wasn’t called. Bruce Lesley’s name was called and I could not have been happier. He deserved it.
I leaned over to M during the applause and excitment for Bruce to joke how that guy must be crying since I didn’t win. Then I heard my name. I literally had no idea why they called it. I looked at M and said “Why’d they call my name?” Did I leave my lights on in the parking lot or something? She said “Best Actor!” Wha?!
Later I had many people tell me the look on my face was priceless. My winning Best Actor had not entered the realm of possibility in my head. Winning the biggest acting award at the biggest state festival made my mouth hang open. This is nice validation considering how I felt on opening night back in May and my last experience on stage knowing there were judges in the audience.
So now we get some time off and then refocus to go represent Mississippi at SETC in Atlanta. Go Sanders family!
So I’m back in rehearsals. What? you say? School is over for the semester and SCT is currently doing an all women show, what could you be possibly be doing?
SCT decided to take Smoke on the Mountain to the Mississippi Theatre Association competition/festival in January, so I get to reprise my role as Dennis, the shy, singing, preacher boy. The role is a lot of fun but we have to cut an almost two hour show down to 60 minutes. It’s tough but we’ll get it done. This is my first time to perform at MTA. I did my first show that was judged this semester and it affected me more than I’d like to admit.
Theatre MSU performed The Madwoman of Chaillot for the regional American College Theatre Festival. For the first 10 to 15 minutes I just couldn’t get out of my head. It really pissed me off because I felt great leading up to curtain time. I really thought I would feel my best yet on stage, but for the first little while any thoughts of giving my best performance went right out the window. Knowing that there were people out there taking notes and judging the show and my performance really affected me more than I thought it would. I finally settled down and finished solid but being on stage and in your head blows.
So I’m hoping I got that experience out of the way when we go to MTA. I don’t care if I don’t get noticed or mentioned by the adjudcators, I just want to be in the moment.
Other things…I have a new project on the horizon. For the first time since starting an online presence, I’m going to commit to putting out content on a regular schedule. Be looking for an annoucement of this new endeavor soon.
Hey, have a great weekend. I’ll talkatcha soon.
I had auditions Monday and Tuesday evening for the fall semester show here at Mississippi State University. It went fairly well, at times I felt good about it and other times not. I was cast as the President. One of the greedy corporation types who is responsible for the sorry state of affairs in the world today. Sounds about right. I think it’ll be a fun role to play.
I still have two video projects on the table but I’m finding it hard to squeeze them in. It’s not looking good for this week. I have my first call tonight for Madwoman and then short form improv rehearsal at 9pm. Tomorrow night is our first football game so I won’t have any theatre stuff to do. I thought it would be an excellent evening for a date night with M. I’m leaving town Friday morning and won’t be back until Monday sometime. I’m playing in the Southern National Championship. My first disc golf tournament since early this year. I’ll probably suck but I hope to have a good time.
So auditions for the SCT summer musical were Monday and Tuesday. I sang One Song Glory and Your Eyes, both from RENT. I did alright. I mean, not spectacular but not bad. The songs were a different style than I’m used to singing and the range was all over the place, from low to pretty high.
There were a lot of people that auditioned. Several from Theatre MSU and the MSU choir. It ought to be a good show and a lot of fun. The director is facing a situation that she hasn’t faced before, too many people. I’ve heard there could be cuts but I don’t really know. We should know something soon.
I also heard that we’ll be doing one song from The Full Monty. You know that show where a bunch of guys end up naked at the end? Yeah, well, supposedly we won’t be naked but we won’t be wearing much is what I hear.
Now I’m a modest guy. But I’m willing to commit to this song purely for the fact that it’ll make me get really serious about getting into shape.
A couple months back I did well for about 6 weeks, then Smoke on the Mountain opened and I took about 4 weeks off. And my eating started to slide. I had lost about 7-10 pounds before I quit working out.
The thing is, I’m tall and I tend to carry weight well. So everytime I mention working out and watching what I eat people are like “What? you don’t need to lose any weight.” See, I’m tall and flabby. I don’t like flabby so much. And I don’t want to be flabby if I’m gonna have to take clothes off on stage in front of hundreds of people.
So I had started back to the gym on Monday anyway but now I’m kicking it into high gear. Here’s my plan: 6 days a week, I’m doing cardio. 3 of those will be high intensity interval training. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do two-a-days and go back to the gym at lunch to do resistance training. I’ll be carb conscious and go low carb a few weeks before the show. It opens 8 weeks from today.
I lost a good deal of weight last summer by eating healthy (mostly) and doing cardio 5 days a week (I put a lot back on over the fall/winter). It worked. But. I am firmly convinced to get the best results in the fastest time, it takes all three things: cardio, weights and clean eating.
About the intensity interval training, it’s 20 minutes of varying levels of intensity. It ends with a full out, everything-you-got sprint, though there are different forms of HIIT. The idea is not to burn a bunch of calories during the exercise, like it normally is with cardio, it’s to rev up your metabolism for calorie burn hours after you finish exercising. You can read it about it here.
My philosophy is to get in the gym, do what I gotta do and get out. I’m not one to go and chat with people and socialize. I never spend more than 50 minutes working out. I recommend the book Body-for-Life as a good starting point for getting in shape.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to the show and it’s gonna be a good time.
I know, I know. That picture is SCARY.