Are you a theatre buff like me?

While I don’t often audition, and therefore am not often cast, the theatre…any theatre…is one of my favorite places to be.

I interviewed Ben Tissell for this blog post: http://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-pursue-what-you-love-and-love-what-you-pursue-an-interview-with-ben-tissell/ and wrote about my first staged reading experience here: http://laurahandke.com/simply-authentic-your-soul-voice-is-calling-theatre-feels-like-home/.

Patti Speight, Yelena King, Kelsey Ion (bottom) and Ryan Clifford, Grant Burton (top).Picture by Nicole Mae Photography

This time, I’m providing piano music for Mask & Mirror’s production of Rabbit Hole, directed by the wonderful Joe Silva, https://www.characterdrivenstories.com/Home.html.

I auditioned for the role of Nat and wasn’t cast. A few weeks into rehearsals, Joe contacted me after deciding he didn’t want a recorded soundtrack for the show, rather live piano music. I reflected on his request, and took my trusty pendulum to the test, before saying a whole-hearted YES! (Let me know on the blog if you’d like more information about how tools like pendulums can help you align your inner spirit with your outer voice before making important decisions like this.)

This volunteer gig has been an amazing process, full of learning, collaboration, and making beautiful music and theatre.

Joe, his partner, Valerie (an expert on physical movement on stage who is directing her own show at the Pentacle Theatre right now) and I threw several ideas out on the table (literally, my kitchen table) at our first meeting. Those few musical ideas led to others, and before long…we had a roster of songs that would work well to open the show, for scene transitions, and to close the show.

Then this voice and piano teacher had to order sheet music she didn’t have and start rehearsing.

I took piano lessons from Mrs. Hamre in Clark, South Dakota, for a decade, from second grade through my senior year in high school. I accompanied soloists back then. Tom Woods called me his “good luck charm,” as every time I accompanied him, he earned a Superior 1 rating at state vocal contest.

My Yamaha Arius electric piano is my trusted and cherished instrument now; I couldn’t give voice or piano lessons without it.

Yet I was out of practice.

I’m not a professional pianist. I don’t know how to transpose music into different keys; I’ve never even really tried. You can’t use a capo with a piano.

Anxiety set in before my first rehearsal with the cast and crew Friday the fifth of July. The cast had been together for weeks, working this show, and I was playing on an old piano I’d never seen before. I was there from 7 pm until 10:40 pm, getting over my nerves and becoming a part of the show, realizing how the music we’d chosen would – or wouldn’t – work during the scene transitions.

Would I rather be on stage acting? Maybe. Yet Patti plays Nat so well, I can’t begrudge her the role; she’s consistently knocking it out of the ball park.

After afternoon rehearsal the following day we’d worked out most of the kinks, and everything started coming together.

Most of the pieces Joe, Valerie, and I had decided on at the first meeting stayed. Thank God for Kids. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. Que Sera, Sera. Tears in Heaven. So In Love. Try to Remember.

The show opened to a packed house and this glowing review: https://westsidetheatrereviews.blogspot.com/2019/07/down-rabbit-hole-with-mask-mirror.html?spref=fb&fbclid=IwAR3RUlpsu9kowuGwP-mE3TStcxITsYgPx7ezPZzPVqFRFfkaOaKI67gfZfI

If you’re in the Portland area, there’s still time to catch the show, July 19th – 21st! http://www.maskandmirror.com/?fbclid=IwAR2G65ZlZFxgG1sv7zYLN68M259dDVOCi7KZQ83n4SXJq3woTinpIdVaRkw

Come join us!

And consider volunteering your beautiful vocal and musicianship skills, even if you don’t feel you’re ready, to a local community theatre, where joy is created, found and shared.

Please spread the love and pass this along to a friend!

I would recommend this class – and highly – to anyone finding or working with their voice. You are delightful and encouraging. -Emily H.

This workshop was such fun – if I have any feedback, I wish it was longer! Laura was warm and inviting and made us feel comfortable from the start. -Michelle L.

I feel much more knowledgeable about my own voice and have a few practical exercises to use and explore. -Jennifer F.

First time I have been comfortable with my voice. Especially want to say I feel safe in class with Laura. -Sara G.

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)

Laura