Saturday, July 23, 2011

Musical Theatre Classes in Kingston Ontario

Bottle Tree Productions is launching its Fall Musical Theatre classes on Saturday, September 17th/2011  from 3:30 to 5 pm. Kids from 7 years old up to 18 have starred in our musical theatre class productions. In the spring of 2010, we show-cased our kids in Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. In the spring of 2011 we performed Willy Wonka. I wonder if Johnny Depp's involvement in the filmed versions of these shows had anything to do with it. Anne Marie Mortensen is in charge of our musical theatre classes, and whether a child has little musical experience or a lot, they have the opportunity to improve and develop their abilities. Musical theatre involves a lot of hard work but the rewards are enormous., including a sense of well-being, confidence and a sense of achievement. In the performing arts, we lay down a foundation for team work. The sum of the parts is always greater than the whole. We can't make you better if you don't work. There is no magical formula for achievement in the performing arts. An honest desire and a work ethic can achieve wonders. Anne Marie's catch phrase for running the classes is 'Great, Do it again!'

The Musical Theatre classes are a more demanding discipline to teach than acting classes, because there is singing, dancing and acting involved.

Because it is a musical theatre production, we want to give the kids as polished a performance as we can, so to that end we have a three to four week rehearsal schedule towards the end of the class and before the show. This might include up to 4 or 5 rehearsals a week.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pretty Pieces

Five years ago I wrote Pretty Pieces.

It is a very difficult and demanding play.

Pretty Pieces is a dark and twisted domestic tragedy. A brother and sister find themselves living in desperate circumstances. The past is a puzzle. Dark and threatening, the family history looms over the present. Something horrible happened a long time ago. The audience never finds out what that horrible thing is. What they do find out is the impact this post traumatic stress condition has on the doomed couple. The play chronicles their destruction and not the simplistic reasons for it. Incapable of saving themselves, the brother and sister are marched to their terrifying destiny. The girl is trapped by her anxieties in her run down apartment. She tries to unlock the door to the past. She can't remember why she turned out the way she did. The boy remembers all to well and runs away to drugs and street sex.

The girl becomes unhinged when the boy tells her he is moving out of the apartment to live with an older man.

Filmmaker Leigh Ann Bellamy of Curious You Productions is directing and starring in the filmed version of the play.

Leigh Ann and Zorba Dravillas starred in the original version of the stage play.

To purchase a copy of the script please go to Pretty Pieces or to find a royalty free monologue from Pretty Pieces please check out Teen Monologues or go to Amazon Buy Pretty Pieces from Amazon

To Purchase Performance Rights

Click the paypal button below to purchase as many performances as you need. By clicking on the paypal button you are saying yes to the Royalty agreement spelled out below

1.1 The Author (Charles Robertson) is sole owner and Author of the play of which is wholly original with the Author and has not been otherwise copied in whole part from any other work; the play and use of the play as herein contemplated do not violate, conflict with, or infringe upon any intellectual property rights of any person, firm, organization, corporation, or any other entity.
1.2 The Author (Charles Robertson)has sole and exclusive rights to enter this Agreement and has the rights authority to grant the rights granted by Author herein
2.1 The Author (Charles Robertson)hereby grants to the Producer the right to produce and present the play
3.1 In consideration for the right to produce the play, the Producer agrees to pay the Publisher (Bottle Tree Productions) $20.00 per performance. Upon payment the contract shall be considered signed.
3.2 The Producer shall not have the right to produce any additional performances of the play unless paid for.
4.1 The Producer, recognizing that the play is the exclusive creation of the Author (Charles Robertson), agrees that it will not make or permit to be made any additions, omissions and/or alterations of the play, including dialogue, and stage directions without prior written consent of the Author. Any violation of this paragraph will be sufficient cause for Author to immediately terminate all rights of the Producer hereunder.
4.2 The Producer acknowledges it is the Producers responsibility to obtain the the rights to any music mentioned in the text of the play. The granting of the rights to produce the play does not include the rights to the music mentioned in the stage directions of the play.
5.1 The Author (Charles Robertson) shall receive billing credit in all programs, posters, flyers, advertising and publicity of the play under the control of the Producer. The Author shall be accorded billing with the respect to the play on a line by itself, immediately following the title of the play. Said billing shall be in a type size no less than 50% of the size of the title. No other person receiving billing shall receive larger type than Author.
5.2 The Publisher (Bottle Tree Productions) will be sent a copy of all promotional materials as part of the agreed to contract. Any digital recording of the play must be granted by the Publisher before any performances. The Publisher upon permission will be sent a copy of the video-
6.1 All rights in the play not expressly granted by the Producer in this agreement are reserved to the Author (Charles Robertson) for the Author’s uncontrolled disposition and use.
6.2 The Producer acknowledges and agrees that any copyright of the play, including any extensions or renewals thereof throughout the world, shall be exclusively in the name of the Author. (Charles Robertson)
7.1 The Producer agrees to the purchase of three scripts from Bottle Tree Productions ( ( or
8.1 The Producer shall email info (at) bottletreeinc (dot)com with the show dates, times and location.
8.2 The Producer shall pay for scripts and performance rights before the first rehearsal. (amount/($20 per performance) no later than date of first rehearsal.

We will email you once you purchase performance rights to ask for times and dates

Friday, July 1, 2011

Movie Acting and Theatre Acting

What are the differences between acting for the camera and acting on stage? On stage an actor has to be big. On stage an actor looks small, so the actor has to reach the back of the theatre, to the last seat in the house to be heard. Visually their movements must be big. They must be 'on' for the entire time they are onstage. When they are speaking, they must cheat out towards the audience to be seen and heard. I have a little demonstration video that shows the differences.

Acting for the camera involves stillness. Every movement is magnified. In film, when 24 frames/second are used, any sudden movements can be jarring. An eye blink can send audience members into nausea. There is a narrow vocal range, compared to the stage, for film actors. The sound is edited into a narrow decibel range.

Onstage, you need to be loud. In film-no. 

Acting for film usually involves a bunch of takes of a particular scene. They are usually short, and your best acting bit will not likely be used. The reason for this is that there are so many variables affecting the shot, that it is likely how you look in a particular clip as opposed to your acting.

In stage acting, you need to know the whole play if you have a lead. Having a lead in film means a bunch of unconnected scenes. On stage you would have one chance that night. Your focus for two hours has to be very strong. You have to remember a lot of lines and deal with the mistakes that invariably occur during a performance. 

If you make a mistake or someone else does in filming, the director will just reshoot.

One thing that film and stage acting have in common, is that the actor usually has to 'face out' when delivering lines. In film the camera will acts as the audience, and the angle is shot from where the audience would be. On stage, the audience is the camera, and since they can't move, the actor has to cheat towards them when delivering lines.

In both medium, the audience wants to see the actor's face. They don't want to see the back of their heads because the back of people's heads are usually not very entertaining. 

There are obviously many more differences and similarities, but I thought it would be interesting to give a demonstration of a monologue by Shakespeare. One delivered for the stage and one delivered for film by the same actor. On film, stage acting looks very exaggerated. On stage, film acting looks very boring. But the techniques and art of stage acting is much easier to transfer to film than the other way around.  It is always easier to pull it back than to ramp it up. 

Film is the director's medium with the actor only one small part of the process. On stage the actor has a much bigger role to play. 

For the actor, film is a series of repetitive sequences of acting. For the actor, stage acting is a rush of excitement for two hours, buoyed by the instant gratification of audience response. There is no audience response in filming. The actor needs to wait months or even years to see themselves in front of an audience. 

On film your performance can be relived again and again. On stage, it is only a memory to those people that were there at that particular time.

Film acting

Theatre acting