Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kitchen Witches

We've been in rehearsals for Kitchen Witches for several weeks now, and I'm really pleased with how it's turning out. We had some very strong actors and actresses turn out for auditions, and we could have cast the show several different ways.

We ended up choosing two seasoned actresses, Barbara Beautrow and Elizabeth Greeley, as Dolly and Isobel, our two rival, bickering, trash-talking cooking show hostesses, and newcomer Brad Mauzerall as Stephen, Dolly's son and the harried producer and director of the cooking shows Baking with Babcha and The Kitchen Witches. Gerry Fields and I knew we were taking a chance by choosing Brad, since this is his first community theater play, but our trust has been well-placed. He learns fast, takes direction well, and asks important questions about his character and line delivery and blocking. He always wants to know how he should be doing something or how he can make it better. Barbara is a natural comedian and is constantly trying new things to get laughs, and Elizabeth keeps adding depth to Isobel, both in her needling of Dolly and her attempts to get close to Stephen.

Last week was our first week off book for Act 1, and considering the heavy line loads everyone has -- it's a three-person play -- I think things are going really well. We go off-book on Act 2 tonight.

One fun element of the play is that the author recommends changing names of cities and businesses to local references. So we've been doing just that and have secured permission from lots of businesses to use their names as sponsors of the cooking show.

One of the biggest challenges is probably going to be the Kitchen Witches Quickies segment, where the ladies perform an Iron Chef-style challenge and each have to prepare three desserts in about two minutes. I looked up recipes and devised shortcuts that hopefully will allow us to pull that off with a minimum of fuss and keep the audience guessing about how we did it -- AND manage to deal with any possible food allergies that our guest judges may have.

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