Invisibly Busy

As actors, so often, much of the work we do goes unseen. The training, the preparation for roles, keeping in shape, auditioning, taking classes, etc. 

Even the actual work we do may never see the light of day. Films go unfinished. Training videos get a limited audience. Plays can only be seen by those who attend, and are never seen again. 

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German Night

Growing up in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and being from two predominantly German families, Oktoberfest was always a huge part of my life. At my school, we learned songs in German and had our own Maple Leaf parade. 

 The artist as young German girl

The artist as young German girl

My friend Brian Kelly must have intuited this Teutonic nature of mine when he asked me to be a roaming performer at the Saint Paul Saints German Night a few years ago.

 The original Ricola family: Andy Kraft, Carin Bratlie-Wethern, Ryan Robert Nelson, Billie Jo Konze and Clarence Bratlie-Wethern

The original Ricola family: Andy Kraft, Carin Bratlie-Wethern, Ryan Robert Nelson, Billie Jo Konze and Clarence Bratlie-Wethern

The second year, while thrift shopping, I found my own dirndl (something I was obviously sorely missing in my life). 

 The Ricola cousins: Jane Caplow, Kevin McLaughlin, Paul Sommers and myself

The Ricola cousins: Jane Caplow, Kevin McLaughlin, Paul Sommers and myself

I wasn't able to do German night last year, so I am happy to be rejoining the Ricola family this year to cause havoc at the game tonight.  More pictures to follow, I'm sure. 

Can't join us? Okay, I leave you with a joke: How many players on a baseball team?

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NEIN!

Home Improvement

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts about the VO business lately and reading up about it, and have gotten inspired to make some improvements to the recording cave. I added some more lights, moved things around a bit, and added even more sound proofing tiles. We live under a flight path in South Minneapolis, but mostly when I'm in "the cave," I can't hear outside noise at all! Pretty impressive, actually. 

 

Where Did Last Week Go?

Hello friends! I just shot a 💣TOP SECRET 💣political ad last week...cuz, campaign season. I got to be on set with a bunch of people I know, including my roommate! It was just an extra gig, so I probably won't be visible anyway, but it was great to be on set! 

 

Also, last week, I performed for the first time at Off-Book, which is this really great improv show at Huge Theater where one actor is off book for a scripted scene, and the other actor doesn't even know what scene they're in and has to improvise the lines between. I was given a scene from John Patrick Shanley's play "Where's My Money?" Talking to the other actors who were doing the scripted part, I found that almost all of them were similarly terrified, whether they had done Off-Book before or not. Most of them were respected actors around town who I'd worked with before, so I really felt like I was in good company. Maybe I'll go do it again sometime, but I'll let the adrenaline wear off first!

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Off-Book

Next weekend I will be performing for the very first time at a unique improv performance called Off-Book, where the scenes are performed by one actor who is off-book, and one who has no clue what the hell is going on. I will be the off-book person, so I have some memorizing to do this week!  

From the website:

Come see Off-Book,,Saturday, August 20th at 8:00pm |$12 in advance, $14 at the door

Half-scripted, full speed ahead. It is every actor’s nightmare: getting thrown on stage to perform a play you’ve never read. That’s also the premise of Off Book. We have an actor memorize a script, then send them on stage with an improviser who has no idea what’s going on. Then we sit back and watch the magic happen.

A long-time HUGE Theater favorite, adapted with permission from Upright Citizen Brigade’s Gravid Water.

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Evil Twin at the Minnesota Fringe

It has been a wonderful week and a half at the Minnesota Fringe Festival! We sold out our Friday night show this weekend, and today we almost sold out our final show as well! 

Last Sunday, we were featured on the front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper. 

 Look Ma! We're on the cover! 

Look Ma! We're on the cover! 

Although I don't usually read reviews while I am performing in a show, being the producer, marketing person, actor, etc. makes things a little bit different, and I bent my rules and read the two major reviews that we got, One in City Pages and one in the Star Tribune. We were so happy to be featured in two of the top news outlets in the Twin Cities!

 

Our hope is that this show (and the Twins and Fluffy) will have a future beyond the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Perhaps in another festival somewhere exotic and exciting! Or perhaps a whole other adventure for them to go on! In any case, if you'd like to keep up on those things, please like Evil Twin on Facebook, and we will let you know when those things happen!

Fringe Previews #1

The first of three official MN Fringe Festival previews took place last Monday, and we got added to the lineup just a few days before the show. It was a great evening, with about 30 different shows presenting previews, and we were honored to be chosen by MinnPost's reviewer Pamela Espeland as one of six favorites! Check it out!

 https://www.minnpost.com/artscape/2016/07/pick-your-favorites-fringe-previews-dessa-open-oshaughnessys-season

 The twins, ready to take Fringe by storm! 

The twins, ready to take Fringe by storm! 

Voiceover Spree

Less than three weeks after recording my demo, I booked a VO for a Health Partners TV spot! And I've got more recording coming up, including a post-apocalyptic audio web series, children's books for educational modules, and a couple of more spots. It's going to be a busy summer!

 "What? I can't hear you!" 

"What? I can't hear you!" 

Years in the Making

So… I have been putting off making my voiceover demo for years.

A year ago, I finally contacted people about studio time and demos and actually made some connections in the interest of actually recording a demo.

Now, a year later, I have actually, finally, recorded my demo. And today, I finally got the finished product!

 

The whole story: 

I went to Mike Stalcar at Audio Ruckus last week. We met a few months ago, before both of us went on respective vacations to Belize (him) and me (Italy), and chatted about the actual recording, as well as what my background is and everything else that might be pertinent. And we talked about travel, and how we both like to travel by going in random directions without a plan, just feeling out whatever path feels right. Mike was so easy to talk to, he made me realize that just like with the travel, sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other, and make steps in a direction that feels right. Even if you're a bit apprehensive. That's how all the cool stuff happens. That's where the rewards are. 

I recorded my demo on Thursday of this past week, and despite having prepared for it for years, I still felt scared, and apprehensive, and nervous about if I would be able to perform adequately, if I would screw it up, if I had the right material, and etc.…but it was SO MUCH FUN!

For a little bit of background, when I was a kid, I was given a tape recorder for my seventh birthday. I was given a couple of actual cassette tapes of bands I liked, and also a package of blank cassette tapes. One of my greatest joys of my childhood, was to hang out in my room, and record songs off the radio. I also took to recording my own commercials, of products and things that I made up entirely. I would spend hours in my room doing this. Sometimes, my mom would yell up the stairs to me to ask me a question or demand that I do something, and my usual response was "Mom!! Shhhh! I'm recording!" So, this has definitely been something Ive wanted to do for a long time.

Well… I am so happy to have a finished demo! Who knows what will come of it, or if I will get work. But I am heartened by the fact that on the first day after I recorded the demo, and even before the demo was finished, I messaged one of my agents about the demo and she immediately sent me a response saying"Yes! I would love to listen to it when it's done. By the way, did you submit for this particular audition?" So, the day after recording my demo, even without having it in hand, I was able to audition for a radio commercial that will be recording soon. 

My acting teacher always says that work begets work. That even if you are just doing scenes in class, the universe will respond in kind. Maybe it's something to do with your attitude that you put out into the world, or perhaps it is that people see that you are working, but whatever it is, WORK seems to come from you putting forth work. A religious person would say that God helps those who help themselves. 

A quote, often attributed to Goethe, also follows in this vein: 

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
— http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth12.htm

 

It is begun! Let's see where it goes!

 

A Commercial with Meaning

In January, I filmed a tv spot for Gundersen Health Systems. In the spot, I portray a patient nervously awaiting a biopsy. It was a great gig to get. I worked with a director from California. I got to go home and visit my family. I got paid well enough to splurge on my first trip to anywhere off the continent. But mostly, I was proud of this one because it was something I believe in. My mom's sister was a nurse at Gundersen Lutheran. She passed away two years ago after fighting cancer for two years. My dad's parents both went through cancer treatment at Gundersen. My sister works there as a CNA tech while getting her nursing prerequisites. I feel honored to have gotten to work on this spot, and happy that my family, most of whom live in the area, and especially my grandmothers, get to see it on tv.

 

 

Home again, home again

Last week, I shot a tv spot for Gundersen Health in my hometown (La Crosse, WI).  I was super surprised to show up on set and find Tom Kristjanson, Nathan Armstrong, and MUA Mary Flaa all there, as well as my friend Brian Kelly (there to do a different spot), and the lovely Jen Maren co-starring with me in the spot I was doing. It's always nice to see friendly faces on set! 

The shoot went very smoothly (I mean, come on, I spent the whole thing sitting/laying on a hospital bed and wearing yoga pants and a robe), and director Michele Atkins also DPed the spot (way to be a badass!). Carrying that huge camera around all day has got to be exhausting, but she made it look pretty easy. 

I got to take my sister to dinner the night before the shoot, have drinks with her and my friends afterwards at the hotel bar.  

 My entree at Pogreba's...scallops the size of my fist! 

My entree at Pogreba's...scallops the size of my fist! 

And the next day, I got to visit my family, including a trip to the casino with Grama and my cousin CJ and aunt Debbie. 

 Me, gram, and aunt Debbie

Me, gram, and aunt Debbie

My only complaint about the whole thing was this: 

 Stupid hotel. 

Stupid hotel. 

I'm super excited for this one, since it will air where my family will actually see it. Keep your eye on Western Wisconsin television stations, and I'm sure you'll be seeing me soon!

 

 

Wicked

I just started rehearsals for my first ever show at Old Log Theater!  I'm SO EXCITED! And I'm playing a wicked stepsister!

I take that back...WE are so excited.  My roommate Neal is also in the show. Not only do we get to work together, but we can carpool to Excelsior as well. Neal is playing Cinderella's bird friend.

Me, and my fellow steps, Katie Adducci and Brittany Parker!

Only two more weeks of rehearsal and this baby will be on its feet. Get your tickets now!

Medica "1975"

This past week, a commercial I shot for Medica started airing in a few markets, including locally. The spot is called "1975" and in it I am wearing a dress I bought at Goodwill when I was about fifteen. Gotta love the vintage clothes!

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If you'd like to see the spot, it's available to watch on the Medica Nebraska website.  I am also featured in a few still shots on the site as well, so go check it out!

 

My PR Guy Should Be Fired

Hi there!  Yes, it's been months since I've written. Don't take that to mean that I've not been busy...far from it. I'm just a lot better at posting on my personal social media pages ten plus times a day than sitting down to even write a simple little post about my most recent audition, or class work, or the shows I've been doing.

I've been doing a commedia dell'arte show monthly with Shadow Horse Theatre, playing all sorts of fun commedia characters. We do the shows in half-mask, and they are partially-improvised comedies. Sometimes sketch-based, sometimes a full-length storyline. They've been really fun to perform with, but I'll be on hiatus from that for a while because of my upcoming show for the Twin Cities Horror Festival!

More details on that soon. In the meantime, Fringe just ended, and while I had to opt out of doing a show this year, I did end up attending and seeing 25 mostly really good shows. I love my yearly theater binge SO MUCH. And this time I came out truly inspired to create my own production, with two totally different ideas for shows, and I have a meeting with a friend to start brainstorming for the one this week.

I will also be taking part in The Actors' Workout's first ever industry showcase, performing a scene from Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane with Colleen Barrett, directed by Adam Glatz.

And finally, I got new headshots taken last month, and I am currently agonizing over which ones to choose. I won't stay indecisive long, because I can't wait to show them off! I'll post them here once I've whittled it down from 225 to 4. Wish me luck!