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Any science/math people who have done theater?

  1. Aug 7, 2012 #1

    turbo

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    Back in HS, I was in a science/math track and a nice old history teacher drafted my former Chem lab partner and me to "star" in a romantic comedy for our senior play. It wasn't a horrible script, and we kept up appearances as we rehearsed, including doing "stage" kisses at the curtain. I never warned my "co-star", and may not have known far in advance anyway, but when we put on the play and it was curtain-time, I grabbed her and put a full lip-lock on her. She grabbed me back, and didn't loosen her hold until the applause and cheers started to diminish a bit. Then we took our bows.

    It might have helped that I was the son of a well-known poacher, and she was the daughter of our district's game warden. :tongue:

    I had always enjoyed public approval when playing music, but getting feedback from amateur theatrics was a new one. A gay friend of mine in college was in theater, and he loved it. I certainly couldn't have concentrated on that field, but I am beginning to understand his love for the stage as I get older. I miss playing music in public, due to this damned sensitivity to fragrances. It's not the money so much ($135-150/day), but the fun of getting out there and interacting with people. Lost Tommy to AIDS back in the 70s when there was no effective treatment.
     
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  3. Aug 7, 2012 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    These days that would get you censured.
    Presumably you also had straight friends who loved it too? You haven't felt the need to mention their sexuality? If it is important to the message I missed it :(

    However - on your core theme - amateur dramatics are a welcome break from the professional dramatics that punctuates scientific work. The University of Auckland Physics dept staff (professors etc) for eg. hold a regular pantomime at Christmas. It's also pretty usual for physicists to also play a musical instrument. Many of us belong to clubs or amateur performance groups.

    The pursuit of science is closely associated with the pursuit and appreciation of beauty so it is not really surprising to find artistic scientists and scientific artists.
     
  4. Aug 7, 2012 #3

    turbo

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    It's not important to you or me, but it was very important to Tommy's style. He was a pretty flamboyant character, but solid and trustworthy to the bone. (Can you trust your friends?) One of my best friends at college. He and his friends lived in a city several miles away, and I ALWAYS was invited to their parties. Great food, drinks and music. My GF and I would show up with a bottle of premium booze and enjoy the conversations and the appetizers.
     
  5. Aug 8, 2012 #4
    For a while I worked with a semiprofessional theater group. That means they charged admission, but all the money went to upkeep of the theater and props, there were no salaries. I did lighting and sound but never any acting.
     
  6. Aug 8, 2012 #5

    Drakkith

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    Well, I'm planning to start college back up here in about 3-6 months. Maybe I'll take a class or something.
     
  7. Aug 8, 2012 #6

    George Jones

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    I know someone who, while studying maths at Oxford, acted in am Oxford theatre group. I think that he was even in a production with Hugh Grant.
     
  8. Aug 8, 2012 #7
    Oh, I completely forgot. I was in an opera. I played a subdeacon of the Catholic church in a production of Tosca starring Robert Merrill and Elinor Ross. I was paid $3. Such parts are called spear carriers and are usually reserved for opera students. For some reason, they hired me. I walked on stage along with about 20 other church officials in a parade and then there was great applause and the curtain came down. This string of one successes brought an end to my operatic career.
     
  9. Aug 8, 2012 #8

    turbo

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    OK, it seems like there is some theater experience among math/science types. I was gung-ho for engineering, until my honors adviser (professor emeritus of English) talked me into switching to liberal arts.

    When I ended up with a pretty demanding English Lit prof, two class-mates and I adapted Samson Agonistes for the stage. My GF took care of the scripting and stage direction, I wrote and recorded the sound-track (no singing, just guitar) and our other classmate designed the sets and the costumes and lighting. He was a genius at that stuff. We presented our project to the prof and he shopped it around to people in other departments to see if we had done an acceptable job. We got A's all around. And then he asked when we were going to produce it as a play! We were just 3 poor college students, and only one of us had any affiliation with the theater department. I shudder to think of the financial burden that such a production would have involved.
     
  10. Aug 8, 2012 #9

    Pythagorean

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    I played Bottom the Weaver (aka Bottom the ***) in Midsummer's Night's Dream. And some douchebag photographer named Todd in some play about a newspaper. And a homeless man in The Good Woman of Szechwan.

    My drama teacher pretty much type-casted us...

    edit: really? *** gets censored? I literally had a donkey's head, I'm not talking about but-cheeks here. Huhuh... I said but cheeks. Boobies!
     
  11. Aug 8, 2012 #10

    turbo

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    We didn't have a drama teacher in HS. Just an older history teacher who always got tapped to coordinate the senior plays. She enjoyed theater, and she tried to get the best out of each class. Income from the senior plays would be used to offset expenses for that year's senior class trip (as were bake sales, etc). My class had enough money to take us to Belfast, ME for a week, and rent cabins for all of us right on the Atlantic shore.

    It was a great thing to peep from behind the curtain and see that the auditorium was full. More money for our trip. I had gotten over stage-fright years earlier playing rock, pop, and blues for dances, but it was a bit different playing for such a large crowd with disparate ages. It worked out.
     
  12. Aug 8, 2012 #11
    I had a scene where I had the opportunity to do that. The scene called for the kiss and I asked her if she wanted to do it, but she had a boyfriend and whatever, so we agreed on something else.
    Well, I thought about doing just what you did, but I chickened out.
    I thought later on I would regret chickening out, but I didn't really. I respected her and didn't want to violate her trust. But now I'm curious if I could have got the same reaction out of her that you got.
    I guess I'll never know unless I miraculously get the opportunity again.

    But yes, I take theater classes while I'm working on my physics degree. The more I do it the more I like it. I try to audition for as many plays as I can. Maybe I can do it for a living one day. I'd like that.
     
  13. Aug 8, 2012 #12

    turbo

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    Leroy, there is never a good time for self-recrimination. You did what you thought was right, and that's fine.

    I "sneaked up" on my former lab-partner and took her by surprise. After the curtain came down, our history teacher met us back-stage and congratulated us for the "perfect" finale. We sure got a lot of favorable comments over the next few weeks. Sometimes you have to take a shot. She had a boyfriend in the audience, and I didn't know if she'd be as enthusiastic about that kiss as she seemed. Worked out OK, though. Actually, better than just OK, because our classmates were talking about us as though we were an item.

    I never thought of doing theater for a living, though I have been happy to perform music over the years. Come to think of it, when I was in college, a couple of other guitarists that I played music with were in engineering as was our drummer, and our organist was a horticultural specialist. That wasn't theater, but frat-parties paid the bills.
     
  14. Aug 9, 2012 #13
    My major just out of high school was theater arts. I dropped out for several reasons. 20 years later, I finally went back to school and got a dual degree inmath and physics, followed by a master's in nuclear engineering. I'm still drawn to both science as well as art, which I guess is why I always call myself a wanne-be Rennaissance man (wanna-be because I'll never be one).

    Plus, I'm a karaoke addict with almost a 4 octave range.
     
  15. Aug 9, 2012 #14

    Dembadon

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    If I believed in a "hell", my own personal version of it would include me having to act something out, on-stage, in front of a bunch of people I don't know.

    I admire people who can perform well; it's not a skill I possess to any degree.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  16. Aug 25, 2012 #15

    turbo

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    It is something you get over if you want to perform music in public. "Stage fright" is not pretty and it's not fun, because it can ruin your performances.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  17. Aug 25, 2012 #16

    turbo

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    BTW, if you want to see "stage kisses" look here. Position yourselves upstage/downstage and touch noses for a bit. That's all it takes to make the illusion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  18. Aug 25, 2012 #17

    Drakkith

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    Thats no fun... =(
     
  19. Aug 25, 2012 #18

    turbo

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    Not so much,but if you are in theater, you might have to make a sacrifice. Aside from music, I have not spent that much time performing. Got to put on the show.
     
  20. Sep 14, 2012 #19
    I have a question about nudity in theater. I was reading about a play called Equus and it's about a guy who is naked in the play. I would do something like that, but my problem is I don't have complete control over my body. The guy who lives down stairs has a mind of his own, and I cannot control his actions. If I was doing a play naked, that guy could not get involved. How would I control him? It seems like it would be like playing Russian Roulette. I'd be taking a huge chance that he would behave.
    Strange comment/question, but I was thinking about this earlier.
     
  21. Sep 14, 2012 #20

    chiro

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    leroyjenkins: my advice is to gradually become comfortable with this by doing it more and more people in a gradual process.

    It's like for example being a rock star: if you go from being a relatively quiet person to suddenly performing in front of a hundred thousand people, it will be overwhelming (and this is actually what happens to this instant successes who just can't handle the sudden change).

    So the best thing to do is to build it up gradually: you start playing in front of friends, then in really small venues, then the venues get bigger (and more open) and slowly your comfort zone becomes bigger as a result of pushing it just a little bit every time.

    You don't start off playing in front of thousands of people and similarly, you don't just perform nude if you're not comfortable with it without first getting comfortable with it.
     
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