Hello! My name is Tracey Green and I am an Acting Apprentice at Actors Theatre. The time that I have spent here so far has been filled to the brim with amazing opportunities. I have written and performed a solo piece about the struggles of a female soldier, understudied the role of Miss Sullivan in Actors Theatre’s annual mainstage production of Fifth Third Bank’s Dracula, performed in the premiere production of The Wedding Guest (a commissioned play written specifically for the six apprentice actors appearing in it), been a part of the work-shopping of this year’s Apprentice Company’s Humana Festival play, and am currently gearing up to perform in our upcoming festival of new ten minute plays. Phew! Crazy times here, as always. Here is a small glimpse of the life of an Apprentice….
It is Monday, December 28th, my first morning in Louisville in a few days. The Apprentice/Intern company had the luxury of basking in a couple days off for the holidays, so I have just returned from a wonderful, long-overdue visit to Chicago. Reconnecting briefly with some of my closest loved ones, after spending nearly five months buried in the trials and triumphs of this exhilarating apprenticeship, has done my heart and soul good. I can feel more pep in my step.
And I’m going to need it. Despite Mondays usually being our days off, this particular Monday is a full one. I roll out of bed at around 6:30 a.m. and immediately load the ol’ coffee maker. I don’t have to be at the theatre until 9 a.m., but I have learned much over these past five months about what I need, as a human, to survive an incredibly taxing lifestyle. One of those survival requirements is journaling. Though it may cut into my sleep, getting up early and writing allows me to start the day in a good head space and eliminates the anxiety of feeling rushed.
So, with my cup of coffee in my left hand and my pen in my right, I set my thoughts to the page. Today, these thoughts are mostly reflections on the past few days in Chicago, which then naturally evolve into the daily existential pondering: “What am I doing with my life?!?!” Once I complete my entry, I throw together whatever remaining food is in my fridge (its contents seem chronically depleted, no matter how often I try to make it to Kroger) and off I go to the theatre.
Today, we are having our first read-thru of the eight plays that will be featured in The Tens, an evening of new ten-minute plays that will be running January 12 – 16. I will be performing in two of them: Coffee Break and Trudy, Carolyn, Martha, and Regina Travel to Outer Space and Have a Pretty Terrible Time There. I have not yet read the remaining six scripts, so it is exciting to hear the whole batch for the first time. It is also exciting to get to finally meet some of the visiting artists who will be working on this project. They are indeed a stellar batch of folks.
After the reading, we have a ‘Meet & Greet’ with the cast and crew of Peter and the Starcatcher. I see many a new face, but also some friendly returning ones. William Boles, the extremely talented set designer for Starcatcher, is present. We met years ago while I was an undergrad at Northwestern (which is where I also met Jessica Fisch, one of our guest directors for The Tens). I am also pleasantly reunited with Madison Niederhauser, a former acting apprentice and one of the first people I worked with in Chicago after graduating. A wave of nostalgia hits me.
The ‘Meet & Greet’ ends, so I book it to the YMCA. Like journaling, staying active is one of my other tools of survival here. Very Zen. Today I am clad in my new workout shirt, given to me by an Actors Theatre Secret Santa (Apprentice? Intern? Staff?), who still has yet to reveal him or herself to me. Sneaky sneaky.
After my work out I see a text from Amelia Windom, a fellow Apprentice, inquiring about where to find Chinese food. Perfect timing! FOOD IS FUEL. We end up grabbing some lunch to-go from a place on 1st Street and Market and tote it back to the theatre. While we eat, we are introduced to a couple of last year’s Apprentices, who are visiting for The Glory of the World rehearsals, before the production moves to New York to perform at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music).
Once we finish, the two of us head to the Bingham Theatre to observe some 4000 Miles rehearsal. A Christmas Carol performances paired with our Humana play workshop has made observing rehearsals very difficult these past few weeks, so it’s good to finally have a window of opportunity to see these artists in action.
After about an hour of watching, the actors go on break. I have an hour to kill before my next commitment, so I find a spot in the theatre lobby to do some ten-minute play character work. Not only does journaling keep me sane in real life, but it’s also one of my favorite parts of working on a new role.
The hour passes and now it’s time to head into the Bingham Rehearsal Room for today’s second ‘Meet & Greet’, this time with the cast and crew of The Glory of the World, some of whom I have now already met. So many visiting artists in the building today! Gah, it will take weeks to learn everyone’s names.
After intros, I head down to the second floor for a costume fitting for The Tens. My astronaut attire is still in the process of being delivered, but Maggie shows me the renderings and I am thrilled by the prospect of being clad in a vibrant, neon-green bodysuit. We try on some funky, business-casual options for my other play, which gets me wishing I had the willpower to dress stylishly in real life.
After the fitting, I finally head home. I decide to devote the rest of the evening to more character work for The Tens. I had made myself a work to-do list that I intended to complete over Christmas break, buuuuuuuut, in the end, I decided a break should be an actual break, which means taking a step back from work. SO, this evening will be a night of catch-up. And I certainly don’t mind. Getting the chance to really savor the time away from Louisville and be present with old friends outweighs any pressure to make up for lost time.
Anywho, this is just a little snippet view of what life here is like.
There is never a dull moment and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
– Tracey Green