The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Let's talk some feels...

Phantom faces at the window, phantom shadows on the floor. Empty Chairs at empty tables, where my friends will sing no more.

I know it's a song about death. But this imagery makes me think of the friendships you make while being a performer.

Having walked around the block once or twice in my life, I've gotten to know the rehearsal process fairly well. I've gotten to meet dozens of artists, young and old and seen how the process is crafted together in three different fields of live theatre (Opera, MT, and straight theatre.) The process is oddly similar, the personality types reach all ends of the spectrum, but the cast and crew chemistry seems to have a similar course.


The Three Stages of Stage Friendships.


Stage 1.) Awkward Beginnings

The first few days of rehearsal can be a bit awkward. It's a lot like speed dating. You mostly chat with your cast mates before rehearsal or during the breaks. Maybe even a little afterward if you're not terribly busy. The interactions are short and sweet, maybe a few jokes or stories are exchanged. You really don't get a genuine feel for who a person is unless they are an extreme extrovert. You tend to congregate toward the people you know the best or at least have something in common with. You know some of the same people, went to the same school.

You look for a safety blanket that may or may not be there. If there is then this stage can go by rather quickly.


Stage 2.) The Honeymoon Phase

Time passes and you're in daily rehearsals. Suddenly you've shared a lifetime of memories with these people. You love them. Even if they make choices with their acting or performing you don't necessarily agree with, you can all of a sudden see the charm that they bring to that scene. Suddenly the show would seem wrong without them in it. In their own way, they are perfect.

Suddenly all of the "ear worms" of the music, the way Larry says his lines, all of the mannerisms of the director, conductor or stage manager become every day little things that you LIVE for. Everything is an inside joke, everything points back to the show. The little world you create on stage becomes a reflection of the little family you've created off stage as well.

And then the show ends...

Stage 3.) Post Show Separation

The show ends. After a rowdy (or sometimes not so rowdy) after party filled with teary goodbyes (sometimes Persian goodbyes) people leave. They go back to their homes, resume their other jobs, maybe even head to another gig. Life is a lot different for everyone involved.

Show photos are posted on Facebook and Instagram. Every single one of them makes you relive those moments. But then those stop showing up as well. Suddenly the people that you had a near daily interaction with just fade out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind.

It almost makes you feel cheap. Like a one night stand but with friendships. I don't believe it to be so intentional, the fact is that we all have incredibly diverse lives and we all meet extraordinary people all across the globe. We live in a remarkable time of social media where we actually can remain in touch with a lot more people than ever before, but it won't ever be the same as when you're sitting 5 feet from each other in a rehearsal hall.

You return to the group of friends you have to leave behind every time you're booked solid with rehearsal. Everything they say can somehow be tagged back to some memory with the show you were just in. And although you may feel the urge to share, don't. It won't be that funny to them, nor will it be like sharing that moment with your former cast mates. Your chasing after nostalgia that just isn't there for anyone but you.

The truth is that this is unavoidable, and it's a bittersweet part of our career. You'll meet and connect with so many people, some more than others. You'll make incredible friends. You'll learn to love so many different kinds of people. But most of them won't be permanent fixtures in your home. But then some will. Just know that keeping them a part of your life will take work by both parties. Never let go of the ones who are worth it.





Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Upper

Bench
100 x 20, 125 x 20, 150 x 20





Dumbbell Chest Flys
25-40lbs 3x12

1 Arm Pause Chins
2.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Reg Pause Chins
7.5lbs 1xAMRAP

Behind The Head Press
80lbs 3x12

Alternating Upright Dumbbell Row
35-45lbs
3x8-12

Face Pull
3x15-20

Bicep Tricep Superset
2x8-12

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lower

Squat
135 X 20, 170 X20, 200 X20

Brutal. Just Brutal.


Sumo Deads
335 3x4



Deep Leg Press
2 plates plus 15lbs 3x12

Walking Lunges
15lbs 3x8-12

Calf Raises
480 3x15

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bigger Bench Press Program

I know, I know. I don't have an impressive bench press. I've got long arms, very awkward tricep insertions and it's easily my weakest lift. But that's exactly why I'm the person who you should talk to. I've had to pull out a lot of tricks in order to get the meager bench I've acquired. I've recently been progressing very nicely on my bench as of the past few months and it's due to a few key things.

More Frequent Benching


I bench and bench to a conservative max 3 times a week. In two of those sessions I'm maxing out on a variation of the bench.


Pause Work


The Maxing I'm doing on my variations is in the form of pause work. Meaning I'm pausing the weight on my chest at the bottom of the lift and eliminating any bounce off of my sternum.


Waves


Waves have been used in Olympic weightlifting for years. Since Olympic weightlifting primarily works in singles, this style of training works very well for maxing out. I basically start warming up with the bar for 5, Do 135 for a single rep, then add 20-30lbs to the bar until I've achieved a conservative max. No getting hyped up on music or pre-workout. No going for huge PR's. It's putting weight on the bar that you know you can crush and avoiding lot's of slow grinding reps.


Bodybuilding


Everybody's bench is weakest at the bottom. Especially if your technique isn't great, which more than likely it isn't. It's just high notes, you're a freak if you have naturally strong high notes. The key to getting more pop out of the bottom is to have not only stronger muscles, but more muscle mass on your triceps and chest. So after working up to your max, you've got to get in more work. You've got to work in the higher rep ranges, chase the pump and start feelin' like the bro you always were.


The Bigger Bench Program


1st Training Session
Regular Touch and Go Bench
Work Up to a Conservative Max in the rep ranges of 5-3-1
Followed by ->
Pause Bench 2x8-12 (at about 65 - 75% of your max bench)
Followed by ->
Bicep, Tricep, and shoulder work


2 More Training Sessions to be added to your week at Your Discretion.
1st Wave: Wide Grip Paused Bench
2nd Wave: Close Grip Paused Bench
Followed by ->
Wide Grip Paused Bench (65-70% of 1 Conservative Max)1xAMRAP
Close Grip Paused Bench (65-70% of 1 Conservative Max)1xAMRAP
Followed by ->
Bicep, Tricep, and shoulder work

It's fairly simple, but very effective. Give it a try and I defy you not to progress. Hard work works.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, September 25, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
105 x3, 120 x3, 140 AMRAP


Paused Overhead Press
130 2xAMRAP, 95 1xAMRAP



Barbell Rows
150lbs 4x12

Pause Wide Grip Incline Bench
155 4x4

Pause Pull Ups
5lbs 2x6-8



Chest Flys
2x8-12

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lower

Deads
365 x5, 415 x3, 460 AMRAP (1)


3" Deficit Deads
345 3x4


Paused Front Squats
145 3x8



Hack Squat
140 2x8-12

Bulgarian Split Squats
25lbs 2x8-12

Pause Leg Extensions
110lbs 2x8-12

Pause Leg Curl
70lbs 2x8-12

Calf Raises
460 3x15

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Criticism

I've probably written on this very topic a dozen or so times in many different ways. However, it's a topic that doesn't grow old for me. Why? Because it's always highly relevant in everything I do. I'm constantly reminded about how much I allow criticism (constructive or not) to affect me.

In the past I've lost sleep over comments made about my performances. Many of them not given in spite, most of them being constructive. And why is that?

"I demand perfection."

The hard cold facts is that I won't be perfect for everything. In fact I'm not perfect for many things.

Somebody mentioned the phrase "it's all about context." Truth. The thing that bugs me is that I want to grab at every opportunity that swings by my window and hug that star as it launches me across the moon. But not every star is in reach, some stars won't hold my weight, maybe you're seeing the star and trying to catch onto his celestial tail and drag yourself onto its back. Timing is crucial.

Some things can't be had right now. Not this round. Not with this company. Doesn't mean it won't ever happen. It just isn't meant to be right now.

But that has never stopped me from investing as much as I possibly can into this moment. Blood, sweat and tears.

What comes with this kind of investment strategy is just like any other investment game. Big Wins and Big Losses.

If I half assed my preparation and didn't land a job I could very easily just say "Well, I didn't put much into it. No big deal. I'll get them next time." But when you start investing yourself into the music, language, and the story that these roles represent, spend as much of your free time researching the work, the performance history, and start making as many choices and invest your heart into a story - the sting hurts so bad. And frankly, the joy of the returns don't compare to the sting. Although the rewards of success are nice - they don't feel like a surprise, but rather earned.

But this too, is silly. Just as silly as perfection.

People have called me a perfectionist. But I feel the sting of criticism so much that the title perfectionist bugs me. That and I'm so critical of my work that the flaws pop out so glaringly that all I'm left to do is look at the product and yell "if I'm a perfectionist, why are there so many flaws in my work??"

Criticism is just another resource. Another tool in the box. It's like an involuntary survey - you've got to understand the information that you're receiving and the context it's given. And in the end, if you get butt hurt from receiving criticism, check your ego - search your heart - ask if you really want to do this professionally - and sack up. Criticism is part of the game, learn the rules and play your guts out.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Upper

Bench
185 x 5, 210 x 3, 235 AMRAP (2x1)



Pause Bench
160lbs 2x8-12

1 Arm Pause Chins
BW 1xAMRAP



Reg Pause Chins
BW+5lbs 1xAMRAP

Behind the head Press
75lbs 3x12

Straight Bar Front Raise ss with/
Upright Row
3x8-12 (each)

Face Pull
3x15-20

Bicep/Tricep Superset
2x8-12

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lower

Squats
255 x5, 285 x3, 320 AMRAP (1)



Pause Squats
230 2x6 



Sumo Deads
295 3x8



Deep Leg Press
2 Plates plus 10lbs 3x12

Walking Lunges
10lbs 3x8-12

Calf Raise
440 3x15-20

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Heavy Weights for low reps v.s. Low Weights for High Reps

One of the perks for my parents for allowing me to live in their house (rent free while I build up momentum in my career and save a huge stack of cash) is that they are allowed to hit me up for fitness advice whenever they so choose.

This morning my father asked me while I was in a very sleep deprived state, my hands jittery and shaking while throwing BCAA's into a cup.

"What is better? Heavier weight for low reps or Low weights for high reps."

And again, I was sleep deprived. The evening before I had gone through a whirlwind of excitement from getting a callback to the full boar of doing a very lengthy tech rehearsal where I was wrapped in multiple layers in the summer muggy night. I was a bit mixed up in the head, but luckily I was able to answer the question correctly.

"They are both good for you, you should do both."

At the time I probably came off as an asshole when really I just needed to get to the gym and go about the day before I lost the momentum I created to get myself out of my bed. However, despite how I delivered the message, this is the truth.

Now, I'm going to try my best to not make this a big science article. I'm not a scientist. I'm gonna try to make sense of all of this in a manner that's super simple to understand. In the end the equation we all need to pay attention to total volume.

Sets x Reps x Weight = Volume

Volume is the greatest driver of muscle growth. Basically meaning how much work you're doing, how much TOTAL weight you are lifting and for how long. You do more volume, you get more muscles (assuming you're eating a diet that allows for continued progress.)

Here is two examples. The first is me doing two sets of 225 for 2 reps. The second is me doing 2 sets of 135 for 12 reps.

2 x 2 x 225 = 900

2 x 12 x 135 = 3240

Now, you may look at this and think. "Woah! Lifting lighter weights for more reps is Totally better!"

Yes and No. What the volume equation doesn't show you is what the heavier weights do to your central nervous System (CNS.) That's the voice in your head that goes "holy shit this feels heavy." Strength training also creates more adaptation in your joints and ligaments to better serve your overall life. There's a lot less lactic acid being released, so the training can be a lot less vomit inducing.

"So, lifting heavier is better."

Nah, gurl. Lifting heavy for lower reps can lead to wear and tear on the same joints it's helping and lends itself to over training if not properly periodized. It can also be a little bit more time consuming. In order to get the same volume you achieve from 225 you would get from 135, you'd have to do nearly 8 sets of 2 rep sets. Plus the stimulation you get, "the pump" if you would, isn't nearly as present during the low rep sets. And although the pump isn't necessarily what builds muscle, it does indicate muscle trauma, which is a contributor to muscle growth.

What do I recommend?

Why choose? You can very easily incorporate both high reps and low reps in the same training session and receive benefits from both. Prioritize the strength building movements with the heavier weight and lower rep ranges. Then when you've accomplished the task, Drop the weight down into a higher rep range and get yourself a crazy pump, work up a sweat, and put in that hard work.

For Example:

Bench Press:
160 x5, 190 x5, 215 AMRAP (5)

Pause Bench
150lbs 2x8-12

You've effectively gotten stronger and broken down the muscle. Now you'll get pecs that aren't just sexy, but can actually do something.

Until Next Time

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, September 18, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
100 x5, 115 x5, 130 AMRAP (5)


Pause Overhead Press
125 2xAMRAP (4), 95 1xAMRAP 



Barbell Rows
145 4x8-12

Pause Wide Grip Incline Bench
145 4x6



Pause Pull Ups
2.5lbs 2x6-8

Chest Flys
2x8-12

Bicep/Tricep Supersets

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lower

Deads
340 x3, 390 x3, 435 (5)
This set wore me down...had to do the "warm up sets" off of the platform.

 
3" Deficit Deads
305 2x8

 


Pause Front Squats
Work Up to a Heavy Single, then 75% for 6 Reps
225 x 1
155 x 6

Hack Squat
135 2x8-12

Bulgarian Split Squats
20lbs 2x8-12

Pause Leg Extensions
100lbs 2x8-12

Pause Leg Curl
70lbs 2x8-12

Calf Raises
400 3x15-20

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Lessons Learned on a Waterstage.

Currently I'm in tech week for Julius Caesar with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. This is not only my first venture into straight theatre (non singing acting only) but it's also my first venture into Shakespeare and one of the few outdoor productions I've been a part of.

The Myriad Water Stage theatre in the round is actually a pretty interesting venue. I'm not sure what it was originally intended for, although I've seen concerts performed there often and I myself got to perform selections from Jesus Christ Superstar when I performed Pilate with OCU. The way the stage and seating is structured, you get to see a lot of action on stage. You feel like you have an aerial view of the stage at all times. It's pretty neat.

The double edged sword is working in the open air with the public so nearby, free to sit and watch. On one hand, many people are being exposed to art and the rehearsal process that have never known such a venture. On the other hand, it's difficult to battle the noise that crowds can produce. And Oklahoma, the slowly bubbling metropolis, is now offering a lot more fun public events to the downtown residence. Including free concerts and public movie viewings. All of which we've come in contact with during our rehearsal process.

The elements are very much a factor. The obvious is weather. You have to hope that the clouds cooperate with your artistic vision. Just last evening we had to move our rehearsal in doors because of rain. It's summer currently, and yes it is warm. It's by no means boiling. But you do sweat, and if you don't hydrate you will dehydrate. When I originally thought of Julius Caesar I thought "Oh, neat! We'll get to wear bed sheets wrapped about us like a toga." Nay. Layers. Layers I tell you! The costumes are quite beautiful and do the story a great service. But, easy breezy they are not. Luckily I drink liquids by the trough, so I should be safe.

Along with public gardens and water come animals. At times Oklahoma can have a rather rambunctious duck and geese population. Their make their opinions of Bill's work known frequently with their squawks and much flapping of wings. The coy fish (although many of them have grown to become coy WHALES) make a regular practice of breaching and crashing down with a rather surprising splash. I admire their theatrics, be they intentional or no.

My favorite occurrence in the evening is when the army is preparing to enter to bear down on Brutus and his failing ranks. We stand in a little cove underneath the seating - it's a bit dark, damp, and has some bits of shrubs and nature about. Every evening Hannah (the gal playing Decius Brutus - GENDER BEND) and I patiently wait in the cove, and without fail a lone cricket will let out a chirp. Hannah without turning her face towards the noise and with a neutral face that still somehow bears much disdain will simply say "nope" pushing the reality of that bug's existence out of her scenario. I nearly weep with laughter.

The bugs are the least appealing part of the process. There are a few aggressive fliers that look like military drones as they swoop across the stage. I'll try my best to keep my cool if one should chance upon my brow, but no promises. Rodents aren't usually a problem, or at least a concern. But, we did see a rather large - NYC sized rat the other evening. No repeat sightings have occurred, but a rat once seen cannot been forgotten.

I hope none of this comes across as complaining, because truly I'm having the time of my life. I've found a lot joy in "roughing it" outside in the elements. It's been a while since I've put together a piece where I wasn't enclosed in a large ice box, the realities of the outside shut away as we replicate shrubs and trees with props and sets. A part of me is going to really miss seeing real chicks and ducks when singing Curly's "Surrey with the Fringe on Top" at the Hudiberg Center in October.

I don't stay in theatre for money or comfort. The stories these experiences leave you with are worth their weight in gold.

Until Next Time

Lift Big, Act Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Upper

Bench Press
175 x3, 200 x3, 220 AMRAP (3)
This felt awesome.

 
Pause Bench
155lbs 2x8-12

1 Arm Chins
35lbs 1xAMRAP (5)

Is that a calf muscle???


Regular Chins
35lbs 1xAMRAP

Pause Chins
1xAMRAP

Scott Press
55lbs 4x12 (pyramid) (Back Down Weight Next Week)

Supinated Front Raise
25lbs 2x8-12



Face Pull
3x15-20

Bicep/Tricep Super Set

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lower

Squat
235 x3, 270 x3, 305 AMRAP (3)



Pause squat
245 4x4



Sumo Deadlift
315 4x6



Deep Leg Press
2 plates plus 5lbs 3x12

Walking Lunges
5lbs 3x12

Calf Raises
380 3x15

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Taking Large Steps

Another piece of cool news has come down the pipes. This November I will be singing the role of Miles Gloriousus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum by Stephen Sondheim with Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre.

This particular production will be starring Robert Picardo who has an extensive resume with film and television acting and most notably known for his work as the hologram doctor in Star Trek: Voyager. That's right, ya boy will be rubbing elbows with some upper crust. Be Jealous.


A bit of character history for you, on the house:

Miles Gloriousus in Latin roughly translates to "The Swaggering Soldier" or more specifically the "vainglorious soldier."

Miles Gloriousus is a comedic play written my Titus Maccias Plautus around 254 - 184 BC. It's about a braggart soldier, the source material is a Greek play called Alazon.

Stephen Sondheim brilliantly borrows this character for his piece - elevating the humor with the introduction of an immediate threat to it's heroes.

...Shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia.


I've frequently heard that it's difficult to cast Miles. The demands are very particular. You need a person of significant size and who is at the very least athletic looking - ideally with some muscle mass. I'm glad I could be viewed to have these qualities. (I'm already getting into the bragging spirit.)

But in actuality I'm already preparing to look the part even more in the coming weeks. Lots of additional bodybuilding style training - I'm gonna try to put an inch on my arms and legs. Everything else will more than likely be covered by armor. I let out a bit of a shudder when putting together my training sessions. I'm gonna force myself to grow. It will coincide nicely with all of the "big eating" holidays coming up.

Along with the physical aspects, his song "bring me my bride" is actually a testy piece of music. It sits high but also features some basement notes, and needs to be presented by a powerful commanding voice. It can get shouty and lose it's regal nature (a tactic that I feel is generally used when an individual isn't very confident about hitting the real notes.) It reminds me quite a bit of the middle section of "Avant de Quitter" for all you opera nerds out there.

The issue is going to be balancing all of this with Curly. Miles is very much an extension of what I'm naturally good at. Anger, loud singing, big bold gestures. Curly is a smooth talker, he has a lot of intimate moments that are important to lock in. Curly is very much the "stretching role." The challenge with Miles will be more about the comedic aspects. BUT, the beauty of Miles is that he doesn't consider himself funny. In fact, the sincerity in which he preaches his self worth and delivers his puns is what makes his contribution funny. Just gotta do my job and everything should take care of itself...or so we'll see.

Scheduling is gonna be a big juggling act. I'll frequently be rehearsing for both shows at one time. It's going to take a great deal of focus to keep things in their own boxes. I'm looking forward to the crazy.

Until Next time...I'll be...

Lifting Big, Singing Big, and looking my Absolute Best Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Friday, September 11, 2015

Upper

Overhead Press
60 x 20, 75 x 20, 90 x 20


Barbell Rows
135lbs 4x12



Pause Wide Grip Incline Bench
3x8



Pause Pull Ups
2x8



Chest Flys
2x8-12

Bicep/Tricep Super Set
2x8-12

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lower

Deads
315 x5, 365 x5, 415 AMRAP (7)


3" Deficit Deads
330 2x6


Safety Bar Squat
205 2x4



Leg Press
5 Plates Plus 75lbs 3x12

Bulgarian Split Squat
15lbs 3x8-12 (each leg)

Pause Leg Extensions
90lbs 2x8-12

Pause Leg Curls
90lbs 2x8-12

Calf Raises
360 3x15

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ol' Yeargain returns to Claremore

Well it turns out that your boy, Ol' Yeargain will be returning to Claremore. This October I will be appearing as a guest artist with Rose State in their production of Oklahoma!

"Oh, yeah! I can't wait to see you do Jud Fry again!"

Woah, wait a sec there. I know I did a good job as the dirty hired hand. But this time, Ol' Yeargain is riding into town as Curly McLain.

Curly is one of the original leading men of musical theatre. In order to tell his story you have use a LOT of tools. You use a lot of tactics in basically every scene you're in, you circle talk around every subject, tryin to sneak into a victory. It's only when things are at their pinnacle does Curly finally grow up and step into the forward decisions required of being a man. He is the embodiment of the Oklahoma journey. A piece of territory that has no ties suddenly finds itself rooted into a land and becomes a part of community. It's a beautiful story about growing up, falling in love, and the realities of life.

It also helps that the music is gorgeous and delightfully fun. Getting to perform "Lonely Room" with members of the OKC Philharmonic was beyond a treat, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I get jealous over other peoples tunes. Music is my mistress after all. It's going to feel amazing singing "Oklahoma!" with a full chorus, orchestra to a crowd that will in all likelihood be standing and clapping along. (Its tradition. Happens every time.)

I'm currently waiting to hear about another opportunity that will greatly affect the way I will train for coming months. Ideally I'd be about 10lbs lighter for Curly (in my minds eye at least) so I may be utilizing some carb cycling when it gets closer to stage time. I have not committed to the ideas quite yet. Still kicking some things around right now.

Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Upper

Bench
160 x5, 190 x5, 215 AMRAP (5)



Pause Bench
150lbs 2x8-12

1 Arm Chins
32.5lbs 1xAMRAP (5)
Reg Chins
32.5lbs 1xAMRAP (8)



Pause Chins
BW 1xAMRAP (8)



Scott Press
50lbs 5x12 (Pyramid Set)

Lateral Raise
20lbs 2x8-12

Face Pull
2x8-12

Bicep/Tricep Superset
2x8-12

Lower

Today starts the beginning of a "new program." It's still based in strength, but now I'm giving more recovery time for joints and ligaments between squats and Deads - and I'm going for higher volume and more muscle break down per session. Let's see how this pony rides.

Squat
220 x5, 255 x5, 285 AMRAP (5)



Pause Squat
205 2x8



Sumo Deadlift
330 4x4



Pause Leg Press
2 plates 3x8-12

Lunges
Walking 3x8-12

Standing Calf Raise
340 3x15

Friday, September 4, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
110 x5, 125 x3, 140 AMRAP (3)
120 1xAMRAP (paused)



Heavy Squat
315 Min
230 x 9



Hammer Press
2 Plates plus 5lbs 4x12

Hammer Rows
2 Plates plus 30lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
330 2x6

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Full Body

Deadlift
190 x 20, 240 x 20, 285 x 20

One word. "Brutal."


Scott Press
Pyramid Set (top set 50's) 4x12

Safety Bar Squat
165 2x8



1 Arm Chins
30lbs 1xAMRAP
Reg. Chins
30lbs 1xAMRAP

Chest Flys
4x12

Pause Dips
15lbs 2x8-12



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Post Audition Insomnia

I'm having another one of those classic post audition call back insomnia moments. Today I had an audition and callback. The entire day feeling that elated "God I hope I get it" feeling that dances in your head and sinks into your gut. It also helps that it's another chance for me to see my local performer friends and catch up on their lives. I'm rarely in social situations nowadays. Auditions, callbacks and rehearsals are often the closest I come to a "night out with friends." And being that over stimulated does not sit well for an indoor cat like myself.

Occasionally I sit back and wonder why I'm a performer. I get plenty of thrills with other parts of my life. Squatting and Deadlift frequently prove to be quite fun. But then I'll hear about an audition. I'll flip through my schedule and see where it lands on the calendar. I'll try to place myself in that time of year, I think about the show and it's importance to me - and if I want it bad enough I'll chase it down like hell. That eagerness, that sensation of potential - it's like being in a new relationship.

Calling to get an audition slot often times feels like calling a friend of a friend for a date. "Please let me entertain you for a few minutes, I promise I won't bore you." 

I'll sometimes end up learning the whole show before I've even scheduled my appointment. I'll have the sides memorized before I even sing a note for the audition panel. If I want something and I feel a connection to it, there are few things that will keep me from doing very very well.


Under Pressure


There is something to be said about the weight of pressure one feels when doing an audition or callback. There is a heaviness to the situation. Very few find comfort in it. People either make small talk, or try to make the world smaller but talking about the people you know in common. We'll make jokes about the sides or the show, the music, everybody is reaching for relatability. I've tried the Ol' "where do you come from, what brings you here" kind of thing. It's made for some fun talk that doesn't center around the work in front of us.

I think in some manner we often reach for tangible things we can relate to and eventually we just start reciting our resumes and name dropping. This can get ugly, and I honestly don't think people are intentionally condescending or attempting head games when doing so - but this kind of "one upmanship" is very frequent banter in the audition halls. I'm not ashamed to say that I've engaged in such talk before, it doesn't really bother me when I hear it. I don't assume that anyone is trying to intimidate me, and if they are they are failing. Talk is cheap, my friends. I much prefer action. And after learning to become friends with frequent heavy squatting, you discussing your contact list does nothing to incite fear in me.

I suggest everyone manifest the same mindset, then we can all yack about this and that and just enjoy the company. Everyone in the group is after all, a performer - an entertainer. Lot's of fun to be had.
 

The Waiting Game


It's always a waiting game. You wait for auditions to be posted. You wait for the audition day, then callbacks to be posted or to be informed of said callbacks. Then at the callback you sit and wait as they bring in some people, bring in others, move us around like chess pieces. You often wonder what they are thinking, but to do such pondering is futile.

Then when the callback is done...it's done. You sit and wait for a phone call. Or maybe you start to be much more attentive to your email...just in case, you know? Or you do what we did in college, click refresh on the online callboard until the cast list was posted. It feels like you're taking cortisol injections to the face. Good times.

How does the expression go? It's almost worst not knowing? The post audition feels could be described as a perpetual Shrodinger's cat in the box. Is the cat alive or dead? If I didn't get the part, Who did?

In college the cast list would go up and you'd either see your name or you wouldn't. In professional theatre you just won't receive a call. Then you'll see promos begin to be passed around, you'll see a Facebook event page. Then you'll start to think...I'm pretty sure I didn't get it

...but I better check my email spam folder just to make sure.


Winning


As much as not getting a role (or a callback) sucks, the joy of landing a job feels completely badass. It feels like winning. Which I guess in some ways is very true. If this were a contest, you would have won the contest. But the person cast isn't necessarily booked because of their talent or audition or whatever. It's frequently lost to things completely out of your control. The facts of life. And regardless of the "wisdom" I pretend to understand and convey, losing...or just "not winning" never feels good. 

But frankly I'm trying to not linger on that. I learned a long time ago that you can't live and die by every audition outcome. You'll wear yourself and all of your loved ones out with that roller coaster. Cortisol makes you look like crap.

"Ambition should be made of sterner stuff."
 


Announcements. Kind of.

I'm hoping to move to a mecha where I'll have the opportunity to sing for many auditions multiple times a year, not just a couple of times here and there. Thats right, Ol' Yeargain is gearing up for a potential move to the big apple. And the reason I bring this up is because When and if this happens my job won't be to just sing roles, my job will be to sing auditions. And the focus should never be about the role, it should be about performing a stellar audition. That was a great piece of acting advice bestowed upon by Bryan Cranston.





Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Full Body

Bench
100 x 20, 125 x 20, 150 x 20



Pause Squat
225 2x6



Lat/Row Work
4x12

Leg Press
5 Plates plus 70lbs 3x12

1" Deficit Deads
375 2x6