Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rani Brings To Life The Big Funk

It was with great pleasure that I began to make my mark on the radio industry hosting a guest driven show, attending, games and concerts, and befriending media members, athletes, and coaches. It was only a matter of time before I would begin to dominate the ratings book on route to a hall of fame career! Only, destiny disagreed. A couple years after graduating college, I was out of shape, unemployed, and heart broken. The expected rise to the top had turned out to be a downward spiral to rock bottom. I drowned my sorrows in taking a thirty minute film script from a college script writing course and turning it into a full length feature. After completing a draft, I felt it best to register for acting class. A week before class began I was told I would be assigned a scene from Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and my scene partner would be a young talented actress named Rani. On the first day of class I arrived early and found a seat waiting for Rani to enter. Then a young woman walked in, exchanged pleasantries with the instructor, and turned to me and said, "Hi Israel, I'm Rani. I'll be your scene partner." I had the opportunity to spend time with her as she read through our scene and told me a bit about herself. One thing was immediately clear, I was going to really like this young woman because somehow in some way she was going to redefine my life. It is a feeling I had experienced before and it always came true. She was fun and displayed a no nonsense approach which shined through her determination and toughness. Prior to meeting Rani I had the belief that the three basics of acting were memorize lines, display some pretend emotions when the script called for it, and toss in an accent when appropriate. In my first session with rani she dispelled those and immediately went to work on helping me build my foundation as an actor. She had a natural ability of knowing when to be demanding and in my face and when to be supportive and tender. It was the most educational experience for me as an actor aside from the day I finally stepped on to a Chicago stage for the first time as a professional actor in front of a live audience who had paid to see me evoke a response, take them on a journey, and carry a show. What I took from my scene partnership with Rani became the foundation for not only my artistic life but for my personal life. She opened my soul to experience emotions I had never had as an artist and as a person. She was not only my first scene partner in my first acting class, but she was the first director I ever had. She had the ability to tap into me as no one ever had to bring out what no one ever did. She was that talented. She continues to be that talented! She has a gift and ability to bring out the best in people even if it means being as she was with me, a one woman wrecking crew tearing down my walls then digging her heels in then being a one woman search party reaching down into my core finding a dead spirit breathing life back into it pulling it out and saying, "Here. This is your best!"

Rani's ability to bring the best out of talented individuals is on display currently, but this is the final week to see it with The Big Funk directed by Rani Blair-O'Brien

"The director, Rani Blair-O’Brien, has done a great job corralling these performance and gets the upper register from the meta-psychic storage of each actor."

presented at Red Tape Theatre. St. Peter's Episcopal Church 2nd Fl. 621 W. Belmont Ave. Thursday at 7:30p, Friday and Saturday at 8p. For tickets, please log on to:

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