Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It's Not Like This is Out of Nowhere

Last night was my favorite rehearsal so far. As stage manager, I've attended them all and kept mostly quiet as is my job description, but as the primary writer on the script and a member of the ensemble I feel like a part of the journey just as much as Jenny and the cast. For me, Tuesday night was the first time I really saw the actors breaking into the hard psychological issues of their characters and asking the tough questions they'll need answered in order to play their roles.

It's no coincidence these questions came up at this rehearsal. We had some pretty intense scenes on the docket - James' collapse, Danny's explosion, and Emily's conversation with God are all pivotal moments near the end of the play. But for the first time I heard actors asking questions about the truths that bely their actions. Not just the easy ones, either, where the actor fishes for the easy out, but important details about previous events and relationships that color the action on stage.

For a process like this, where the actors are so involved in the playwrighting, it's easy for the artist to think they already know everything about his/her character. But no matter how a play is written or conceived, and no matter how much of an expert the actor is on the given script, the process of asking questions, exploring action, making mistakes, becoming frustrated, asking more questions, making more mistakes, and learning every action and intention by heart by heart by heart is why the theatre is more alive than any art form next to music. That process cannot be bypassed, it cannot be disregarded in any way. Any actor or director who think they can just skip on by the hard stuff is bound to be met with failure. Any actor or director who takes the time to do it right will always find success in some form or another.

Process process process process process process process.

I'm glad to see it coming along. I'm trying to keep my mouth shut, I swear. I don't know what the fuck I'm gunna do. Perhaps I'll do a little dancing!


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