Making Connections with Spit and Old Tape

It’s another foggy Thursday morning, except today the fog is only in my head. I was at dress rehearsal until after 11:30 last night.

I just reread my last entry and I think I may have been wrong about a few things, but I’ll start with what was correct, primarily my statement: It’s a ridiculous amount to have consumed in this short time. Last week feels like a year ago in some ways and an hour ago in others. I’m not sure what the show looks like or plays like to an audience, but it feels barely held together with spit and old tape, and any bad wind could set the whole thing crumbling.

I’m probably wrong about that.

I did, however, have some new thoughts and discoveries during the dress rehearsal that made me feel like an actor again. There were a couple moments, several in fact, which included each of my fellow cast mates (except the one I’m never on stage with) where I found new details in the interaction—where I was really listening, or I could see them really listening to me, or they had found new discoveries themselves which informed the moment and made me respond differently than I had before……Connections! Oh, that’s the word. (I tell you, I’m in a fog.) Plus, a whole new beat emerged, quite out of nowhere, because I had actually been listening (there’s that word again) and responding and, sort of, living in the moment. A new idea, a sort of detour, took me over here for a moment, where I’d never been.

So while that was exciting (and as an actor I always find it is) I also realize I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, if this were a regularly sized rehearsal period these are the kinds of details and nuances and moments, etc., that we would be creating and finding. It’s just that this time it’s being accompanied by calculating quick changes, trying on clothes and discovering what it’s really like to have liquid in that glass.

(And hoping the glass is clean and the water potable, but let’s not worry about that, shall we?)

Where I went wrong last week was exactly where I knew I was wrong as soon as I thought it the first time: It’s all plot. As long as you’re the one doing the A you only need to listen to the Q. While that might be true about learning lines, it doesn’t do anything for making theatre, even in a mystery. Without some character layers we’d all become two dimensional, boring and unsympathetic, and hence a waste of time to anyone sitting in the house. I should be ashamed for having said it. I only hope that the work we’ve done, and the discoveries made last night, help add some dimensions. And I hope the “touch of noir” styling doesn’t play antidote to those dimensions, but instead enhances the whole experience.

Either way, I have only one more chance work out the kinks before opening, and then a whole run to make sure it’s right.

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