Saturday, April 01, 2006

A Good Day in the Theater

Yesterday was a good day for acting. In the morning, Neal and I sat in lawn chairs in the parking lot of Gearhead, and between phone calls and service to customers, we talked about the script ideas running so profluently through Neal's head. One of them is called "Pendleton," at the heart of which is a story of moral character and redemption. It's a story that appreciates deeply the role of roots and family in making our fates--or better, preparing the opportunities to which fate introduces us--without descending into psychobabble or spiritual wishful-thinking. It's also a story in which I get to act. I'm both energized and happy not only to be a collaborator in making it into a film, but also to be making it for the right reasons. Neal and I both want to grow as artists by doing truthful and engaging work, and by doing the WORK, instead of letting the work get watered down by the desperate careerism which comes so easily, and is so deadly to art (the only bummer in this project is that I envy Neal's story-telling instincts and protean imagination. The bastard.)

After going to the gym in the afternoon, I met with Aislinn and Neal to rehearse a scene for class. On our own, Aislinn and I had not been paying adequate attention to establishing a place for the improvisation we were preparing as a rehearsal for the scene we're studying, from "A Doll's House," and felt flummoxed, whenever we tried. Neal quickly showed us that we were interpreting the task of 'establishing place' as 'dressing the set,' or art direction. He put us on the right track by economically asking 1) what's your action? (for me, it was "to interrupt;" for Aislinn, it was "to entertain); and 2) where have you performed these actions before? (For me, it was a classroom with harsh lighting; for Aislinn, it was a small, claustrophobic space). With those cues, he then directed us to change the lighting and make our playing space smaller, with stage furniture on hand. Voila! Aislinn and I then had support from our environment in which to work. Subsequently, we had a productive rehearsal.

In the evening, I did my bit in "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer." The show went well, we had another happy (if small) audience. I anticipate a favorable review in The Oregonian, this week, as their reviewer was in attendance. And, my friend Suzy got to see that I thanked her in the program for her "somewhat delusional constancy and support," which I think pleased her. I hope so, because she's been a f@!king good friend.

All in all, a satisfying day.

5.5

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