We open MACBETH next Friday for a five week run, Friday and Saturday evenings only. Today, I'm giving thought to what I want to accomplish in my performance. Beyond all my worries about technique, perspicacity, or simple talent, I want to do one thing:
Give our audience something it wants to hear.
So, how do I do that? For starters: listen to the audience. Meet it's energy. Don't pretend this is "fourth wall theater" (as an actress put it the other day). Allow the audience to take it's part in the dramatic action by neither ignoring it when I feel it's interest rise nor punishing it when it's interest fades (that is, don't rush the action, on the one hand, or attempt to stick to my acting 'plan' when it's not working, on the other.)
Trust the audience's desire to hear a story. They don't come out with blankets and lawn chairs on a cool June night to watch me feel embarrassed or otherwise defend myself against my vulnerability at exposing my own delight in what I'm doing, for good or bad. No, people in the audience come out to hear me spin a good yarn and have a blast doing it. They want to see and hear me enjoy THEIR company (it would simply be rude to do anything less.) And if I'm going to hang myself, they want to see me DO it with all my heart, not half way, not with an embarrassed half smile or faltering step.