Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Notes On The Fly

When I worked on MACBETH, my primary actor goal was to master the vocal skills I've been working on. When doing THE TEMPEST, my goal was to find more physical freedom, more fluidity (Jesus--if you saw me in MACBETH, you know what I mean.) Now, on TWELFTH NIGHT, my goal is to nail down my ACTIONS.

I find determining my action to be almost unaccountably difficult. I second guess myself too much. I think I do this because

1) I live so much in my 'thoughts' about a role (rather than THROUGH the role);

2) I don't trust that what I DO feel is enough; that is, I keep expecting an unambiguous emotional connection to emerge through my preparation; and

3) I have a lot of trouble DOING the emotional prep.

I end up going in vicious circles. Thinking too much. Feeling some but not trusting. Going back to thinking to try to make myself feel more.

I find Orsino's action in the Act One, Scene I, tough to analyze (or, rather, I find it tough to trust my analysis. Please don't write in with yours. It'll just get in the way.) And my prep is failing me (I realize that my analysis is only as good as my emotional prep and visa versa.)

Ultimately, the key to unlocking my action? "Emotional access," to put it in a familiar, if crude phrase. I've found a coach to work with me on that.


jason said...

Wow, man, you're really in your head. Let me address your three points:
1) I think there's a disconnect here, you need to sort this out. "Thoughts" about the character's actions in context, or "thoughts" about the work of playing the role? Either way, I say: dump it. The role's been written, it is what it is, your thoughts won't change it.
2)NOTHING emotional emerges from preperation, nor do any connections - or certainly nothing of value. What you're looking for will emerge from ACTION onstage, and INTERACTION with other actors and the audience.
3) Then don't do it. If you know emotionally what's going to happen onstage, then you bypass immediacy and you rob the audience of the moment.

If I add all that up, then look at your primary complaint being that you are unable to determine what your action is, it seems pretty obvious: You're consumed with reaction and emotion, you're playing out the whole thing in your head - you're working backwards. Forget about that other shit. What do you WANT? What are you DOING? ALL the rest will come from that.

Doubtlessly you're training is leading you in the direction of these challenges and is helping you to solve them. So if my comments contradict that, please ignore me.

Fred said...

what the hell, man. it doesn't sound like you're enjoying yourself very much. why don't you look upon each role simply as an opportunity to go out and have fun?

David said...

Fred - Maybe. I certainly don't have as much fun as I probably should early in rehearsals, but hey, WORK is fun, right? I KNOW you get that.

I'm just trying to figure out how the mechanism works, pulling out all the little springs and levers, and putting them back in.

I won't try to take this watch apart too many times.

David Loftus said...

I discovered a somewhat different problem in several of the plays I've worked on recently, because they've been new, untried scripts. I don't tend to do any research, either about the play itself or the era it depicts -- I don't know that it helps at all -- I just try to live strictly in the words, what's written for me to say. After a while in rehearsal, other cast members and the director raised questions about contradictions in the plot, anachronisms, etc., and I was surprised that I hadn't noticed hardly any of this stuff . . . I guess because I was working so hard to make it work, however I could. I felt kinda stupid.