Friday, June 06, 2008

Oklahoma Shakes Day Four

• After a 13.5 hour workday, a few of us shared a couple pitchers of beer at the local smoke-filled, slot machine filled bar, which is housed in not much more than a double-wide prefab a few hundred yards off campus. It felt good to sit down with a few of the older members of the company. Of thirty actors, two of us are in our forties. Three or four are in their very early thirties. At one point, Charles (Fallstaff), Paul (Henry's director) and I abruptly dropped the conversation we were having to belt out drunkenly the Janis Joplin number on the juke box (this bar looks red neck, but has a great juke box!) Ben (Hal), who is thirty, stared at us with the blankest expression I've seen in ages. It was a genuine generational moment. Loved it.

• Today, we're running through all of CHAA and working monologues in Henry. Paul says he has no agenda with the monologues and is most interested, at this point, in simply investigating what the actors themselves find most useful or needful. My opening monologues feel like they're in good shape, as do my monologues late in Part I. I'm not yet grounded in the long, long monologues at the end of Part II, though, so we'll look at those. I think I'm feeling hesitant about getting too 'emotional' in these driven speeches, which are by turns internal and forcefully manipulative of others.

• Another thing I discovered in the blocking rehearsals: I'm hesitant to take my speeches straight out to the house, so I often upstage myself, turning to the lords and sons gathered behind me on stage. And, for "How many thouand of my poorest subjects are at this hour asleep," I have to build a bullet-proof, really interesting fourth wall, in order to give myself enough privacy to let the detail work of that speech take me to where the audience needs me to go with it.

• One nice moment yesterday: because we're in all three shows, the cast of CHAA was released from all work calls (shop, costumes, painting, etc.). Niiiiiiiice.

• This morning: my voice is roughed up and I need to order more "Singer's."

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