Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Oklahoma Shakes Day Nine

A good deal of my work now is about relaxing on stage both mentally and physically, a challenge for any actor, and perhaps a larger one for me than for most. In CHAA, I need to hold myself open and mentally limber, both because that's the only way to make the timing work (if I'm thinking during a bit, the bit is blown) and I have routine in which I, in the persona of George W. Bush, field live questions from the audience. To do that, I can't stiffen up or give into terror. In rehearsal, the Bush bit is going surprisingly well. My basic formula is to misinterpret what anyone says (e.g. when asked about the LDS in Utah, I said something about Timothy Leary. When the audience member tried to correct me, I said I'd always driven Cadillacs; that sort of thing) or mangle the words (e.g., an audience member said his name was "Joseph," I jumped in to tell him I really enjoyed his show about his "Amazing Technicolor Raincoat.") I can only breathe deeply and pray I can carry forward this mental ease into actual performance (we're also going to save the best improv moments from rehearsal to plant in the audience during performance, if necessary.)

In Henry IV, there's a great knife fight between Henry and the Earl of Douglas. The fight goes across a platform, down some steps, up some steps, and requires that I move the knife from one hand to another a couple of times. If it goes well, I'll look like an eff'n ninja. To make this work, I have to stay fluid as well as on target. Any physical tension I carry at all will blow the illusion. Of course, this is true in ALL my acting, so this fight will pay off for me in more ways than one.

I'm posting later than usual this morning because I don't have dance call for G&Ds. Brannigan doesn't dance. Put smiley face here.

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