Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oklahoma Shakes Day Twenty-six

Tempers are fraying here and there within the company. It's week four, we open two shows early next week, and we've been living, working, socializing and drinking on top of one another all this time. One of my roommates and I are in three shows together and both of us have strong personalities. We're genuinely fond of each other, and I respect his professionalism on set and skills and instincts as an actor (he's very funny in CHAA and powerful in Henry), but yesterday, I'd had him 'up in my grill' (as the youngsters say) a bit too much and wanted to kill him. You know, with rocks and power tools and and hammers, that kind of kill him. But, I'm comfortable saying I wanted to kill him because he's also very good at bouncing back (the professionalism!) and putting feelings into context, and I do genuinely enjoy him--and he enjoys me (he's very, very supportive of my work, which I hugely appreciate!) so I know our stage chemistry will remain fun and interesting.

In our last Henry tech rehearsal, video was layered in, and suddenly I found that one of my big speeches--"How many thousand of my poorest subjects are at this hour asleep"--was set, before I was entirely through my own rehearsal process for it. A video is cued to start, in silence, at the top of my speech, and the audio is cued to start at the end. During the silent part of the clip, the character "Rumor" walks from the background into close up. To make this work, my speech must not go over or under time. I'm not unhappy with the shape I've given the speech--nor with the pace of it--but, it is a tad more steady--metronomic--than I would like. So, if I'm to create room for continued creative play with it, I need to vary the tempo within the time I have. If I quicken my tempo in one place, I'll need to slow it down in another. TEMPO is one of my challenges, however, so to do this is going to take some concentration and daring on my part... if I do it. And, I probably will. At least, just enough to keep the moment filled out. I'm not complaining, though. Timing action in this way is a basic skill of film acting, one I need to improve on and keep fresh. I can't do film or television if I don't know how to hit my mark every take while remaining alive and in the moment.

Liz, an actress I spend some time with on our nights off, was telling me last night that she never gives notes to other actors and certainly doesn't want to get them. She's very clear on that. I, on the other hand, have always been an insecure actor and have sought affirmation from fellow actors (see first paragraph of this post), which doesn't help me work better and pushes other actors away. Therefore, I hereby vow to stop that. From here on out, I shall seek direction from the director, and only from the director. It shall take some discipline, but just saying it, frankly, I feel better already. Keeping my vow will be most challenging at UH, in an academic rather than professional setting, but there it is. I'm ready to trust the work.

1 comment:

Jon said...

Once again, I have to report (lest you fear nobody's listening) that I am enjoying these reports hugely. Just feeling that I know that slight bit more now, about an actor's day-to-day experience in this sort of situation. Thank you!