We opened Henry to a small but vocally enthusiastic house last night. I felt relieved to have an audience, which helps me feel more playful and go the extra distance to make sure I'm telling my story, from moment to moment. I didn't quite do all that I wanted--e.g., my monologue at the top was 'strong' but not as pliable or rich as it can be--but I definitely told the story. If in doubt, make sure the customers can understand what you're saying--which means diction, phrasing, musicality, and taking as many clues from the verse as possible--and I did do all that within the limits of my current skill. I'm also far more at ease in stillness on stage than I used to be. The kind of visible tension that audiences saw in me when I played Banquo a couple of years ago for Portland Actors Ensemble, for example, is no longer so apparent, if not gone completely. There was a nice bump up in the applause meter when I came out for my solo bow, so I don't believe I befuddled, or utterly bored, the customers. And ultimately, it's about the customers.
[Something I noticed in myself pre-show: even though I felt both energized and focused, I also found myself irritable. I didn't want actors talking to me in the hour-and-a-half prior to fight call. And while I was running my lines aloud in the dressing room--at a very low volume--and a couple of actors jokingly told me to do it in my head --including one who went up on his own lines in performance--I almost took a couple of heads off. So... hunh. From now on, I'm going to respect my need for privacy, pre-performance, while also respecting the need for privacy or giddy chat by others. It's my process, and I'll do what it takes. Actors need a little diva in them to go out on stage at all.]
Today, we have a run-through of G&D in the afternoon and a cue-to-cue in the evening. Then, we have the next two days off. I'm not entirely looking forward to it. I must, must, must make progress in my homework for Jack (i.e., 12 monologues, four books to read) and the SOSU campus is not a comfortable place to hang out. I'd consider driving down to Houston, but gas is expensive. I'll probably pop down to Dallas for a bit, see a movie, visit a friend, drink a bit with colleagues, spend the night.