Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Matching Actions

Eric Hissom beautifully and delicately underplays Jim Tyrone, Jr., in The Arden Theatre's current production of Moon for the Misbegotten, directed by Matt Pfeiffer. Eric is a smaller man than me with a light, crisp tenor voice, which contrasts to my larger profile and baritone voice with chestier tone.  Reading the script aloud yesterday with Jennifer Summerfield, who understudies Josie, I realized once again that my job as Eric's understudy is to realize his actions--his intentions--with out overt mimicry of his physical choices, which don't fit on my body or in my voice.  E.g., I would love to mimic Eric's little half-dance he often does, but considering that my stride is half again as long as his I might end up in the audience.  If he hops like a bird, I'd bound like a stork. I do want to find Eric's combination of light vocal delivery with addled, neuropathic, often sluggish physical gestures, but I need to be patient if I don't find a combination that satisfies me in the condensed rehearsal period available for understudies.

I find that understudying is a terrific opportunity to rediscover the qualities of my own instrument.

3 comments:

Angela said...

Eric Hissom is a grad of my program, and his wife works for my theatre. :) The world is small.

David Millstone said...

The theater world is particularly small, yah?

Eric and I are the same age but he's been acting, what, 25+ years (and I've been chipping away at it 7.) The dude is a fine actor.

Jon said...

David, as an outsider to the process, I really enjoy reading posts like this, and learning from them. Please continue to report your experiences with this situation, as time and inclination allow. And thank you.