I suppose it shouldn’t be funny to me really, but I do find a recent discovery of mine rather amusing.
Without fail, no matter how crazy my day has been, no matter how discombobulated my state of mind is when I enter the theatre, a good rehearsal will always set me straight.
Today, for instance. In an outrageous dose of universal insanity, I managed to double-
book my lunch hour thereby nearly missing an important meeting for my show because I was at an important meeting for my podcast. One phone call from my director and a frantic drive from Burlington to Somerville later and I was late, albeit intact. Halfway through that meeting, the AD (a colleague of mine) mentioned we should wrap things up since we both had to be at another meeting that I had heard about but apparently didn’t put in my schedule. Luckily, meeting two didn’t run up into rehearsal for show two (but these two surprise meetings did manage to eat what I thought was an afternoon which I had to myself and my writing or, more likely, my lines). Luckily, I had woken up early to hit the gym before my day started so that I’d have the afternoon to do work. Also luckily, I had hit my script pretty hard the day before so I was prepared for rehearsal.
I got to rehearsal out of breath, out of sorts, and out of my mind.
But Shakespeare. The act of making Shakespeare. Speaking the words, feeling the emotions, being in a real theatre on a real stage with my fellow actors grounded, centered, and utterly soothed the insanity that had been the day away from me.
It’s still a dream to be Rosalind. I wake up in the mornings and can’t quite believe that I have this amazing opportunity. Then again, my life tends to work this way; hazy hopes coalesce years later in ways that I never could have foreseen when I first hatched the aspiration.
Things are not-so-slowly clicking into place. I managed the entirety of rehearsal tonight sans script in hand (though many calls of “LINE!” were made). I am hoping to progress forth free from the tethers of the page, though of course will need to return to it between stage-times to really dig into my text and find the specificity that Shakespeare demands.
Today’s discovery: levity. As I have previously mentioned, my ways tend to be bullish. I see a target, I throw myself after it. Onstage, this will manifest itself as flat and one-dimensional. If I play one thing until I achieve my objective, I will be playing that one thing the ENTIRE SHOW since the point of a play is not to satisfy the characters (especially the main characters) until the very end. As a result, the counter-points to any single emote or tactic will help to highlight that tactic.
This came into play in I.iii when Rosalind is banished by Duke Ferdinand. At this point, Rosalind busts into some eloquent yet severe verse and demands certain explanations of the banishing Duke which he does not give her. Hammering this with a constant aggression, even if that aggression builds, will only make the audience feel like they’re being yelled at.
And so, counterpoint. Rosalind does stop herself twice to throw honoraries at the Duke. These are good moments in which to show restraint, an attempt at calming one’s self, or whatever acting choice I decide to make.
Sounds simple and self-explanatory when I break it down that way. Also sounds like something they teach you day one of actor training. Funny how easy it is to forget the basics when you’re fretting about your lines, worrying about hitting your marks, listening to your scene partner, and trying to keep the scene fresh and not get stuck in the rut of “this worked, let’s do it again”.
In any case, I should to bed as it is currently half past eleven and, for some unholy reason, the university decided to hold a mandatory TA orientation at 8:30 AM tomorrow. Let’s look at the logic of this for a moment: a mandatory gathering of graduate students during which one hopes to impart to them information which is vital to the rest of their teaching career. This gather, clearly extremely important, to be held at 8:30 on a Friday morning the week before classes start so that their still-summer-sodden minds are awash with the blinking confusion of “semester hasn’t started yet”. I wonder what the powers that are truly believe the attendance percentage of their incoming TAs at this meeting will be. I assume this belief is nothing short of delusional else some semblance of sanity would have kept them from propagating the clearly inhumane treatment of already underpaid nearly-slave labor workers.
Yet another thing to add to my list of “won’t dos” for when the revolution comes and I instate myself as stringent but benevolent dictator over the ivory tower.
I’m wondering if I should order a large leatherback chair, or if I should go with the traditional crown and scepter to denote my status.
Maybe I’ll have the revelation tomorrow as I drive my still-sleeping carcass to orientation.