Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mrs. Warren - First Run Through

Jan. 16, 2008

Had our first run through today. Not too bad actually. A bit on a rocky road here and there, a few potholes that need filing, but on the whole I think we did pretty darn good. Lines I’ve never missed before in my life I missed tonight. But it’s ever thus. When you’re in the heat of a new emotion, the lines fly away. You can know them stone cold perfect when you’re doing them at home, but it’s a whole ’nother ball game when you’re actually acting them in earnest.

I found it very helpful today to just calm down and tell my story in Act II and to trust in Mr. Shaw’s lines. And one of the reasons I was able to do that was because I saw Olivier’s “Entertainer” a night or two prior. And he has an enormous monologue of a story. And you just sit there rapt watching it. A good story is a good story and if you tell it truthfully, you can trust that an audience will find it interesting. Of course if you’re an Olivier, you can read the phone book and make it interesting. And I must allow that I have a wee bit of talent me’self and trust in my abilities. But Act II of this piece is truly a daunting experience for the lady who plays the “Mrs.” It’s quite a train ride with many different stations and countries to visit. But an audience must be willing to listen hard to the philosophical discussions being represented. In this age of quick cuts and brief sound bites, we should not fault ourselves too much for gentlemen snoring in the front row. Just hope that you don’t suddenly turn and find yourself looking in their direction. That can be a little off putting.

Speaking of off putting - for years announcements have been made in theatres to turn off pagers, and now cell phones. But there is always some idiot who fails to do so. Hear this - should you be in that category of idiots - you not only jar the actors’ sensibilities and take us right out of the moment and time period of the play, but you also do so for your fellow audience members. You horribly remind us all that we are in a theatre and remove us all from the emotional reality that is going on. And you are a total boor. If I had my druthers I would stop the show and smash your cell phone to bits and bar you from any further live theatrical entertainment. There is a shared intimacy between actors and their audience and you belong rather in a sporting arena where the general cacophony of the event will swallow your cellular rudeness.

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