Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mrs. Warren - February 14th

Feb. 14, 2008

Allan stuck his finger out at me tonight on one of his lines and I responded by making a fake chomp at it with my teeth. Wonderful! You never stop discovering new things. Even up until the closing performance. That’s part of what makes it all worthwhile and keeps the fun going. Else you “phone it in” as I have seen man an actor do, and the audience knows when you’re doing that.

At this stage - with only three performances left, one begin to think about things a little differently. If you loathe the show you’re in, you can’t wait for it to be over. And many a time you actually mark Xs on your calendar with glee. A countdown to the end of misery. I’ve done that on occasion. But usually it has to do more with when you’ll be rid of a miserable director, than the play itself. You can’t WAIT for him to be out of your hair. Usually directors leave the day after opening. Though there are times when some wretch will come back and give you periodic notes in a long run. Usually that’s left to a competent stage manager to do. And some of THEM can be pretty obnoxious too, when they want to play director and think they ARE. But that’s another story. Our Stage Manager, Catherine, is just a joy.

Anyway, one tends to start cutting up a bit more when you know you’ve only a few performances left. You suddenly take more chances. This is, after all, your last opportunity to perfect it, or try something new. For in a few days it will be history. The waves will roll in and high tide will demolish your pretty sand castle. It will only be a memory in the minds and perhaps the hearts of those who witnessed it.

Thoughts also stray to those regions of: “I wonder when I’ll work again? Will they have me back? Have I made any difference?”

I always used to think that I had made lifelong friends during a show. For the camaraderie is not terribly unlike that of a soldier in a war, I would imagine. Intense times and emotional revelations and sharings. You allow yourself utter vulnerability on stage with a stranger and that tends to bond you. Or so I always thought.

I was one that often fell in love with my leading man because when I was on stage with him I WAS in love with him. (My character was.) It took me many years to realize that I was simply in love with the character he portrayed and not the actor himself. It also took me many years to realize that the camaraderie I felt with fellow cast and crew did not create a watertight bond as I would have wished. Oh you can pick up where you left off should you work together in another show or meet them on the street. But rarely does anyone get a permanent place in the address book.

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