Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Risk of Copying Yourself

 It is good to come at a new work with a slight tingle of fear that in your enthusiasm, you've bitten off more than you can digest.

Perhaps your enthusiasm was given that extra boost of enthusiasm by memories of times you found yourself so interior during a project that it seemed to take on a life of its own, a life beyond you, leaving you an observer rather than a participant.

 If the beginning efforts of a work prove problematic,being able to reside inside the work to the point of establishing a doorway through which you may enter in order to do the necessary interior work is fraught, seemingly impossible.  Yet it is the impossibility of the undertaking that at last secures entry and makes some kind of finishing touches possible.

Impossibility plays a dominant role in a drama,setting from the starting moments a standard of thought, connectivity, and technique you hope to approximate rather than achieve.  If you feel the material is resident in the comfort zone of your grasp, you come into the task too relaxed, perhaps even a tad too confident, to make the necessary leap from the observation of your notes and outline into a vision of entirety.

If you sense waves of reserve,bordering on outright fear at the number of elements necessary to manage, your chances have already begun to improve.

To reach the point of enjoying the particular work enough to feel you are inside it and a part of it, you must be willing to travel to the edges of familiarity.  Practice does augur a greater refinement, but even then, the practice for a specific   feature some leap into unknown or unseen portions of the stage; you must not be entirely confident.  

An actor performing in a long stage run must find ways to move into the character to the point of finding some gesture, some nuance of interpretation that makes the performance more than refined repetition.  However refined the repetition is, it will still emerge as something you did to good effect, recognized it as such, then needed to vary in some way that would cause you time of fear that you had lost the inside position and were resorting to replication of something that had worked earlier--in rehearsal.

If fear doesn't get you there, perhaps anger will; something is necessary to keep you away from being derivative, of others and of yourself.  It is every bit as important to keep ahead of the vision as it is to strive for it in the first place.  If you are too busy observing how good you were earlier, you will miss the necessary frisson that will become your vehicle to ride into the next performance.  

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