So in one of my conversations with Mom I mentioned that in 2019 I hoped to direct a play, or if nothing else act again. So what did I get for Christmas – 2 books on directing and 3 on acting. As I told a friend, I will be the a well read theater rat at least.
I have posted earlier snippets from William Ball’s “A Sense of Direction, Some Observations on the Art of Directing”, now let me share some pearls of wisdom from Walt Witcover’s – “Living on the Stage”.
All performing artist – singers, dancers, musicians, mimes, clowns, and lion tamers – share a common special problem. In contrast to the “creative artist” – such as painters, writers and composers, who can create when and where they choose, anywhere at anytime – the actor , like all performers, must create on demand. … The performer’s work – the performance – is offered for the audience’s approval or disapproval at the very moment it is made! Terrifying!
And referring to an actor, he said –
His entire being is his instrument to be played upon by the author, the director, the composer, the conductor, the designers and the actor himself. And he must always seem to be no acting – not performing.! As Harold Clurman puts it, he must tell “Lies like Truths”: *To be in the public and seem to be in private * To repeat over and over again and have it seem always to be the very first time – unrehearsed, unanticipated, unknown * To engender passionate concern for things, people, and ideas that do not matter to himself in the least * and finally – to do what Hamlet calls the “monstrous” thing – to “force his soul” to create real physical and emotional responses to totally imaginary stimuli
Pretty thought provoking statements. Trying to keep those in mind as I learn the lines for “Making God Laugh”. Maddie is a very real character, she is witty, goofy, passionate, passive- aggressive, carries around heart-pain and loves deeply. Several of her lines could be played over the top and several shouldn’t. Over the next few months will be the exploration of what should be what. So that hopefully by the time we open I will appear to be living on the stage and not performing.
Okay so I have until Jan 7th to get the first act in my head, so back to memorizing!