I love working on scenes with actors. I absolutely love it!
Last night I wrote about the art of watching. Well, tonight’s rehearsal was about watching, and talking, and taking action.
We looked at several scenes — and some songs that play like scenes — and broke them down beat by beat to identify motivations; clarify what’s being communicated to the audience; amplify volume of both voice and gesture; sharpen the focus; add more layers of action, reaction, and intent; and resolve issues which had once been stumbling blocks.
That last one might be my favorite: turning stumbling blocks into pedestals. They say the moments you hate in early rehearsals will become the ones you love, if you work at it. And it’s true. When we take the time to identify and discuss problem areas, a clunky exit can be re-imagined as a victorious one. A bumbling chase scene can transform into one with pinball precision. Manipulation of costume pieces can clarify a string of confusing plot twists. Repetition of a simple action can form a scintillating comic rhythm in a moment which was previously somewhat flat.
And everyone loves a dramatic eyebrow! One breakthrough moment came when I encouraged an actor to tell the story with his magnificently expressive eyebrows (what would I give for eyebrows like those?!). That one little suggestion opened a floodgate of character embodiment, made the storytelling crystal clear, and fostered a delightful new connection with the audience.
Performances begin next week. Get those tickets!!