Thursday October 22nd, 2015
Hi blogosphere! Been awhile! I’ve missed you. After the insanity leading up to opening night I took some time off from writing to catch up on life and just focus on doing our lovely show. The audiences have been great and I’ve been having lots of friends and family coming, which has been wonderful. As actors we often work out of town where friends and family are not able to see our shows so it is always a great treat to work in town and have folks come out and support you.
We are all just loving doing the show. It continues to be such a great challenge on so many fronts. Though it is often hysterical it is not the kind of comedy with guaranteed laughs at the same places every night. Talked about this a bit last time with the whole ‘asking for the cup of tea’ example. Because we never leave the stage and when we are not central to the scene happening we are right there watching (sometimes mere inches away from the action) this play continues to demand a sense of commitment from the actor. A commitment to being present and to listening and participating whether you are speaking or not (just ask Rory. He only has a few lines but has to be present & focused at every moment.)
All the ‘scenes’ in Travels are quite short as the action changes so rapidly. Probably the longest scene in the play is about 2 pages long. Some performances for whatever reason (contact lens drying, lips chapped, dry mouth, or disruptions like audience member coughing or cell phones going off) a scene or a moment is thrown and a laugh or a beat is not fully realized. In this play there is no licking your wounds in the corner and coming back for a redo-I think of it very much like competitive ice-skating. Everyone is watching and waiting for your leap or your jump- rooting for you to make it (or in some cases to fall on your ass). However, when a skater falls on their ass and misses their jump they don’t crawl off the ice and give up. No, they get back on their skates immediately and continue their program with even more vigor and commitment. Also, when a skater lands his or her leap they don’t stop and congratulate themselves. They are on to the next leap. Acting in a play like this is the same. When I don’t get a laugh or someone sneezes during a poignant moment or I just get distracted there is a part of me that wants to stop and redo (or cry or scream) but instead I get back on the horse and commit even more to the next moment.
Our play is complicated and asks a lot from our audience. And the energy of each audience is always different (see an earlier blog post). But, just because one night feels full of big raucous laughters and the next night is full of quiet, smiling listeners it doesn’t mean one is better or more successful than the other. It is LIVE theatre. LIVE in that moment, that evening, in front of that group of individuals. And then it’s gone. Until tomorrow and another group of individuals appear to watch it.
A bit esoteric perhaps…but for an actor that is our life. The candy wrappers and the standing ovations, the snorers and the Bravos, the coughers and the moments when you can hear a pin drop. We’ll be putting on our skates again tonight at 7:00 for a new group of folks. Come on and join us!
Ciao for now,