Sunday, October 22, 2006

Moment to Moment Work - Directing Journal Vol. 2

The Baltimore Waltz is a play done in thirty very short scenes. I really think it's important for the actors to be able to work at the play in sections, with intensive notes from me after each short run through. As an actor I know that it really helps to be able to repeat a short section numerous times with specific adjustments from the director. Doing this allow the scene to get further into the actor's psyche and body.

Often directors will just have actors run an entire act once or twice during a given rehearsal, and often they never stray from this routine. In my view this is usually an mistake. The actors never get a chance to do work on difficult sequences several times. For guidance, I turn to the French word - répétition. which is the word the French use for rehearsal. I think that repetition is really the key for an actor in feeling free and comfortable on opening night. It's such a simple concept, but often neglected. There is really something to be said about doing things over an over in order to perfect them.

It could be that in our acting world, which has been so effected in good ways and bad by The Method, we sometimes believe that repeating something too many times will make it stale. To some extent that may be true for film, but on stage, I don't believe it's true. On stage you want the performers to be so grounded and confident in all of their moments, so that it frees them to really be present.

Fortuneatly, I have a group of actors who take direction and my requests for subtle changes so easily.  I also have a stage manager that remembers every minute detail of blocking that I have mumbled over the last number of days.

Tonight we worked on the first twelve scenes. The last being an hilarious bedroom scene combined with a tour through the Louvre. It's kind of hard to explain. You'll have to come and see the show.

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