Sunday, April 30, 2006

Back to Basics

There's this show on the Sundance Channel that I just love. It's called Slings & Arrows and it's about a Canadian theatre festival and all the goings on. Each season centers on one (or possibly 2) Shakespeare shows and the action of the characters mirrors the play. I love it for a lot of reasons. So many reasons. And not all of them are Paul Gross scantily clad.

One of the other things is how much it makes me want to be in a play again. A Shakespeare play. The real deal. They actually show the process of making a play and then of performing it, give you the feel of how scary it is and then how amazing it feels.

For the first time in a long time I did more than one performance last week. Four shows in as many days. I forgot how much that changes how you perform. A one-off performance has a lot of pressure to it and, for someone like me, it keeps you from taking some of the chances necessary to really work a character and connect with an audience.

Last week I was able to get back to basics. I knew I could trip up on a line and still get back into the show, I could work with the audience. So, as I sat backstage at one show I wondered what I should work on to keep things fresh and I realized I needed to get back to the basics. Where was the character coming from? Going to? Why was she saying all this? To who? How did she feel about that? And it broke everything open and I loved the show again.

I wrote it. It's not a perfect play but it's useful, especially in these situations and venues and people really like it and I'm proud of it. Provisionally proud. I'm still a little embarrassed that it's not perfect but I'm trying to get over that. And in the end I just had a great time doing the show last week and I connected with some audiences and man, I miss performing.

Next step, contact lenses so I can see the audience.

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