Tech week and opening weekend are finally past. I got home last night and promptly fell asleep for many hours. I've been sleeping poorly lately, and I think I really needed a good chunk of slumbery bliss to clear out my head.
The end result is that I woke up in a pretty good mood today. I feel like I'm actually just myself for the first time in days. All the stress and doubt, even from the things that are not show related, seems more manageable right now.
So how did it go, the opening weekend (I pretend to hear you ask)? There was some general clumsiness (physical and mental) on all our parts, a result of feeling a bit under rehearsed, but the feedback seems generally positive. I don't know if there were any reviewers in the audience for either of our performances, but if there were, it seems unlikely that we'd be taken to task for anything major. My personal feeling is that the show is somewhat disjointed, but contains some pretty nice performances by all six of us on stage.
A friend who attended last night, and who had last seen me on stage in 1990, said that he didn't feel I was acting. He sounded a little disappointed. I imagine that he thought I would be playing a 90-year-old British man in one scene, a teenager in another, and so on: that there would be costumes and makeup and some real chameleon work going on. And I can do some of that stuff, but the reality is that most acting roles require an actor to find a way to play it more or less as themselves. The casting process is usually such that they are responding to your personality as much as your monologue, and deciding based on how they perceive you as a person. That's the essence of typecasting. This is especially true with this particular director, who wants every scene to feel natural and unacted. I wish he had been at the table when my friend said that. He would have been pleased.
The trick, I told my friend later, is being yourself and believable in the scene regardless of how you are actually feeling. There is a scene in the show which ends with me more or less in tears, having kissed, fought, and courted the other actor and finally having confronted some truths inside him. Roughly two and a half minutes later, I take the stage again, in an overtly comic monologue which requires me to be genial and energetic. I have to erase the previous scene and become a completely different aspect of myself in that time period, or the monologue simply does not work. And while both characters contain more than trace elements of my actual self, the work is making both of them believable to an audience in this short span of time.
Anyway, I took my friend's remark as a compliment, however it may have been intended.
It probably helps, for feedback purposes, that I don't really know any actors in real life anymore. One of my friends seemed impressed simply by my not breaking character during the show, which is not the kind of thing another actor would think as occasion for praise. Still, his enthusiasm seemed genuine. I'm lucky to have friends who are so supportive.
The biggest thing about this show, the thing that will last after all the bad luck and problems have become amusing anecdotes, is that I've awakened some part of me that really enjoys acting. I have reminded myself that this was, for quite a while, the only thing I had ever considered doing professionally. This was the art I dropped out of college to pursue, and I think I'm still good enough at it to get some work, even though I suspect I'm no longer as good as I used to be. But that's just rustiness.
Although I've missed two posts, disqualifying myself from NaBloPoMo, I still think there'll be plenty of posts coming up soon. I have some more Ask the Moon questions to answer (keep emailing those in), those pictures I took out at Rich's last weekend, and some stories to tell that now, free from the rehearsal schedule, I may actually have both the time and the inclination to get done. One of them is about the roles of acting and writing in my life, and why combining the two is sometimes difficult. I mention that one specifically so you guys can nag me if I haven't done it by the end of the week.