We had a writer's reading of The Hypochondriac for the producers this past Thursday. It's been tricky business whipping the adaptation of Moliere's play from 300-plus years ago into shape. So much of it is just changing words or syntax but a good chunk deals with the big issues of character and plot through dialogue.
Between the 4 of us, there are many ideas that come and go. Surprisingly, no one's thrown a punch or burst into tears during these sessions.
The reading was a mixed bag. Shira said all of her actor insecurites came up during that read. Mind you, this is someone who knows the script really well from working on the adaptation. I felt a bit of that too. 3 of the cast were in previous versions so they were giving polished performances. I had my actor hat as well as my writer hat on at the same time. The trick to doing that is not having one fall off or looking weird from trying to have 2 heads.
A couple actors didn't know the play and were feeling their way through the script. I'm kind of bad about pacing myself through that. I race ahead only to find my acting muscles are cramping from lack of oxygen and endurance. I was shaking off what the guy who played the part last (he was cast back-to-back in 2 shows at The Mint off-Broadway) to find my own thing. The rhythms and relationships are important. Also, I have to let go any notions of being the funniest one in this show. That contest has already been won by Kyle so I'll need to work on more levels of Argan.
I'm a good 10 to 15 years too young for this part and will be shaving my head tomorrow to have time for the underbelly-color skin on my cranium to even out. I hope I don't find anything weird my nearly purposeless, baby-fine hair has been hiding. You will probably not be seeing me as I will be hiding under the couch until it looks somewhat normal.
I looked over the script again today. There are a handful of changes I'd like to make. Hopefully, we'll get this ironed out and have the script a week before rehearsals. Then I can wear 1 hat on my shaved head.