I Think I’m Sick, part 4 (The Messy Place)

We have our first preview performance in 10 days. Things are moving along but we’re in that place where they get worse before they get better. Actors getting off-book invert, confuse, drop, and muddy lines. Truthful energy from people’s eyes are replaced with a vague sheen of terror because the training wheels have been taken off. Rhythms are kind of sloppy overall. Moments that were getting laughs a week ago meet silence. Cackling instead at ad-libs and flubs signal either boredom or fear of a BIG HURDLE. A main actor was recently replaced. Some great moments come out of nowhere and then float off to the ether.

Tech coming up around the corner. Basically, we’re in The Messy Place.

I’ve started doing one of the things I despise most in actors, which is being defensive during notes. I have a friend who always would do a good job of saying, “ah, I see what you’re saying. I was trying this so maybe…” This would disarm the situation and progress would be made. I know of others who say things back in their own words to prove they understand the note to the director. Some smile and nod and appear to be writing the note down but instead scribble, “this prick doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I hate everyone. Why are they all trying to ruin my performance.” I just need to listen and roll the note around in my head and see if I can try to come close to it. Usually, I take a note and come back with something in a new place. The trick is doing this with grace when you feel hurt, annoyed, insulted, stupid, embarrassed, or confused by the note. I hate it when I’m a small person. It’s tricky though when I come out of hours of playing a small person who lets it all fly to be a polite note-taker. Sometimes getting lots of notes means you’re giving lots of stuff. Sometimes it means you’re terrible.

There are about 15 moments in the show I’ve yet to get underneath. I think I just need to break them down even more. I realized today I need to let go of one of the models I was using to create Argan. Because this is a realistic farce, I have to dare to not be funny. That’s what makes it funny.

I think when I dig further under what bothers me about certain things not working, it comes from an expectation that they will work. Everything 100%. No question. And that’s not how things happen. Sometimes I think I’ve done more than my share on something but am finding that I need to go even further to a place I haven’t been before now. I have moments of thinking this will be my swan song to acting altogether. I’m kind of a perfectionist so when something isn’t working I think, “I shouldn’t really playing this part anyway. I’m so wrong for it.”

I think I want a little audience to come see what’s going on so I can confirm some stuff. At this point I can’t go off anyone’s reaction in the room because they’re so over it. I don’t know how I feel about any of it anymore. I think I’m just getting sick of playing someone who thinks he’s sick but really isn’t. I think it’s just a 24-hour bug. It’ll pass.