Tomorrow begins week 2 of The Hypochondriac. I am looking forward to doing the final weeks of performances. I lost track of the days leading up to opening. We had a day off the Sunday prior but it was eaten up with work so I’ve been running on fumes for awhile now. My brain hit a wall first exactly one week before opening night. I was saying all the lines, doing all the blocking and looking people in the eyes but it was coming from someplace else, like a concert film simulcast in HD. Like being live, only not.
I’m for running the whole play as many times as you can before you face the audience. Some people like to wait to the last minute to get every moment. I like to work on things at speed to know what that really is, especially when there’s a lot of ground to cover. The big lesson I’m getting out of this show is conservation. I was anxious about elements coming together at the last minute but not really nervous about my performance. I burn things down to the point where there isn’t much energy left for nerves.
As the World Series played, I listened to the announcers talk about the pitchers and what they would need in terms of rest, focus, stamina, and chutzpah to get through a game. I did not advocate very well for myself on this project in speaking up about what I needed to get to the next level. Rather, I let it be dictated by the situation and the people around me. Since my character is onstage all but 3 or 4 pages of the play, I was at 99% of the rehearsals and working pretty much the whole time.
It’s been good to have 2 days off in a row. It feels like the cold I was dragging behind me like cans on a string tied my ankle is almost gone. The thoughts in my head are moving at a comfortable pace. The bags under my eyes are down to a reasonable, nearly human-looking swell. The bruises on my back, arms, foot, left butt cheek, and middle toe are vanishing. I miss the cast like I’ve been out of the country an entire summer vacation.
Best of all, the pajamas I wear the entire show have been washed.