Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The first time...

Some are unable to take criticism well and if you are one such person and find yourself within this writing, then I give mild apology. I have just reached the point where I need to say something, yet it is not my place to say it to anyone within the group I am working with. So, instead I will say it here to get it off my chest and hopefully just get rid of some frustration. If I manage to offend and ostracize myself from the group, well, such is the risk I take.

Do you know how many days until we open? Not two weeks, but NINE days. Come two days from now it will only be a week. To say that I am a little nervous is an understatement. This is one of the first times that I have truly wondered if a show will work or simply crash and burn. Show me why, you ask…. ok, just listen.

So, here goes… The story of the show is a serious one. It is a tale of one man's depravity and how he takes from the world, yet never acknowledges his wrong doing. There is murder, rape, deception, coercion, vengeance, demons, and eventually a descent into hell. Needless to say this is intended to be serious material. Now, within any show of such depth there is always at least one character that is intended to bring a bit of levity so as not to let the audience wallow in how heavy and depressing the show can be. Understandable? I feel so, but we have descended into the land of shtick. All that seems to be missing is a little slapstick and, as mentioned to me earlier, the inclusion of the Keystone cops. Every time where subtlety would be appropriate it seems that we are simply slapping the audience in the face with a humor stick. Each time that happens all the tension in the scene disappears and it gives the audience a reason to disengage from the story.

And then there is focus. How hard is it to simply listen to directions, follow instructions, do your part, and when the director says "focus" to shut the fuck up? I have spent the past ten years working with ten year olds and my average class of 30 can get quiet and remain so far better than 17 adults on a stage can. Really? If your intention is to put on a professional show then….. ACT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL! I am all for play. Hell, you can frequently find me messing around (when the time is appropriate), but if it is time to work, then let's just work. There is little enough time to put the show together if we are on task, let alone if half of our time is wasted by diddling around on stage. When a scene ends, stop. Wait. Listen for commentary from the director. Reset if needed and go on. Do not assume that just because you are no longer "acting" that it gives you license to flap your mouth, flail your arms, and otherwise be a distraction. If the scene is continuing then pay attention. Watch the other actors. Support them. As soon as your mouth opens you are telling them that you really don't give a crap about what they are doing.

Really it all comes down to respect. Have respect for the stage. Have respect for the director. Have respect for the time. Have respect for yourself as an actor. But mostly, have respect for the show. It is a brand new piece that needs to be put together carefully, not just thrown together haphazardly. Make it work, make it fun, make it amazing. Create. Be artists. Don't waste your time, or my time, or the director's time, or especially the audience's time. That is my fear. I am afraid that people will come and say, "Why did I bother?"

That's pretty much it. Those are my main gripes. Again, if I offend I am sorry, but if you don't like my opinion I truly don't care. It is what it is.

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