ECLIPSE

February 3, 2008.

This is my first evening off in, oh, maybe two weeks. I’ve been going non-stop. If I’m not rehearsing I’m working or preparing for my two classes or in class or reading about Joan or working on my French dialect. I like being busy but now I’m fighting off a cold and feeling the sleep deprivation. By next Wednesday we’ll have discussed and staged the entire play and will be ready to stumble-through the whole thing, off-book, before taking a much-needed four day break. Considering the epic nature of this play, we’re in really good shape. It’ll give us another month to really dig into the nuances of the script and our characters, which is a dream come true.
I’m absolutely loving my movement class. It’s too hard to describe in words. But it’s a lot of energy work and it’s helping me tap into the qualities of my personality that don’t often get expressed. It’s also been invaluable as I prepare for Joan. She is a demanding role in that she is a lot younger than me- 17 at the start of the play and 19 by the end- and she undergoes so much during that span of time. It’s by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. It scares me most of the time but I’m also settling into a place in rehearsal where I can really start experimenting. The dialect is slowly becoming more natural and I’m getting a feel for how much energy and emotional range (a ton) is required of me in every scene.

Acting class was great last week too. I’m now on two new scenes-Curse of the Starving Class and Orange Flower Water. Both are powerful plays that I love working on and they are very different characters. In Curse I’m trying to tap into my animalistic side- the part that is outside the fringes of “normal” society and unaware of how I come across to other people. It’s operating on the basic instincts of survival. Getting rid of my more refined qualities. And in Orange there is a delicacy to the character and she is someone who has been trapped in an abusive marriage for a long time. So yeah. As an actor I’m being stretched in every possible way. I noticed this past week that, because of how much I’m having to do in Joan, it was easier for me to go further in my class work. I didn’t feel the old constraints or hesitations- I just dove in. In the middle of class Tony called a break and we all went out onto the roof to take in a few moments of the lunar eclipse. We stood there huddled in a group and I turned around to look at my classmates’ up-turned faces. It was a beautiful sight.

After movement class today, despite the bruises covering my entire body and despite my aching muscles and hungry stomach and lack of sleep- I felt deliriously happy. As an artist there is nothing that compares to using every facet of one’s body, mind, and soul. I cherish this time.

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