WHERE IS THE ENERGIZER BUNNY WHEN I NEED HIM?

March 26, 2008.

This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one, being a true force of nature instead of a feverish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not dedicate itself to making you happy…. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is not a brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing on to future generations. – George Bernard Shaw

It hit me this morning that WE ARE OPENING IN TWO WEEKS!!! I started panicking, feeling like I am not even close to achieving everything I want to with Joan. There is so much complexity to her character and to the play that I don’t know how I will ever do justice to it all. Had last night off from rehearsal so I went through the entire play, trying to figure out some of the trickiest sections and making sure I was clear on what still needed to happen in each scene. I’ve been especially worried about Scene III which, while the shortest scene in the play, is probably the most difficult because of the rapid-fire emotional and tactical transitions that happen all over the place. But I happened to find a short video clip of that scene from a well-received production of Joan and was utterly thrilled to find that what I have been doing is not too shabby in comparison.

One great thing about our director is that he doesn’t want any event in the play to be assumed or for any actor to make assumptions within a scene. He wants to see clear changes occurring moment to moment, which is really exciting when we are able to accomplish it (and quite frustrating when we are not). I don’t think anything I’ve ever done has required this amount of energy. Not only do I need energy to perform massive chunks of text and to cross great emotional gamuts, but I also need to find the almost super-human energy of a person who burns so brightly that they effect enormous change in a very short period of time.

Besides the normal difficulties of mounting a challenging play, we also lost one of our key actors. Thankfully he was the only guy in the cast playing one role instead of two or three. But his part is critical in the trial and so now the director is auditioning for an actor who can jump in and fulfill the role with very little rehearsal time. Our performance space also may not be finished in time to open so we are considering performing at The MET, where I did Shakespeare a couple of years ago. The cast was actually thrilled with that possibility because it is much bigger and nicer than our space, but it remains to be seen what will actually happen. I’ve never done a show where everything proceeded smoothly so I guess it’s all par for the course. The thing that really bothers me is that now the director’s attention has to go to a new actor and possibly re-staging for a different space instead of to some of the one-on-one rehearsals I was hoping to get. Ah, well. I live for the day when I get paid a real salary to just rehearse and perform instead of having to deal with day jobs and the night rehearsals that never seem to be enough.

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