Somewhere Safer’s Second Show; or, Acting is Hard

(Why am I naming days?) (And what does it mean to “Help build the honeycomb?)

8/14/13, Day 13, 616: Somewhere Safer’s Second Show; or Acting is Hard

Yesterday was Somewhere Safer’s second show, a Wednesday matinee with a surprisingly lively audience (thank you Isaiah, Ken, Kris and HeatherLR). It was also the second show where I unmistakably messed up a line (though I did better than the first show).

Now, sure, I could go easy on myself; after all, I came very late into the rehearsal process and it’s the Fringe, which means that you don’t have the kind of consecutive performance dates that make full ownership of the role easier. But Lauren’s wonderful play–and the part of Hal, who is entirely fictional and yet to whom I feel beholden to honor as if he were a living soul–deserve accuracy, if not perfection.

“I just go on the stage, listen, and try to forget I know my lines.”

This advice, given to me by the Philadelphia based actor Greg Wood, has stayed with me for more than 15 years. He was tearing it up as Jamie in A Moon for the Misbegotten–still one of my favorite performances of all time–and I couldn’t believe that such a performance was the result of such a simple approach (and it probably wasn’t–we were at a bar, after all, and he may have wished to dislodge the eager student actor peppering him with questions).

As time has gone on, those words have deepened and taken on a kind of paradoxical truth: plays seem most real when it feels as if we’re all just making it up as we go along, but in order to seem that way, we must grind the play so deeply into our bones that when we “forget our lines”, they are the only words that we could possibly say.  So, I’m walking that balance in Somewhere Safer, trying to remember to forget without forgetting that I haven’t remembered deeply enough to truly forget. And you should come see the play, please.

And now…
…looking back at yesterday, August 14, what small things did I do to help build the Honeycomb?

Technique never stands still: it only advances or retreats…

Writing: 3 days in a row
Yoga: 3 days in a row
Spanish: 3 days in a row

Categories: Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Thank you Gus. And even though we were at a bar, I was not trying to dislodge myself. I remember very much enjoying our conversations.

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