Or at least we are at top runway speed.
I have been reviewing some of the Friars lines the last hour or so. (The time settings are correct, I am in fact doing so at 2:00 AM.) I would say I am 90% off book for my first two short scenes, though that is not the lift off I am referring to.
Rather, I think I have found the first stages of the characters presence. I was going to say "voice" but I didn't want that to be confused with the actual audible voice one uses. No, I mean his delivery and his style. The aura about him, for lack of a better term. Now there is still a long way to go in perfecting such things, (and anything else in the play for that matter, I've only had the part for 5 days.) Yet, though I had been reviewing lines for each of those five days, I only arrived at that first initial "click" about 45 minutes or so ago. That first barrier that must be crossed with any character I play...a crossing of a threshold, if you will, that is the first step in bring the character off of the page, and into my consciousness.
Practically this means that I have in fact begun to find a comfortable way of delivering the lines...at least the ones I have been reviewing. From an artistic and spiritual perspective, however, it means more. It means I have connected. "Ty-Ness" has made it's first initial fusion with "Friar-ness".
Why did it happen when it did, you may ask. It is at a different stage in every rehearsal process. (Hopefully always early on. VERY early on, but not always.) Truth be told I cannot give a precise reason why it began at the moment it did this evening. (Morning.) A lot of that is mystical to me, and as I said, varies from role to role. But setting aside the mystical element of it, I would contribute a lot of this initial contact with Friar Laurence to a discussion I had with myself about some of the personal stresses I have been going through in recent months.
This blog is not the venue to get into such issues, as this is a strictly theatrical/acting oriented endeavor. Yet such an attitude, when applied directly to my reading process opened the door for what happened tonight. I announced an intention within myself to begin committing to this process...allowing it to be at the forefront of my consciousness for most of the time. The last few plays I have been in, I have not always allowed to seep into parts of my mind. Or at least not as quickly and completely as I should have. But almost as soon as I said, "enough worries about other things. Time to start perfecting this role...this is Shakespeare, dammit", the door, previously rusty, swung open with a surprising and invigorating ease.
Refreshing. And I make it my goal to keep it like that for the remainder of this shortened rehearsal period. I cannot wait, in fact, to commingle what is emerging with what the other actors are doing, and to share it with the director. (First read-through is Monday at 5PM. I also plan to take part in as many of the open-houses the director is having, as possible. I will nail this role, as per the vision of the entire production, and as per my own standard of excellence.