Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Waltzing Uphill

There are times when it becomes a bit difficult for me to write on this blog about what I have experienced during the course of a production. I have always promised to be honest about how I am feeling and what I am experiencing while I go forth on my acting adventures. But sometimes I don't, because of a fear of politics. (Such as in my last production; Heaven Can Wait.)

I skirted the issues somewhat in that instance, intending to talk about them after the production had closed. But due to various things, the issues actually vanished between the time I posted that entry, and the time the show ended. So the point seemed moot by the time we closed that production.

Yet in that case, the run was almost over when everything went down anyway. Some of the difficulties I am currently having are taking place early in this production of A Thurber Carnival. I waited a day before I began writing the overview of last night's rehearsal, to make sure I wasn't posting anything out of anger. And while I may not feel as "hot under the collar" about some aspects of the situation, I would be lying if I said the underlying problem had gone away. It may indeed go away for the most part as time goes on. But sometimes, once damage is done, no matter how minor, it stays with you. My early indications are that there is a certain amount of at least minor damage that has been done. Not to my soul, and not to the entire production, but to, I guess, the chemistry of the whole experience. It's not debilitating, but it is noticeable, and I do wish it wasn't there.

I am not about naming names and calling people out in this blog, and that is not about to change here today. But I am keeping with my policy of honesty, by at least discussing what has gone on in a broad sense.

The broadest possible way to describe what happened is to mention that those who cannot take certain types of jokes should not, in my opinion, make them. Wit and/or sarcasm is a double edged sword, and if you are not willing to be "cut" with it, you really ought not seek to do any of your own cutting with it.

When I use it, it usually tends to be in general terms, knowing that I may be ribbed in kind for certain things I may say. (About a football team, or something like that.) But my displeasure with a higher concept, and my jokes about same are not personal attacks on people. (Unless that is what I am getting first.) If I actually had personal hatred for anyone who liked the Pittsburgh Steelers for instance, I wouldn't have half of my friends. But I will never have anything nice to say about the Steelers. I'm always going to trash talk them. Period.

Football had nothing to do with the situation in this play. But it is a good metaphor for what did happen. I can be unhappy with a particular type of activity, without hating the people who partake in it. And, returning in kind some wit that had been thrown on my general direction last night, I made such a comment about an activity. This was met with a very unprofessional, not to mention personally rude assesement of my skill levels on stage.

To me, whatever your views are about how I view a concept, you ought to be able to accept a joke about it. Especially when you have made your own jokes previously. But even if you can't, personally disparagement is childish. We all love and hate different things. We need to remember that just because we love something, doesn't mean that it has any place in the lives and activities of other people. The fact that we love it does not make it more important, or make you more important than other people. This was forgotten yesterday, and to me, it has been quite problematic to get passed. I feel no need to discus the issue with anyone in person from here on out, but I will say that I am now less relaxed while rehearsing than I had been.

Again, it may, and probably will fade in intensity, as we get to more important things in the play. But for now, it is a bit of friction for me. People working together on a community production really ought to be more cognizant of the mosaic that makes up a cast. Enough said.

As for more specific news from last night, we spent most of the evening working out the Word Dance that I have mentioned before here. This was made all the more difficult by the fact that three people who will eventually be in the scene were missing for various reasons. Formal dance is something I have a hard enough time making any sense out of. It's made worse when I have to remember that one particular empty space is supposed to represent a particular person.

Plus, I have difficulty with counts and measures and bars of music and that sort of thing. I actually have very good internal rhythm. But if I am told to hold a position "for three bars" that means nothing at all to me in the heat of the moment on stage. As in zero. Now, intellectually, when I look at a piece of paper, I know what a "bar of music" is. And when it is simple music, I can point out different measures. But I can't apply that practically when I am in the middle of something else. It just loses all meaning to me. I'm not proud of it, and I know I sometimes hold up what many people would consider an easy concept, but that is just the way that it is.

Despite those pitfalls, however, the broad sketches of that first, much feared scene on my part have been put into place. Thankfully, I will not have to be doing a whole lot of formal dancing for the scene. Just a bit of shuffling, and an easy version of the twist near the end. The whole thing still strikes me as rather a silly and basically pointless section to an other wise amusing script, but that is how it opens. I am just glad there isn't too much of this sort of thing. And I am also glad that we have almost mapped it all out. There is a long way to go to get it right, no doubt, but like I said, the basics are in place. I even have a visual cue as to when to enter, instead of bars and measures. That makes it doable for me.

I am a little behind in getting off book, because this play has given me the least amount of time ever to be so. But I keep working on it. I have a week.

Next rehearsal is more dance, on Wednesday.

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