Sunday, February 21, 2016

Highway Hypnosis II

The last two rehearsals have had plenty of rough spots and hard edges. To be perfectly objective about it, probably more than rehearsals in the final week should have. That being said, the production has without a doubt improved over the last two days.

Everyone has been at rehearsal, and there is an increased feeling of urgency overall. I wouldn't call it fear or panic, but everyone is aware, shall we say, that it's time. That is my take away from it, at least.

These haven't been tech week rehearsals in the true sense, though. The light/sound technician won't be around until tomorrow. So despite it being tech week, the last two rehearsals have been standard, though we are now running all three shows each night now, and stopping for corrections far less often.

In the shorter of my two plays, the one written by the director of the company, I've reached a place in the last two days that can be good or bad depending on one's perspective. A few times my lines came to me in a less conscious way. Reflexively, once the cue line appeared. This sounds like the ideal to nearly everyone outside of theatre, and to many people inside of it as well. After all, if I'm able to spit the lines out with less thought and concentration, that means I've fully absorbed the material, doesn't it?

Only in a way. But for me, this isn't necessarily the best type of absorption for my manner of performance. I prefer a few more seeds of "Ty consciousness" if you will.

Have you ever been driving down the highway, and suddenly realized you don't really remember driving for the last 15 minutes? You've just been going along existing, and oh,by the way, your driving 65 miles an hour in a machine? It's both unnerving and somewhat amazing at the same time. After all, you were in some way only semi-conscious of what you were doing (the scary part) yet you never ran off the road, and you are still going where you are supposed to go (amazing part.) "Highway hypnosis" some call it.

There can be a similar, (though obviously not as dangerous) phenomenon for the actor, when everything becomes automatic.

"I am Othello! But Olivier is in control," wrote Lawrence Olivier in his great book, On Acting. That's how I prefer to be as well. I want there to always be a kernel of Ty present in  my conscious mind while I perform, so I can course correct if needed. I don't mean I was out of control last night while on stage, I wasn't. My performance was, if I may say so myself, tight, solid. Yet there may have been some "highway hypnosis" going on.

This can happen in any show, but speaking for me at least, it is more likely to happen when I play a high-energy, somewhat askew character as I do in this short play. Even then, it only happened in a few different moments, not the whole show.

Now that I'm aware that I have approached that plain I can use it without succumbing to it. I've gotten a feel for the plane, I can pilot it better now.

Beyond that, I still had to call for a line in one or two places. I know all the lines, but certain sections seem to get weird here and there. I will work on that, of course.

I leave in just over an hour for the next rehearsal, though two people will be missing from this one. No matter, though.

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