I screwed up in a scene last night. Dropped a line and through off the tempo. I messed up this same line once before, and others have messed up in section near that moment before. I don't know what it is about that moment.
Well, I have some ideas.
In the end, 99% of the responsibility falls on the actors, and I accept that. But if a man who works hard at what he does, (yours truly) may be permitted on his own block to speak in his own defense as to the other 1%, I have a few words.
To begin with, the play in which this mistake happened is without a doubt the poorest of the three plays we are doing. Though the plot is seriously lacking, the language is the biggest issues here. Its turgid, archaic, stilted, repetitive, uninspired and often consists of poor diction. References are often unclear and any attempted poetry by Dunsany fails more often than not. Unlike say, Shakespeare, the script shows its age, despite being younger than that of the Bard by three centuries.
Because of these factors, I find it more difficult to patch a hole that may show up, due to either my own error, or that or someone else. The dialogue is unnatural without being elevated. It's just bad, and I've not melted into it as I do with most other scripts. I am in fact off book, and have been, but for certain sections it requires walking a razor's edge. Very little wiggle room. That, more than not having it memorized, has thrown me off here and there in that section.
I speak for nobody else in the cast, of course. But I am not the only one who has had difficulty, and I would not be shocked in the language was a factor in the issues of others as well. I may ask them during these final few days.
In the mean time, I am running the main trouble section over and over, though like I said, I am off book when it comes to the rote memory of the exchange. I think what I'm going for is to know it so well that the ability to ad-lib or jump around if needed is there, though of course, it is better to not need it at all. Perhaps I will attempt to memorize every line in those pages, and not just my own. (Not my usual intention in a play.) There are only two rehearsals left though.
I don't want that section to be a spook either. I think that's another advantage to going over it a bit more.
Otherwise for me that play went fine. (Once we reprogrammed the lights; the board somehow crashed and erased all the cues from the previous night.)
So that is the "line drop" part of this entry. Now for the "mike drop" part.
(Actually, I hate both the term "mike drop" and the actual dropping of a microphone after a performance. But I wanted to be cute with the title, and I went with it.)
The performance of the second show I am in, the head director's own script, was the best its been. The director of the show, (not the same man who wrote it) was overjoyed. He had almost no corrections for us after we ran it. If last night absolutely had to have been performance night for just that show, I think we would have been fine, that's how well we did with it. (I still want the two more rehearsals though!)
The only problem is I have to fire a gun at some point, and we have not developed a sound effect that will work. I think we are working on that tonight.
I was 90% happy with my performance in that play last night, though. No "highway hypnosis." Good energy. Might even pull it back in a few places. But it was a nice counter to the mistake I made in the one scene of the other show.
From here on out, I have to let the mistake I made go. No dwelling, because that will make it a spook. I don't like that it happened, don't want it happening again, but I'm not going to let it become a drain into which the rest of my performance, in that show and the next, gets sucked. I'll work on it, try to calm down, and get it right.
It was probably inevitable that I make at least one or two mistakes in this tech week anyway. I despise making them, but it has been a sort of hectic tech process. In a way I have "had my turn" and hopefully can move past it tonight.
And maybe gain some extra nuance for the character and the scene from all of the extra studying of the section I am doing today. In fact, I think that's already happened to a certain degree.
Two more rehearsals. Tomorrow is costumes officially, but I may wear mine today.