This is one of the posts recovered after a botched website move three years ago. It was originally written and published on March 23, 2012.
Tonight is opening night of my show.
The past seven weeks have been such a fun, albeit challenging, time for me; pushing me out of my new-found, no-spotlight-included comfort zone and back into a world I love for so many reasons.
The fun has come from immersing myself in the pseudo-innocent, sweetly naive, completely in-the-moment Penny Sycamore, and allowing myself to fall in love with her family members; father, husband, two daughters, and son-in-law.
The challenge has come from being more opinionated about how I breathe life into a role (and in general), and in the need to find a new way to commit Penny’s many, many lines of dialogue to memory.
The opinionated part: I used to say to my acting students, “Be a character, not a caricature.”
There’s a time and a place for mugging and upstaging. I don’t see “You Can’t Take it With You” as a vehicle for either.
Also, I like to think of stories like this one as an opportunity for audiences to peak in other peoples’ sometimes wacky lives, which precludes the need to pander to the audience.
Those are solely my opinions, of course, which I expressed somewhat differently to the director.
The manner in which those opinions came out felt as though someone either spoke for me before I had a chance to stop them. In a way, it was as though someone smacked me on the back of the head and the words just came out.
Perhaps they needed to.
In regards to the dialogue, what used to work for me no longer does, so I had to figure out what would work, and employ it.
Happily, I know Penny’s lines to a point now that I could type out all of them, from start to finish, without missing one.
By the way, that’s not me crowing and being all cocky; that’s me being grateful to my memory and my stick-to-it-iveness. I read through the physical script every day, at least once, and run random scenes in my head frequently.
While I’m not nervous, I’m absolutely “at attention.” It’s a good place to be as an actor, I think. I know it helps me to be on-point; to be present; to listen; to “remember to forget” my lines in order to be as authentic as possible.
I’m looking forward to the makeup, the costumes, the heat of the lights, and the rush of adrenaline, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the applause, too. 🙂