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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Rehearsal: Pace and Subtext"

Rehearsal went well tonight -- for the most part. We ran the whole show. From my perspective, it started off strong, and then I started to stumble a bit by the end. It wasn't really lines that tripped me up, I was over-thinking my character's internal dialogue.

Every time an actor says or does something in-character, there's also a train of thought behind those lines or actions. We call it "subtext". What's the character thinking? What motivates him? Why does he do what he does? Without subtext, a performance loses a great deal of believability. And if the actor doesn't believe what he's doing, the audience won't either.

That's what snagged me at rehearsal tonight. I have to slow down Ludie's internal pace, and I need to keep from over-thinking his motivation. "Keep it simple, stupid." That's a phrase that can easily get overlooked by an actor if he's not careful. In real life, I tend to get passionate about things that interest me. And when I get passionate, I get excited. Ludie -- my character -- isn't this way.

So, I've discovered yet another thing to work on. Pace. The list grows with each rehearsal. But, then again, that's what rehearsal is for. If I take these things to heart, and I master them before opening night, then I might just offer the audience a performance they can believe... and enjoy.


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Jon Baas

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