Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Acting and Writing...Again

Dress Rehearsal last night: with make-up. I'd forgotten how good I look in make-up.

There was no one whipping ropes from under me, I remembered ALL my lines and I even got to dance with a beautiful woman on stage: pity she has two left feet.

There were also some changes made to my words and actions.

As I've gotten used to the role, no mean feat in three weeks of intermittent rehearsing, things have changed. The essence of the character, and the scripted words, haven't changed. But the way the play is being performed has caused some changes.

The script calls for Sid (that's me) to be on stage as the lights come up. We're not doing that and I'm walking onto the stage, grabbing a basket, placing in the centre/left of the stage, sitting down and beginning my spiel. It's a sequence that takes five or so seconds. Not very long, but an eternity for the actor and the audience. So we had to fill it somehow and the director asked me to ad-lib a bit.

I've also had to improvise the actions as there are no props on stage, and my dancing expertise was called upon as there was a spare woman on stage who needed a partner.

What does this have to do with writing? When we first conceive our novels, short stories or articles, we have a definite idea of where it should go and how. The reality of the writing process (the rehearsals), shows us that some of what we have conceived is impractical in the circumstances. We add things, remove things, but keep the essence of the story and the characters.

We find out what works, what doesn't and tailor things accordingly.

For the play, Soapsud Island, a different group of actors will keep the original instructions and 'Sid' would be in place on the stage when the lights come up and not need to ad lib a few moans about 'George' and his inadequate use of a spanner. In the same way, a different writer would add or subtract different things from us.

But however you write or perform, the essence stays the same. The story and the characters are what matter, the rest is down to personal style and circumstances.


Anonymous said...

LOL: "I'd forgotten how good I look in make-up."

If you look good in make-up then you look good without, too!!

Congratulations on a great dress rehearsal. I'm happy for you that there was no attack of the roses at rehearsal, but I'm wishing you many roses at opening night!!!

Martin Willoughby said...

I'm more hoping for a wad of currency, but roses will do. ;-)

Cindy said...

That's a wonderful correlation. We do often have a definite direction when we begin our stories, but have to be flexible as we continue on further into the project.

I don't know how people can be on-stage like that. I get nervous just meeting people I've never met before. And forget about improvising. No way! :)