Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Guy 1

Editor's Note: The following is a post relating to the author's being in a play. This, after moving to another part of the country from New York. There will be more posts as the show develops.

"1-2-3-and!". Flap, flap, flap. "You have lines here." Flap, flap, flap.

That sound was me frantically flailing at pages in the script, trying to find where we were. I had been doing that for a while by this point, but the music coming from the piano had been masking it. Now, as the Musical Director was waiting for me to catch up, it became somewhat more apparent to the other fifteen people in the room. I didn't realize that the lines I had rehearsed so diligently came in the middle of a song. As I know now, that's why they are written on a page where everything else is in all caps.

Not knowing how to read music is a bit of a hindrance, but certainly not a deal breaker. I do know how to count, after all, so it doesn't take much for me to fall into line. However, when things get hectic, when songs are sung in a round, where conversations occur while there are, "whoo!'s" and "yeah!'s" going on, it doesn't take much for me to fall out of line.

Thankfully our Musical Director is patient.

Like when he says, "Someone is changing keys on the second line." Well, thanks for the cover, but we all know that it was me. Or, at least, it feels like everyone knows. I feel like I'm sitting on the ledge of a building, watching myself down below. Watching myself enshrine my amateur status for all the world to see. In my head, I know that I'm no amateur. Seeing and hearing what's coming out of my mouth, though...

Blocking is easier. This part I understand. Enter from stage left. Cross to center, speak. move around to here, speak. This I get. I know my lines cold for this scene. I have a system for learning and remembering lines. I won't bore you with my personal approach, but, suffice to say, I've got this. I love this part! I get to try out different inflections, different ways of emoting.
"Okay, say your line and exit stage right."

Shit.

The upshot is that there are some really talented people in this cast, and I can see from the way they approach things that it will be a pleasure to be a part of this show. I was lucky enough to run lines with one of the actors with which I share most of my scenes. She is utilizing a clipped, haughty accent, which is perfect for her part. When I remarked that it would be difficult for me to not slip into the same kind of accent, she remarked, "No! I like the New York thing you're doing."

I didn't realize I was doing a New York thing. I guess I have no choice but to do a New York thing.