Saturday, December 4, 2010

Singing as Zero.

We sang/read thru the entire show last night.  'Twas not bad.  Not great, but not bad.  I'm speaking for myself, of course.  Others may have felt differently.  I wasn't quite prepared to do so, but Ron wanted to hear the whole thing out loud and so...well, that's what we did.  I made a decision to do the whole thing in character, that is to say, not to worry about my voice and its peculiarities, but to go ahead and sing the show, as much as possible, anyway, in the persona of Mr. Zero.  I think it may have been a good decision. 

I'm sitting here trying to think of how to explain the difference, for the lay reader, between 'Clif's voice' and 'Zero's voice.'  Musically speaking, of course, there is no difference...either I know the notes, the rhythms, the meter, the tone, the placement, the harmonies, etc., or I don't.   But mentally, there's a difference.  Now, admittedly, I'm light years away from 'finding' Zero.  (Quick insertion here for those just tuning in - Mr. Zero is the character I'm playing in the brilliant new musical Adding Machine at The Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles.)

Anyway, back to the difference in my mindset last night.  I made a thousand mistakes, most small, some large.  But I kept moving on.  At the most I'd get a quick 'eyebrow raise' from Alan (musical director).  But the thing I'm trying to convey here, I suppose, is that I was not struck by lightning, the beams of the theater didn't fall on me, Alan or Ron didn't shoot me straight away with a concealed revolver, the other performers didn't get up and walk out in disgust, none of that.  We just moved on.  Now, I know this sounds like a rookie observation.  But honestly, it was enormously beneficial for me to sing and act through the whole damn thing without stopping or grieving over what I'd just done wrong.

And on the bright side, I did a few things right.  Not many, but a few.

And also, I found some things.  Moments, beats, thoughts that don't occur to me as "Clif" came to me last night as "Zero."  Nebulous, to be sure.  But it's true.  All of this sounds terribly 'actor-y,' I know, but it was a real epiphany of sorts last night for me. 

And, as I suspected all along, I was exhausted by the end of the show.  And that's just standing there and singing and acting...not even doing it full out. 

Today the blocking continues where we left off.  I still don't have a full visual idea of how some of it is going to work.  Which is odd, because usually I can 'see' the whole thing in my head almost immediately and thus plan my performance accordingly.  Not so with this this piece.  There are some transitions and musical interludes in the show that quite frankly I have no idea what's going on. 

In any event, I'm having a really great time doing this.  The next hurdle will be memorization and I suspect it's going to be really difficult.  We have a ten day break over the holiday and I'll be working on this piece every single day. 

Angie and I are heading back to Missouri for the break.  I love hanging out with her family.  They're good people.  It will be a very 'family' kind of Christmas.  My own childhood Christmas memories usually involved lots of whiskey and shouting and drama, so it will be nice to establish new Christmas memories with her and her family.  This 'being married' gig is turning out to be pretty cool. 

See you tomorrow.

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