Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tara Orr as Susan in Praying Small...

                                  Tara Orr as Susan in Praying Small

Long rehearsal today.  All day kinda thing.  But that's a good thing.  A ton of work still to be done.

The picture above is of Tara Orr, the wonderful actress playing Susan in the play.  Tara is really working above and beyond the call of duty in this play.  She, quite literally, just gave birth to a baby boy and within two weeks was back in rehearsal.  When we held auditions for the play a couple months ago, we were bombarded with a LOT of really good choices for Susan.  Some really fine actresses came in to read the role.  Tara was Victor's choice after careful deliberation and a fortunate one, indeed.  She's an incredibly centered actress, always carefully getting to the exact middle of the work.  She weighs her choices thoughtfully and comes across as a quiet storm sometimes in the midst of this high-stakes piece of drama.  It is a pleasure to work our stuff together.

In addition, Tara and I worked hard early on together.  We nailed our shared scenes and now have a leg-up on the other work in the piece because now we're exploring the subtleties.  Some of the other stuff in the play still is in the skeletal stage.  Reminds me of something Stephen King wrote in his book On Writing.  The most a writer can ever hope for, he said, is to show a character as a "bag of bones."  That is to say, an actual person, a breathing, living, human being, is simply too complex to even begin to write.  A writer can't possibly flesh out the whole of what a person is, how they think and react.  Not even the best writers in the best possible circumstance.

It's a little different when writing for the stage, however, because sometimes the writer then gets the added advantage of having a fine actor add his or her work to the actual writing.  So, for obvious reasons, writing for the stage offers a broader canvas on which to paint.

So sometimes a living, breathing human being actually emerges: Willy Loman, Lear, Hamlet, Big Daddy, Maggie the Cat, Othello, Starbuck, Amanda Wingfield, Joan of Arc, Medea, Richard III, T. Lawrence Shannon, Nathan Jessop, King Arthur, Alan Strang, Don Quixote, Harold Hill, Shylock, and many others.  It's hard to imagine not having these "real" characters in our lives.

It really is a beautiful thing working with Tara everyday in this intense rehearsal process.  If all else goes wrong I can always count on our scenes together going right.  I almost breathe a sigh of relief sometimes when I'm working my way through the script and suddenly I realize the next scene is a Sam/Susan scene.  It's like going home for me.

Unrelated, I saw my nutritionist yesterday.  She confirmed I was on the right diet, that Angie and I were doing exactly the right thing to manage this diabetes.  She did, however, recommend we pick up some Omega oil.  We did yesterday and this morning I feel like I'm burping anchovies.  Ugh.

Off to work.  Smiling as I go.  The possibilities are endless.  What discoveries will be made today?  What a wonderful life I've been given.

See you tomorrow.