15 April 2021 - 10:25 BY Louw
Rehearsal Process: Simplify to Freedom
I have experienced weeks and weeks of tiring and exhausting rehearsals… not because of the script or director or physical work but because I try and make things too complicated.
During rehearsals, we should set the blocking, explore and experiment and find ways to execute our character’s objective to the best of our ability. But somewhere down the road of week 2 of rehearsals, I find myself at a place where I want to LOOK smart or be SEEN as interesting and talented.
This has never helped my character achieve his objective. It kept me from making much more interesting choices if I had been simple and focused on my objective.
During rehearsals remind yourself over and over about your character’s objective. David Mamet writes in his book, True and False;
“You’ve heard directors and teachers by the gross tell you, ‘Come to grips with yourself,’ ‘Regain your self-esteem,’ ‘Use the space,’ and myriad other pretty phrases which they, and you, were surprised to find difficult to accomplish. They don’t mean anything. They are nonsense syllables, strung together by ourselves and others, and they mean ‘Damned if I know, and damned if I can admit it.’ One is up there solely to act out the play for the audience. The audience only wants to know what happens next. And what happens next is what you (the actor) DO.
The action has always got to be simple. If it’s not simple., it can’t be accomplished… We all know what it means to truly have an objective. To get him or her into bed, to get the job, to get out of mowing the lawn, to borrow the family car. We know what we want, and, therefore, we know whether we’re getting close to it or not, and we alter our plans accordingly.
A tool to try:
- Keep your character’s objective simple.
- Make it clear and specific.
- Use a verb to describe your character’s objective.
- Write it down.
- During rehearsals, glance at that objective before each session.
- Let lose. Let that simple objective create freedom in your choices as to HOW you will achieve that objective during your rehearsal process.
We don’t always want to make our performance choices simple because we want to be seen. The contradiction is when you do whatever it takes to achieve your character’s simple objective (Bottom-Line), you will definitely be seen. You’ll be raw, honest and memorable.
“It is not enough to discover the secret of a play, its thought and feelings—the actor must be able to convert them into living terms.”
― Konstantin Stanislavski, Creating a Role
How did you find the technique/tool/advice? Did it work for you? What was different this time? Share with the tribe and let’s keep on creating beautiful, honest and memorable performances. Let’s execute our best selves!
Edwin van der Walt