19 September 2020 - 10:34 BY Louw
Rehearsal Process: I’m Never Acting Again
It’s your second week of rehearsals and you literally want to quit acting. “I’m done. I can’t act to save my life.”
I have picked up a cycle or routine during my rehearsal process.
Week 1: I can do this. I hate working with the script in my hand. I wish I knew the words. Remember to write down blocking.
Week 2: F%!!* Seriously Edwin??!! You know what the line is! Any word that exits my mouth is false. Why am I speaking in such a high pitch voice? My body feels like… basically nowhere. I’m never acting again after this show!
Week 3: Wait… THAT’s why I’m saying that line! F%!!!sakes!!! What’s that line?? No, don’t tell me… I’ll get it……….. Ok, line please? That didn’t feel too bad.
Week 4: Listen. Listen. Listen. Damn, she’s a great actress. Oh, maybe I can do this. Or what if I say it this way. We open in a few days… Shit!
I use to be so hard on myself. We are. I still am. We want to be great and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be great, as long as you measure yourself with yourself. Recently during week 2 of rehearsals, I got so frustrated and over-thinking everything and felt useless. I did not enjoy the process at all. Driving back home after rehearsal was basically a battle between two voices; the one complaining how shocking I was today and the other still busy going through the notes or lines I can do better.
Until one evening after a rehearsal, I went to my mentor’s house, playing alongside me in the play. I asked so many questions – overthinking and being so harsh to myself. He stopped me mid-vent session, “You are going to have to start enjoying the rehearsal process, otherwise it will become torture for you.”
I drove back home and realized I need to start enjoying and letting myself go. The contradiction of not taking myself so seriously and having fun during rehearsal? Those lines I struggled with became better; that movement across the stage that felt unmotivated and mechanical became so truthful and actually enjoyable. I started “playing”.
This is a tool I want to share with you. Yes, take your work seriously and also strive to be great and truthful but… start playing more. Start enjoying the process. If today’s rehearsal was terrible, and I know, it can become REALLY bad, drive home and let it go. Tomorrow come with a playful and courageous spirit to just let the words roll out of your mouth. Just listen and say your lines.
This will help you enjoy the rehearsal process and be a tool to use to find new ways to create an interesting and honest performance.
My rehearsals still have the same feeling but my perspective has changed:
Week 1: I can do this. I hate working with the script in my hand. I wish I knew the words. Remember to write down blocking. *This is week one, calm down De Niro!
Week 2: F%!!* Seriously Edwin??!! You know what the line is! Any word that exits my mouth is false! I don’t believe one word I’m saying. Why am I speaking in such a high pitch voice? My body feels like… basically nowhere. I’m never acting again! *Go watch that film where Adam Driver almost plays the same character, maybe you can find something there? Calm down, just go through the text again tonight.
Week 3: Wait… THAT’s why I’m saying that line! F%!!!sakes!!! What’s that line?? No, don’t tell me… I’ll get it……….. Ok, line please? That didn’t feel too bad. *Wake-up an hour earlier to go through the lines again. Go through it once before bed. It will stick. See how she is trying new things, bring something new tomorrow. Remember to PLAY, have fun.
Week 4: Listen. Listen. Listen. Damn, she’s a great actress. Oh, maybe I can do this. Or what if I say it this way. We open in a few days… Shit! *Listen to your co-actor, that’s all you do. Then respond. Give them as much as possible to work with. How can I serve my co-actor?
Let your creativity, imagination and transparency dance with each other during rehearsal. You have to start to enjoy the rehearsal process.
- I believe in imagination. I did Kramer vs Kramer before I had children. But the mother I would be was already inside me. - Meryl Streep
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