• mvmendelson@aol.com

Are You Adding to the Conversation...

As I grow older and I hope wiser in this profession, I have been asking myself more and more if what I have to say adds to the conversation. I feel as an actor, although table work is important, I'm less ambitious to speak around the table as I begin to build my character or characters emotionally, or from the inside out. I tend to find the role in the rehearsal process as I begin to bounce the text off of my fellow actors. I'll discover what I'm doing and why I'm doing it there, in them, in how I'm affecting them. It seems to work pretty well. And then, deep in the process of rehearsal, my questions seem to be about the nuance of a moment or what can I gain by the changing of a tactic. I am a doer not a talker in rehearsal. Meisner says something like, "emotion come from the true act of doing." so, DO IT, and then see what happens. And, I trust my director will guide me down the path that is the story they want us to explore.


Now, as a director I love table work. Every time I have an opportunity to hear the show, talk about choices wether acting or design, dive into the given circumstances, ask questions of my actors and designers-I don't need their answers but do what them to consider some of the notions we discuss-I learn more and more about the story we're telling. I certainly come into rehearsal having considered the story we're going to tell but the process can change my initial take on the play. And I want to be open to that. Table work also gives me an opportunity to learn more about the actors I've gathered to work on this story. I get to see how their personalities play together, do they instinctively come from their head or their heart...they are sort of giving me a roadmap to how to work with them.


All that said, I still consider, is what I'm saying or about to say adding to the conversation or am I just interested in hearing myself speak at the moment. Meisner also says something like, "what you have to say is never as important as what is coming at you because what is coming at you will change what you have to say." So, there IS that, too.


I'm pretty good at all this when I'm in the rehearsal room. The trick is to bring it into everyday life.





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