Rehearsal: Process is everything

I love what I do so much. What a lucky person I am to be an artist, to know how to shoot movement, to have the training and ability to portray character.

I am adept at memorizing lines in a script, but don’t enjoy it any more than anyone else might. It was a good skill to have during a 17-year career as a solo theater artist, when I often performed plays that were up to 80 minutes long with noone except myself to watch my back on stage. And I found that once I had the lines memorized, I was freed up to let things happen and be in the bodies of characters who were often very different from me as well as each other.

The most important tool in my own toolbox is acting – and sometimes, more specifically, acting “beats” (“Beats” are, quite simply, units of action). In my work as a performance artist, I embrace beats and make the most of them that my imagination allows. It is a gratifying task.

The process of developing character is unique to each person. I had an acting tutor who had difficulty learning lines. But he was so brilliant, he had no difficulty embodying a character whose lines he barely knew. A number of times, I showed up for class and he was panicking because he was two days away from opening night and still didn’t know his lines. Those classes turned into master classes during which he rehearsed and I fed him lines. It is so magical to witness an actor who is so freed up inside that the character seems to come alive on his or her own.

Advertisements