Last night's rehearsal was good. I think I finally turned a corner and have a grip on what I need to be doing. Andrea' has always been pretty clear on what she wanted - bigger, more character, more interesting - especially in the opening monologue. But I simply couldn't bring that out with the character and the lines as written. When I wrote it, I unconsciously shaped Marian as my child's eye saw her. Lady-like, well-spoken, elegant. And I couldn't take the monologue written for that character and apply it to this big, brazen and heroic character that Andrea' wanted. It took me a good week or so to figure out why I couldn't just give her what she wanted, but once I figured it out, with some key re-writes, I was able to get there last night. I still have a little ways to go perfecting the changes, but the hardest part is over. Whew. Anyone who says that children's theatre isn't difficult has never tried it. And it is worse when you are working against the writing. Good thing I did write it though. Being able to change my lines at will is a great perk.
On an interesting note, having your best friend as your director can complicate things a little bit. I don't have a problem taking direction from her as I respect her expertise in this area very much. But I know her. I mean, I really know her. And I can pretty much read every nuance of her body language and her words. Not just what she says but what she doesn't say. And during my learning process and my character difficulties, I felt her worry and her nervous energy in a way I am sure she didn't mean to happen. And it made it harder for me to relax and get into the groove. I t made me clam up a bit. And doubt myself - granted, I always doubt myself at the beginning of a rehearsal process. But I just felt uneasy and wondered if doing this show myself was the right thing to do.
But last night as we finished rehearsal, Andrea' came up to say how much improved I was and I could just feel the relief radiating off of her. So in my head I thought, "OK, what gives?" My character wasn't there before, but it wasn't that bad. Even at my worst I don't completely suck. And Andrea' knows damned well, from doing so many shows with me, that I am an actor that needs a rehearsal process to get a character right. She knows I eventually snap into it and take off running.
So I called her on it and she had to admit that she had been worried, but that it had nothing to do with me. She wouldn't say anymore, but I have to assume that there is some kind of political pressure afoot. I kind of expected a bit of that anyway. You can't put a non-company actor in a key role in the play she wrote, which is directed by her best friend, and not expect there to be a bit of political fallout. I have been involved with enough theatres to accept this fact as given and not worth worrying about.
And Andrea' never meant for me to know. And of course she hasn't told me anything about it. But a great friendship is like a marriage. You can't come home with whisky on your breath on not expect your wife to smell it.
But all is good. I have made my usual overnight snap into the character and can spend the next two weeks improving it with the help from my talented director. It is gonna be a great show.