Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mark DeMichele - SECRET ORDER blog

OK I have been acting for a while now but I have never blogged about the process so here are some thoughts after two weeks of rehearsal on Secret Order...

Working on this play is rewardingly difficult...came home from rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday had dinner with my family and then went to bed exhausted.

I have been reading and thinking about this play for the past six months. As part of my homework I deliberately learned some of the script sequences while only becoming familiar with the rest of the text. I then improvised the human, emotional aspects of the character (Bob Brock) in my daily life (I am lucky to have a wife that has so good-naturedly put up with my acting behavior for 29 years now) so that I can meld into the playwright’s character. I don’t do a lot of character research as ultimately every character I play is some aspect of me, with a beard, with an accent, with glasses, sometimes physically fit but more often just a chubby 50-ish man.

I tend to be very technically oriented as an actor, working from the top down; how should the line be phrased, where do I stand, where’s my light, where are the laughs etc… an actor that views the rehearsal process as a tunnel with a light on at each end and a great stretch of darkness in the middle. I generally prefer to eschew the rehearsal chit-chat of meaning or intention or whatever in favor of doing it again, and again, and again until it comes together in the room and then ultimately in front of an audience. At this point in the process I am trying to move the performance from my head and into my body and in several scenes, mostly in Act One, I am feeling the electric, visceral connection of text and performance with Cale, David and Jess.

I am struck though by the level of focus and energy required to lift this text toward performance—our Chihuahua Chester gets very concerned when I try to work on the role at home. I look forward to week three.

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