Thursday, April 14, 2011

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION blog 3: Maren Maclean (Theresa)

An actor without a voice is like a...

For the past five days I have had no voice due to illness. When I say no voice, I mean barely squeaking out tone. It is beyond frustrating. And it makes for an interesting rehearsal for all involved. But I wanted to share an exercise that was really quite wonderful which happened at rehearsal on Friday and Saturday this past week.

I was already beating myself up and feeling pretty embarrassed about not being healthy enough to work at 100%. So when the idea was presented to me, I was just grateful that I wasn’t being re-cast. Very simply, our incredible stage manager, April S. Miller, read my lines for me as I moved about my blocking with my fellow super star cast mates. My intension was not to move my lips at all, just in case I attempted to whisper, which we ALL know is worse than actually speaking when your voice is gone. April was familiar with much of my inflection already and what she was not familiar with, her own actor instincts kicked in well.

What a wonderful experience filled with discovery! Of course I couldn’t tell anybody how valuable it really was to me, and I simply couldn’t write on my pad of paper fast enough. With my lines and voice coming from somewhere else, I focused on things you don’t get to focus on this early in rehearsal. I looked directly into intense cast mate’s eyes, not having to struggle with remembering lines and experimenting with delivery. I could move freely concentrating on blocking and transitions, which in this piece, is a gift. I heard April say certain lines clearer and more understandably than I knew I had delivered previously, and I found things in my own body that needed attention, like my stance needing to cheat out and the thought “oh wait, I can’t do that cuz I’ll be on a raked stage”. It was just an eye opening exercise that I truly wish each of us could experience such a thing in all our rehearsals. I will remember it always, while secretly praying I never HAVE to do it again. Thanks Paul and April.

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