Rehearsing is like a baby learning to walk. Yeah, there are a lot of analogies for what "rehearsals are like"... but today I'm sticking with that one. So we got through the initial period of working on character background, and bios, and everybody working as a group on the arc of the play....blah, blah, blah... Then we got through blocking the play. Now we are on the meat and potatoes (sorry, switched analogies)... I mean we are trying to pull ourselves up and take a few steps forward. Ugh.
So as an actor, I find that everything that worked or made sense in the first or second part of the rehearsal process all of a sudden either works poorly, doesn't work, or makes no sense. Then all of a sudden, one thing WILL work - a moment, a movement, a piece of business... but at least it is one thing. I cling to THAT. Then I try to move forward and it is the same awkwardness all over again for the next moment or scene. I keep telling myself to "breathe," "relax." Reminder to self - I chose to do this... AND you chose to bring these other people along with you so figure it out.
As a director, you find the other actors going through a similar baby-step experience. So without needing sixteen years of rehearsal to do a two hour comedy, I keep working to find different ways to communicate to each actor... to push through THEIR "learning to walk" process. And it's different for each of them. But have you ever noticed that we cling to the negative comments our minds feed us, not the positive ones. It's so much easier, to dwell on what did NOT work , then on the one moment that DID. Why is that? It's the same for all of them...and me.
If I say that a piece of business or a line worked well, THAT is quickly dismissed for my note that an actor forgot to pick up a prop, or missed a cue . And the magnifying focus of what didn't work ends up outweighing what did. We do it in the rest of our lives all the time. But I look forward to the next part of the rehearsal process... we have a ways to go until we get there... but the day will come when, like a baby, there is more walking then falling down. Some day we will be past step three and on to step four, then step five, then six..... Boy I wish that was today already.