Two days ago, when I posted pictures to this website, I realized that the back of the sofa (chaise) we are going to use in this show goes from left to right, not from right to left. We used the sofa in CHAPTER TWO and I thought it will be perfect for the psychiatrist's office in SYLVIA. When I looked at the picture, that's when I realized the sofa went the other way, I thought "Uh-Oh" ......
Well there goes all the blocking for that scene. First thought - get a different sofa. Second thought - forget sofa, go back to chairs. Third thought - tell the cast. I love theater, because of the collaboration....Dave came up with the solution. Move the sofa to the other side of the desk, re-stage some of the blocking accordingly, and Ta Da... there you go. The scene worked better and it put the scene more center stage for the audience. Win, win.
Art is supposed imitate life. The biggest hurdle to overcome in acting is making the dialogue of a playwright sound like a natural conversation on stage. For an actor, you have to get in the head of the playwright and understand the conversation that he or she was writing, and then figure out WHY the characters are having THAT conversation. Then you have to try to actually HAVE that conversation with the other people on stage.
So... once you have read the play, then you have to memorize the lines, once you have memorized the lines, THEN you have to figure out what you are trying to say with those lines to the other characters on stage. When you figure that out, then you have to make the dialogue... a conversation. The natural back and forth that takes place when two people are together and they don't know what the next thing coming out of the other person's mouth is going to be. Reacting to what the other person says to you. Not just waiting for them to finish their line so you can say yours.
We are at the point of trying to make it natural and funny at the same time. Stopping sometimes, just to say the dialogue back and forth, before trying to put the blocking with the dialogue. Trying to find the comedic timing of a moment. Finding what makes a moment funny. Add to that, if the play is a comedy, then having to make the dialogue sound funny each time that you have to say the words. I love when I hear someone in the audience say, that wasn't acting, I can do that.... Yeah? Go ahead and try it.
Like the sofa, conversations can go from left to right, or from right to left... We were reworking a scene I have been struggling with, and I decided to approach it from a different angle -- the end of the scene rather than the beginning. I explained to the cast that sometimes when you keep struggling from the beginning... if you start at the end... with what the RESULT of the scene is supposed to be and then work backwards, you can have better luck. So we started from a result oriented base rather than a motivational base and did have more success getting closer to the crux of the scene. Good job Steve.
Then we got back to a little straight dialogue work between Dave and Megan - just standing there and saying the words to each other - trying to have an HONEST organic back and forth conversation so we could find the timing of the scene. Sometimes trying to add props or movement can make the dialogue lose it's organic quality... especially if the timing of the dialogue is off. Again... we're getting close. Once everyone really knows their lines better, I think we can pop this scene up timing-wise.
Act 2 is starting to gel. I think we finally have the sofa going in the right direction.