Yesterday was one of those days where you accomplish a lot, but you don't get thru the number of pages that you have scheduled to rehearse. We started on the first scene of Act 2. I thought that would be a cake walk since we had worked it once before, and that I would have plenty of time to concentrate on a later scene that we have worked very little. But... no. Best laid plans and all of those other euphemisms.
We kept digging into the scene and mining for comedic moments. It's true - Comedy IS so much harder to do than drama. You can have more of a "cheat" when doing a drama. With Comedy, there is a fine line between being truly funny to an audience, and telegraphing "hey, this is funny," you should be laughing. Sometimes it is the situation that is funny; sometimes the laugh comes when an audience is expecting a character to say or react one way, and they react in a different way; sometimes it's the timing.... timing, timing, timing. It's always about the timing: How long to hold a pause for, how long to hold a look for, how fast to say a line, or a word. I hear the dialogue in my head, I SEE it in my head... trying to communicate it fast enough to the cast before I have lost the image, the sound, the timing of the moment - that's my constant repetitive task - sometimes I succeed... and sometimes that moment is lost to the "Void".
All of THAT was yesterday, and all of THAT was in a few pages. Opening the second act of a show is crucial to the success of a play. The audience got to leave at the end of Act 1 and come back to THEIR reality. Now you have to catch them and suck them back into suspending their disbelief and getting back on the roller coaster ride you started. It has to be a quick, fun, re-entry... engaging them back into the play like they never left. I think we have come close to doing that with this opening scene of Act 2. But there is still more to do.
We worked really hard to make it look effortless. And let me tell you, all three of the cast members put in a lot of work. We were all drained by the end of the rehearsal - But this scene is now VERY funny.
Yesterday, the light bulb went off for me - better late than never - this play is really about the male character Greg... even though the play is named Sylvia. HIS is the character that goes thru the transformation from beginning of the play to the end. HE is the one who changes. And Sylvia is the catalyst for helping him make that change. All the other characters impact him, and have an effect on his growth from the beginning to the end, but it is Sylvia who helps him experience the other characters and drives him toward the change..... it'll make sense when you see it, you just gotta trust me.
Hard work.... Make it look effortless. More of that today... fingers crossed.