Rumors Control, Week 3: “Well I could have been an actor, but I wound up here…”

I figured out a long time ago that I have little talent for acting. I can’t build a character out of the slightest nuances like Gene Hackman or Paul Newman can. The keen intelligence that Sidney Poitier and David Strathairn bring to their best roles is far beyond my reach. And my American accent’s nowhere near as good as Hugh Laurie’s.

(from an old blog about my acting class experience)

Working with actors as I do, I’m often asked if I ever think about becoming an actor myself.  Of course the answer’s yes.  I’m nowhere near as good as the talent I’ve seen in the last three or so years (not to mention the talent I’m working with now on Rumors), but I do enjoy those moments when I have to step in and play the actor for a read-through or rehearsal.

Of course, answering the question is an invitation to the obvious punchline “What I really want to do…”  And I had a chance at both this week.

Schedules in our field being what they are, this week turned out to be one of the busiest we’ve seen in a long time.  TXMPA had its annual Statewide Meeting in Dallas on Saturday, and TMC had its annual Meet & Greet here in S.A. that night (you’ll be reading about that soon enough).  And a couple of our actors had prior commitments as well (which we’d prepared for, having crafted our rehearsal schedule to account for cast availability where necessary), which meant a few of us would be doing double-or-so duty this week.  Alex, one of our understudies, alternately read both Denise and Nikki’s roles, and in addition to stepping in as director for a couple of our sessions, I read for Barry on Friday night.

Bear in mind that Barry’s role (Ernie) includes that rapid-fire monologue I mentioned in my last post (the same one I keep using to tease you all into seeing the play when it opens next month).  So even having the script in front of me, I had my work cut out for me.  But somehow I managed to make it through the speech.  And as interim actor and director, I hope I was able to give the actors something to work with.

So far they’ve worked very well with what they’ve been given.  The cast is very nearly off book for the first third of the play, and we’ve put together a rudimentary set in our office so we can work through our blocking until the set is finalized.  We have the dialogue, we’re finding the characters, and we’re building the pace and energy we’ll need to make this play work.  Again, I like where we’re at and where we’re headed…

This week Peter and Louisette will join us as the play introduces Glenn and Cassie into the shenanigans.  After that it won’t be long before Stephen shows up as Officer Welch, and we’ll be rehearsing the full play in earnest.  I’m honestly surprised at how quickly things are happening, though I suppose it shouldn’t be.  Life imitating art… or maybe it’s art imitating art, I have no idea.

Nonetheless, it’s a great ride so far.  Thanks as always for being a part of it.

Until next time, “be seeing you…”

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