Friday, April 05, 2013

Now, On With The Show

As I sat, stood, paced back and forth and pantomimed in my studio apartment earlier this week while rehearsing for tonight's sold out opening performance of a show I am currently in, Women In Solodarity: Cat Ladies,  I remembered my favorite acting teacher, the late James Kirkwood’s "Basic Principles of Acting" techniques.  Mr. Kirkwood  had studied with such greats as Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg, and as I ran over my lines, I could hear his voice inside my head, challenging me: “What is your motivation? Be more specific. Who is on the other line of the telephone during your conversation? What does he or she look like? Sound like? Are they rich, are they poor? Be more specific.”  It was always about being more specific.

Tonight, April 5th, 2013, marks my return to the theatre after a 17 year hiatus.  A flood of questions enter my mind. Do I still remember how to do this? Do I still know how to act? Or to quote Teri Garr’s character in the movie "Tootsie" about getting her energy up for an audition, “How am I going to get it back?”

Now if you tell me acting on stage is just like riding a bike, I have a story for you to read later. In the meantime, I recall and remember the pans and praises I have received from the Ghosts-of-Drama-Teachers-past:

"You’re doing all these things with your face” –  Cliff Osmond, during my very first "Acting On Camera" class.

“Try taping your eyebrows when you talk then you can feel what you’re doing with your face.”- Another teacher whose name escapes me, during my second "Acting On Camera" class.

"Do you dance?" - Director Harvey Berman,  while perusing the Diablo Valley College Theater green room one day and casting dancers on the spot in for his upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. (Most fun I have ever had in a play- ever)

“You’re 'the friend'”Les Abbott, trying to pen me as a character actor

“You’re funny. You’re eccentric and a bit off-center.” Ed Trujillo, during his Stage Audition Techniques class and confirming the stereotype that I was, indeed, a character actor.

“I don’t know what to say…your energy was full...” - James Kirkwood, during his Advanced Principles of Stage Acting class and confirming the fact, that I was simply… an actor.

For those of you that knew James Kirkwood, for him NOT to say a lot, was a compliment – he always had something to say.

Thank you Mr. Kirkwood, I dedicate this performance to you.  Here's to hoping my energy is "full". 

Now--On with the show!

DVC Drama Days 1996

1 comment:

Angela said...

Wow, that picture is blast from the past. LOL.