Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Fully knowing the risk of sounding amateur: Shakespeare is hard.

I have been known to be too hard on myself, but I know I am not alone in this notion. I have been hearing similar lamentations around the rehearsal hall regarding the difficulties in mounting King Lear. Pardon me, let me rephrase. Rehearsal has been hard.

It's just that King Lear exists in a setting and under such circumstances that are utterly epic, but we cannot aim for epic. I cannot instantly have an epic portrayal of Cordelia, and I can't try to reach those heights everyday. She must be pieced together bit by bit, and epic is never the goal. The goal is to portray her truth, do it honestly and to the best of my ability. So why is that so difficult? For one, it is easy to get intimidated by the smart and talented people in the room. A little thought leaks in that suddenly everyone will realize I am an impostor. "Get her out of here! She can't act!" And I'll be chased down Heinz Avenue with pitchforks. I have to remind myself that I am there for a reason; I was cast for some reason.

For two, I end up wrestling with a lot of personal demons. Why? Because I'm obnoxiously complicated (I'd say "like anyone," but I don't mean to offend, don't mean to offend). But it's true. During this rehearsal process, more than others I've had in the recent past, that little self-negating voice in my head has been so darn LOUD! And as an actor, this will get you nowhere. You must be open and free. You must clear the censor OUT and let the play IN. It's easy, really. As Mr. Demunn, who is playing my father Lear, says, "Just watch a child playing, and you'll get it." Now, I get that in theory. But I told Jeffrey maybe I'll understand that someday, as in, the further I move away from childhood. How backwards is that?

But, you know, everything's going to be fine. I saw my grandma today, and while it never hurts to get a pep talk from your biggest fan, she also told me to just breathe. I love my grandma. And she's right. Just breathe, and do what you do.

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