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and that's that

Well, and that’s the end of it. The last two performances drew seventyish crowds (quantity, I mean, not age) (well) who appeared to like it, although the Friday crowd laughed at everything and the Saturday crowd coughed a lot and crinkled wrappers. I don’t think I performed very well either night, but it’s hard to tell. I didn’t feel the monologue particularly deeply.

Which reminds me to mention Gerald Klickstein’s note on The Peak-Performance Myth from a few weeks back at the OUP blog. Mr. Klickstein is writing about music (and trying to sell a book; I always feel a bit whatsit linking to such a blatantly commercial blog for free, and yet they frequently do provide interesting notes as part of that whole selling-books thing, which goes to show) rather than theater, but his point is applicable. While it’s nice to maximize your chances of giving an inspired and emotionally connected performance, it is absolutely imperative to minimize your chances of giving a rotten performance. The point is to prepare yourself to be good even if you can’t quite get your mind into it.

I never did grow to like The Trip to Bountiful. Over the course of two months of presentation and performance there were aspects I grew to like and even admire, but it’s also true that there were aspects I grew to dislike more, and my fundamental lack of sympathy for the play as a whole never dissolved. That doesn’t mean I never connected with the part. I would say that of the seven performances, there were three, maybe only two in which I really felt emotional during my big scene. Where I was blinking back tears, instead of just blinking. I wasn’t able to tell whether the audience was responding differently to the different nights; the audiences were so different one to another that I couldn’t interpret their levels of silence and response during those minutes. Nor was my director the type who would rate my performance after each show, which would have been awful. The responses from random strangers in the audience were much the same, night to night, but then, they would be—no-one who thought I was stinking up the stage is going to go up to me and tell me I was lousy, and anyone who found themselves facing me in the lobby was going to say they loved my work, because that’s what you do. And the few people I know who saw the show (I didn’t pressure folk this time) and who I trust to tell me their real judgment and whose judgment I think is perceptive, well, they only saw the one show and can’t compare an on night with an off.

But I hope that the audience couldn’t tell if I was ‘faking’ it or feeling it. That’s what I was preparing for, anyway.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

Thanks for sharing the process -- it's been interesting and frequently surprising.


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