Monday, October 15, 2007

I Survived Opening Week!

This has probably been one of the most exhausting 2 - 1/2 weeks I have experienced in a very, very long time!! Hence, my absence from the blogging scene for a while.

It started with our painfully and terrifyingly abbreviated rehearsal period of 7 days, which would have been fine had I not had the bulk of the dialogue, including many long monologues. It ended, this past week, with our 10/12 (the technical rehearsal where we work 10 out of 12 hours) on Monday, 2nd tech rehearsal and dress on Tuesday night, rehearsal and opening night on Wednesday, 2 student matinees on Thursday and Friday (9 a.m. and 10 a.m. respectively!!!), in addition to, of course, all the evening shows and matinee on Sunday.

Even though I started, as you all know, studying the script prior to my arrival here, and was pretty much "off book" (as we say) for the first rehearsal, I found I was still having a very challenging time retaining all my dialogue. Perhaps it was the early rehearsals, maybe the change in environment, but my brain felt foggy and unfocused. It didn't help that I wasn't sleeping well, although I never do. The character I play also happens to ramble on, endlessly, and is the main focus in the first act, so I was finding that 3/4 of the way through the act my brain would just stop functioning and refuse to remember what came next. Rehearsals (when all the elements are added) help to solidify dialogue, and the more you rehearse the more your lines have time to set. Short rehearsal periods do not afford the opportunity to truly feel comfortable enough that, if you do happen to forget a line, you can at least paraphrase enough to get by, instead of just standing there like a deer in headlights, hoping the truck hits you to put you out of your misery.

So, panic set in when I was having to call for "line" (when the stage manager has to feed you your dialogue) every other line, the weekend before we opened. Not terribly reassuring when you know you won't have that life-line in a few days. So I googled "brain food" and discovered some quite amazing things (that I posted on my Mind, Body, Spirit blog, in case you are interested), which helped tremendously.

As for the "stage fright" I had been experiencing in recent years on opening night: I was told to start taking calcium supplements and a B complex daily, and to eat every few hours on the day of the opening, and it seemed to have helped. Then again, perhaps it was just that I was so profoundly tired I had no energy to feel frightened, but I was certainly very grateful to not feel that panic when the lights go down and you walk on stage.

Now that we got through that first week, we can have fun, both on and off stage! Though the fun on stage will be short-lived as we are done this week.

So, off I go to do some sightseeing today, camera in haul!


American Interests said...

Whew! Sounds intense, do have some fun and enjoy some sightseeing ...

I am going to have a look at that Brain and memory food post ...

Take care incog

Pat Jenkins said...

good post incog. i had heard somebody say bananna's worked for nerves, so before kenzie's tennis matches this year she would throw down one. like you said you never know if it is the food or just circumstance that may ease a "feeling". but whether it is psycho- sematic or not, if it works use it. now a acting question. i am always impressed with artists who excell at improv (curb your enthusiasm, who's line... etc..) so i am wondering if you enjoy the freedom of that, or do you prefer sticking to a script?

jon said...

Can't wait to see what pictures you take! :)

Incognito said...

AI: Yeah it was.. usually not so intense, but this time yes! Had a great time today, and more of the same tomorrow..

PAT J: Bananas... oh that's interesting. wonder if it has to do with the potassium. will have to check that out. I think for the nerves that might hold true, but as for the memory problems.. i think those are very real.. and the studies they have done with sage and rosemary have proved to be efficacious, so... but you're right.. whatever works..
Noooo... never enjoyed improv.. was never good at it.. that's why not knowing my lines is so panic-inducing because I don't improv well.. :-)

JON: I have so few from today that are even worth taking a 2nd look at. 183 and zippo. Hoping tomorrow is better, although I got some beautiful flowers and other stuff the past few weeks walking downtown etc. Will post a few of those. :-)

WomanHonorThyself said...

yay Incog..are u on the cover of People Magazine yet? job!!

Pat Jenkins said...

you having trouble remebering was what got me wondering if you may just "wing" yor lines incog. just know if you can't recall what to say you are in a long line of singers who couldn't remember a verse to a song if they had to. stephen perry along with diamond dave ccome to mind.... your producer may not like your "memory loss" but you can tell him other "stars' fall just as prey to this "trouble". he he!!!

Karen said...

Good to read your update here. I don't know how you can remember all that dialogue!

Incognito said...

WOMAN: Nope, but once in a while I manage the front cover of the entertainment section of Podunk, USA gazette.. :-)

PATJ: For the most part, Pat, I remember the lines, as written :-) I'm usually very conscientious about being word perfect...but with this part, though, it's a tad different. There's just so much of it. For the most part I'm fine, but every once in a while, I have to paraphrase, but it's always what the playwright intended. And it's usually small things. There's so much dialogue in this one, and some of the sentence structures are a bit wacky, so I will be very pleased if I ever get all the words out, the way they were written. The producer is also an actor and of an age... so he well understands.

KAREN: Thanks Miss K. I'm not sure either. :-)