by Padraic Lillis · August 17, 2014
Well yesterday's conversation was fruitful. Lindsay came in with approximately 12 new pages. We picked up the day where we left off. Reading the work. Talking beat by beat. Asking questions of the characters. Discovering what the impulse is for each action. Again, mainly probing through questions. Trying to learn and uncover who these people are - and not trying to dictate who we think they are. It is an exploration to learn about them, but also a chance for them to grow and become who the plays wants them to be in the world.
It is challenging when working on a play not to take things for granted. Meaning moments. It is rarely interesting to say, oh that's just how we are - because there is little discovery or drama in that. There is drama when characters expect each other to behave how they have in the past...and don't. Also, we witnessed in how what seems like a casual comment is actually where the stakes live and the behavior is shaped within those rules. When something new is introduced. We saw that a lot in the play today.
For example when one friend says to another "If you don't like it - leave." It is really early in the play, and we recognized it isn't 'you can leave.' The choice is 'leave' - and that line in the sand shapes the behavior for rest of the play, it also dictates that there is a new relationship between the two characters - it is not what it was when they were in high school. Yes, it's a small moment. But the small moments define the moments of drama - they frame it. There are many moments in this script that shift the relationships and the dramatic pleasure is watching the characters navigate their expectations with what is actually happening.
Today the conversation focus seemed to be on how they are no longer children any more. They can't hide from the uncomfortable.
The main rewrite we experienced today is Lindsay had Trevor share his secret relationship with Freddie with someone completely surprising. Surprising to him and to us. Also, she revealed the secret much earlier in the play and which moved the stakes of the scene much earlier. Interesting that revealing secrets feel like an event in a play and an unraveling but most of the time the information in the secret is where the drama lives. It becomes a lot more alive for the audience when they are in on it. I believe that is true most of the time. It was today.
The value of the process was revealed very clearly when I spoke with Hayley from Centre College after rehearsal today. After a day of probing questions, I asked her what her experience was - and in the video below she shared that she learned about the depth in which actors learn about their motivation. There is a lot of back ground noise in the video because I wasn't planning on taping her. But I appreciated the answer so much, I thought I would share.
The play dropped to a deeper level. I am excited about where it can go. Today I was excited again about the process. It is a gift to be able to have this depth of exploration on a play. The play is clearly benefiting. Today it was clear that the students will clearly be benefiting. This video is of Mariele talking about the process of the day and how the characters represent the millennial generation.
Tomorrow we will be getting rewrites for the end of the play. Working through the remainder of the play. Then we will have a reading for ten invited guests and a classroom of a students in Ashland University via video conference.
Talk with you soon.