Thursday, January 7, 2016

watching and learning

On Monday, I'm starting the final semester of my final master's degree. The last two and a half years have absolutely flown by, and I can't believe it's almost done.  My lease is up in seven months and I'm going to have to leave this town. (Noooo! Say it ain't so!)

In preparation for the show our company is putting up, I've spent this week observing the ASC actors rehearse for the Actors' Renaissance Season (the troupe puts up a season of five shows, with no director or formal design team, with only about three full days of rehearsal for each show).  Since my company is about to do the same process for the fifth show in our season, I'm spending days in the playhouse watching and learning.

I've talked before about how incredibly lucky I am to be living here, working with people I love, and loving the work I do.  I cannot believe the resources and opportunities available to me here.  The most immediate is the fact that I get to see all the plays at the ASC for free, as many times as I want, as often as I want.  During the fall, I sometimes spent four and five nights a week at the playhouse, listening, watching, and learning.

This is the first time I've ever had the chance to watch these actors rehearse.  I was amazed to see their communication with each other, the way they take care of each other onstage, the way they support and reinforce each other's choices.  I got to listen to two main characters discuss the end of one of the problem plays and try to decide how to handle it.  I got to see the evolution of comedic business and watch the senior actors be surprised at finding unanticipated business and challenges in scenes.  I watched them step in and out of character as they worked through scenes. I got to see familiar faces return, I got to see new faces begin to make an impression on me. Most importantly, I got to see a generative, supportive, fun, collaborative group of people create art right in front of my eyes.  I got to see exactly what a company can do when everyone is working for the same goal at their top capacity. It was so inspiring.

I've also spent a lot of time, especially in the last two years, talking about how I no longer want to be a theatre maker.  That still holds true, but the theatre is my house of worship and Shakespeare is my deity of choice.  Being able to while away my days and nights at the theatre, especially this one, feels like a dream.  In six months, when it's all over, I'll wake up and think I imagined the whole thing.

I am so lucky. How is it possible that I am so lucky?

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