Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Glass Menagerie Chapter 8

I was really into the acting scene now , auditioning around town for non-union plays that paid no money but were providing me with the experience that I needed. I was also hanging out at night at a actor's bar in the theater district where I was learning the business end of acting from actors that had been around for years. 80% hardly ever had a paying acting job and when a working actor would come around everyone paid them the utmost respect.

About this time I received a call from a small basement theater in the east Village that was rehearsing "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams . They needed a replacement for an actor that quit the show. I jumped at the chance to do a famous Tennessee Williams play.

Once in rehearsal I soon realized that the few scenes that I had done in class and supporting parts in small plays were nothing to doing Tom Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie". Not only was this the biggest part I had ever done but the character actually comes out to the audience to deliver 5 monologues. My inexperience and lack of technique came to bare in rehearsal. I would do ok in the scenes with the other characters but the monologues sounded, or so the director kept telling , like I was reciting lines. Plus I had to do a southern accent which came to me easier than I thought it would, maybe because the time I spent in the Navy helped me with it, as I was around sailors from all over the country and especially the south.

I tried everything I was taught at HB studios. I made substitutions, I played actions, I imagined myself as Tom Wingfield all the time , in the cab, at the bar. When the play opened I was still going on basic instinct, some performances were good and the audience really appreciated it, and some were ok and the audience would quietely leave the theater after the show.

Occasionally something would happen on stage and I would go into a zone and the performance was great. I would be totally free and have the audience in the palm of my hand. Other times I would be aware of myself on stage instead of living thru the character. I did ok with the monologues but never realized their full potential. I might add the director was no help except to tell me when I stunk.

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