Last week I was coaching an actress whom I have been working with for quite some time now. Her name is Boogie;-)
She came to our weekly session with a great monologue that she wanted to use for a casting director workshop.
So far so good right?
The problem was that Boogie loved the writing SO MUCH that she really didn't feel like there was any need to make a choice.
Ever had that feeling?
When the material you are working on is SO good that you get satisfied just from saying it. Not realizing you still need to go “beyond” the text by making a personal choice. How could you right? If the text brilliantly says it all… What could you possibly have to add?
Boogie is a very strong and trained actress so she really did feel that just opening up to the lines would do the magic.
So that is what she did: she performed the monologue for me with her trained instrument.
I asked her - or her character- what she wanted out of the moment and Boogie responded: “well it’s clear, the text says it”.
So I rolled up my sleeves and started pushing her: “Boogie there is nothing wrong with the way you are saying these lines, but I just don’t know why you say them”. And then I added “ you are playing this… like any actress would”.
Boogie was resistant but she loves going back and forth with me cuz we know each other well enough for that. In short, she trusts the challenges I put in front of her even when she hates them;-)
And so as I pushed, Boogie started to go deeper.
Flash forward to our next session when Boogie came back from her casting director workshop…
This is how Boogie described what happened ( from what I recall;-):
“ The workshop place was full. There was close to 50 actors in the room and the tension was tangible. Every actor had a scene to perform and there was no time. Some people went over time and so as the session went by there was less and less time for the rest of the actors waiting for their turn.
I was one of the last and I could see how the organizers were pressing everybody and everyone was getting super stressed.
What is more, is that the casting director wasn’t being charmed by any performance. She was tough and had notes for every single actor.
As far as I was concerned, I was so clear about my choice that I couldn't care less about the tension in the room, the lack of time for performances and the toughness of the casting director.
I was just busy being my character recycling everything that was happening around me for the circumstances of my story.
So when it was my turn, I noticed them pushing me around and rushing me but it had absolutely no effect on me because I was in character and I wanted what I wanted - that I had given extra effort to relate to- so I was just about that.
I got on the stage and even though I was told there was no time, I took ALL MY TIME.
I sat down and didn't even start saying the lines cuz my character’s imagination had taken over and my character suddenly improvised a little moment with no words.
The whole time I felt so free and it was just like flying, it was really magic.
I didn't even care wether the casting director would like it or not cuz I had been on a journey, I had become this person for a couple minutes and I had fought for what I & -and she- wanted. And that freedom & truth was all that mattered to me.
That’s when I got the cherry on the cake… The casting director dropped her jaw, stood up in tears & disbelief and said : Thank you, I have nothing to say, that was wonderful!”
Boogie then said that she was very grateful of the fact that I insisted she made a personal and unique choice because that is what kept her focussed & passionate about her character’s needs when the room was tensed up with stress.
What actually happened was this: Boogie was no longer in that room so she couldn't have been affected by the stress. Boogie had given her entire instrument to her character because she made a choice she could only commit to.
And that my friends, is how it’s done!
Thank you for reading and if you liked it, I invite you to share this post with like minded artists!
See you next week in the next Blog!
PS: 1 spot has opened up in my ongoing semi-private group online, so let me know if you are interested!