Friday, March 25, 2011

The Inevitable Stumble

I've been feeling REALLY strong about The Copperhead. I've felt good about the script, the character, and my performance since day one. It's the kind of role that I just sorta felt I understood from the first reading. Yes, the script was written in 1918, and it's definitely a product of it's time, but I understood Milt Shanks. From the first reading I felt for him, and admired him as he tried to bridge the gap between duty and family.

Having such a solid team in place only strengthened my confidence. This is a really, really top-flight cast, and I feel very lucky to be among them. Blessed, really. Kathy Scambiatterra has proven to be an insightful and sensitive director, as her reputation would suggest, and Peter Connors has offered equally incisive thoughts, as her assistant. As usual, a great group of people around you just amps up that confidence level, which was pretty high to begin with.

Which is not to say the show is easy, or doesn't scare the crap out of me. It calls for a pretty profound and extensive physical transformation in the second half, and that calls for me to rely on a lot of factors that, simply, I haven't been able to see, or work with, yet. It's a leap of faith, really. I throw myself into what I can do to march toward that goal, and hope that I'll see a helping hand coming toward me.

(Mysterious? Hey, I don't want to give away all the good stuff...)

I can't think of any role or production that has felt this rewarding, and this terrifying, since One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Anyone who knows me knows in what high regard I hold that team, that production, and my own efforts within it. I've longed for that kind of full, immersive experience, again.

So, of course, the acting Gods noticed I was feeling pretty confident, and decided to give me a little comeuppance.

I should've known it was coming, I really should've.

I ran into Peter on the street as we walked to the theatre, and he asked how I felt about things. This is always a difficult question for me, to begin with, because I can't think of a single performance, rehearsal or audition I've ever been 100% happy with. It just doesn't happen with me, but, of course, I certainly don't want to give anyone the impression I'm unhappy. With myself? Sure. The production? Rarely.

Although, there have been times...

...But that's a whole 'nother story

What followed was one of those rehearsals the just stabs you in the heart. Nothing was working for me, we ran the aforementioned second half twice, and each time, I felt Milt, and the show just spin away from me. I was either too sappy, or just robotically trying to get through the damn thing as fast as I could. The climax of the show, I've got a LOT of talking to do, and my subtext slowly turned into, "YOU IDIOT, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?!?!!?"

Ahhh, rehearsal.

Now, I have no doubt that this is a minor speed-bump, and I'll get my shit together in the next couple of weeks before we have an actual audience. This is just the moment that comes during every, single process, when you have to doubt yourself, and push through. It's the gut check moment. It's disheartening, as always, but I've been here too many damn times to get that wrapped up in it.

Previews for The Copperhead start April 8th. It's gonna be a good one.

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