Brenan Dwyer on Opening Night

I’ve been thinking it’s time to take ownership.

Barry’s sort of a big deal. We’ve all been in a little bit of awe.

He throws out hundreds of bold, spectacular ideas a day. Many of them have found their way into our this large production in a small space.

The rehearsal process has been short, packed with ideas, discussions, music, movement, mask, videos, images, paint, chalk, swordplay, and a sort of scramble through text and scenes that has left us feeling both raw and itching to go on stage with this play.

As a part of scheduled rehearsal, we have not spent lots of time investigating our character’s inner thoughts. We have not broken down each line and chewed on each word. We have not done beat work. We have not dwelled on telling everyone our deepest character intentions. We have not done any character journaling, or free associations, or archetypal character exploration. This has been atypical for a Shakespeare show in the tradition of NWCTC.

It’s new, it’s exciting, it’s nothing like a show that’s ever been done in the Shoebox before.

This play has a definite stamp of Barry Kyle.

I’m terrified.

Not because I don’t trust Barry. I do. (See my previous blog post).

I haven’t yet trusted myself.

This play is like a roller coaster running through a haunted house without safety harnesses.

I go through this play both horrified and turned on.

I feel like I’m about to fall down or faint at any moment.

I feel like someone might actually die.

I stand in awe of the work of my fellow actors (especially Grant Turner… holy s*** he’s good in this) …but I have no idea how I stack up.

I feel like my acting training both holds me up and totally fails me.

I feel like I’m throwing everything I know about myself onto the stage and trying to mold it into some beautifully deformed lump of a woman, and giving her life.

In the last week, I’ve been very anxious about the lack of stability that I gain from a more traditional process. After a particularly tumultuous day thinking about Anne, I decided that I can’t do anything about it. That instability is part of the ground that has grown this play. I’ve got to embrace instability because it’s going to be there no matter what, and if I don’t embrace it, that is the one thing that will truly make my performance fall short.

So, I’ve decided to take ownership of the work I’ve done, and who I am, and what I bring onstage.

It doesn’t mean the performance is perfect, and it doesn’t mean that my terror is erased.

It strikes me how much courage one has to have, not only to go on stage, but to continually choose to rehearse and perform these plays that force us to press on our bruises again and again. We must be brave to go show someone how we react, and also brave to show the audience that we as actors sometimes fail to share our depths because we, too, are flawed. We’re working on it. Failure is inherent in the risk.

I wrote a blog years ago as in intern at Shakespeare Santa Cruz (RIP) and came to a revelation that I will revisit now: Acting is not about being fearless. It is about doing what you must do, with fear as your companion.

Break a leg.

-Brenan Dwyer, Lady Anne

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