Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Acting Bug

I've haven't caught the flu, but I think I could be susceptible to the acting bug.

We had a great time last night, at the final of three acting classes. We did improvisation of our characters. Very powerful, interesting. I was playing Doris, from "Same Time, Next Year" (which is the play about the two who meet once a year for 25 years on teh same weekend every year to have an affair.) It was odd - everyone else's scenes were full of anger. My scene, I'm playing sweet, easygoing Doris. Which was fun, and fine. Though I would have enjoyed a little yelling too.

For our improvisation, we improvised the first meeting between Doris and George (played by Alan Alda in the movie). We know from the script - which begins the morning after their first encounter - that they first meet when George sees Doris at the hotel restaurant and wants to send her a drink, but has to send her a steak instead because it's an alcohol-free restaurant. Last night, as we made up what we thought that scene would have looked like, and George made this grand gesture of sending me a steak to get my attention, I decided to go over to thank him, and ended up joining him. "No one's ever done anything like that for me before," I said, as I introduced myself. And George said, well, I've never done anything like that before myself.

And suddenly, that's what I knew about Doris - that no one in her life makes grand gestures. She lives a good life, and she is glad to be in it. But there is nothing like this man George in it.

Then George said that his daughter's name was Wendy, after the Wendy in "Peter Pan," and I said that it was a good name since her father could have been named Peter Pan, so spontaneous he was, and he said, well, that would have been an odd name, unless I could fly - then it would fit, and then I said again, no one's ever done anything like this for me before.

And as we kept on, it made more sense to me, why she would have continued the relationship over 25 years. It really helped me with the scene we were reading - the last scene of the play - to imagine what went on the night before the play even begins. That is the one sticking point in the play - why are these people staying in their marriages when they have such a connection? Or, in the alternative, what causes them to keep meeting every year if both their marriages are so worthwhile? That improv really helped me see the story from a new perspective.

We ended up running out of time to have people do cold reads of my movie script, but everyone wanted to stay and read anyway, so we spilled over about a half hour or so and I go tthe chance to listen to the actors read scenes from my movie script. So exciting! Very interesting. Quite different, the cold reads are from a read-through of the entire script, which is my only other experience.

All in all, a productive and interesting three days. Definitely worth it.


David said...

I think the moment that you mentioned as "suddenly that is what I knew about Doris" is the moment I mentioned that I thought was so real in your improve. I could see that you had suddenly become interested in George and you didn't say a word.

Beth Bollinger said...

Thanks, Dave. Yes, that must have been the moment. Thanks for saying that the other night, btw. It was encouraging, to hear that something worked!