Taking the Stage…
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
I came back to my blog and revamped it with the best of intentions. Intentions of regular blog posts dealing with writing challenges, NaNoWriMo adventures, occasional reviews, and snippets of WiPs, short stories and other musings.
And then…I auditioned for a play…and I was cast…in a leading role. This has never happened to me before. I don’t look the part for most roles and am easily overlooked no matter how well I audition. I haven’t been a part of a full production since high school. I’ve done scenes here and there, almost always from musicals. But a straight play is a different beast. I HAVE SO MANY LINES. I’ve never had to memorize this many lines before. Which is why this blog is going to be put on hold yet again.
I am terribly excited. The first four rehearsals have just been amazing. The other cast members are great. The process is wonderful. I’ve missed the stage. I’ve missed stepping into other peoples’ shoes. Writing isn’t so different from acting. But in this case, I literally get to step into someone else’s shoes. Become that person for a few hours. Looks, talk, act like them. Not just get in their head and write about. I get to do it. I get to be them. This is one of the reasons I’ve always had a desire to act. It’s an extension of my desire to write. One of my writing processes involves acting out scenes. Feeling the emotion and motivation going into the character. Sometimes it’s difficult to translate onto the page and I have considered screenwriting or playwriting, but something always brings me back to prose. My ultimate goal will be able to bring my characters to life as if the reader is watching them on a TV.
The director gave us an interesting thing to think about the other night at rehearsal. She encouraged us to watch our favorite shows, break down the walls, and think about the fact that those actors are just reading lines. They’ve taken lines someone else has written and given them a life. Gravity. A vessel. I get to be that vessel for a change, and it’s liberating. I think this experience is going to have a serious impact on my writing.
My character is all over the place emotionally. Sad. Happy. Stoic. Angry. The play is “Crimes of the Heart” by Beth Henley. It’s a Pulitzer Prize winning play, and Sissy Spacek won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of one of the sisters in the film adaptation. The synopsis of the play is as follows:
The tragicomedy relates the story of the three Magrath sisters: Meg, Babe, and Lenny, who reunite at Old Granddaddy’s home in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, after Babe shoots her abusive husband. The sisters were raised in a dysfunctional family with a penchant for ugly predicaments. Each has endured her share of hardship and misery. Past resentments bubble to the surface as the sisters are forced to deal with assorted relatives and past relationships while coping with Babe’s latest incident. Each sister is forced to face the consequences of the “crimes of the heart” she has committed.
I play Lenny, the eldest sister. I relate to her character a lot. It’s kind of scary at times, and sometimes I wonder if I’m actually acting that much. I’m an only child, so I can’t possibly understand the sister dynamic, but some aspects of her character I can. Lenny is 30 years old and carries the weight of everyone around her on her shoulders. She’s the stable one. The relatively sane one. The one who will drop everything to help those around her and put everyone else first. The oft forgotten one. These things I relate to on a deep level. There’s a little of me in Lenny Magrath. Or a little of Lenny Magrath in me. It’s rather cathartic.
I’m grateful to have been cast in this play. I hope it’s the first of many. I can check one of my goals off for 2017. I turned 30 in January and made a “I’m going to kick my 30s off with a bang” list. One of the things on the list was to do a play or musical. This was my third audition since May 2016, and the first one I was even considered for. Acting is a lot like writing in this way as well. Full of rejection after rejection. I guess I’m ready for those query letter rejections when I get to that point.
I’ll update later with more musings about the theatre experience.