Monday, February 9, 2009

Yearning Yield

Yearning Yield

What's the use of it taking so long
to learn life's lessons
if not to teach us patience.

DB - The Vagabond
When you're young you rush to get it done. When you're old you dwell on the doing of it. I'm reminded of the story about the boy who planted a seed and then kept digging it up to see of it had started to put down a root. That seed didn't have a chance. Things take as long as they take and we have to give them their natural time.
This is quite strikingly true in the arts. The creative process goes on no matter what. We can assist it along but we can't rush it. Impatience has reduced a lot of great ideas into a bucket of trash.
As a painter I've found that the process is often a form of dialogue. It's a dialogue between the artist and the painting. But it is also, strangely, a dialogue between the painting and itself. The shapes and colors have to live with each other and come to terms before the painting starts telling the artist what needs to be done.
In acting it's similar to a digging process. Rehearing, reading the play, learning the lines, mentally going over the lines, repetition all uncover more and more of the play and give the actor increasing levels of experience to bring to the role.
Inexperienced actors who aren't that familiar with the creative process to trust it tend to rush the development of their roles which may look and sound nice but don't get far below the surface.
I was in a show once with one of those. She was very pretty and looked great on the stage, but she didn't really act the role as well as she could. The older actress in the company said to me one day that the girl had worked out her entire performance in the first week and was waiting fo the rest of us to catch up.
Another problem to be encountered in theatre is an impatient director. Many directors don't realize that because they have seen the play so many times in rehearsal it begins to look slow to them and so they start in on the actors to "pick up the pace." Good actors know about pace. We are aware of it all the time. We never want a show to lag, especially if it's a gloomy tragedy. I have, on occasion, seen a good production go bad because the director was forcing the actors to go too fast.
I had an audition one day with a director who kept snapping his fingers while I was reading the audition speech. I was glad to get out of there and I told my agent that if they wanted to call me back I wouldn't go. If that director was so mpatient during an audition, I can't even imagine what he would be like in rehearsal.

No comments:

Post a Comment