Friday, September 5, 2008
12:01:59 AM EDT
Actors are those who give themselves notes
long after the show has closed.
DB - The Vagabond
Q. How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A. 50. One to change the bulb and 49 to say "I could have done that better."
There are some scripts and productions that are hopeless and are just as well forgotten about. They come under the category of "I-wish-I-hadn't-done-that." I could name a few, but they are better left buried.
But then there are plays from the recent and not so recent past that still intrigue me. I'll be lying in bed preparing to go to sleep and a scene or a moment from some play I once did will suddenly pop into my mind and I'll start going over it again, finding ways to do it better. I often wonder why I didn't think of something that is clear to me now. But then I realize that in the stress and rush to get the show rehearsed and open many things fell along the way that can only be picked up later - much later.
It's a shame that I can't go back and do it again, but the scenery has been torn down, the actors have all gone their ways and the show will never happen again. It's in the can, as they say. That doesn't stop me from giving myself notes about it however, as to how to improve it.
It's even more graphically true about sections I've saved to use as audition pieces. When I go through them now I find that I always do them better than I did when I did the play. I have one scene from The Merchant Of Venice which I did in the late 50s. I can't believe I got away with what I did, or didn't do, when I originally performed the play.
Once I went to see a play I had done and watched another actor play the role I had played (an actor who may be reading this right now). I have to admit, he played it better than I did. So let him change the light bulb. He's doing just fine.