>We Are All Rock Stars

>I want to talk a little about working in a repertory theater, the kind where you are rehearsing and performing several different shows at the same time. It occurred to me the other day just what specialists we are for even being able to do this kind of work well — stars on Broadway immerse themselves in one show at a time, then move on to the next project. They can keep the concentration going through the several months they are actively rehearsing and performing that show, to develop their character and let new ideas about it simmer and take form.
We don’t have this luxury, because we may be rehearsing one piece in the mornings and singing/acting another role in another piece that evening. And probably something else altogether the night before. It’s not enough to just show up and let the first ten minutes of rehearsal take you to the place in your head where you need to be, either. This is something I feel I am still learning to do. It might be a bit like the way a good Casanova manages his lovers and potential conquests — giving all his energy and devotion to each one, without flagging and without mixing up their unique needs and personalities. The thing is, I don’t know how a good Casanova can keep it up, without having to pull back and find his own space again once in a while. Maybe he does just that.
I find that I work best when I find a bit of my own personality in the role I am doing. She may not be just like me (it’s not acting if you just play yourself!) but we have to have some common feelings there, I have to be able to identify with her on some level. When I find that, that’s my anchor on which to place the other stuff she needs to do or say which I may not fully understand. It’s also the starting point to getting back to her for performances, when other roles have been performed/rehearsed in between.
It’s not easy. And it can frustrate one to tears when it doesn’t seem to be working. But I don’t think I’d have it any other way now.

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