I know a dark secluded place…

17 Feb

I’m feeling extremely guilty about my lack of blogging lately, and yet I know there’s a really good reason, and I find it sort of fascinating.

I am completely in my head right now.  All of the preparation that I am doing for the show has my imagination working 24/7, yet I don’t feel like I can share any of it with you.  I have the sense that if I share it, any potential magic will be gone from my performance.  I don’t really understand it, but it HAS to be my secret.  She is the most complicated character I’ve ever played, and I’m determined to get it right.

So rather than open the vault, I thought I’d let you in on the process.   I’m sort of juggling all these, letting them infiltrate my subconscious so that they’ll appear onstage as I develop my character. 

As you know, I’ve done a ton of reading about the period (1950’s).  That has pretty much stopped now that I’m focusing on the script. 

I find that I can connect to a character through music that is unrelated to the show’s score.  Right now I have three different playlists that achieve this goal.  One is a bunch of Number One Hits from 1954, plus other music from the fifties that sort of rocks my boat.  Another is contemporary music (theater and pop) that lyrically parallel the story I’m telling.  The third is from the Broadway recording of The Pajama Game; but only the songs that my opposite (“Sid’) sings to me.  (Since Harry Connick, Jr. played Sid, it’s definitely inspirational, if you know what I mean.)

For every scene that I am in, I have answered a jillion questions about the who, what, when, why, how, etc.  What is my goal?  What are the obstacles?  I am trying to figure out my emotional journey through the show, and much of that comes from script analysis.  The rest comes from the gut, and that’s the hard part.

I am working out the back story for my character.  I’m doing this long-hand, in a journal.  And maybe someday I’ll post all that.  But right now it’s still sketchy.  It has to be something that sparks my own emotions in order for me to be able to make it meaningful.  Like I said, I’m working on it as it comes to me…trying to be patient.  (I’d love your help with my research!)

In rehearsal I am playing around with physical choices for my character:  How does she stand, walk, talk?  She works in a factory, so does she have chronic pain?  If so, where?  What does that look like?  She is serious, but needs to be likeable; how do I keep my face light and fun while keeping her tone businesslike?  It’s sort of scientific, and yet not at all.  Again, there are choices, and then there’s just the gut-level instinct  that has to take over.

Then there’s the romantic relationship.  The best way I have found to describe this show is that it’s a chic-flick, and I’m the chic.  So there are certain things that this relationship needs to achieve in order for the audience to feel satisfied.  How do my partner and I live that out on stage?  Keep in mind this is a guy that I barely know in real life, but somehow I must achieve intimacy with in performance.  It’s tricky. 

Now add the logistics of singing and dancing to the mix.  I am a trained singer, and most of the music is fairly simple.  EXCEPT ONE SONG.  It is the hardest thing I have ever sung.  Theater singing is all about placement:  making the notes sound bright and brassy.  There are different ways of manipulating the voice to achieve those sounds.  In this case, I am doing an uptempo song while belting extremely high (E’s and F’s, for those keeping score), except that I don’t actually belt, I mix, which takes twice as much energy.  It’s just hard.

And the dancing??  I know there are a few of you who spent some time on drill team, etc. in your younger years.   I didn’t.  I am NOT a dancer.  I am a “singer who moves”.  (That’s actually what they call it.)  But in this show?  Double pirouette, tour jete, chaine turns, chaine leaps, jetes, and LOTS of lifts (fish, swastika, me on his shoulder, me falling off his shoulder…)  Good gracious, it’s a challenge.  I’m getting skinny, though, so I’ve got that going for me.

So that’s where I am.  It’s more fun than I’ve had in ages.  I’m loving every single minute of it.  And maybe someday I’ll feel freed up to share all the secrets.  But for now? 

The vault is locked and I’ve hidden the key.

PS.  17 points to the first person to name the song from which I found my title…no googling!!

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10 Responses to “I know a dark secluded place…”

  1. Molly February 17, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    I can’t name it.. but I can offer you this

    “so let’s find a bar/
    so dark we forget who we are/
    where all the scars from the nevers and maybes die”

  2. Barb February 17, 2009 at 8:42 pm #

    I recognized the line right away, but I thought it was from a poem. Maybe I will think of it…

  3. Barb February 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    Hernando’s Hideaway?

  4. Darla February 17, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    When is the show?!? I’m thinking a road trip may be in order.

  5. anymommy February 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    I want to come and see you! No idea on the song, which is sad, because I’m all about song trivia.

  6. kathrynsmoore February 18, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    Barb wins with Hernando’s Hideaway. Ole!

    FYI, Hernando’s Hideaway is from The Pajama Game.

  7. Allison February 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    totally off subject…but I left you some love over on my blog today 🙂

  8. Jessica Bern February 18, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    My knowledge of anything musical is less than my five year old’s

  9. Patrick February 18, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    This is so exciting. Scott and I cannot wait to see you and the show. On the chemistry thing, hang out with him. We had great chemistry in TKAI because we hung out together and became very real friends. When we did Showstoppers together we barely said “Hi”. People bought that scene before “Shall We Dance” because we had real chemistry. That all came from us really liking each other in real life. Of course he and I are two different people with two different “interests” so I’m not sure if that’s possible.

  10. Spring February 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    Ohhhh….I love this post! Sorta mysterious, a secret life acknowledged but not shared…I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to share now because you don’t want to spill the magic! Please oh please post your notes at some future date, when it’s safe and you won’t lose even a drop.

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