Rehearsal, my friends, is apparently for amateurs. Who needs it? Not this guy, that's for sure. Now do you suppose this is because I am such a well trained artist with a perfectly tuned instrument who is entirely honed in on his craft?
... not exactly. Surprisingly however, my director and I have decided that in the case of MY AiDS rehearsals, less is more. As you may have read below (if you are one of my three avid readers... Hi Lisa, Meg, and Justin!), I have been working on this piece for over a year. Sure, the piece has evolved, but I have been writing it, reading it, and performing it for small and medium sized groups for some time now. I still don't have my lines memorized but hey, it's my story. If I forget them I'll just make some shit up!
My trusty director, Dave Solomon, after rehearsal one evening, looked at the schedule and said, "I think the best thing we can do here for the piece is to rehearse less". I of course thought he was crazy. How could you just not want to spend as much time as humanly possible listening to ME? Aside from that, I have discoveries to make, connections to establish, new secrets to unearth, deeper emotional layers to dive into, new jokes to dream up. Dave in his dry, acerbic way was just sort of like, "Yeah that's great and you can do all that if you want, but you don't need fifty hours of rehearsal to do it in".
It didn't take me too long to come around to see his point. It is my story. It's all there inside me. I don't have to get inside the head of my character or some other playwright. And ya know what's not super awesome? Performing a one man comedy for an empty room. Now, as long as I am awake I can crack myself up. But sometimes, it's just not enough. Too much of that leads to a rote, stiff routine. What we came to realize was that with a piece that is so conversational, so inherently spontaneous and so reliant on my relationship with my audience, it's actually detrimental to rehearse it too much.
So goodbye leg warmers! So long breathing exercises! Sayonara dream journal and character motivation worksheet! I'm gonna heed this advice and take the extra time to oh, I dunno... memorize my lines maybe? We'll still rehearse now and again but all I need is YOU!
See you at the show!
You can buy tickets for MY AiDS at athandtheatre.com