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Just got back from Merry Wives of Windsor rehearsal. We ran three scenes tonight, and I am very pleased with how they are coming along. Now that we are off book1, the timing of the scenes, the rapport between characters, the physical humor, and vocal interpretation are very much improved.

I think there is some real onstage chemistry between me and some of the other players. Particularly, Mistress Ford and Falstaff play off each other really well. We took one scene that I previously thought rather trite and really brought out its juiciness and humor; we'll be milking it for all it's2 worth. I am also particularly enjoying the scenes with Mistress Quickly. Falstaff and Quickly are the two most overtly comical characters in the play, I think, and our scenes together are a real pleasure, as we play around with double-entendre, physical humor, suggested naughtiness, etc. And then there are Ford and Falstaff's scenes: again, we make good counterparts, both self-righteous buffoons, one with honorable intentions, the other a miscreant. It's a delight working with these other talented actors and such rich material.

I am finding, though, as I get more familiar with my role, that I am not much of an actor. I am a caricaturist. I excel at physical humor, and I can make people laugh, but there's not much depth to my performance. I am more over-the-top showman than I am actor. I suppose this is okay, as opera, my intended career path, is a larger-than-life medium. Passable acting skills and even over-emoting seem to be more valuable than legitimately good acting. But if it is true that I will develop into a dramatic tenor, then I am concerned. As a baritone there is a plethora of comic roles available to me (lots of Mozart and Rossini, and of course Verdi's Falstaff, for example); but as a dramatic tenor, I am more often the Wagnerian or Verdian hero (Siegfried or Otello, respectively), and I think my comic acting ability would become less of an asset, more of a liability.

I am thoroughly enjoying my turn as Falstaff. The performances will be funny as all get-out, and I encourage all of you (who aren't in it) to come watch it. My experience so far, though, confirms that I will be needing to take acting classes at some point in the near future.



1 My off-book-ness, as our director lillibet noted, is of an interesting character. I know all the words — I just don't always say them in the right place or in the right order. The most comical example tonight was when I declared, "And at his heels a rabble of his companions, to search his wife for his house's lover!"

2 Idiom question: is the expression "milk it for all it's worth," as I have it, meaning "milk it for all it is worth," or "milk it for all its worth," meaning "milk it for all the worth possessed by it"?

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
lillibet
Oct. 6th, 2005 04:27 am (UTC)
I'm glad you thought it was good--it felt really productive to me. This was really the first chance we had to work you and Mistress Ford alone and I think it was an important rehearsal. I think you are working to combine caricature and acting in this role. At first, it was all surface, but now it feels as though you are tackling some of the layers of it. There's still a heavy veneer of surface, but I think a) it's good stuff, too, and b) it's appropriate to the character. I think that the process of acting for you is going to be learning to create an underpinning for your instincts and slowly peeling off the surface to get at the underlying performance. Or maybe you'll just find a teacher you can flay you, raze you to the ground and help you build it up from scratch :)
am0
Oct. 13th, 2005 03:42 am (UTC)
Milk it ...
Picture a cow that cost you a lot of money. You have been pouring expensive food into the front end and shoveling what comes out the rear. You want to maximize your return. You may sell the beast soon. Meanwhile, you want to milk it for all it's worth rather than the other way. Almost nobody would have considered your second form or its meaning to be the primary form for the statement.

This is reflected in retail prices being set at what the market will bear rather than just enough to return the value and cost of maintenance.
spwebdesign
Oct. 13th, 2005 04:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Milk it ...
I'm glad *somebody* finally answered my question. Thank you!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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