Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Doing My Job

Understudies often get very little rehearsal time, and it often happens after the first audiences show up.

I put in a lot of hours at the Shakespeare Theatre in rehearsals for The Way of The World. Some of those hours were spent in the greenroom, waiting to rehearse my little bits. I read, I chatted, I went over lines and blocking for my roles ("The Messenger" and "The Footman") and my understudy roles ("Witwould" and "Petulant").

I've known some understudies who've done little or no preparation, and fortunately not gone on. And I've heard horror stories of those that had. Some people think I have good discipline, but really it's the fear of embarrassment. I can't handle the stress of praying please don't let me be put on the spot today I'm not ready. Better to put in the work, relax, and not go on, than to go on unprepared and embarrass the theatre and myself.

Saturday, Oct. 4th: unforeseen circumstances threw me into the role of "Petulant" for two preview performances. Suddenly I was in front of an audience, trying to hold my own with actors who had been rehearsing these scenes for weeks. At this point, I had only officially rehearsed the first scene in this role, and never with the regular actors.

But I had done my prepwork. Both shows went off without a hitch. I even managed to cover someone else's line flub by slightly changing one of mine. The first performance fried my brain; the second performance, I had some fun. I even had a number of compliments from peers who were onstage with me and in the audience that day.

Thank you, just doing my job.