20 February 2011

Run Half Done

Just finished the first week of Agamemnon, and we've done a pretty good job of it, if you ask me.

Of course, no night is ever the same, but we're at the point where we are comfortable performing these roles and are beginning to tweak it here and there, finding a little room to play off of another actor, what he or she is giving, and then add to it.  Barry Cavin, the director, has essentially given me one note to work on, which I played out during today's matinee.  It's near the close of the play, where the chorus is having it out with Aegisthus.  In our last rehearsals and into the first few performances, it was something of a shout-fest between me and Aegisthus (Brad Chiddester is doing wonderfully in that brief role), which was working on one level.  Before today's performance, Barry simply asked me to think about how little my character might actually think of Aegisthus.  From that prompt unfolded a whole new array of possibilities for me to turn on, and I found myself listening much differently to Aegisthus's complaint.  It'll be interesting to see how these new variables play out for me over the next week.

The challenge for the actors in this play is its sheer foreignness.  Trying to find psychological dimensions to the characters does little good, or at least from a 21st-century frame of mind.  That is not to say the piece does not have timeless qualities, but that the regular footholds for an actor to find purchase are really not there, save perhaps for Klytaimn√©stra (and even with her, the fissures of Greek tragedy make her character unrecognizably fractured).  Or, what is intriguing about the play is just how profoundly emotional it is, how the breakdown is all on the surface, and I constantly feel that every character is on a precipice, each alone, terribly so. 

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