HMTC has begun rehearsing "Death of a Social Security." This play is directed by Raymond Gomez and will be seen in Hanford with dates to be announced soon. The play is a comedy and will feature Don Brakeman, Greg Gonzales, Jr., and myself. The read-through of the play the last two times, had us giggling. The next step is to discover the characters.
Discovering characters is an important part in acting on stage. Every actor has a different way to approach their characters. Acting schools have asked their students to write up a bio of their characters as one way to learn the character. This can help with making the character real on stage.
As well, knowing your character helps with saying the lines. Don Brakeman, an experienced actor, always stresses that actors must listen to each other. Sure, you know what the next line is from rehearsal, but are you listening to the line, or waiting for it to happen so you can say your next line? During this listening, an energy is happening which is not only fun to watch, but fun for the actor. This chemistry, or teamwork on the stage is enjoyable when actors know their characters and listen to each other.
This chemistry, or teamwork, is important. Frequent theater goers are more apt to describe a performance as satisfying when they see good chemistry on stage. Special effects and great lighting pales if the actors on stage do not have an energy of cohesiveness. As well, an actor feels a great sense of satisfaction when their character is living on stage with the help of their fellow actors. That is where the fun is for the actor. Once experienced, the actor craves it.
As rehearsals progress, actors discover nuances in lines, and how these nuances can affect the other actor’s responses. In acting class, there is a technique where a line is said in different ways. The actor partner would react in different ways not because they are told to, but because a line said in a certain way requires a logical response in the spirit of the said line. For example, one of my lines I ask cheerfully, “Want a martini?” My actor partner would respond in a cheerful way, “Yes I do.” If I said the line angrily, he would respond in an angry way, and wonder if my character is really offering, or taunting. Or his response to my line could be with suspicion in which it would make me respond with a different attitude for my next line.
In rehearsal, you try different ways to say the line, but you must be flexible for often in a show, the line might be said in a different way and your job is to respond logically. That is called ‘craft’ — but that is another column topic.
Character development and cast chemistry must go hand in hand for a satisfying performance. Since Greg, Don and I have worked together for a few years now, we have a nice ensemble, and we are dedicated to give the audience a good experience.
Go to www.HanfordMTC.com and RSVP for more notices on this show.