We close Passenger on the Ship of Fools tonight. Its been an amazing and humbling experience.
The good news is I have fallen in love with acting again.
Our great friends Kelly and Michael were here last evening and we talked about the play in detail. I portray Katherine Anne Porter between the ages of 40 and 65 or so as well as several other characters that factored in her short stories and in her life, including her grandmother and her father. Many of the changes happen quickly and on stage, though the transition to Hemingway... yes, that Hemingway... does get the benefit of an element of surprise as I enter from off stage. Kelly asked about how the transitions happen. This is where I realized that the fire in the belly was back... its in the physical leads that the characters come alive. Each one has a specific physicality that once established, informs the words and makes it feel natural.
For example, the Condessa (a drug addicted faded beauty) is all torsion through her torso. So a twist to the spine and a specific defensive, victim hand gesture triggers her next beat. The Father is dissolute, his spine is slack and the gesture one of need for a cigarette, the boyfriend David is all loose limbed, prep school and country club confidence. He is a smooth mover with grace and agility. Hemingway, takes two steps at a time, is barrel chested and maybe has a prostate kind of thing going on... Katherine Anne herself is light in stature, bird - like by description though incredibly strong on the inside. She has survived things that most would have never been able to brook. Her world is one of fabrication and yet she is completely present. She fidgets with her pearls in an almost constant state of reassurance.
It is so fun to find these physicalities and let them trigger the needs of the character propeling them into the next beat and causing the words to happen.
This is the joy I am experiencing, the territory that I was only able to tap in a surface way before. I am really looking forward to the next show The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer to deepen the work. This time with one character - Kitty Oppenheimer.
The whole process feels as if I have been in a blender. I've been tumbled free of blocks and a carapace that has built up over time. It is humbling and thrilling at the same time...