THIS FAT OLD LADY’S THEATER TUESDAY – THE MAGIC OF THE THEATER

I love performing. 

I am a good singer and I have stage presence.

But what I really bring to the stage is my story-telling ability. 

Not as in telling the story of the show but in telling the story of the character I’m portraying; my ability to create a full backstory for that character – to make them as real (to me at least) as I possibly can.

I cannot remember a time when I was not able to make up a story about anything.  A photo, a painting, a snippet of a book, a bit of a TV show, people around me, etc.  All were jumping off points for my brain to start trying to fill in the gaps and keep the story going.

I can spend hours doing something “mindless” (like crocheting, playing solitaire, doing jigsaw puzzles, and all the while my brain is spinning a story. 

So when I have a character to play; first I take what’s in the script and start building on that.  If it’s a historical character, then I add what is known about that person (and more importantly, what that person would have known at the time the show takes place); otherwise, I create my character out of whole cloth.  From the table read to the final performance, if someone asks me why my character does something, I know. 

That doesn’t mean that the character is set in stone – at least not until the show opens. 

The character has to be flexible enough to include the director’s vision and/or the relationships my character has with other characters. 

It’s one of the reasons I can seem uncooperative when asked to play something differently or given some insight into how another character views my character – I know why my character is doing what I’m doing it.  But give me a little time by myself and my whirling mind, and I’ll adjust my character’s thinking to encompass the change or new information. 

It’s why I enjoy the rehearsal process so much. 

It’s probably my favorite part about performing – becoming part of somebody else’s story.

To me that’s the real magic of the theater.

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