So now we're in the depths of table work. For those unfamiliar with the term, this is the time we sit down with the script (the text) and break it down. It's a time to ask questions about words, lines, characters, motivations - anything the actor is unclear about.
Because of the nature of this text, we spent a lot of time today just deciding what the story we are telling is and who these characters are. Because it's a political satire we're having to build the characters from scratch, extrapolating a background for each of them by looking at events hinted at in the text and then finding something that seems to add an extra dimension for the actor to play. The biggest criticism I could find about the earlier NextFest presentation was that the characters were just talking heads, and so much of the text is argument, that we're looking for any way we can create levels in the performances.
As we were working through part of scene 1, which is really half the play, something came to me that I can't wait to try out when it's on its feet (the actors are moving around). I think it might help me find the likability factor I'm searching so hard to find for the character who inhabits the "right-wing" viewpoint. He's on stage practically the whole time and he's invested with a couple of not-so-nice traits that it would be so easy for the audience to turn on him. Yet it's what he had to say which brought me to the script in the first place and I want to make sure his voice is heard. It's going to be tricky, it would had been easier with the actor I had initially wanted, but we're going to pull it off.
Yeah. Positive thinking.
It's proving to be an interesting experience for me because I have never worked with any of these actors before and none of them were who I initially envisioned in the play. It's forcing me to challenge all my assumptions and it keeps me on my toes. This is a good thing. Otherwise, where's the risk, right?