Monday, March 27, 2006

ON ACTING: "Doing something different"

I have a dear friend, a theater director, who, when approaching a new project, invariably comments: "I've seen this play done so many times. I've got to do something different!" He then spends the next few weeks, before and after rehearsal, agonizing over his quest for "different". He calls me, he calls all his friends. He begs, cajoles, demands we all read the play. He demands we give him advice, telling him our thoughts on finding a unique perspective on the piece.

A week ago he received a new directorial assignment, and the timeless quest for "different" bubbled up yet again. He once more called all his friends, sent them copies of the play, admonished us: he needed our advice soon. Dutifully, I read the play. Twice. Three times. I called him. "John (not his real name), I've got it! I've got a way to do your play!" "Go," he said eagerly awaiting my insight. "It's perfect. It's unique; it's rarely done this way..." "Go on," he said. I paused. "How about just doing it well."

The quest for "different" is all too often an avoidance of the more difficult challenge of achieving excellence. Fear masks as boredom. A search for a "unique perspective" often means circling the play's central thematic and stylistic task without ever committing to it. My friend has yet to call me back for further advice.


Post a Comment

<< Home