-Emily Etherton is the Managing Director for Ghostlight Theatre Club in OKC and can be seen in their upcoming production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot which runs Feb. 25- March 19.
I remember a day in high school drama class, standing on the edge of the stage, my back to the house, with a group of my classmates poised below me in the orchestra pit. One, two, three…fall back. The point of the exercise, of course, was trust. I knew then how important it is to trust your fellow actors, but it has only been in very recent years when I’ve begun to understand that trust is the most important factor for any successful theatrical endeavor.
Trust the playwright. No one knows better what the play is supposed to convey than the person whose ideas first formed the story. No one knows better how a character is supposed to speak than the author who conjured that character in the first place. Actors should take comfort in the fact that everything they need to create a role is given to them, either in black and white right there in the printed script or between the lines or in the way other characters speak about them. Our first responsibility is to do justice to the playwright’s voice, and if we trust that they have done their part for the play, all we as actors have to do is follow their lead.
Trust the director. If anyone wants a show to be successful, it’s the director. We actors from time to time have to set aside our egos and trust that the director has the show’s best interest at heart. In most cases, the director has spent more time working on the script, in preproduction and in rehearsals, than anyone else involved in the process, and like it or not, we are charged with the task of bringing the script to life via the director’s vision. As hard as it is to do, setting aside our actor’s vanity and trusting the director can be the best thing that can happen for a performance.
Trust the audience. If the playwright, director, and actors have laid the ground work, then we have to trust that the audience will come along for the ride. Step outside the box, do something experimental, try something different. The audience will come with us. Our art form is based on the suspension of disbelief and if we firmly believe in our characters, believe in the text, believe in the theatrical experience, our audience will believe it too.
Theatre is probably the most collaborative of all the artistic disciplines, and possibly one of the most emotionally revealing. A playwright exposes his or her creation to the world, a director and technical team mold that creation into a personal visual experience, a cast of actors bare their own psyches and souls within that experience, and ultimately the audience receives this experience and bounces that energy back to the performers. If any one part of this process were missing, it would fail to be what theatre strives to be. Only if we trust each other throughout the process, from beginning to end, can theatre transcend the ordinary, and truly become a shared journey.
On Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 6:36 AM, Elizabeth Hurd <email@example.com> wrote: