Monday, April 6, 2009

Nick Sandys on Pinter's Old Times

Saturday April 4th--first week of rehearsal!

Okay, okay, okay, here we are, deep in the Pinterlands and I had forgotten how mind-bending it can be. I feel pretty confident nowadays about delving into a script and finding through-lines and clues to the characters inner-life, and analyzing a character's specific use of language. But then here comes Mr. Pinter and makes you realise how pathetic your toolbox really is. It is like returning to Acting 101 and finding yourself without mooring, floating along in the profoundly disturbing cesspool of his characters' inner monologues--and the waters never clear. In fact, though I usually love tablework, I found that, on this one, I was massively relieved to get up on my feet--or, in this case, slump in an armchair in the corner of the stage and watch like a hawk. Suddenly, what had appeared to be an Escher-like maelstrom of dark emotions disappearing into primeval depths became more playable, more playful, and the opportunity to drive along the surface of his brilliantly bare language provided a wonderfully simple map--once you tune in. There are still multiple hidden turnings to negotiate, but it was not as frightening, or as mentally tiring, as digging into the text and debating the multivalency of his simplest images and relationships. I begin to see sunlight through the clouds--or is that the horizon through the trees--and can appreciate the amazing skill of the writing. Now I just have to brave enough to hurl myself on board this speedboat and set course for this particular Scylla and Charybdis. But hey, I get to act opposite two gorgeous women--I need to stop complaining and smell the coffee. Ahhhh, nothing like bad rehearsal coffee to get the juices flowing!


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