Some actors spend a great deal of time doing character work, figuring out their every emotion and motive. Other actors just do what the script and director tell them to do. What happens when the director and actor don’t agree on a blocking or character choice?
At rehearsal last night for Beautiful Thing, we ran into that situation. During the scene, my character’s mother is telling embarrassing stories about me as a child to everyone on stage. It was initially blocked so that I stand with my back to her with an annoyed/embarrassed look on my face. To me, this felt right. Our director, however, wanted to try something different – now I was directed to look at Ste in a “help me out” kind of way, which felt completely wrong to me. So I was faced with the decision of either voicing my opinion or letting it go. In this situation, the decision was easy; I had to say something. After explaining my thoughts about the new direction and exploring our director’s motivation for the change, we decided to try it a completely different way, and it worked.
This was just one of the many director vs. actor situations we have had/will have while working on this show, and that’s okay; these things happen in every production from Chicago to New York and all around the world. I respect my director and think carefully before I challenge a direction he has given me, and I only speak up when I feel the action doesn’t fit the character or if the blocking feels awkward. Even when I voice my opinion, I keep an open mind and allow the director to do his job. There will be times when I don’t agree with the director or even other actors’ choices, but it’s not my place to make a fuss about it.
Acting – it’s a challenging but beautiful thing.
See you on Monday with my first video blog. Until then, have a beautiful weekend!