Rehearsal: An Actor's Blog, Day 3

A daily rehearsal blog from actor Paul Stetler, playing Edgar in The Lady from Dubuque.

Well, I’m on “day two” of being without power at my house due to that wacky windstorm the other day. Makes coming to the theater even more enjoyable.

We’ve spent the past two days doing table work. Long discussions about the play and its very specific shifts from a sense of naturalism into a more stylistic presentation. (For example, Albee has characters occasionally “break free” from a scene and make a side comment to audience members, which the other characters are fully aware of.) These days really are quite helpful as it gives the cast a slight sense of each other and how they like to work. It also helps us develop a shared sense of what kind of experience we are hoping to create on stage.

One of the concerns discussed about “Dubuque” was how the cast should approach some of the many unpleasant things these characters say to each other. We began by trying to play it casual, as if this is just their way of giving each other hell. But the more we did that, the more mean-spirited and calculated some of the comments came across. We discovered that the less we “apologized” for these moments, the more we fully committed to them, the more captivating and even charismatic, they came across.

Some great discussions came out of these two days and I’m anxious to get out of our chairs and start putting it on stage. Tomorrow we begin staging Act One.


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