Rehearsal: An Actor's Blog, Pt. 2

From actor Sarah Rudinoff, playing Minka Lupino in Murderers.

I felt bad about forgetting to blog—I was asked to write my thought on rehearsals when I wanted to and then I realized...I forgot to. Funny to add blogging to the to do list. Rehearsals have been going well. We all miss each other because we are not acting together. The three of us have a moment in the beginning together and of course we get a few moments to rehearse it and all we want to do is visit and bond as we wait for the music cue that gets us onstage. Our most amazing stage manager, Cris Reynolds (who is one of the best and really is that most incredible mix of den mother, organizer, ship captain and artist) gives us some leeway to futz around and give pecks on the cheek and talk and make jokes—she knows we need this strange ape like actor grooming ritual with each other. It's funny but true to think that many of us got into this craft, this life, for the pleasure of connecting with people and this camaraderie and community that is created. When I have done a solo show—especially when I have toured a solo show and don't even know any of the crew and stage managemen—I have sat in my dressing room (or the pool table room, or someone's strange office) and joked with myself in the mirror "Have a great show! No you have a great show. Break a leg! I think I will." I think we are all secretly looking forward to our 12-hour-a-day tech rehearsals that start this Sunday because we will all be together for a week and get to see each other.

I had a trip planned to L.A. when I got cast in the show, and I was allowed to go on a shortened version last weekend. It included seeing Rufus Wainwright doing Judy Garland at the Hollywood Bowl, very fun. I got back and had had 2 1/2 days less of rehearsal that everyone else and everyone was off book but me!! I felt ahead before I left and then....I am one page away from this 17 page monologue being in my bones and I am going to memorize the last page before we do a run of the show for an invited crowd at the Rep today. I love these invited crowd days because people come from everywhere in the building to watch, and it is incredible to see how many people work in the building. When you see everyone gather you realize what it takes to run a huge theatre—painters, props masters (who are doing the most fun version of these "cheesy paperbacks" I have on stage), costumes, admin, education, marketing. It is pretty wonderful.

Rehearsals have been very focused and I adore Steven. He doesn't want to just listen to the sound of his voice or pontificate (I have a creeeping suspicion that I am this kind of director actually). He is one of those great directors that understands if he lets you find it then you can recreate it each night in a fresh way, because your brain synapses and nerves and hunches and body language and thoughts and all these little, almost imperceptible, things lead you there. If you are just "following directions" the performance can feel empty and your mind is filled with "then Steven said to go here, then here, then I am supposed to do this," rather then a life lived on stage. He puts these perfect questions in your mind that you have to answer about the character and he supports you in finding the answers—really lovely.

Yesterday we told each other our monologues, just sitting there talking to each other using the text. Great exercise in scale as well as really seeing if you can look someone in the eye and talk to them like it was the first time you were saying these words. Mark and Joan were wonderful, really taking this opportunity to break it apart. Joan is from NYC and is a member of the Actor's Studio (I googled her and then talked to her about it a bit) and you can really tell she is in her element in an exercise like this where you have to just drop it down into the belly and be real with it. We all had tears in our eyes as she was telling certain parts of the story and then she is also incredible funny—I think hearing an older woman swearing and saying exactly what she thinks is so refreshing. Outside of my own living granny who is the most real and amazing woman who doesn't put on airs or play the granny part whatsoever, you rarely see older women in our culture (TV and film come to mind...) who can be raunchy in language and very direct and jealous and sexy. Love that Joan.

Well, I will try to remember to blog more. I think I will bring the computer during tech. I always tell young actors when they ask me if they should go to LA or how it is working on camera, "If you like tech, you'll love film and television!" It seems like one big lighting set up—I am sure it gets better when you are Meryl Streep. Everything must be better when you are Meryl Streep...that might have to be a song title.

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