Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Thesbian rights

So much time and so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it.
Things to talk about. Many there are and all should be given words now before they fade from the brain, for there was much to speak of in the Tom Collins Monday night sesh and after-ramblings with Darwin ( big project comin’ down the line, may involve the hauling up of clewgarnets- watch this space).There is much much to talk of in Community garden workshop as attended by myself and a great number of more experienced growy growers, there is the more recent adventures of the-thing-like-as-what-I-wrote, already a drama and a half. I have many things to tell you of Limerick and a life lived therein but the task is impossible.

Let me say simply this, from now on until late June, I shall be rising on the hour of five. Not a rhythm ideal for a glittering social butterfly such as myself. (You don’t get to get spoiled with impossible piles of the ferrero roche at the Ambassadors’ receptions by keeping hours like that I tell thee.

Still it must be done, for we are squaring up our mainsail and setting our compass on a direct course to the critical acclaim, popular indifference and sense of gratifaction that results from a ‘Successful Theatrical Project'. Yes maties, come-storm-or-squall, we’re a-getting’ there.

Now. I don’t have much time so you can expect this post to be interminably long and full of pointless tangents.

For example, in the above picture, you may notice two muppets, but I wonder if you also notice that one of the engineers is wearing a set of rather fetching 'disco-boppers' made of shrunken human heads?


I’m all set to stop this blogging nonsense. Perhaps today.
Please, no weeping.
It’s been challenging but also lonely and exhausting and it is without false modesty, (or indeed fear of being corrected) that I say it seems to have produced nothing of particular literary merit.

Has helped get some of my own thoughts straight about a couple of things,- so there’s that.

But anyway, The Topic.
And I should say that this is not a domestic gripe, and I’m not working at the moment with someone who would do this, and I hope I never do.

The Topic is:

‘My Character wouldn’t say that’

No Actor has ever said anything as horrendous and egotistical as this to me and I'm very happy about it.
Sorry now lads but this crap isn’t on.

It’s very simple, if you want to have control over what your characters do, then you write a play.

It is of course valid to suggest that a behaviour or action is inconsistent with what we have seen and know of that character up until that point. But who says that that's a problem?

Someone writing, or writing and directing, can get a bit close to their own work sometimes, and sometimes the fresh pair of eyes belonging to the actor notice something really obvious that the writer/director doesn't. In practice I have not seen this happen much or often.

What is more likely is that, it takes the actor a really long time and maybe even a few performances to get what's going on. Nervous by nature, they worry about how they will appear, and if the work is new work, then they fret about it ten times more than usual.

‘It doesn’t make any sense!’ they cry, waving their rolled-up scripts like a batons.

It is at this point that the director must tilt their head just enough to see over the top of a set of wire-framed reading glasses, fix the flibbery-gibbet actores with their iciest maternalistic/paternalistic stare and say:

‘You? My dear misguided thesbians, who on earth said that it should ever make sense to You?’

First of all, that real people are ‘consistent’ in their behaviour would be a difficult point to prove.
All we have to do is think of old school friends and maybe what happened to them afterwards:
‘What? The nobel-prize? Him? Why the man used to dine regularly and happily on his own mucus when I knew him’
; to realise that even after a lifetime, even a shared lifetime, we cannot say of anybody ‘Oh yes she would definitely do this, in this situation’. Well we can say it, but that don't make it so.
We make predictions about people based on what we know of them so far. If those predictions are unsuccessful, it can be mildly irritating. We could call those people ‘inconsistent’, but the truth is, simply, that we ‘didn’t know them as well as we thought’, after all.
The picture that we had of them in our head changes to account for the behaviour.

The shared observation ,of people behaving differently to our shared expectations, is a great and useful experience for an audience, and often a dramatic one.

You're character says what your character says. The audience find it acceptable or not.

That's kind of it.

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