Monologuing

A year ago I had reached the height of anxiety, with less than two weeks before we opened The Zoo Story at WinterPLAY 2009, I was staring in the face of an eight page monologue with the clock ticking. We had lost a full week of rehearsals as I had to return to Saskatchewan to bury my grandfather. I had never been so unprepared for a performance this late in the game, and my stress level was through the roof.

Today I tackled the modest mountain of lines in scene four of A Number, a monologue of a mere two pages. After five or six hours of absorbing, emoting, repeating, the speech has settled into my brain, although it won't completely settle till we put it on its feet later this week.

I ran into CJ Phillips at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre today-- he was helping out at the annual Guy Boutilier 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. I'm not sure how we got on the topic but he started expostulating on coaching.

"You know what all the greatest coaches in the history of sport have in common?" he asked. "They all look like this." At this point Curtis leaned back in his chair, crossed his legs, and assumed an assured air of certainty.

"Great coaches don't have much to say during the height of a game because the work has already been done," he shared. "The fundamentals are so drilled into the players that when push comes to shove, they know exactly what to do, almost by rote."

Learning lines and successfully telling the story of a play is very similar. We go over scenes time and time again until it is automatic, like a symphony of words, intentions, actions and reactions. And much like a successful sports team, the success of an acting ensemble rests in their level of trust, respect and commitment.

No great achievement, in sports, life or the arts, comes without great effort and an undying belief in what you're doing.

February 15, 2010 - 194.8 pounds, 27% body fat

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