Farnsworth Chronicles, 6


As the morning dawns on the day of TEDxFortMcMurray, the cast of The Farnsworth Invention is bearing down on getting off book by next week.  After only a couple of weeks of rehearsals many of the ensemble members have already abandoned their text and are running the show free of that albatross.

My character's esteemed colleague and nemesis, Mr. Farnsworth (Michael Beamish) is doing a great job taking the words from the page, through his heart and to the stage.  He pretty much nailed all of act one last night, a stretch of pages with a whole lot of lines.

Michael Beamish plays Philo Farnsworth
It is so hard to describe how the heartbeat of the play begins to establish itself, slowly, consistently, incrementally.  As the intentions and meaning travel from the actors' heads to their hearts, something magical begins to happen.  In many ways, it is this part of the process that has always been my favourite.

I think back to the run for lights during the rehearsal process for Death of a Salesman directed by Thomas Peacocke (Pere Murray in Hounds of Notre Dame [19080]).  (The "run for lights" is a performance of the play in the rehearsal hall -without costumes, set or lights - to give the lighting director the opportunity to see the movement and feel of the show)  Playing Biff, opposite Douglas Abel as Willy Loman, the words of the script descended from my head to my heart during this rehearsal, in a more profound way than I had ever experienced to that point and since.  When the run came to an end I couldn't breathe and was overcome with emotion.

I'm beginning to experience whispers of truth with increasing frequency as we march along toward the April 27th opening night.  Once I can safely put down the script for good, targeted for next Wednesday, it will take the experience to a whole new level.

It is so fun to watch the growth of the actors who are breathing life into this amazing script by the award winning Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Social Network).  They are working hard and putting their hearts and souls into the process.  This is turning out to be a delightful reminder for me of why we put ourselves through a grueling six-week rehearsal and production process - because it is truly amazing.

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