The Hard Cell team is closing out 2018 by running the play start-to-finish for the first time. We’ve been focusing on Act 2 for almost a week, so to get ready for this exciting step, yesterday we checked back in on Act 1.
Now, the cast has been rehearsing mostly off-book (meaning saying their lines from memory, not reading from their scripts) since our first week. But things always get a little wonky when you go back to part of the play you haven’t thought about in a while. In my much younger days, I had very little patience with that – I thought my job was to make sure everyone did the right thing all the time, which meant making sure they always knew everything they were doing wrong.
But now, I know that while actors are building characters and telling stories, they have a lot to think about. It’s not just the lines and how to deliver them, but where to stand, when to move, whom to look at, where to put that prop, even when to breathe. Eventually, muscle memory takes care of a lot of that – but in the meantime, it’s a lot to remember. Sometimes it’s a little too much, like for example when you’re trying not to get your jacket caught on a chair while reaching to grab your glass before you have to walk across the room and say your next line. In that case, as we discovered yesterday, you might end up echoing the wrong part of what someone else just said and, instead of the hopeful sentiment written in the script, proposing a toast “to grief and loneliness.”
And thus, the official Hard Cell New Year’s toast was born. I’m not an expert on this, but I’m sure somewhere in the world there’s a toasting tradition that calls for saying the opposite of what you want – like how saying “good luck” to an actor is bad luck. So if you decide to give that a try this New Year’s Eve, let us know how it works out.