Tuesday, April 27, 2010

a play reading

I invited some friends over to read a new play last night that I would love to direct. These are wonderful talented actors, each with his/her own strengths, and they did a very creditable job of reading and maintaining their own through lines, not taking on each other's tones or rhythms - very strong personalities and very intelligent reads. Coming at directing from being an actor, I found it strangely relaxing to attend a read through where I wasn't doing any of the work. I could skip all the struggling to be really good and go straight to the criticism. You know the critic that pops out, "ooh, you didn't do that line the way it was meant to be done." "Didn't fully commit there, did you?" "oops. Cheesy." "Shit, I meant that to sound better." All of that. I could just sit back and listen to other people struggle to make it come out right. And then think, "I have a better line reading for that," or, "Wow. That was brilliant. I never would have thought of that!" Or "She really got the emotions flowing there, really went all the way with it." Or, "pick up the pace!" But it wasn't me doing it, and it wasn't me I had to criticize. Such a relief in a way. And such a delight to be with friends doing something creative just for the pure fun of creating, no one watching but ourselves, no one being exploited or wanting more money. It was just giving. Almost pure art.