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My most difficult role ever?

Cruise jumps on the couch during the taping of...
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Iago is stretching me to the brink. All the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years – concentrating on the breath and my objective, how to use an unusual theatre space and project my voice in a room that cuts against your volume… but the primary hurdle I’m facing is lines.

Iago speaks A LOT. As in, seemingly a third of the play is Iago, talking. For our cut of the script, anyway. And we’re supposed to be off-book by now, but I am far from it.

In my struggles, I am trying old and new methods. The old method of making sure I know what it is I’m saying, and why I’m saying it, still works. But I’ve also assembled cue cards per scene-ish part to help me through this (and potentially be cheat sheets before I go onstage, if need be), and I tried what is apparently the Tom Cruise method of recording one’s own voice reading the lines, and listening to that while reading the lines. This was potentially dangerous territory for me, the guy who needs to stop looking for ‘the right way the line sounds’, but I was willing to try anything to get these lines in my head.

Then I met with a former professor of mine, Ned Vukovic, who mentioned that he used to record all his cue lines. So I recorded myself saying everyone ELSE’S lines, turning the microphone off while I read my lines. I have been listening to the readings on my mp3 player and working to fill in the spaces with what I need to say. Thus far, it seems to be successful!

We’ve also just started this week to have a stage manager to get quite upset with the many times I call ‘line’, until I need to just go grab my script. I committed one of those actor errors, last Saturday, where my scene partner and I realized we didn’t have any of our lines down for some reason, and were left parroting half-sentences given to us by the stage manager for what felt like an hour but was probably ten minutes. I knew what was best for the rehearsal was for me to go and get my script, and my scene partner to do the same, but the whole experience was a slow torture, and I felt like that was exactly what I deserved.

Note to self/everyone: There’s never any need to torture yourself like that. We’re all working together to create something powerful, and negative masochistic feelings only get in the way of that. Accept what is what, and move on!

I’ve never had to learn this much before, and opening night is on the 27th. I am determined to be ready. I know Iago’s soul, I know his relationships, I know his motivations, I know his gut, and I know his libido. Just need to get the words.

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