Monday, April 14, 2014

The Mechanics of Hearsay

Today I was "on-book" the a run through of my most recent play. The cast and director have been working on this piece as I made revisions, cut, chopped, for the past couple months. It's finally time to perform the thing, and the ladies were off-book today (meaning memorized). Usually an assistant stage manager is "on book" (meaning, reads along in the script waiting for an actor to yell "line"). We don't have an SM. Let alone an ASM, so I offered to do the job. It's weird being an on-book playwright. Each recitation of the correct line sounds progressively more condescending. "I made this, and you are wrecking it." I, of course, do not care at all. (What's that you hear in the distance? Is it "Pomp and Circumstance?")

What's really interesting about watching the play from the page is how close but not quite actors can get to the words. "You've been freezing me out" becomes "You've been shutting me out." Dropped "well"s here, added, "okay"s there. One girl mixed up "please don't give up on me" with "please don't give me up." That's actually a pretty sizable swap.

I think of how many times i relate what someone said to me--be it kind or sharp--and how often I actually remember word for word what was said. And perhaps scarier, how often I think I do.

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