The Big, Scary, New Role

TSS

On Friday, I had an audition. It was not good. Despite that, I received a callback for the next day.

The callback was fun. The callback was good. I felt like I performed really well and that they were impressed with what I showed them. I had brought my significant other along to both of these events and on the way home, I told him that while I didn’t know how casting would go, I felt I had done well and that, if I got the part I was going for, it was going to be really hard and really scary. As much as I wanted the part, it would be a relief as much as a disappointment not to get it because it is TERRIFYING.

Last night, I found out that I got the part I was going for, and this part and this play scare the crap out of me.

I suppose, first, that I should explain that this play and I have a history. Late in 2010, I saw that Laura Linney was going to be on Broadway. Laura Linney is one of my favorite actors. I’ve seen almost every film she’s ever done, and I HAD to see her perform live. So two friends and I got super cheap nosebleed seats to see the show, Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies. It was AMAZING. Like, no words, amazing:  the performances, the script, everything. A few months later, I paid through the nose to sit in the third row and see the show again and found it just as moving. I vowed that one day I would play Sarah, the part Laura Linney played. That day was today, when we started rehearsals.

I’m ecstatic to have this part; I did a happy dance when I heard that I had gotten it. But seconds after I shouted to my S.O. “I GOT THE PART!!!”, I said, “I’m really scared. This is going to be really hard.” And it is. First of all, Sarah is, at the youngest, 35 years old. (The show is being directed by a college student, so he attracted people around the same age.) She’s a photojournalist who has seen wars and a lot of death and danger. The first scene of the play takes place when Sarah comes home after weeks spent in the hospital after surviving a roadside bomb explosion in a third-world country, where she was working; she’s suffering from PTSD, something I’ve never done onstage. The explosion has left her arm in a sling and her leg in a cast, so I’ll need to learn to use crutches, and will have to  act while keeping in mind that, in each scene, she’s in a different stage of physically healing. I’m afraid I won’t be able to portray her maturity well enough; besides having seen much more of life’s hardships than I have, she’s also had at least more than ten years of life, so that’s scary. And the script itself is daunting. The play is very much Sarah’s story, and the dialogue is incredibly fast and charged. We had our first read-through tonight and I was almost out of breath by the end. You can’t do anything but play this part when playing this part, because any lapse in concentration will screw up the incredibly demanding pace.

Though our rehearsal period is a tad longer than in a professional setting (about a month and a half, as opposed to a month), I expected us to have constant, perhaps every-day, rehearsals. But as our director said tonight, this play is so heavy and complex that demanding us to conquer it every day would be overloading us. We need time to digest what’s happened; even right after we finished tonight’s reading and the director asked us our initial thoughts, we all said, “Just give me a second…”

I love doing pretty much any kind of theatre, and often doing one kind makes me crave the other. Since my last show was a nice, light kids’ piece, it made me want to do a dark drama. Now I’ve got one, and I’m sure I’ll be begging for a fluffy musical come August, because this play is heavy. It deals with the complexities of ethics, the incompatibility of people’s life choices, mental health, and adult relationships. After seeing it with my friends two and a half years ago, we couldn’t stop talking about it, and the case was the same after we read through the script tonight. Each character is so layered that I’m sure I’m going to be discovering stuff about Sarah until long after the show closes, and those are the best kind of parts.

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