Hello all, Gavin here. I've been asking my actors to make the occasional post but I'm guessing they've all been too busy learning their lines so I figured I'd buy them some time and write something myself. Rehearsals have been coming along great. When I say that, I don't mean to say that every
rehearsal has been great. They haven't. One or two in particular have been shit (the actors know which ones). But that's natural for the rehearsal process. That's why we rehearse. Hey, I know some of you out there think the shows are crap when they're staged, you should see what they're like five weeks before!
Its scary putting a show together, no matter how much you may love it. And even though I'm enjoying every minute of every night I spend with my actors trying to flesh out the characters, trying to make it better each time we go at it......I can't help but be scared. Don't get me wrong, I get a lot of pleasure from it and I learn something about the play, my actors and myself at the end of every day.....but I'm still scared.
I've been scared throughout most of my life actually. Fear has always been a strong motivator for me. Fear of failure, humiliation, whatever. When I do a production, whether its as an actor or a writer or a director.....I usually don't realise how shit scared I am till around half way through rehearsals, then I start to freak out. But I've never been one of those guys who openly freaks out in front of others (probably because I know people like that and find it fucking annoying but that's a story for another time and another blog). No, I'm one of those sit up alone at home in the middle of the night and pace up and down the living room smoking and thinking out loud kind of guys.........actually now that I think about it, I'm not sure which one is worse.
As a director, your list of things to worry about grows considerably. As an actor, your basic job is to get all your lines out in the correct order, maybe add an inflection or two here and there, hit your mark, and don't bump into the furniture or fall off the set. (yes dears, I know there's slightly more to it than that, I'm talking about the basics,
meaning you can get away with just doing those things and depending on who the reviewer is, still get a good review. Actually I've found its when you really try to make an effort and put in a great performance, that you get fucked by the critics) As a writer, as long as you and the director are in agreement with the kind of show you both want to stage, the stress is fairly minimal. After all, if the show sucks the director will take more fire than you. Unfortunately, I've also acted in every play I've written so me being onstage has been a constant reminder to everyone in the audience who didn't happen to be enjoying themselves that I was the reason for their screwed up evening. Thankfully, they've been in the minority...........I think.
As a director though, you're pretty much stressing about everything. You worry for your actors, because you love them and you want them to be the best that they can be and you worry whether or not you have what it takes to help them reach that level of performance. You worry about the blocking, does it work? Is it repetitious? It is too this or too that? You never stop asking yourself questions. And this is just rehearsal, which is the fun part! After that, the real pain the ass issues start popping up - How do you sell the show? Who are we selling the show to? Who would most likely be interested in seeing it? How do we reach them? Is the publicity department handling it? How will the set look like? Will it be exactly as I imagined it? If not, will it affect my actors? Is it actor friendly? Is it audience friendly? How will audiences react to it? Will they like it?
Okay, to be perfectly honest....I don't really worry about the last couple of things. I admit I'm curious to see how audiences will take to this play but I can't afford to let that dictate the kind of shows I choose to put on. Obviously I want to put on shows that people will like but if all I was interested in doing was spoon feeding entertainment down their throats, then I might as well convince KLPac to restage Cinderella. When you decide to take on the responsibility of directing a production, the play must be something that speaks to your soul. As an actor, you don't always have that luxury. You take shitty job after shitty job because that's exactly what it is, a job. You take it and you say thank you because at the end of the day, just like everyone else, you have bills to pay. The Homecoming warms my soul in a big way, in the sense that I can't read any of it without telling myself that I'm reading an amazing play. When you feel that way about something, its only natural that you should want to share it. I don't know if you guys will like it or not.......all I know is that you've got a team of Pinter fans here working to make this the best show that we can possibly make. In many ways, working on this play has made me think a lot about when I was still in the States, doing plays in college. It was all about the love for theatre. It wasn't about money or getting your face on the cover of a magazine. It was all about the love.......ah man, its good to be home.
Oh, but I wouldn't say no to money......or a cover-story......any cover...really, we need the publicity......