Rehearsals, Part Cinco - Tell the Story!
So anyway, back to showbiz! (FINALLY, something real and meaningful for us all to relate to)
At the top of our rehearsal lingo hit parade (when we’re not deeply discussing the Kardashians, of course) is “telling the story”. When one is an alarmingly important and hugely humble director-type (ahem), one needs to forever keep a beady eye on where the heck we’re all at in the story of the play. That is to say - is the story being told clearly, or will we just be paddling slowly across a sea of puzzled faces in the audience?
Sometimes, we can get so carried away with our fabulous selves during rehearsals (understandably, as we are, as advertised, FABULOUS), that we end up creating a series of moments that please ourselves tremendously (especially after a few Rum and Frescas at lunch); but sadly may not have much to do with the actual story we’re trying to tell (read: THERE ARE ALWAYS SELFISH PEOPLE WHO “PAID MONEY” AND WANT TO “UNDERSTAND THE PLAY”).
Of course, when we say we want to “tell the story”, it’s more of a “story unfolding” vibe we’re looking for here...the story should feel like it’s naturally telling itself, just like it seems to do in life (MORE ON THIS IN A MINUTE, DEAR READER…*WINK*). The arc of the story should unfurl itself at just the right pace - you don’t want the audience to get ahead of the story (aka SNOOZEFEST) or behind the story (“Don’t worry, Phyllis - the TripAdvisor review will tell us what this was about.”). The audience wants to invest in the story whole-heartedly, no matter how serious or ridiculous (or seriously ridiculous, in my case); and you can throw every bell and whistle you can carry from the Bell and Whistle Store at it, and you can throw every fabulous actor from the Fabulous Actor Store at it (CAUTION PLEASE DON’T THROW THE ACTORS); but without a story, they’re gonna be sprinting back to Murder She Wrote reruns before the curtain comes down. (ALSO who wants to open a Bell and Whistle Store with me??)
You see, we are addicted to stories. We eat ‘em up! Especially the stories that distract us from our own stories. (I’LL GET THERE, JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE WOULD YA?)
Back in the golden age of the 80’s, my father somehow got hooked on videotaping The Young and the Restless every day. I have no satisfactory explanation for this. He’d gleefully say “gotta watch my story,” and hit Rewind. I enjoyed watching him watch. Of course, he had the luxury of fast-forwarding through the plot lines that he found tedious, contentedly concentrating on the parts of the story he found intriguing. (but you see, that was the wonder of the VCR...what a time to be alive!!). I think a lot of us wish we could fast-forward through the boring bits of life, like my dad did through the lives of the mesmerizing, timeless characters on Y & the R.
Which brings me to the ever-lovin’ question (I know you’re white-knuckling your couch, your cat, or your cup of Sanka in anticipation)...what about YOUR story? Are you telling your story, or is your story telling YOU? ‘Cause you’re getting a writing credit and may not even know it (PS don’t forget to talk to your agent about billing...ALWAYS ASK FOR BILLING ABOVE THE TITLE)! When you pry open your peepers in the morning and ponder your day, are you rolling your eyes to the back of your cranium in dread, or are you salivating in anticipation about its potential? Or perhaps a smart bridge mix of the two? Are you writing a story where every blessed day is one fresh hell après the next, and you pass the time moaning woefully about the parade of indignities visited upon your battered, world-weary frame? SURELY I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE…*tap tap tap* IS THIS THING ON?
Listen, amigos and amigas, maybe it’s time for a new story. One solid approach is to give up our complaints and judgments about ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING and take a glorious inventory of all the magnificent things we’ve got in our hot little mitts RIGHT NOW (or at least mitts-adjacent). When you’re tackling a play, it’s important not to judge the story, because your attitude towards it can come across to an audience like a comment on the material and that comment can, in turn, take the audience right out of the story. In the same way, your judgment of your own story - wherever you are, and whatever you’re doing - takes you out of a potentially magnificent moment unfolding right in front of your relentlessly sweet personage. When you’re in a play, you have to stay in the moment, in the story. And when you’re in your life, you have to stay in your moment and in your story. Be where you are, cause that’s where the story IS. And when you’re not consumed by judging your story, you know what happens? Your story appears to change! Like magic! As magical as the mood ring I got in 1976 on a family vacation in Florida and then accidentally left in a gas station restroom in Ohio on the drive back? YES, THAT MAGICAL.
SO, let’s savour a chic recap of my rehearsal objectives that I have outlined hitherto (quills ready?)….
Set your intention! (What would you like to happen? What’s the sweetest outcome for EVERYONE?)
Love the process! (The process is NOW, baby, and that’s all there is...so you may as well LOVE IT)
Commit! (Commit to your Intention. Commit to the Process!! TRUST. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.)
Focus! (Be where you’re at, daddio!!)
Tell the story! (What’s your story, morning glory?)
Now, I’m going to start you off on your new story - you are SPECTACULAR and I’m CRAZY about you!!! You can take it from there!! ❤️