AYL: reading

So, I’ve got to share something from the As You Like It rehearsal process.

It’s about reading and being off-book (see yesterday).

When a character is reading something in the play, reading a letter or book or poem aloud on stage, I do NOT want that read material memorized. I want it to appear as–no, I want the character to be reading that material. There’s nothing more unbelievable than a character who is reading something for the first time, and being able to do so without looking at the damned paper. It can take an audience member right out of the world of the play.

Now, I thought I had made that clear to the actors, but our Rosalind Ryanna texted me over the weekend to express the difficulty she was having memorizing Phoebe’s letter to Ganymede, and requesting that I not think badly of her if she didn’t have it down cold for this week’s run-throughs. When I reiterated my policy, she was relieved, and her performance was all the better and believable for it.

And thus, I’ve printed out poems for my actors…

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