Saturday, June 25, 2011

Performance, "The Beauty Queen of Leenane"

I have to say that last night and tonight's audiences were the best, so far. It might have been because I decided to tweak Maureen just a tad bit. And for that I blame thank Mark, who plays Pato.

Last Saturday, as I came off the first scene, Mark high-fived me commenting that I was on fire. "Evil" and "mocking" were two more words that stuck with me. Those are not adjectives that should come right after the opening scene! That combined with the woman in the front row that held such tongue-clicking disgust for me (at one point I was really afraid she was going to jump up on stage and go after me!) had me rethinking my acting choices.

The play works best when the audience empathizes with both Maureen and Mag. We are our own worse enemies and our own victims. What I believed happened was that I was playing Maureen a bit too harsh. If I was starting the very first scene "evil" and "mocking" I really had nowhere else to go with her. I was also overpowering Maryann's attempts to grow Mag. Ultimately I was hurting the lay by inadvertently making Maureen immediately unlikable.

So Friday I made Maureen a bit softer, lighter and it worked so much better. We actually got laughs that we'd never gotten before! Both audiences went right along for the ride that Mag and Maureen took them on. Instead of being so very dark and heavy, the show was simply sad, which is what the playwright intended it to be.

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