Monday, October 12, 2009

OPA! an old unfinished post from October

I can't believe it's been a month and a half since I've blogged. It's been a busy time with lots of personal strife (I'll save that for my other blog) and of course putting this latest incarnation of OPA! on its feet and trying to get THE HOUSE OF NUNZIO in better shape!

I know I have talked about working on new material in earlier posts and once again I encourage actors to do it if and when they have the chance. Having the opportunity to work on a new piece more than once, as it changes, has been particularly enlightening and has brought some challenges to me as an actor - and lots of rewards.

But what I really want to express in this post is the importance the audience plays on our work. I mean, ultimately, that is why I want to do the work, to share it with others. While the process leading up to the opening has always been exciting to me, so much more can be discovered once the audience is in the seats - particularly in comedy and musical comedy.

Our opening weekend of OPA! is a prime example. Finally having an audience helped us to find the rhythm for the piece, helped us to see the moments that are working and others that might not be. However, as I have mentioned to the producer, just because they aren't laughing, doesn't mean it isn't funny. Sometimes, if actors haven't been holding for laughter than the audience will begin to hold them because they want to hear the actors. Sometimes, as in OPA!, the audience is dealing with listenting to an accent and some of the humor may pass before they laugh. Sometimes people are smiling quietly and that is ok too. The temptation for actors is to begin to push the comedy or force a moment or change things altogether if the audience doesn't laugh. For the most part, I think that's not the right way to go. Certainly if the audience isn't laughing, and you have another idea or you're not feeling it's very funny either, than maybe it is worth a tweak. But often, if you trust the moment, if you don't rush it, it probably is funny even if the screaming laughter isn't coming.

(There was more to say, but clearly I did not finish it - now it's three months later but still thought I'd post it)