Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I observed some kids playing in a park today. They quickly made up a scenario in which one kid needed to be saved by the others. They all jumped into action, two of them turning a piece of playground equipment into a police car, while their friend dangled herself from the jungle gym. They didn't need to discuss who would play each role, they each just took on a part and ran with it. When one child decided she was tired of this scene, she shouted, "I want to play something different!" One of her companions obliged, declaring that they were all now swimming. And off they all swam. This willingness to say, "yes," to try any suggested idea wholeheartedly, or to figure out independently how to fit oneself into a scene in an interesting and supportive way, is something I wish for with each new cast of actors with which I begin to work. I have, at times, gone into a process naively expecting everyone to have a gung-ho cooperative attitude. I recognize that I must cultivate amongst each new company of actors (and designers, sometimes) a culture of enthusiasm and good-natured risk-taking. I can usually use exercises to help with this towards the beginning of the process, but more importantly, I need to communicate clearly that this is my hope, desire, and expectation from them. Equally important is that I model the attitudes I seek.