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«A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College In partial fulfillment of the ...»

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I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the scope of this character I am playing and the people with whom I am working. I must get it all in my body and we haven’t been going fast enough for that to happen. I know that a fault I have as an actor is a need for comfort with the form and shape before I can be confident. I should be confident enough with my work to not need so much repetition, but alas, I am not. I wish that I could say that I am improving on that aspect of my artistic personality as I work on this show, but no, not one bit. I freak myself out. I know that I am doing good work, but the minute I walk back through the doors into the Reilly all of that confidence disappears. This is my problem.

Only I can change that feeling. CONFIDENCE—if nothing else, Lady M is confident— don’t let her down.

October 14, 2004: We really worked on the banquet today. I feel much better about it.

We completely finished the dance—top to bottom—how we get onstage to how we get to our positions for the scene. This dance tells our story (the Mac’s) within the scene very well. The strain and the formality are so well articulated within the dance that it rocket launches me into the scene. My choices feel even more right with the dance in place.

Susan and I are still working on how the fight happens, but the shape is there for the rest of it. Rachel pointed to the fact that the drama of the scene is in Lady M’s dealing with the madness. I have to get myself to a point where I am stuck and can’t do anything.

This kind of thing does not happen in her world and she has no idea how to deal with it.

This is completely unknown territory for her. The audience looks to her for instructions, as do the thanes and the servants, but she doesn’t know what to do. It is truly the beginning of the end for her as the Lady M we have known. In the last bit of the scene she watches Mac continue to froth and fume with no one there. Who has he become?

What is he doing? Maybe this is the moment she realizes that she is useless to him. That knowledge may drive her crazier than the guilt of the murder. Perhaps she realizes that she has planted the seed for this separation. In trying to bind them together forever in their dream roles she has driven them apart. This is it for her. I really need to score the looks to Mac and the court. I need to think of specificity of action-- when, where, and quality of each look. How are they different? Why do I look at Angus this time and Ross the next? In the dance, think of violence vs. control and awareness of entire situation vs.

battle with Mac. Where do these things drive me?

October 15, 2004: We are starting back at the top for tech. I have started my usual bad habit of becoming brain dead in tech. Most all of my work today was in setting physical action of the show. I am trying to answer questions about those concerns. This is only the third time we will go through this. Haha and Oh no.

October 16, 2004: Tech is moving pretty quickly as Brian and Darron have been around for weeks. I did get to help pick my first scene dress. Polly designed an amazing robe that I was only going to get to wear in one scene, but since it is easier to move in than the other choice of a business suit, she and Leon have agreed to let me wear it at the top of the show. I will change into the suit for the coronation. It is very Hillary Clinton, I wish more Jackie O., but Lady M is definitely more Hillary. We are setting many moments to sound and light cues. Things are really starting to, not only feel more set, but feel more sharp and more placed and planned. But it still feels like we should not be opening as yet.

October 17, 2004: More tech. More setting. Tomorrow will be a nice day off.

October 19, 2004: I was semi-rested and ready for this, our first and final run. It was still kind of a stop and start, as things were getting solidified with technical aspects.

Rachel reminded me to play more with the language-- really push the ugly, hot, etc. To really use what is written. It is nice to be reminded of things that you know, especially when you get caught up in hitting cues and changing costumes. Also, I apparently wasn’t doing something that may be considered good by many people. BREATHE!!!!! So, I will work really hard to breathe tomorrow. I need to work III.ii with Susan (we had a couple of line flubs). I need to work “Last Supper” move with Eric (Duncan). We are missing the turn in I think—or it is at different speeds—it should be an easy fix. I think, each cross in sleepwalk could get faster. I fell down coming down the side stairs as dead Lady M. It probably doesn’t tell the right story if a ghost falls on her ass on the steps.

Leon reminded me to focus on text after letter. I am becoming fast and unclear again.

Barney wants more sounds in banquet dance. I have chosen a very nice maniacal laugh.

It is wonderful. Also a small change for tech purposes—a sound happens earlier, but I will not blow out my candle until “the queen my lord is dead.” Tomorrow morning we have a school matinee and it will be our first official run. WOW.

October 20, 2004: Well, the kids were a good first audience—mainly because they let us know when they got bored. Mostly all of act two—we really need to get it moving.

Actually I have very little to do with the pace of act two. The pressure is off. In Act One, Susan is starting the letter sooner, so I need to pick up the pace a bit getting into the red area of the stage.. Easy fix—I do need to think about more about that pace—I haven’t gotten it down to a science as yet. I need to look at Mac at the top of the banquet dance. That makes perfect sense—it increases the tension immediately. The banquet will work very soon. It is at that place where it just needs a bit more tweaking, but it will start hitting all of the time. Leon would like me to try extending my hand out to the dead folks on the sleepwalking sighs. I can do that.

Pay What You Can performance—as always lots of students. I felt nervous, like I might miss something for lack of practice. We are still perfecting the quick change into the “coronation” scene. We will probably be working that for a while. I fell down again when I was dead. I am going to have to really work going down without looking or start looking down. I really have no desire to look down. I will work it before tomorrow’s show. Leon asked us to really work for tomorrow on—life within form and relationship specificity. I know I really need to find more life within the form. By “form” I am referring specifically to the shape I have created for my body, as well as the shape the company has created for the show as a whole. I felt myself being overly concerned with the form and forgetting to live. This is a symptom of lack of repetition, I can fix that.

The space is open during the day. I am here for Illusion rehearsals—fix the problem of not having it in my body. That is no one’s responsibility but mine.

As far as specificity of relationships—I feel good about Mac and me and the “bitches.” I deal very little with other people, but I should just review what those relationships are. Banquo—I respect him as my husband’s best friend, but because he does have knowledge of the witches’ promises I find him suspicious. I am unsure of how to read his actions and usually I think he is behaving disrespectfully. Macduff—He is one of my husband’s co-workers. I never worry about him. His intentions are upfront. I don’t value his intelligence. He is a fighter not a thinker. Duncan—I think I do love him, but he must die. He is fatherly and silly, but those are the same reasons I think we will be better rulers. Ross is in my employ. Lennox—I feel pretty much the same way until after the banquet, then I wish him dead. Until I see Angus on the way to commit a murder for my husband he is in that same group. After that, I feel he has his eye on me and something to hold over our heads. Therefore, I do not like him anymore. The various other thanes do not even register on my screen. Donalbain and Malcolm are the enemy from the minute they walk into my home. They are the only things that could get in our way. That feeling remains until I can no longer function in the real world. Fleance is a cute kid who has had a crush on me since as long as I can remember (Derrick’s choice, not mine)—he is harmless. It is always good to recap.

October 21, 2004: Another preview. Notes from Darron—Really take “oh never shall sun that morrow see.” Yeah that isn’t really one to skip over. That is an easy fix. I think that note applies to more than just that moment. I think I am still letting myself get too worried about speed—as if I alone could trim 15 minutes off of the show. I’m sure I could, but I would have to skip an entire speech. I really need to take the time to live inside of the form of the language. Not just the physical form. I have such juicy lines— use them. I need to butter up Duncan even more. I also think that I need to find a bit more pleasure in my nerve. I am welcoming a king into my home so that I can kill him and take his throne. That is right up Lady M’s alley. She really feeds on things like that.

Maybe I can really enjoy touching his soon to be dead flesh. Darron suggested Mac and I find some places to look at each other after the murder. Susan and I talked about adding one long look. We are going to try to feel it out tomorrow—see where it works. My big note from Leon was (and I quote), “More in the “unsex me here” speech.” I asked him if he could be more specific—he said no. So what does that mean—more tension, more need, more “crazy bitch?” I’ll try something tomorrow. I also fell down AGAIN tonight.

No more—there really is no excuse for falling down the stairs at the exact same moment every night.

October 22, 2004: The last show before we open. Kids again. I really spent today trying to make sure I have all of my flight paths and entrances and exits clear. I wanted to be ready for tonight. I am excited. I am glad we have gotten all of these shows under our belts before we open.

OPENING!!!! The adrenaline was flowing. There are things to keep solidifying—sleepwalking moments need to get more and more clear, the scene (III.ii) with Mac is still settling into exactly what I want—it was too angry tonight, so the banquet’s energy was kind of repetitive, the banquet was almost there again. Once it gets there it is going to be so much fun. Overall, tonight felt good. It is starting to feel like the work is really coming together. I think we have built something to be proud of. I look forward to the rest of the run. We have tomorrow off because of a football game— that’s weird, right as we get going we get a day off. A show Sunday and then another day off.

October 24, 2004: A decent audience—pretty big. The cast was tired—me included.

And we had to get back into it. Since it still wasn’t entirely solid we had to get a running start into it again. Weird, but fine show. Nothing big happened. We did have to adjust some things because David Huber hurt his ankle—he will be off of it for awhile. Poor guy. So rearrangements—the only place it really affects me is in the banquet dance— Sarah Jane will be taking over for him, in the dance only. Easy switch for me—other members of the cast have a harder time.

October 26, 2004: Two good shows. The matinee got us back into the swing of things for the night show. Today was about gearing up. I am still working individual chunks of the sleepwalking scene. Just small things—I am trying to keep making each chunk different. I am also trying to replicate it exactly the same way on each cross, but faster.

The struggle right now is in the standing—I haven’t gotten to the best place to stand or to hold the stand. I also need to take longer getting to my starting spot, I stand forever right now. I realized today that after the dispersal of the “corpses” in act two—Chaney, Brace, and I have this moment of simultaneous movement that we never discussed, no one sees it but me, but it makes me so happy. Leon will let me take my shoes off for act two if Karli agrees—I think she will, if I beg. Those character shoes make me really uncomfortable crossing that slowly on the catwalk—they are too uneven for the movement I am doing. I am still shaping exactly when I get to each place along the path.

This will be the section of constant work. I am happy with it but I want to keep nailing tiny bits down—I want it to be specific.

October 27, 2004: My step-into-the-red-area with Mac isn’t timing out right. I think we will be able to fix it. I noticed that I am so concerned with some moments that I am letting others slide by. Nothing is any less important unless I make it less important. I really feel better about my work everyday. That makes me happy, but I still have room to grow in every scene. That also makes me happy.

October 28, 2004: The show went just fine. Note from Leon—I need to trim down the number of times I look back at the thanes in the banquet scene. It gets fuzzy as to why I am not talking to them. That makes sense—I still really haven’t nailed those takes down specifically enough. The banquet is almost there—we are getting little laughs, but I really want some laughs and then silence. It works when I turn my back to the audience when the golf ball hits the stage. Tiny explanation: there is a doctor in the script—it could be two (one in England, one in Scotland). Leon decided that Shawn would play both as one doctor who is leaving England to play golf in Scotland. Doctor, golf, Scotland—it’s all very funny. If I am doing the turn right no one will notice it, only that I turned at some point.

October 29, 2004: This morning we performed for a couple of schools one of which was an all-girls Catholic school. It felt good to be doing this show in front of young girls.

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