There’s nothing like posting some thoughts to spur more thoughts! So:
– As a background character, improvising new bits on stage can be fun, but there are a lot of things to consider. First, you basically can’t make any noise or you’ll be stepping on someone’s line. This is surprisingly limiting! You also have to be sure you’re not physically getting in anyone’s way, or trying to interact with someone who’s about to have a line. (also, if you ever have to improvise a line it means that something has gone wrong)
– Some people have asked me(*) if I get nervous before shows. The answer this year is: not really. Apparently I’ve done this enough that I’ve become immune to pre-show jitters. (I achieved this with singing in public a while ago) Usually before the first few shows of a run I’ll get a little nervous, but that’s about it. This might be biased by the fact that I have very few lines this year – maybe I’d be more nervous if I had more?
– I love having a responsive audience! Since it’s hard to see the house because of the lights, applause and whatnot is the only way to tell whether anyone’s enjoying it. I would much rather have a borderline unruly crowd (kids yelling answers to questions: keep it up!) than a quiet one.
– Just like in choir concerts and piano recitals, “made no mistakes” is not the same as “put on a good show”. This took me a while to learn, but most mistakes are barely noticeable by the audience. But the audience will notice if the show is boring 🙂
– Unfortunately, I am very bad at telling when a show went well. When we run the show start to finish during rehearsals the director is not shy about telling us afterwards how it went, and I’m no better than 50-50 at trying to judge before he tells us.
– When we run the show start to finish during rehearsals we get plenty of notes – stuff we did well and stuff we did not. Once we start performance we rarely get any sort of feedback – often our director doesn’t even watch the show. It’s nice that we don’t have to stick around longer to hear notes but I kind of miss hearing about what we can improve on, especially because of the previous point.
Today marked the end of our run, so these are probably all of the acting thoughts I’ll have for a while!
(*) No one has asked me this, but I like the conversational tone so I’m keeping it.