When Words Fail

I was wondering how I know what to say.

20 years old I get a masterclass with one of the most renowed directors and teachers in the theatre. His reputation and opinion carry a lot of weight. I have worked with him before he is a complicated and difficult person.

I am about to find out how difficult.

I am with 12 other people we have worked with each other for over two years. Dynamic is somewwhat strained, tense and competative.

We are going to have to be directed in a scene, one of Goldsmiths comedies. We get a cast list. I get the worst part. The fat innkeep who has one small line right at the start. Not only is it a insiginificant charcter but its also a part to be played by a character actor, I am a juvenile lead, two such roles in the play one is given to a member of the group who is a character actor.

He is well aware its slap in the face for me. But when it comes to the day and we enter the room. It is going to get far worse.

I have the first line, I can’t remeber what it was something like ‘ohh arrr the drinks be on the table my lord’

I was somewhat surprsed to be imediatly stoped and told it was wrong do it again.

second attempt. Couple of words in. Wrong do it again.

Third attempt. Wrong. Everyone in the room is starting to take note and get restless.

Half an hour later this is still going on. The play has yet to get past the first line. I am stopped two to three words in. Told to start again.

By this time the room is like a pressure cooker. Some cast members have gone past anger and look ready to explode.

“Ohhh Arrr” “Wrong, start again” About fifty five minutes in, I get the line out, pause and a simple statement “you can play this part now.” Thats the end of the lesson play moves on. Ten minutes later the entire lesson is over.

He did not really need to say anymore I knew he was correct and what it took to get their, the level of small scale, highly precise detail the play demanded.

This perhaps goes down as the worst day of my life. It was horrific.

It was his final lesson and the last time I saw him.


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