Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I love this city.

So I'm staying on the 12th floor of this place on 34th street, and out my kitchen window, I can see the apartments at the other end of the building. Between this side and that side, the building forms a sort of C-shaped channel, and currents of air rise up through it. This means that when I look out the window, the snow is not falling, but rising. Floating delicately back up to the sky like it changed its mind or something. It's pretty gorgeous.

I love this city. There's so much to see and do. Since we've been here, I've eaten at two or three different (usually fantastic) restaurants every day, seen numerous beautiful and interesting neighborhoods, and done my best to overdose on great theater. So far I've seen six shows in venues ranging from the Chelsea Art Museum to the Gershwin Theater. (Yes, I caved and bought a ticket to Wicked, and it was great fun.) The Under The Radar festival has had some fascinating offerings like Architecting and England, and Saturday night finished up at Union Square with a mind-blowing performance of Fuerza Bruta. I can't imagine being surrounded by so much incredible work all the time. And it's still amazing to me that I get to be a small part of that.

Performances of CRANKED have been going very well. People are coming in from all over town and the response continues to be fantastic. I've been getting some great questions in the talkbacks, and one thing that people always want to know is, how do I play a meth addict so accurately if I've never been one? Well, for me, it comes down to physicality.

See, I generally start by figuring out how a character moves, and then allowing that to inform the way he thinks. I never went to theater school, but I'm drawn to the kind of training that hones the body's ability to remember. I've trained with Grotowski-based companies like NaCl (New York), number eleven theatre and Stranger Theatre (Toronto), and Theatre Replacement (Vancouver). I've learned to approach performance through a physical “score”. What that means for me is, make a series of movements clean, precise and repeatable enough, and the body will memorize it. This leaves the mind free to explore the psychological drama of the character.

So you can see how, with research, study, and Patrick McDonald's excellent direction, I was able to take on the physicality of a kid like Stan and score my performance down to the smallest detail. I pride myself on being an actor whose physical performance is remarkably consistent – and this consistency allows me to get my intellect out of the way and just feel the show through, moment by moment.

It also helps me to keep things fresh and alive within the show, because I don't have to think about what I'm doing. I just get to do it. And according to Green Thumb, last Sunday's show was my 300th performance of CRANKED, so anything that helps me keep it fresh and alive after this long is a blessing.

Anyway, it's nearly suppertime, and outside my window, the snow has stopped rising. Time to get my new shoes on, get out there and find another fantastic restaurant.

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