Rehearsals for The Homecoming are going splendidly!
We have now read the script all the way through as a troupe, and picked apart about 1/3 of all the dense matter in the thing; slung around potential variations on the through-line, etc...
A really interesting theme has emerged regarding age. There's a number of moments that discuss age as a central theme of the piece. There's a ticking clock in Lenny's room; the end of the play is a monologue from Max, the father, in which he pleads to anyone who'll listen that he isn't an old man, although he is 70; there's discussion of whether or not Teddy and Ruth's children will be missing them, and I gather from that that Teddy believes himself to be too old to be of interest to them; and Ruth, in her journey, re-finds her youth through this household of aging and desperate men. It just occurred to me that perhaps Teddy, a professor, is contemplating trading his wife in for a newer model (to use the parlance of the piece). This would be another indication of time and age as a central theme.
I can't describe to you how rewarding it is to analyze a script and find connections that help create a whole picture of the world being lived! It's like a drug. With every new discovery there is a little rush of endorphine-like joy at having used the brain and unlocked a piece of someone else's brain puzzle. It makes me feel smart!
I'm still struggling with my character 's (Teddy) most pivotal motivational moment. I won't reveal the nature of the moment, but will say that Teddy has an enigmatic approach to the action's culmination. That is to say, he is ambiguous about the result. He seems completely apathetic to a situation that should be of great emotional import to him. He could be devastated, and there are indications early on that this would be the natural progression for him. However, he seems quite contented at the result when it becomes clear that it is the course that will be taken. He could be delighted at the end result, as well. He exerts two completely different sides of the same issue within the same play. His enigmatic response to the endgame indicates one of three possibilities: Apathy; Cloaked devastation; Or a contentedness with his calculated victory.
As an actor, I have to make a choice. The way it's written prevents a decisive discovery from being possible. In a way, this makes my journey as an actor more my own, which is brilliant of Harold Pinter, who was himself an actor -- and I am now certain that he was stubborn in his efforts to keep the actor self-empowered; for that I thank you, Harold! But which choice is the best one? Which is the best choice for the production and for the rest of the cast? Which is the one that forward's the director's (Paul Angelo) vision the most cleanly?
Let's narrow it down...
TO NEXT POST