Thursday, September 6, 2012

Harold Pinter's The Homecoming

I think I've found my solution to the kwon-dairy of how to play Teddy in "The Homecoming".


I think, after talking with Paul Angelo and Grace Carter (Ruth) in rehearsal last night, thanks to them for the help, that when Teddy arrives at home, he thinks of his wife, Ruth, as a weapon with which to bludgeon his estranged family to death. Then, as they spend a little time with the family, and she seems to be integrating with the neandertals that are Teddy's dad, uncle and siblings (rather than ruining them), he begins to realize that his weapon has turned against him.

At this point, he scrambles to save face and re-establish control over his wife and the situation, which is all in vain, for Ruth now has a mind of her own and is having none of it. Then, there's another turn for Teddy, when he realizes that, not only are his attempts at regaining control for naught, he doesn't really want what he's been fighting for in the first place. This final turn frees him of any guilt a normal person in the same circumstances would be feeling; his epiphany abdicates him of any moral responsibility he might have with relation to his wife and the circumstances, and he arrives at a place where he can fully embrace the truly macabre and yet inevitable future that he has brought upon himself and his now re-invigorated family.

I have to choose my words carefully so's not to let the cat out of the bag for those of you who will be attending the performance and don't want it laid out for you. Hence the enigmatic explanation. I will say, however, that the play itself is enigmatic. And so attempting to describe such a piece in code gives it an extra level of abstraction that may convolute beyond the point of no return. Sorry if that's the case.

In any event, you can see that the process an actor goes through to decode character, especially in world-class dramatic literature, is mentally grueling to say the least. It's a gnawing that never goes away until it is cracked, and even then there is second guessing and re-analysis all the way through production.

Acting is a mental sport!


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