Friday, September 5, 2008

Tower of Babel

I love getting to work with new actors. I'm also terrified of getting to work with new actors, especially any number of them at the same time.

I feel like the biggest part of my job as a director is casting. After that, the biggest part of my job is learning how to speak each actor's language. If I could, I would take myself to my local library and check out books-on-tape to learn each actor's language before rehearsals begin. Then I would be able to arrive on the first day fully fluent and able to anticipate my actors' needs from the first moment.

Or, I could cultivate my telepathy. That way I would be able to read minds and anticipate needs that way.

Sadly, neither of these resources are at my easy disposal. So instead I have to opt for full immersion.  I have to dive right in and hope that I'll be able to move from vague hand gestures to "please" and "thank you" to asking directions to the art museum to full-on conversational in each actor's respective language.  

I'm reminded of the Steve Martin bit where he thought he was ordering a cheese omelette and he's brought a boot covered in Gouda.  Or something.  I think that even if you get the cheesy boot a couple times you have to keep asking for the omelette.  And you have to ask for omelette in a few different languages.  Sometimes all you get is boot.  Or a cactus.  Or a Buick. But sometimes you get the most delicious omelette you ever did see.  And sometimes you get the pizza you didn't even know you were hungry for but, my goodness, it's delicious.

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