When I am playing a part in a show,
I take it very seriously. I do a lot of research for the role. If there is anything in the script that I don't know: places, references, words, I look them up. If there is outside reading available, I read it. Even in high school, I was rather obsessed with the research aspect of preparing for a role: When I did Man of La Mancha, I read excerpts from Don Qixote. When I did the Secret Garden, I read the novel, same with Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Every time I have done a professional show, I have put a lot into the role in this manner. On top of that, I maintain a level of professionalism by going the extra mile to learn my lines, music, dance steps etc. I take it all very seriously.
Cut to now. I am working on a staged reading of an opera about Edith Stein, a Jew who converted to Catholocism and became a Carmelite nun. This is the perfect project for me because it is RICH with factoids to gather. There are books written about her, Wikipedia entries, websites! Have I done any of it? Nope. Did I even read the script before I started rehearsal? uh-uh.
As a result, rehearsal has been a total discovery...every second. I have all of these questions. Why does Edith have two different alias's? Is she still a Jew in this scene? Am I a Jew? Oh wait a second....I die? It's completely ridiculous. There are lines that I have been hearing for DAYS now that I am just now starting to "get"...and I finally asked: What/where is Flanders? Oh...a major battle of World War I....I guess that's why my song, In Flanders is about drowning in the mud and the war and stuff. Oh, be assured, I am very convincing as I sing about this place...don't you worry.
The only consolation I have for my completely ridiculous and unheard of (for me) approach to this role I am playing (not Edith....thank goodness), is that I know I would behave differently if it was a job, and I was getting paid. Firstly, I would have much more time to devote to it, and secondly my professional reputation would be on the line. I am taking this role as seriously as I can through the chaos of my life and the constant back and forth of the boat that has inhabited my head. And I am trying to enjoy it, and not stress. I play a nun, and a lady who goes crazy (I don't have to dig deep for that ; )), and a prisoner at Auschwitz, going to the gas chambers. It's very uplifting, as you can tell. That's sarcasm. Actually, it is a fascinating story, and if you are in NYC this week, swing on by and check it out.
Quick Health Update: I continue to cope well with my ongoing dizzyness. I am still prone to slight (more embarrassing than anything) episodes. I have cut my finger open misjudging where the giant SVU was standing in the parking lot, while loading Costco into the back, and almost landed on my tailbone just picking up a photo album from a basket in my family room. I feel that about 30% of the time I feel back to normal, up from 0%, so that's progress, and I hope to get some test results back today. Thank you to all of those who were/are praying for me, I felt/feel it.