Starting April 19, three actresses will be hitting the LCCC Playhouse stage to perform “Laundry and Bourbon” directed by Jason Pasqua as part of a two-part production.
Preparing for these productions is a process that includes 10 weeks of rehearsing, Pasqua, a theatre instructor, said.
“The actor’s job is to breathe fire into the words and come up with a way that is unique to each individual actor to do the scene such that we fulfill the needs of the play write,” Pasqua said.
Brianna Perry, who will be playing Elizabeth whose husband has been back from Vietnam for two years and is learning to deal with the changes in her life, said that this process starts with a table reading of the full script to get a feel of play.
Next, the actors break down the play scene by scene to explore what each character needs of the other characters, Perry said. Once everything comes together, they all start rehearsing the play as a whole, while memorizing their lines and practicing a Texas accent since the play is set in Texas.
“Everybody is in the business of building their own character,” Pasqua said.
Perry said that she connects with Elizabeth in the sense that she is a strong, independent woman who always puts others before herself. The most difficult part of playing Elizabeth was understanding southern culture and personalities.
Pasqua explained that when he went to school to become an actor, one of the many books he read was by Konstantin Stanislavski, a Russian theorist who wrote down the first ideas about going out onto a stage and having motivation as a character to do things.
“Stanislavski said this, ‘A good actor will look at a character on the page and say, how am I different?’” Pasqua recited. “’A great actor will look at the character on the page and say, how I am the same?’”
People in today’s generation are familiar with the phrase ‘method acting’ and what usually comes to mind is an extremely committed actor, Pasqua said. Many people link method acting to say Heath Ledger’s performance of the Joker in “The Dark Knight” and say that Ledger took the part so seriously that it drove him mad, which resulted in his death, caused by an overdose.
Those people who believe playing the Joker killed Ledger have no knowledge of Ledger’s mental illness or addiction problems, Pasqua said.
“Method acting is people just wanting things,” Pasqua said. “Finding out what they want, and more importantly why they want them, that’s complicated. Sometimes characters lie, just like people because people lie about what they want.”
Drop the nomenclature ‘method’ out of acting, Pasqua says and instead address the question of how a person can see 50 productions of the same play and see a different play every time.
“The microscopic and the infinitely combinatory power of all of those choices make for what you see on the stage,” Pasqua said. “People do things for a reason, that’s all acting is.”
Actors have to be proficient at finding hidden information in text, Pasqua said. Looking for those clues in the text are what lend the actors to the supported choices they can make in terms of motivation.
“The tools are the words, but more importantly the intention with which I say the word,” Pasqua said. “The only thing that makes it complicated is this; defining and being specific about every single moment in a play over the course of an hour and a half to build an entirely self-contained world.”