It's funny, living in one place for so long. Everything I see is superimposed upon the way it was years ago. In Friar Tuck's Pantry, for instance, there is Keria Teas, and before that, Cabbages and Kings...all the way back to Quick's Pharmacy. It can be unsettling, sometimes.
When we scrape off layers of paint at the theater, we are reminded of plays from years ago, the ghosts of which lie interred under subsequent sets.
I was talking to a friend the other day, about how it seems that all the characters we play (at least, the most successful ones) reside within us, just waiting to be let out to play. I have found that to be frequently true. Lacking any formal theater education, I tend to oversimplify the process of creating a character. I find a line in the script that gives me a clue, and extrapolate on that until the character fleshes herself out. Now, there have been some characters that I have never understood, and yet, have still given a performance that satisfied the director. Playing someone who actually existed within living memory presents its own challenges.
Maude is a character who is greater than I. Believe me, I would love for her to reside within me. As it is, I have to stretch to the utmost to tell her story. I want to make her light shine forth like the beacon she is intended to be. In a lot of ways, I know exactly who she is, but it's those differences that will keep me on my toes. As well, I have a tendency toward the maudlin (pardon the pun) that Maude utterly lacks. It's a fine line. Walking a tightrope in figure skates.
There are always a minimum of two layers functioning when I'm acting. There's the character, who lives out her scripted scenes, and there is me, beneath, deciding how the character is feeling, on a moment-by-moment basis, as well as keeping an eye out for issues...if something happens, how can I cover...that sort of thing. Sometimes the character is acting, which adds a third layer. At least, I don't have to deal with that in this show. Everything Maude does is absolutely genuine and from the heart.
I don't think she shaves her legs.
Have to be off book for Act II tomorrow. Goodnight, Dearly Beloved.