Acting in a theater group can be an odd experience. You often meet people you have never seen before and boom, 2 months later you are crying together, neck-deep in an emotional exercise to connect with your character. Because even though acting is sometimes perceived as make-belief, merely pretending to be someone you are not for a few hours, to me and many others it becomes so much more than that. Acting is believing, both in yourself and in your character. You have to know what drives them, their emotions, their fears, and their desires. And inherently, to tap into those emotions you give away a little part of yourself to the audience.
And this is how, on a random Thursday evening, in a room full of relative strangers, I found myself doing a movement sequence that I made up thinking about my personal life but that connected to my character, Lady Anne (I know, I know, not exactly the most beloved Shakespeare character, but bear with me). In Richard the Third, everything is taken away from her and with this movement sequence we were attempting to bring depth into her experience and portrayal when she faces Richard, the man who murdered her father and simultaneously wants to marry her. So together with our Richards we slowly reached into our emotions and worked on layering the scene. We opened up our own wounds, cried, got angry, cried some more and in the end, we were satisfied, emotional, but also incredibly in tune to each other.
And as with any other night of rehearsals, when the clock stroke 22.00 and the rehearsals were over, we moved to the bar, had drinks, laughed, and pondered over our experiences. All of the pain and tears helped us connect, even outside of the play and it is through these experiences that I have found my best friends. Although it can be scary to open up, especially to those you don’t really know so well, the most beautiful moments can happen when you do. Doing Park Avenue Theater, playing Shakespeare, exploring layered characters, beautiful words, and witty dialogues has left me with all these wonderful connections and memories. Because even though a play takes between one and three hours, there are countless hours of friendship and hard work (and sometimes also wine) behind that!