After you've done all the work and prepared as much as you can, what the hell, you might as well go out and have a good time.
My friend Marty (remember him?), who's doing fine by the way, sent me a quote this morning from an unknown source which says "Do something you love and you'll never have to do a day’s work in your life."
Some directors have a habit of telling the actors just before opening night to go out and "have fun with it." I don't know why they say that unless it's an attempt at offering an antidote to the struggles of rehearsal and preparation. Otherwise it's an unnecessary remark. If course we will have fun with it. If we didn't enjoy it we wouldn't be doing it. It's too difficult.
About ten years ago Ed Earle and I were doing a play in which we were the two main characters. During a break in rehearsal one of the designers came up to us to compliment us on being so good and so funny. I said to him if he thought we were good in rehearsal "wait until you see us in front of an audience."
The purpose of "all the work" that Goodman talks of is to be as entertaining as possible when the audience comes. I don't think there is a single musician who can just pick up his instrument, walk out on stage and play it brilliantly without preparation, without tuning it, warming it up and himself. Benny Goodman may get to a point in performance where his clarinet plays itself, but not without a lot of preparation.
An actor must know many things before opening night. He must know the lines so well he doesn't have to think of them. That takes hours of tedious work and is the biggest pit for an unprepared actor to fall into. He must know the story and his place in it. He must know where he is both on stage and off. He must know how to work as an ensemble player with the other actors. There are some well known actors who never achieve that knowledge, and it shows. He must know how to perform his role with all of its details and subtleties. The accent in Benny Goodman's remark is on the work and preparation as well as on the good time. The only times I have seen an actor suffer during a performance was when he was unprepared and his lock of knowledge of one of the things I just mentioned caught up with him.
My friend David came to see me perform in a play only once. He went out with the cast for a beer afterwards and jokingly said "I don't know how much they're paying you, but it's too much, because you're having too much fun."
What the hell, you might as well.
This contest is open for the next 5 days.
Choose as many numbers as you want and fill in the blanks
Winners will be posted on the evening of April 4.
The decisions of the nasty biased judge are final. Prizes will awarded on the basis of originality and whatever makes me laugh.
5 ENTRIES SO FAR
On the first day of April my true love gave to me