Teaching at Acting Abroad in France is one of the great pleasures I have. Two years in a row in August I’ve been invited to teach teenagers in contemporary theatre. I haven’t spent much time with teenagers lately, unless you count the ones walking through my neighborhood after school at Hollywood High. The youngsters I’ve met at Acting Abroad have all been driven, compassionate and talented people who love theatre and the arts in general.They come from many places in the U.S. and elsewhere; Austria, Scotland, Finland, Britain and this year a couple from Paris. There are many different levels of experience represented as well. Some are beginners, some have spent several years in theatre training.
TE in SD and I’ve been really busy opening SE in LA and bang! The show has started and I’m on stage. The house is full, the lights are bright. I didn’t remember before the show that I needed to remember the show. I had done my pre-show routine: props, guitar, etc. But I hadn’t mentally gone through the show. So I’m like, “that’s cool, I know what to do here. listen and react, don’t think ahead, stay in the moment.” So that’s going fine and I’m enjoying myself and the audience is good. Then I felt it: I was playing comedy. Don’t do that. Play tragedy!Once I remembered to heighten the stakes and feel the drama deeply and personally, the laughs escalated.It’s only funny because you fail so miserably. It’s funny because you need it so badly. The stakes are that high. Life and death high. The audience sees themselves in your foibles.Now, get out there and fail.