I’m about to start a new project over here, and I’m pretty excited about it.
Recently, I was working on Measure for Measure at the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company. One evening in rehearsal, I was talking to an actor and happened to glance down at their script. What I saw was fascinating—colors, notes, scribbles, arrows. Their process was laid out on the page, and yet also completely inscrutable to me. I wanted to ask a million questions, because I am Very Nosy. I also had a show to put up, so I didn’t derail rehearsal to satisfy my curiosity.
The actor’s script reminded me, a bit, of the fascinating collection of prompt-books at the Folger Shakespeare Library, which Toby and I used as a resource when we were working on Cutting Plays. The blend of typeset play-text with handwritten scribble that somehow turns into a production is intriguing and mysterious.
One of my recent obsessions is The Extended Mind, by Annie Murphy Paul. This book compiles all kinds of research about how humans extend our cognition past our brains, using our bodies, environments, paper, and each other to hold information and help us process. So when I see what an actor is writing in their script, what I’m seeing really is a piece of their mind.
kind of completely obsessed with actors. I’m so curious about how they work and what goes into creating their amazing performances. One thing that is extra neat about them is that they are all unique. No two professional actors work exactly the same way, even ones who have similar training. They’ve picked up tricks and ideas and vocabulary along their journey as they’ve moved through life and art. What each of them places on the page to reflect and record their process is also unique. I want to know all about it.
So I’m starting a project where I’m asking actors to send me a photo of one page of a play script, and spend some time letting me ask all my nosy questions about it. I’m asking them not to clean it up or make it more legible for me; in some ways (many ways) the mess is the point.
If you (like me) are super nosy, obsessed with actors, or just fascinated with how all the world’s sausage gets made, stick around. I’ll be posting these pages and interviews as they come through. And if you’re an actor who is willing to share in this way, hit me up! I’d love to hear from you.