This past Saturday was something else entirely. Since we’ve finished setting movement and costume change patterns, we’ve had much more time to focus on acting. I guess I should have expected a rehearsal like Saturday’s for this reason, but the level of emotion was shocking regardless.
For me it was a scene between two characters, a mother and her daughter, that tipped the scale. I really got the sense that the mother was worried for her daughter’s life. I got the sense of what a mother must feel, worrying for the life of her child. Then I thought about Judy Shepard’s worst and coldest fears becoming harsh and brutal reality. Her son was attacked and savagely beaten, to death. He was the target of violence and hate on more than one occasion because he was gay. Finally, I thought about my mother coming to see this play. I thought about her concern for my safety, for my well being. And that hit home. Everything from that point onward had a very real value and meaning for me. Each monologue, each conversation, each action was a story of a real event that had already happened. This play is a representation of events that have already happened. As biased or as designed as its critics claim it is, this comes from life, meaning real people’s lives.
By the time I was onstage next, I was in this world. Sheafer Theater was my world. I truly felt what my characters were saying. I genuinely believed what I was representing. I deeply connected with what I was seeing onstage. I cried so hard. I was so moved. This transportation was gripping and enveloping. The cast was on, and we made huge progress that day. I talked with other cast members about it over dinner after rehearsal. We agreed: “leaps and bounds.” And on top of all that, this experience is facilitating new growth and relationships. How could I have expected this when I first auditioned seven months ago?