Last night was a real break-through in a process that has already been pretty smooth (from my perspective--I believe that Pengo might argue with me about the smooth-up-till-now bit.) After running the back end of the show for glitches, I had Pengo sit down with Kelly and run lines for VERBATIM PERFECTION. Then we ran the whole show. And it was great (it has always been a growing series of great, but last night was a topper.) Up till now, Pengo has been feeling frustrated by line bobbles. None that bothered me--this is a rehearsal process after all--but they were obviously driving him a little nuts. He is, of course, right where he should be in the process. Being an actor myself, I get it entirely. After the line run, things snapped into place. Just snapped. The difference was amazing. Suddenly, the lines weren't in the way--they were LEADING the way. (Well, actually, they were keeping pace with Pengo, who was truly the leader of the expedition.) For those of you non-actors reading this, a small explanation is in order: through rehearsals, most actors suffer "linus-hostageus"--in other words, we are held hostage by the need to get the lines WORD PERFECT and we key ourselves up and up and finally start getting in our own way as learning the lines becomes a friendly enemy, a stumbling block to finding the right performer footing. Then, one night, things just click. Suddenly, you relax into the words, hold hands with the syntax for awhile, make out with the verbage and smile knowingly; you know that the word-sex will be good that night, and from here on, it will be a good marriage. That happened last night. Woohoo!! Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Well, not really. I wouldn't want to encourage smoking. But do a little celebratory dance or something appropriately post-coital. (Is there such a thing as word-coitus...really????)
I am so pleased with the way that all of the characters in the show are springing to life. In one or two conversational lines, Pengo is now painting full portraits of the people he encounters on this 26.2 mile/year course. It is a wonderful story, told by an amazingly talented man.
We break now for a few days while Pengo deals with other things in his life, but when we come back, I know that it will be to amazing character/word-sex for Das Pengo. And we'll be right there with him, happy voyeurs.