|John Kooi and Marianna Bassham|
Unlike previously produced works, new scripts offer the actor a unique opportunity. The only “givens” are the writer’s words and perhaps some character notes. Nothing else is known. The slate is clean. As an Actor, I relish the opportunity to work in collaboration with the writer to probe, question and explore. Creating a character that has never before existed.
Since new scripts are usually an evolving entity (how many new pages today?), technique and craftsmanship take on an almost hyper-importance. I find myself repeatedly returning to those basic acting questions: What are the given circumstances? What drives and motivates this character? What is important to them? What is the nature of their relationships to the other characters? In order to make this character multi-dimensional, you have to keep yourself grounded in the basic “realities” of their world. Connecting with the playwright’s words and the other Actors begins the process of breathing life into these characters. As they grow, discoveries are made. The playwright tweaks and refines and new questions arise. More new pages! Clearer thoughts and motivations! It is at once an exhilarating and terrifying process. And it is perhaps the pinnacle of artistic contribution for the Actor.