Saturday, June 11, 2011

When Another Actor Blows the Scene

What do you do when another actor blows your scene?  Well, I had to figure that out for myself last night. 

Our first performance of the church scene in front of a live audience was last night.  We'll be peforming it for close to 10,000 people this weekend, so it's a pretty big deal!  We got a chance to do two full rehearsals before the actual performance and I was feeling really good about it.  It's a three-person scene with my character having the majority of the lines and a really funny monologue right in the middle. 

Right before we went on-stage for the real deal, I felt relaxed and good about it.  The scene started and my main partner and I were really clicking.  The audience was having a blast and laughing at every joke, which fed the energy really well. 

But about two minutes in, something went terribly wrong and my partner skipped ahead to a line at the end of the scene, completely cutting out my monologue and a big chunk of the rest of the scene.  I tried to insert a line to get us back to that spot in the script, but she didn't take the bait.  She hadn't even realized what she did and kept pressing forward.  I went along with it and we finished out the scene, shortening it significantly. 

Afterward, our director came up and told her what had happened.  I guess what surprised me most was that she never even realized it!  Worst of all, the crew and other members of the worship team came up to ME when it was over and offered their condolences, thinking that I had somehow forgotten my monologue.  UGH...  I just kept my mouth shut, realizing that my ego was the only thing making me want to point the finger of blame, and it would do NO good to do that. 

The first thing I realized is how good I have it with my actors' company that I've performed with for the past five years.  We have gotten so adept at saving each other other in our scenes.  If someone blows a line and we jump to another place in the script, we always recover it pretty well.  We somehow manage to insert the part that we forgot so that the audience doesn't miss out on important details and the actor doesn't miss out on a great part of their performance. 

But you don't always get to work with performers that have that ability.  So, if it ever happens to you, these are the things that have helped me get past it:

Accept the disappointment.  You prepared for hours, rehearsed over and over, the audience was LOVING it and you didn't get to shine in your best part.  Accept how you're feeling.  It's ok to be disappointed.  BUT, it's not ok or professional to take it out on your scene partner.  (Plus, mine felt so bad already that she was on the verge of tears).  Next time it could just as easily be you doing the forgetting. 

Ask yourself if it really mattered.  Performing is (mostly) about the audience's experience.  Did they enjoy it anyway?  Did they even realize that something was missing?  In this case, they absolutely loved the scene as it was.  We got great feedback afterward.  And no, they had no clue that they missed a thing.

Take comfort in knowing that you'll get to perform again.  We have two more performances on Sunday morning, which is when our biggest audiences will be there anyway.  We've got the bugs worked out now and I'm pretty certain that the same thing won't happen again.

So, while I am disappointed because there were several people there that I knew last night and had never seen me perform, I'm still ok.  There will be other opportunities and it was fun anyway.

Keep on keeping on.


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