Last week we began rehearsals for ELEEMOSYNARY, but for me the process always begins with certain rituals, and it is often through the execution of my various rituals that I learn the most about whatever character I am about to inhabit for the foreseeable future. Ritual, for me, is partly a function of discovery--though I have some rituals that I carry through from piece to piece, I find that each new character brings with her some new facet of each ritual, and some characters add ritual, while others subtract. It is all a part of my process--and the ritual of it all brings comfort, as the inhabiting of a new being can be much like living in a foreign country for an extended period of time. The rituals allow me to feel more at home while I am finding my way in the new skin of each new woman I allow to live within the walls of my spirit.
I have a sublime passion for Moleskine notebooks. I have been keeping intricately detailed journals for about the past 8 years (one day my children will either publish them, or seek therapy). I even have a set that are in their own bookcase...and numbered. Scary, really. My preference is for the soft-cover books whose pages are filled with graph paper, preferably in black, but always with the requisite attached bookmark, and cardboard pocket in the back, in which I keep memorabilia I collect during the time it takes to fill each book: ticket stubs, fortune cookie fortunes, business cards, pressed flowers, napkins from cocktail parties...you get the idea. But somehow, picking out a journal for Dorothea felt different--she didn't want "the usual"--and this was before I had even really done much more than a cursory read of the script. Though there is something incredibly familiar about Dorothea--she and I are surely cut from--if not the same cloth--at least cloth of very similar quality and design. Dorothea chose a dusty, pink, soft-covered binding, with lined paper, and somehow, I knew that this process was going to be different.
The next thing I do, after reading and re-reading the script several times, is to highlight my lines. Usually in the script--but, again, Dorothea had other plans in mind for me. This time, however, I found myself with scissors and a glue-stick, meticulously cutting the script apart, and carefully pasting each page onto a page of Dorothea's new journal. One page of script per right-hand page of journal. This took me well into the wee hours of the night...much past my usual bedtime--but I just couldn't stop! By the time I was done, I had rebound the script within my new journal--and the Dorothea budding inside of me thought, "This is good."
My next ritual is the putting of each of my character's lines on their own index card, with the cue line on the opposing side. I then highlight my character's lines, and carry them around so that I can use them for memorization work. I began doing this when the children were small--I could hand off a stack of cards to someone, and they could just read me a cue line instead of feeling like they had to read the entire script just to get to my bits. When the kids were small, I would often keep the cards in my lap when I was driving, and quiz myself as we bopped around town. One day, from the backseat, my 3 year old son, Adam, asked--in a "I'm concerned, but don't want Mommy to know that I think she might be crazy" voice: "Mommy...are you...talking to yourself?"
And so now, here we are, at my next "process ritual." Journaling. I always journal during the rehearsal process--and now, this part of my process is to be shared, as well! It's very exciting to be doing it on a blog with other SATEists. It, too, feels "right." I was a very active blogger years ago, but haven't kept a blog in earnest for quite some time. I can already feel that this is going to be an exciting part of this journey, though, because any experience I share with other SATEists is fulfilling beyond belief!
There are other rituals...and I will likely discover new rituals throughout ELEEMOSYNARY, but, for now, this is where I am. And it is good.
Love and Light!