Today, we ran "The Moor's Pavane," and it felt like a successful one. I believe we're beginning to gel together as a cast. I love this place in the process. At the beginning of the run, a colleague (and friend) of mine came into the studio to watch. I was excited and nervous for her to see the piece for the first time. As we began, suddenly, and briefly, I became aware that I was conscious of her being our audience. Fortunately, I quickly blocked that awareness, and I was able to continue on in character.
I honestly believe that theatre is (or at least should be) first and foremost for the entertainment of the audience. As and actor/dancer/human, naturally I always know that the audience is there. However, thinking back to today's experience, I began to come to a realization of one of the differences between dance and acting. Note: this piece is much more acting than dancing. It's a "walking ballet."
Rarely in my career have I been in story ballets other than the Nutcracker. Most of the works I have performed have been plotless art. This is not a negative statement in any way. It is simply the nature of "concert dance." When doing these kinds of pieces, one can be oneself and interpret a part as such. Often, in this kind of ballet, the "fourth wall" is broken, meaning the artist actually may communicate with those in the house, i.e. smiling directly at them and eye contact with audience members.
As an actor, one needs to remain in character and be a part of the story that the audience is looking into. There are exceptions to this of course, but often, unless the piece is being done in narrative form, the actor will communicate only with his/her other actors to tell the story. Only when this seems real can it be a success for the audience member. If it isn't real to the actor, it won't be real to the audience.
Today, as I allowed myself to forget the "audience," I was able to tell the story fully. I was able to believe it myself, and thereby, fortunately, it worked. I think this is what I love most about acting. I get to tell a story to the audience. I get to take them somewhere else. I get to be someone I'm not. In this case, I get to be "creepy," as my friend said.
Well, great then. That's what I was going for.