Today Matthew and Jacob have Shakespeare tryouts. They’ve got their lines memorized, and they’ve worked through the blocking. And this afternoon, they’ll try out for the same role, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. That should be interesting. (The director is also casting for The Tempest, so one or both may be in that play.)
I go to tryouts for moral support. But it’s so hard. I root for all the kids and my heart breaks for the ones who struggle, especially for the ones who’ve never done it before. I want to shout, “Honey, project, we can’t hear you.” And afterwards, I want to console them. I want to tell them that even if it didn’t go well, getting on stage is the first step. And if they persevere, the next year will be better because they’ll know how to project. They’ll know that in stage acting you must always face the audience. And they’ll know how to use the stage and how to gesture.
It strikes me that there are many parallels between acting and writing. While it’s true that some people are more naturally gifted than others, everyone starts as a newbie. The first story/novel you write isn’t going to be very good. In fact, it’s going to be quite bad. Just like the actor who turns his back to the audience while speaking, the writer has to learn not to chase after irrelevant sub-plots. You may love scrapbooking and describing how to cut beautiful paper, etc. But if it doesn’t impact your novel in more ways than giving your MC a hobby, you need to leave it out. And just like the actor who doesn’t know how to project until he can practice on a stage, you have to learn how to choose your words so that your voice shows through and not your thesaurus.