Again, thanks for your great insights. So, you have table work under your
belt now. Could you tell us a bit about that process? What have you
learned from hearing your fellow actors read and analyze the script. So
many actors have told me how surprised they have been about how funny this
play is. What are your thoughts on that? This is the thing we often forget
about MERCHANT... It really is very funny.
Table work now moving, after a full week, into "Let's get up and move around a bit here." As any good director would, Murray has focused these first days on making sure that each actor knows exactly what (s)he is saying and why. He and co-director Jeff Flygare (whose solid research and instincts have resulted in very important insights for us), have provided possible line readings that we had not considered or helped us focus on elements within a line we had perhaps skipped over. Case in point: Shylock has a line about the "third possessor," followed immediately by "aye, he was the third." Solely by dint of repetition at home, I had come--without knowing it--to believe that Shylock was wondering about that and was going over it rapidly in his mind as though to say "hmmm, not sure which....OH, YES, he was the Third, that's right..." Murray suggested instead that I consider it a quick affirmation, a rather exultant stressing of the fact that he was the third. Well, that's the beauty of table work; it grounds the actor firmly in the text and opens possibilities of interpretation hitherto ignored.
It has been good to actually "relate" to the other characters mine interacts with; look 'em in the eye (or not), react to the tones and modulation they bring to their own line readings.
We do have humor in this play and actors capable of delivering it well! One in particular has a moment that has us all (in rehearsal) laughing, but I won't divulge the name of this person.
I do admit to being impatient to get on a real set and go to work.