Sunday, October 23, 2011

Loving a Character, Hating a Character

I may have stated before that I have become a fan of Glee.  That doesn't mean I'm going to go "like" it on facebook or get a t-shirt or anything like that.  I may buy a CD at some point.  Certainly I have the DVDs but that's how I get my TV viewing done.

Glee's resident airhead Brittany Pierce is as innocent as they come.  Naive and gullible, she is a feather in the wind, blown from one thing to another.  She is manipulated by bad guy Coach Sue, devastated by a stray offense from boyfriend Artie, and frankly suspicious her cat Mr. Tubbykins has started smoking again.  And she is an inherently good person.  If someone wants something, it's probably for a good reason.  So Brittany tries to make that happen - whether it's a good thing or not.  Introduced in the series as a mindless minion for the bad guys, Brittany has become a good guy as the character of the people around her improves.

Watching her on the screen, it's easy to love Brittany.  She's like the endearingly charming moppet that sits in front of you in church.  That this endearingly charming moppet is a tall, attractive blonde is beside the point.  Like your favorite niece, you don't want to see her hurt for anything.

In contrast, the character I'm portraying for the play The Foreigner is the polar opposite of Brittany.  Owen Musser is mean and completely comfortable with being mean.  He hates and revels in hate.  He's selfish and demeaning, mocking and rude.  And he's dumb as a post.

You might think you know who the idiot is in The Foreigner.  But if you don't think it's Owen, you're wrong.

So I recall every hateful sneer in the hallways, every flipped bird in traffic, pull all those to the forefront and wear them on my face for a couple of hours.  I've almost got all my lines nailed down and once we've finished building the set (we've raised the stage three feet for the sake of the production, I hope everyone can see okay) I'll be able to hammer down my blocking as well.

Becoming Tom Rogers for And Then There Were None was tough enough, bringing to life the worst moments of that poor guy.  That left me emotionally drained, just wrung out.  But pulling Owen out of the recesses leaves me wearing thoughts and attitudes that I'd rather never have.

I'm putting myself through all this stress for the sake of entertaining people, and I'm doing it for free.  I think I might be crazy.

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