Working for a new company with new people is always intimidating and a bit distressing. Doing something in a format that you have limited recent experience with (I do a lot of musical theater and film, but haven’t done a non-musical play in nearly ten years) is terrifying. Not only am I around a bunch of super-talented and intelligent strangers, but I feel completely out of my element.
Well, that was week one, at least.
My fellow cast-mates, stage management, and Scott welcomed me with what I have to say is the ideal actor’s environment, and their open arms. Having spent a large majority of the last several years performing in musicals, I quickly realized that my craft had become a bit lazy. Spending the bulk of musical rehearsals drilling and memorizing dance moves and music takes a significant amount of workshop time away from character building and development of relationships within the world of the story.
With those elements removed here in Gatsby, all we have left after line memorization and blocking is character-building, essentially spending time with each other, getting to know the world, and the capacity in which we exist within it. It’s wonderful.
The Venetian has the most beautiful performance space I’ve had the good luck to perform in, and immediately it conveys the very real sense of “the grand.” The space is immense and moody, and for myself, it helps put me “in it,” as soon as I walk in the door. From there, earnest and safe discussions about the character (characters, in my case) we’re building and discovering facets of our reality have been extremely beneficial to my own process of discovery, and have led me to search deeper within myself, and to reach for elements of life lived that may not normally be recognized on a consistent, conscious basis.
This is why I act.
I am here to create a fully-realized living being, to live them through a series of moments in a life, and to give an emotionally authentic display, to be lived vicariously through by ourselves and our audience. The depth of approach demanded by the Gatsby script and my fellow performers and director, and the need for a brutal honesty and dedication in the subject matter of the show have made this an extremely enjoyable experience, and ultimately fulfilling. This is the kind of show where “process,” as we understand it, becomes dangerous, violent, and volatile. I can’t wait for everyone to see this.
I am grateful everyone who is a part of this show for enabling a supportive, nurturing and helpful space where I may do my work. We have an embarrassment of riches in this show, with regards to the talent and intellect active in the room at any given moment. These people work, and do what they do remarkably well, and I am pleased to be a part of them.
Adam Elliott Davis
Meyer Wolfsheim, The Great Gatsby