First Show Weekend Done

The intensity of playing Blanche DuBois is slowly receding, but we have a pick-up rehearsal on Thursday, and then the last shows over next weekend.  I’ve been sad that we’ve had a sparse audience, but happy that we’ve got a great show – well worth the $12 dollar ticket price.

It’s been an interesting journey, and I have much more confidence that I can tackle most anything now.  I understand Blanche the way I was always going to understand her, but more deeply now.  She has much more depth, and even strength, than I’ve heard most people attribute to her, but Blanche is doomed, no matter what.

My dreams keep writing Blanche’s character differently.  She has more to say, and isn’t alright with her fate as written.  That’s good news, isn’t it?  My psyche isn’t willing to resign her to what’s been told.  In my mind, she heals in the institution.  Her psychotic break isn’t permanent.  The beauty of that ending is that I know it happens.  People go through horrific things and continue on, relatively intact.

I gave my best performances, and will continue to.  I have enjoyed evolving through each night.  I find a different nuance to Blanche’s character, or a better way to interact with the other characters.  Theater is beautiful because unlike life, you get to do the same thing over and over, and maybe not create different results, but bring something more to each performance.




© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

14 thoughts on “First Show Weekend Done

  1. WOW – another Blanche! Although I am Blanche Morton from Brighton Beach Memoirs – we too are having our opening weekend this weekend. We will run for five weeks! The funny thing is – Street Car is slated for next season and I am hoping that I at least get to read for the part. I am new to live theater and my Blanche is my first character. I find her vulnerable, yet pampered and as you say, with so many more nuances to her than I originally realized.

    As a newbie – I am open to tips, tricks and suggestions! Feel free to drop me a line sometime!

    Break a leg!
    Blanche – um, aka, KnowledgeKnut

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Bravo! I wish our show ran longer. Is it just weekends that you’re show is running? I often wonder how actors do shows for months on end. How do they keep it fresh? Congratulations on your role, and I hope you knock ’em dead! The only suggestions I have are to occupy your character as fully as possible, really figure out why you’re protective of her, and use that to bring to the stage, and be present to the other actors as well. Beyond that, you’re as knowledgeable as I am! Cheers, and rock it!! 🙂 Jerri

      • Hi Jerri!

        Phew – sorry I didn’t reply sooner. I have been rehearsing or in production since Halloween and will have my first day off tomorrow. YEA!

        Our production is Thurs – Sun. 3 nights & 1 matinee. I read your reply late last night and today was asked the same type of question – how do I get to where Blanche needs to emotionally break down each performance (do you know the story?), my interpretation of keeping it fresh. For me, I have to call upon personal feelings and make Blanche’s pain real through my own. It’s not always easy to get to that point emotionally. Some days I’m better at it than others. I’m sure the break (no production until Friday) will help.

        You’re right about occupying the character fully. Each day, I try to get “out of my head” and become my character. Some days it doesn’t work, other days only part of the play and yet there are times, like today, when it just flows and there is no “me” only her.

        Congrats to you – hope you had fun with your experience. I just ordered SCND from Netflix and look forward to watching it for the first time – and thinking about your interpretation of her might have been!


      • I had replied, but then lost it. I have not read the Brighton Beach Memoir script, but would like to. I saw the movie many years ago, so barely remember it, but acting is such a consuming endeavor! Depending on your life history, there are so many things to call on internally, but there are good actors who’ve never experienced deep pain, or loss, and they still believably portray characters.
        We may be bringing the show to Vermont in January, so I can’t let Blanche DuBois go quite yet.

        There were times that I felt I was embodying Blanche, but other times when I was having a more ‘third-person’ experience, and that scared me a bit. The lines were coming out of my mouth, along with the physical presence, but I wasn’t there. I didn’t like that, and don’t want that to happen, but I don’t know how to prevent it yet. Maybe that’s the difference between acting and embodying, but I don’t think there’s a judgment about that as long as what you’re doing is as true as you can be.

        One of the actors had simply learned his lines, and you could really tell that it didn’t mean anything to him, and his responses weren’t genuine. When you have to respond in that situation, it sucks, and makes you work so much harder in the scene. I don’t think I do that because I care about whatever character I’m portraying, and always give the best I can for the character, and for the other actors.

        I wish you the best and hope you have a good time in your show! Cheers! Jerri

      • Hi Jerri

        This is all so new to me. When we first started rehearsing – everyone sounded so very different from how they are now. It is a thrill to watch people embody their character.

        I think I know what you are talking about – that 3rd person experience. There were times when I would be in the middle of the scene that I would not feel like myself. I don’t know if I was more Blanche at the moment or not, but there wasn’t anything else in the room that I was aware of except the person I was interacting with. Very intense.

        I’m glad you get to continue with your character – how fun!

        We got our first review – if you’d like to read it:

        Have a great Thanksgiving!

      • Congrats on the wonderful review. How similar is this Blanche’s situation of having to move into her younger sister’s home as Blanche DuBois from Streetcar! I wonder if Neil Simon took a leaf or two from Tennessee Williams? Interesting. I love how the characters evolve as we embody them. I remember hearing some actors disparage other actors who don’t stay consistent throughout the run of a play, but I now see that it’s because we grow in the character. I’m not going to stay with something as an actor if I find a better way to represent what I’m saying or doing. I also think it’s cool to be able to see a show more than once and get something different in the performance.

        Cheers, and I hope you’re having a lovely Thanksgiving too! 🙂 Jerri

      • Hi Jerri

        I just watched Street Car last night. OMG – what a part. No wonder this character contributed to Vivien Leigh’s mental/nervous breakdown!

        And yes, the similarities are a little scary. Considering TW’s piece is approximately 10-15 years older than BBM – I wouldn’t be surprised if there had been some “borrowing”.

        How funny would that be to go from playing one Blanche to the other Blanche?

        A good friend of mine came up to visit this weekend. He watched three performances. He told me that for the second and third performance he expected to be a little “bored” but that was not what happened. He said in each performance there was something more to see, that Blanche had more “sides” to her than he realized and could see them in each show. That the cast in general was really cohesive and we bring that show to life. It is not a bunch of people spouting memorized lines, it is a group of people that are embodying their characters. It is truly an amazing, incredible experience!

        Have fun with your Blanche! I hope we stay in touch – it’s fun to talk to people who have similar interests!

        Have a great Holiday Season!

      • Yes, I hope to stay in touch too! I enjoy your posts and comments. It would be interesting to go from playing one Blanche to another for sure! I’m glad you’re having a great time, and I had the same experience of someone who saw Streetcar a few times and said each time he got something different from it, and didn’t feel bored or unimpressed.

        Acting and singing are all I want to do with my life (outside of writing), and I guess I’m pursuing it as much as possible. Getting paid for it is the next step!! I’ve done some extra work in Boston, and that’s the closest city to me where there is a good amount of work without me having to move there. I might move closer to Boston, but not for another couple of years because I’m really enjoying my band and hope that takes off and we play out more.

        Take care, and I look forward to hearing about your next acting adventure. Cheers! Jerri 🙂

      • Hi Jerri

        How cool that you are in a band! I wanted to do that too – I wanted to be the singer AND play the drums. Still want to actually – ha!

        I plan to talk to you way before the theater does SCND – but will let you know as soon as I do if I get the chance to read for it!

        Good luck with your band, writing & acting. I hope you get some paid work in Boston, that just sounds too cool.

        Have a great holiday if I don’t talk to you before then!

      • KK, I like how similar we are. I would so love to play drums! I have a guitar I look longingly at, and will learn to play. Do it – learn the drums!! You’ll only ever regret not trying even if you decide it’s not for you. 🙂

        Thanks for commenting, and I appreciate the well wishes. I wish you the same. I hope you have a great holiday too, whatever you celebrate. Cheers! Jerri

  2. I agree with you about Blanche’s ending. I do not think that she is doomed, I think that she has the chance to learn and heal while she is in the institution. If I did not believe this then I would not be able to do my job. People are changeable, and they are able to grow. I truly believe this, and I know that with the right help and the right healing Blanche will be able to overcome her pain, and she will be able to move on. I think the hardest part for her will be to forgive those who have hurt her, especially Stella. Stella was all that she had, but she did not believe her or help to protect her. Those are the hardest people to forgive rather than the ones who did the physical harm.

    • I think I just realized today how utterly alone Blanche is – and yes, of her making, but out of circumstances and fear, and no one offering an alternative – as well as a very poor social network/mental health system. Thank you so much for commenting Christina. ♥ I’m grateful that there’s more valuable help in our society now. 🙂 Jerri

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