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  • Writer's pictureMatt Pipes

A practical process of my time in I'll Take Romance as Angel.

Starting out, hello. Hi there, how ya doing? I've been away from the posting of blogs for quite some time, I've been a little bit focused, a little preoccupied. But I want to start back up! I want to do a little flash back into the work that I did with the show I'll Take Romance A world premiere musical here in Ohio, as Angel.

When I was first offered the role I was quickly attached to Angel, I felt like we had a few things in common and if a few things were different in my life, I could easily see myself being Angel. Angel was not a stereotype, not a type of character, he was very human to me, and the research that I put in proved that. It took me a bit to accept the job itself though as I struggled with the material, and wondered what kind of budget would be approved to put something this substantial up on its feet. In the end I took the gig, a gig's a gig, and I've been learning so much that I needed to put my theory's and lessons into practice. So I went right into the work.

Once I said yes I had to begin balancing my restaurant work with the work that I was going to put into the show. Reckon this is about 4 months out from actually beginning the rehearsal process of the show. But to make this character something other than a 2D character I was thankful that I was given time. I used the Ivanna Chubbuck Technique to begin the fundamentals, I scrawled all over the script with adobe acrobat, I went through all 12 steps:

  • #1 Overall Objective

  • #2 Scene Objective

  • #3 Obstacles

  • #4 Substitution

  • #5 Inner Objects

  • #6 Beats and Actions

  • #7 Moment Before

  • #8 Place and Fourth Wall

  • #9 Doings

  • #10 Inner Monologue

  • #11 Previous Circumstances

  • #12 Let it Go

I found this took a lot of time, but I assured myself it was going to be worth it in the end. I really felt it was. I did begin to allow myself to work through some of these processes quicker though, such as Actioning the entire script, I went with my instincts a little more. One of the first couple actions that came up, I would write it down, then, when I would be playing in rehearsal, if something wasn't fitting, or working, I could simply just adjust and change it.

Once that was done, I spent some time in interviews. There were some people that also reminded me of Angel, and I spent some time with them to get to know a little more. This process was incredible, and I wish I utilized more of what I learned within this. I felt there were more people to talk to and meet as well, opportunity missed, but you learn.

I didn't play too much as Angel in this beginning process. I did instinctually what someone later put into words for me; I was actually building a trust between Angel and I, before there was any moments of me being Angel, I had to build that trust, that companionship, and the understanding to then bridge the gap. I learned as much as I could about Angel, and I let that guide me, though I wish I did even more of that style of learning and research.

Line learning was a mixture of multiple recordings of scenes - Slow . Fast . Other's lines - and diligent repetition. I took my lines to a very secret location where there is usually no one there. A place outside and absolutely gorgeous, I found that nature served my memory very well, I would pace mostly, but found that I could accidentally be applying this to my characters physicality so I tried to stop, and implement different movements. I'd bring Angel to the gym with me, on runs, or I would drive with Angel. I have long drives to get to where I need to go so a lot of work comes while driving in terms of memory or proper consumption of things.

Finally! Rehearsal has started, and I'm just about fully memorized on everything. THIS WAS IMMENSE! I was actually able to play with my lines, I wasn't stressed about learning lines or music, I was simply just working towards the play, and learning about bringing Angel out into the world. That was really important. So I definitely learned quite a lot through the actual play within Angel and within the rehearsal space. Plus I was allowed to have fun, I allowed myself that right because I came in ready. Understandably, the work outside was a lot, it was an honor to myself to come in ready, and to come in to actually enjoy the process.

Like I said the material was tough, but I was so happy with the cast that came in, who also came in prepared and ready to go, most importantly, everyone was incredibly positive that nothing that was wrong seemed to effect people, we just had to keep on going, and the cast was exemplary in this.

Towards the middle of the rehearsal process, probably about the last week actually, I came across a new understanding of why I actually do what I do. I'm an actor, and what does that mean? It means so many different things to so many different people, sometimes people ask me if I want to be famous, some people as me if I'll be in the next marvel movie. To those things I say, "I don't know, but those things aren't really on my radar." It's not. There are movies that I want to be in, there is a level of reach that I want to achieve, and of course I want to improve professionally and financially within my art. That's perfectly fine, but again those are just bullets to the initial goal that I'm developing for myself. I've been discussing some ideas with a friend of mine, and there is so much to be said with our conversations, but something that really stuck was that I'm bridging the gap to those in the audience and to the character. My friend doesn't like the word vessel because it implies emptiness, but I don't believe that I'm empty, I still believe that I'm carrying this character to the stage. My goal is to end suffering, maybe even being the person to eventually tell everyone to stop watching my movies and go outside. These are like research projects for me. I love obsessing over these human beings and also building relationships with them. I felt that I could be Angel, and I felt that I could bring Angel to stage every night, not always successfully but I had many more moments of Angel than I did in past projects.

It's interesting the development that I've received within this project, and I'm really grateful. My definition of being an actor is always changing, I'm shooting for a goal, so I keep disciplined within that. But my thoughts about this world, my thoughts about the human beings I get to play, are strengthening, deepening, marinating.

We put the show on, and then that was it. I got to play, I got to be payed professionally for my work, and the experience was incredible. I use this blog post also as a means to part from the work as well. I'm thankful, but it's also time to move forward. Saying goodbye to Angel, though, Angel will still be forever apart of me. It's time I continue delving into my work as an actor, and learn even more than before. Every project I feel I'm making a sort of compound interest of growth, each step bigger than before. I guess I'm realizing that I'm not regressing here in Ohio, I'm actually progressing.

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