Daily Archives: June 17, 2022
Watch this in a few chunks.
Maybe over half of the world that Drowsy comes from is Vaudeville. If we don’t have a really deep idea of what that means, looked like, and sounded like, the show is going to really ring false.
Even just a couple of decades ago, we had a much clearer familiarity with the heritage of our entertainment culture. It’s important to regain that with a show like this. The writers of the show were extremely familiar with what they were satirizing, and that gave it the precision that makes it funny. When you’re doing a satire, a certain degree of imitation is really important. However, make sure that your source material is the same source material that the writers used. If your research (and for most of us, that means watching YouTube) involves watching scenes from other productions of the show, the most that you can hope for is a copy of a copy. The person who watches other productions more than they watch the source material is a person who will, at best, serve the audience the acting equivalent of a bologna sandwich. Technically it’s food, but even fans of bologna sandwiches will admit that they would rather be eating something else.
If you ever have access to a xerox machine, try making a photo copy of a picture for my book. Then, make a photocopy of the photo copy. Then, make a photocopy of the photo copy of the photo copy. every time, you’ll see that the picture gets blurrier and grainier. The same is true when a performer bases what they want to do on what other performers have done in the same part.
The most basic level of professionalism is showing up on time, knowing your lines, executing your blocking accurately, and taking direction. All of that is important. And it will certainly strengthen your craft, but it has nothing to do with art. It just has to do with getting stupid lifestuff stuff out of the way of art. But the layer of professionalism that turns a craftsperson into an artist has to do with really aggressively understanding and drawing inspiration from the actual source material of the world of the play. And all of the cultural stuff that is in orbit of it.
The good news is that all of that researchable stuff is right out there. The more of your culture that you know, the better you will be.