Due to professional confidence the details of what I am about to share here will have to remain few and far between. I did however want to make mention of it here on the blog.
I have been asked to participate in a private, first-time reading of an early draft of a script penned by a local playwright. Again, I cannot say which playwright, or even what the script is about, as this is a commissioned work for which the writer is getting paid. That makes the nature of the work quite sensitive at this point. Suffice to say I jumped at the chance.
The first reading of a draft of a play, whether in public, or in this case, in private, is of no small significance to a playwright. It is the first chance they have to encounter their work outside of their own heads. Free of their own biases a playwright can, through a reading, encounter the first glimpse of what a performance of his words will sound like. Plays are destined to be performed, and unlike perhaps novels, are never truly explored until they are spoken. Not that novels shouldn't sound good when read aloud, but being heard out loud is the raison d'etre of a play.
Sometimes for these reading the playwright will ask each actor for specific feedback on the character read. Sometimes, the playwright asks for general feedback from everyone on the whole piece. Still at other times, the playwright seeks no direct feedback at all, seeking only to listen to his words from a distance. Truth be told I do not yet know what the expectations are in this case. Yet I am about halfway through the script now, and I can tell you I feel I will enjoy bringing the first semblance of life to this character.
That is what it is, too. Essentially. In some ways I am the first person to come at the character from a completely removed perspective. I won't be "originating" the character, because that term applied to he who will first perform this role in a life production, but I will be perhaps "introducing" the character to his creator in a way. I will be a mirror of sorts which will, (if I am competent) allow the playwright to asses where he wants to go with the lines, the scenes, and of course the character himself. As both a writer and an actor, I think it will be an uncommon privilege to do so.