A Hatful of Rain: The Bottom Line is Love

 

Eight months ago my fellow colleagues and I, hopeful and glistening with raw perspectives, read aloud the words of another artist, Michael V. Gazzo's, A Hatful of Rain. We have faced many obstacles, some dire, some threatening the very existence of an opening night. In our journey as actors, producers, directors, and designers, we have faced moments of loss, breakdowns, sheer exhaustion, and maybe even delirium. The work is no joke. To live in the realm of art, exists endless hours of research, contemplation and study. Then applying what you feed your minds and hearts in the practice, the physical embodiments, and into your partners on the stage. In light of these struggles, we did not walk away or call it quits,  we did not punch each other in the face. We continued to strive, to push through, to ground ourselves in the work and in each other. In many ways, some very ironic ways, our lives during this process imitated the experiences we explored during our rehearsals, and we have learned to transfer our lives to those we embody on the stage and we did it for the love of it and to be able share it with you. 

In my own process, I reached a place where I struggled deeply as an actor. At a crucial point, I felt incredibly "stuck." No rhyme or reason could remedy the blocks I was experiencing and I thought all was lost. How did I lose that sense of doing? Before, I could step on stage and do the doing, take those tools, do the work and fly. But I was stuck. I revealed this trouble to a fellow cast member and then to my teacher, they both replied: "Well Celia is stuck too." Aha! Lightbulb! Simplicity. I was feeling what Celia was feeling, different circumstances, but ultimately they were in complete harmony,  I just hadn't embraced that yet. How did I not realize? I was playing a character who was trying to hold her family together. I was also producing the play, trying to hold it together and then serve the story as an actor. The emotional vulnerability I naturally possess was at a tipping point, being pulled from different angles, and I kept trying to balance it, instead of translate what was going on I repressed it, thus contributing to the "stuck" I was feeling. When I finally figured it out, when I listened, really listened to everyone around me, when I stayed present, when I LIVED in those moments...

I'm so unbelievably happy with the magic that happened on that stage as these final pieces came into place. The work had been done, hours of research had been spent, the practice of my lessons at Studio4 where we utilize the tools of Sanford Meisner that help actors live truthfully under the imaginary circumstances were in place, it was time to let it fly. 

And it soared, into places I hadn't imagined it would go.  "You don't just love. When you love you have to be responsible to what you love." 

And I loved, I loved those men; Johnny, Polo and Father. I loved my baby. And I was responsible for that love, shared that love, served that love, told the story of that love. 

- Madeline Machado

 
Sean Barnes