Friday, July 15, 2011

What’s Life Without a Little Risk???

This summer I have the great opportunity of playing the role of Olivia in Endstation’s production of Twelfth Night! I have to admit, before taking on this role I assumed Olivia was simply a one-dimensional character. Truth be told, no character is one-dimensional. Throughout this entire rehearsal process I have learned that Olivia is much more than meets the eye. Often times Olivia is stereotyped as a flippant girl silly enough to fall in love with a girl dressed as a boy but I have discovered an established young woman hidden beneath her often stereotyped exterior.
Let’s back up a bit….
Throughout my theatre experience in the past I have struggled, as many other actors do, with committing so intensely to a character that I became a part of her. This originally scared me because I would take that character off the stage with me whether I wanted to or not. This past year I have been working on my thesis for my M.A. in Communications entitled, “One Man in His Time Plays Many Parts: The Causes and Effects of Cognitive Dissonance Upon the Actor”. For those of you who don’t know what cognitive dissonance is I’ll give you a tiny bit of background. We all long for a state of equilibrium or balance but some things can cause dissonance in our minds, for instance playing a role that goes against one’s morals, or fighting between oneself and the character. The curiosity to find where a role begins and the actor ends and vice versa sparked into this study. I won’t bore you with the technical details of the study, but I must admit that I have come out loving and appreciating theatre more than ever. Some of the best things in life involve risks, but what is life without a little risk? For instance, falling in love…many of the characters in Twelfth Night put their feelings on the line risking embarrassment, rejection, and mockery. But honestly, where is the drama without the risk???
Twelfth Night is a representation that life is bigger than ourselves. Geoff Kershner has repeatedly let the cast know that the title of the show is interchangeable with “What You Will”. Many times characters in the show shout out to Fate, Time, or even Jove, someone or something bigger than themselves, for help or praise, but in the end they are all aware that all things will take their course. We must simply enjoy the ride, not just the destination.
I am enjoying every part of this show from the other actors, the outdoors, occasionally the weather, and of course the audience! Theatre is an experience and a valuable one at that. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing light-hearted comedy of Twelfth Night and I intend to not let a moment pass me by!

Rachel Blomquist
Actor - Twelfth Night 

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