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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Alma's Silly Goose

"Benjamin, you silly goose! Haven't you recognized her yet? It's your own girlfriend Mayzie Magoo!"

That's it, that's the line. The whole line, in all it's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad splendor. This is the line that has been torturing me for a good...three days now, I think. Ever since Monday's blocking. It's such a simple phrase, but it just doesn't work. And so, I suppose the question is...

How do you deliver a line that's so horribly out of character, while still staying in character?

I play Sergeant Alma Threedle, the smart, no-nonsense assistant to Detective Inspector Benjamin Braddock. She's basically a sort of female Sherlock Holmes with a bit of CSI thrown in. When playing her, I typically say the lines with a nearly-but-not-quite British twinge to them, though there are some moments where she is distinctively American (when she gets a bit more angry). She's sneaky, she's observant, she's often quite smug, and she ends up solving the entire case by the end of the show. I have a lot of long explanation lines, medical babble speeches, interrogation scenes, and of course, a lot of getting annoyed with people (I call everyone a jackass at one point). She's an awsome character, and I'm having a great time playing her, but I honestly do not know what do.

Alma Threedle doesn't do silly gooses.

I'm serious here too. If you had the script, you'd agree with me. Saying "silly goose" is just not something she would say, and I don't know what to do. How do you correctly deliver a line in character, when the line itself is out of character? You have to sound real, while saying something very unreal. Honestly, it's quite surreal.

Anyway, I just cannot for the life of me figure out how to best deliver this. I think I have most of my other lines down (not entirely memorized yet, but I don't need to be off-book till Friday, I've got time) but this one...God. This one makes me cringe.

I could do it if the whole "silly goose" bit wasn't there. If it was just "Benjamin, haven't you recognized her yet? It's your own girlfriend! Mayzie Magoo!" I'd be fine. I don't want to ask to take it out, since that's really a stupid thing to take out of a play, two words. I have to be able to be adaptable as an actor, and adjusting one stupid line like that isn't going to help.

The line is so out of place in the script, it makes you wonder why the writer put it there. There is obviously a reason for it, you don't just write things at random as a writer, it just seems so weird. I suppose that's the key this, figuring out why the writer wrote it like that and then adapting your delivery to it. What I should probably be doing right now instead of complaining to my blog is looking over the script and picking it apart. Try to think like the writer was thinking. Why would Alma say silly goose? I haven't the faintest idea. Hopefully though, I'll be able to figure it out before May. Maybe.

But then, figuring things out isn't always my forte. I'm not a detective, I just play one.

Goodnight Silly Gooses,


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