I just wrapped up my second acting endeavor (details of my 1st one) at Middlebury College: Manifesto for Another World, a play derived from Ariel Dorfman’s series of interviews with human rights activists around the world. This play was the kick-off for the “Faces Behind Human Rights” symposium that is going on this week with big speakers including Rana Husseini and Don Viet Hoat.
I played the character of “The Man” which is a summation of apathy of Middlebury students and the collective violator of human rights. It was a challenge to balance the edginess of being the “bad guy” in the show with sitting in the audience and portraying apathy. I wore a Middlebury t-shirt which became a source of contention within the cast as to whether it was pointing the finger at Middkids or not.
Overall, it was a satisfying experience that marked a triumphant return to the type of the theater that I learned in high school. But the rehearsal process was a tough balance of collective choreography and direction. Generally, my style is one to put almost blind faith in the director of a show. The director must at once look at the stylistic consistency and individual moment. That comes with the territory. But in collective direction, it becomes much more about establishing ways for actors to create with the director. Many times, I felt that this show was lost in the lack of direction in the weeks of rehearsal leading up to the show. Ultimately, it came together but that is what is to be expected.
As I begin to look into my next artistic endeavor, I reflect on this acting experience to understand the value of vision and execution. It takes meticulous skill to be “artistic.”