Putting it all out there

Putting it all out there


(soft music) – [Lisa Brescia] A hit Broadway
show, like many theatre pieces, is a collective effort. The writing, direction,
choreography, design, performances, and music, they all help to transport the audiences to another world. The stage hands, dressers,
makeup and hair stylists, and the front of house staff also support the immersive experience. The audience is part of this machine, too. Their energy fills the room like they’re another
character in the show. Each piece plays an essential
role in a production. As an actor, I am one piece. (soft music) Live theatre can shine a
spotlight on social issues, provide insight into emotional situations, or simply offer escape from everyday life. My most recent production,
“Dear Evan Hansen”, delves into raw emotional issues like profound loneliness, mental illness, and severe social anxiety all while managing to be incredibly funny and even uplifting. At it’s heart, it’s about the connections we make. Actors are expected to, honestly, live in the world of a play, as someone else, seemingly effortlessly. To do this well, we
must find the motivation and the intentions of our characters. In “Dear Evan Hansen”,
my character, Heidi, is trying really hard to be a good mom. She’s struggling and
failing and trying again, over and over, undermined
by her very own limitations. But that wish to do right by her son is consistently what motivates
my actions in the play. I show up to the theatre for
eight performances a week, working to portray that
character authentically for the audiences as best I can. That’s the job. Each of the seven Broadway productions I’ve done throughout my career have brought their own unique challenges. Sometimes it is acclimating
to a 50-pound costume, or straining my vocal chords from overuse, or building my stamina for back to back high-energy dance numbers, or performing on an uphill raked stage. I have to prepare physically
as well as mentally for these performances. For many actors, our greatest
enemy is the inner critic, the one who pushes forth
a narrative of self-doubt. I tell my students all the time that you are at your best, much freer and more spontaneous, when you’re not thinking, “How am I doing?” I tell them, “Remember, you’ve
been hired for a reason. “Bring your best every performance. “Focus on doing the work. “Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. “Put yourself out there. “Be brave and enjoy it. “After all, it’s called a play.”

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