School of Continuing Education: McGinnis Edition
I've just learned that DADDY LONG LEGS, the gem of a musical by John Caird and Paul Gordon,
will close in NYC on the 6th of June. I learned this from our leading lady Megan McGinnis, from whom I've found out almost everything there has ever been to find out about our sweet show in all its incarnations, in all its cities. I even had to rely on her a time or two to discover if I was actually going to be employed in my usual post as associate director on a few productions.
But learning from Megan has not been limited to logistics or details about rehearsal schedules. When one is lucky enough to work with authentic artists in the theatre, the scope of the schooling can be quite broad. "Schooling" isn't really the right word, but I liked the alliteration. Perhaps these artists of whom I speak-- you know them when you see them-- are not setting out to "school" anyone per se, but for me they have been and continue to be my greatest teachers. These are the ones who apply themselves to the craft with all of their humanity. The ones who, if they are actors, truly give of themselves on stage every night. The ones who fearlessly explore in rehearsals and who are open to their fellow actors. Now, these sound like things that most actors do. And they are! Most actors I've worked with do all these things! But having been an actor myself, I know there is a force field beyond which some actors cannot or do not go. We can get really, really close to giving it all, but something makes us stop just short of bursting through. This may be self-protection. It may be self-consciousness. I'm not even judging it. It seems perfectly natural to have an inclination NOT to spill our guts all over a stage or in front of a camera. But there are those who for some reason are able to push through this invisible fence. Maybe they need to. I wonder about this dynamic a lot privately and will write more about it another time. But anyway, when these actors do push through, the goods are delivered straight to the gut, heart or mind of the receiver. It's unmistakable as it comes to us through the filter of the actors' craft, talent and good training, with the play as delivery vehicle. This is what Megan McGinnis does. It is invisible and palpable. Mysterious and matter-of-fact.
There is so much more to say, both about acting in general and about Miss McG., but all our DLL crew are posting stuff on facebook and I want to be timely. And by the way, none of this is talent/craft/actor stuff is worth a whit without the possession of qualities and sensibilities which make her the very fine specimen of human she is. But I guess I'll save that for a future blog post.
Or maybe I'll just make like Jerusha Abbott and write her a love letter.
DADDY LONG LEGS runs in NYC at The Davenport Theatre through June 6th, 2016.
For tickets click here.