Watercolor: An Actor’s Journey
by Jessica M. Johnson
October 17, 2016
The Legend of Georgia McBride actress Jessica M. Johnson muses on the transformative process of storytelling.
What makes a show a show? Is it the text, the people, the props, the concept, the space, the light, the execution? I think on any given day what makes a play a vibrant, interesting story requires a lot of elements, but the magic of the theatre: why we still return to this ancient form of expression constitutes further personal exploration.
Ok, this will seem strange, but it is true. I see and read shows in colors. And, yes, perhaps it is all the costumes and shades of eye shadow, the shine of thousands of sequins that has heighten synesthesia. Regardless of the impetus of these sensations, please take this journey with me.
Theatre, however you choose to define it, is like watercolor. Each color, its level of saturation, the brushstrokes, colors running together to create something new and unexpected – that process is what I believe makes a production.
When we finish and take a step back to observe the work, when we rinse away the mess we’ve made, when the paint finally dries on the canvas, what we’ve created is one (hopefully) cohesive, honest, expressive work. But I don’t think that’s the best part. My favorite part of all this, what we can easily miss in the midst of the “finishing the work”, is the journey of the canvas itself.
The canvas: a blank slate, a tabula rasa of sorts is what makes it all worthwhile: meeting your cast mates, being introduced to new ideas, learning the space, or simply addressing the stranger before a show begins. We not only witness, but experience the physical metamorphosis of a plain, flat, unassuming space.
The Legend of Georgia McBride, for me, is a journey of transformation. We laugh, we cry, we move to the beat, we dip our brush into the work, and dab a bit of love, a broad stroke of laughter, and we begin to paint our story. I hope in the weeks to follow you will join us.
Grab a palette, whatever color suits your temperament, bring your brush, you open your heart and join us.
Lets paint together.
Read Jessica’s next installment, Blank Canvas: Rehearsal.
The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez and directed by Emmanuelle Delpech runs now thru Nov. 27 at The Arden Theatre Company on the Arcadia Stage. Tickets: Call the Box Office at 215.922.1122, visit www.ardentheatre.org.