Every Word Matters

I am memorizing lines for a play I am in right now called, The Cherry Orchard, by the late great Anton Chekhov.

As I am in the “between dinner pre-rehearsal memorizing rush” I began to think about the act of paraphrasing. This is a term not highly regarded in actor world. “Don’t replace and for also,””Williams wrote morose, not sad,” “You forgot the third line in your last monologue.” For obvious reasons, paraphrasing is something to avoid. But why? Because that means the memorizing process was a lazy one? Because that means the actor doesn’t really know their lines? What I have come to realize is a great playwright had the intent of writing each word for a reason. By changing the order of those words or taking them out completely, it is a disservice to the playwright. Besides, I can practically hear Chekhov roll over in his grave at my pronunciation of my own character’s name, Dunyasha Kozeyedov.

So if play writes don’t want their work paraphrased for the live audience, that makes me consider the times when I simply wrote words to fill spaces. If I were thinking in terms of a play, and my potential audience were a live audience, I would want to be very particular about each and every word I chose to use in any given sentence because I knew those words would come out of a real human’s mouth.

Something to think about while writing my next research paper at 3am (And come see TCO).

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