Traversing the distance from page to stage.
The text of a play is a skeleton. It is up to the actor to grow the muscle and tendon over those bones so they can become animate, then to cover the resulting creature with skin and give breath to the new body so that it comes to life. Certainly the playwright supplies all of the information needed for this task. But not the minute, exacting detail. The script may say, “She sets the table.” But how does she set the table? It may say, “He makes the bed?” But how does he make the bed? The text may be silent on these matters. It is up to the actor to discover the minutiae through the rehearsal process, after mining the script for details of the character’s relationships and circumstances. Did she grow up in a slovenly home, with no care for an elegant table? Or did she grow up in a house where her knuckles were rapped if the table wasn’t set just so? Did he grow up in a house where no one cared what his room looked like, or was he in the navy, where his bed had to be shipshape every day? When we ask the right questions of the script, and allow ourselves to play in rehearsal, all of these questions are answered, and the play will spring into unforgettable being.