Friday, July 21, 2006

Great Moments in Gesture: the Kiss

So, my favorite "gesture" from The Elixir of Love that I was assisting on last month (New Jersey Opera Theater, directed by David Grabarkewitz) and that closed yesterday was the kiss. Is a kiss a gesture? I think it can be, in both the looser sense of "what a nice gesture!" and the more strict sense of physical expressiveness I am more likely to use. The characters use it to express themselves when words fail them, when knowing what to do fails them, and it certainly acts through the body on another person...a kind of gestural duet. This particular kiss managed to be both much awaited and come as a huge surprise, because all through the show Adina and Nemorino are fighting tooth and nail, even though he is in love with her and we come to see that she loves him, too. It got a different reaction from the audience each night: applause one night, a hushed "awww" the next, a moment of total silence on the third and last night, at least from where I was offstage right, a collective catch in the throat. But each time it was simultaneously shocking and satisfying, thanks to the set up and the moment's truthfulness, and I think these effects crashing up against one another made for another Great Moment in Gesture that I was happy to be able to witness four times over. I discovered that sticking around for the run of a show can be fun! I haven't had the opportunity or the need to do it for a while but hopefully there will be more assistant directing in my future so I'll be doing this a little more often and allowing the show, once completed, to work on me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what exactly WAS the gesture? Just a KISS? or a certain way it was done? Inquiring minds want to know!

August 08, 2006 12:22 AM  
Blogger jag said...

As they say, a kiss is just a kiss...
Let's just say the most successful version of the four shows was a long kiss combined with a hand pulling the beloved face in close.

August 08, 2006 9:54 AM  

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