Every single time, and I mean really every time, that we run the scene, where I, as the mother, am told by my son that he's gay, we explode into laughter. We can't help it. The play is quirky and funny on its own, but when you add goofy and hilarious Ben into the mix, forget it, you're done for. The three of us have this scene down pat; our lines are there, our blocking is tight, and we know what we should be doing, but we still haven't gone through a run of this scene without laughing at least once. It's dreadful.
Lately, Ben has been showing up in his costume as his character, Lloyd. Lloyd is Jewish and is married to Rhonda, who is me. His costume alone just makes me crack up because he hikes his pants up to his waist, wears a dorky vest, and walks with his pelvis thrusted out. We knew it was bad the other day when our director told Ben that there was "too much crotch". Ben tends to stick out his pelvis and shake it around here and there. Because he is so tall and gangly, this is absolutely hilarious to watch, making it impossible yet again to get a solid run of this scene.
This scene is funny on its own, and it only makes it worse (or better?) when we play around with it, purposely saying lines a different way for sake of our own amusement. Oftentimes, our comedian Ben will do something completely different or say a line in a different tone, and that'll throw the rest of us off. We'll try to stifle our laughter, which will escalate to a giggle, and then, we can't help it, break into a full-blown laugh. Ben will defend himself by saying that he was "just trying something new out". Yeesh. It's just not the same when Thomas and I do something different - we can usually get over that. But when Ben does something, the magic of the scene is broken, and we're back at the starting point. Don't get me wrong; he's a great guy to work with. It's a barrel of laughs acting with him, but man, I have never had so much difficulty in keeping in a laugh before. Just looking at this guy makes you crack up.
Just so this entry makes at least an inkling of sense, I'm talking about our rehearsals for a play entitled Office Hours by a Canadian playwright, Norm Foster. In this particularly hilarious scene, Richard gets a surprise visit from his Jewish parents, Lloyd and Rhonda. The climax of this scene is when Richard comes out to his parents, who evidently freak out.
It's a great play, with many connections and twists, drastic dynamics, and outlandish characters.
Can't wait to put this thing on in January. If I can't help but laugh now, how on earth will I be able to survive through a laughing audience? This is where my grounded thespianism should come in!