A playwright starts rehearsals with a simple prayer: "Please, God, make the actors say the lines the way I want them to." For the next four weeks this playwright will stroke, tease, trick, cajole, mutter line readings, and italicize words in their scripts if need be, all to get the actors to imitate the brilliant rhythms and intonations heard inside the head of a bald, middle-aged fat man. Some actors nail the lines at the first reading; others get it right via a well-timed word from the director; and there's always one who wouldn't deliver the goods if you recorded the lines, played them back six times a day, and threatened to kidnap his cat. But the ones you love, the actors you hope for (and write for) are the actors who give you what you didn't hear in your head—the eccentric line reading, the sudden shift in tone and tempo, the bizarre bit of stage business, and—yes, it's true, I will admit... More >>>