While old Hollywood movies might have us believe that all you need is a stage to "put on a show," in fact there are weeks of behind the scenes preparation, including developing "back stories" for all the characters, as explained by Marissa Biondolillo, currently in the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play PROOF.
In his laboratory, inventor Thomas Edison is quoted as saying: "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." In the current Buffalo Laboratory Theatre’s revival of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play PROOF by American playwright David Auburn currently up at Shea’s 710 Main Theatre, it turns out that those positive reviews they are getting also come from hard work and preparation.
In a conversation with Buffalo actor Marissa Biondolillo, who plays “Catherine,” she explained the lengthy process that brought PROOF from conversations with all four actors around a table with their director, Katie White, to rehearsals on the Hilbert College stage taped up to show the dimensions of 710 Main (the old Studio Arena) stage, to, finally, on-stage rehearsals.
Along the way, each character was encouraged to develop a “back story” invented to fully inform the actor’s role. It turns out that Biondolillo is a student of the “Meisner Technique” which she learned after college by attending The Actor’s Workshop in Ithaca, NY, where the motto is “Living Truthfully in Imaginary Circumstances.” Meisner actors are encouraged to understand their character, then to relax, and let that character speak truthfully and naturally from the stage.
There are three performances left: tonight and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m. at Shea’s 710 Main Theatre (Main at Tupper in downtown Buffalo’s Theatre District). 1-800-745-3000 www.sheas.org/710main
Marissa Biondoillo is an employee of WNY Public Broadcasting Association, the parent company of WNED|WBFO.