I imagine, for me at least, that there is a great potential inside me only waiting for the right conditions under which to be unleashed. With text memorized and a whisper of a direction in which to take it true, powerful, moments can happen. These conditions seem hard pressed to arise though, at least within the small amount of chances I have witnessed.
Fear, and confusion keep the magic from happening. Contradictory direction, missing cues, choreography, worrying about how everything looks - all these things spoil the moment when they run though my head. I guess that's because its not real anymore and it becomes painfully obvious that it's a performance put on by a little actor who's more concerned about hitting his cues than actually entertaining.
Last night both of these things happened to me. There were horrible hours of jumping through hoops, screwing up, and generally being dull to watch, and there was one beautiful moment of just not giving a fuck. That moment came after the director made a poetic speech about his intentions to change the blocking every single night to keep us off balance to get a better performance. I couldn't believe it. My jaw hung to the floor and my eyes began to water with frustration. If anything his artful intentions would turn me into a puddle of trembling waste - not a talented actor.
He asked if I was going to cry - when I said no feebly he congratulated me and told the cast to all get to this point of distress. He said I was "almost there."
I went off. I told him I had been there, and this was only a mild form of frustration compared to previous evenings of this glorious experience he'd created. I explained my problems as mentioned above. When he told me to disregard all cues and direction an just do something good because he didn't care ...I did exactly that and reaped enough complements to last me the week.
It would be a grave mistake however, if our brave director thought it was his methods at work last night when that moment happened. It owed little to him and much much more to an actor grabbing her instincts and owning the moment - free from fear, free from bullshit. It was beautiful.