I hope I’m not being a bother, but as an actor, I have incredible instincts that I try to honor. And right now, as I get more into playing my character, I can’t help but feel like she needs an added layer. I know Tennessee Williams created a masterful character in Blanche DuBois, the fading beauty from A Streetcar Named Desire, but she’s a part of me now and I have a strong sense of her needs. So, I’m sorry, but I just think she’d be drinking more milk.
I know that might sound strange, but feeling the spirit of Blanche strong within me, I can’t shake the feeling I’d be drinking a greater amount of milk than I do in the play, which is currently no milk.
Look, I get that I’m interrupting our rehearsal to say this, but I just want you to know that I’m just striving to be true to my character. And she just wouldn’t be smoking this cigarette in one hand without holding a holding a cold glass of 2% in the other. I can’t fully explain why yet. Maybe she’s concerned about her health, or maybe she just loves the taste. Either way, the more I inhabit her—her mind and her mannerisms and the fullness of who she is—the more I’m convinced she’d be constantly refilling that same glass in order to drink milk throughout the day. It makes sense for some reason; not that I have to explain my character work to you!
Please just give me the benefit of the doubt here.
Every day I delve deep into my character’s psyche to discover her motivations, and every single day I come back up with the same intense desire to strengthen her bones with more milk.
Currently Blanche has no interactions with dairy, and that makes me uneasy. While giving her a glass to hold might be a distraction to this celebrated piece of art, the theater should be a place to take chances. I would feel a lot of regret if I didn’t at least try delivering the line, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers,” while also chugging milk. After all, playing it safe is easy, but allowing your character to be completely themselves no matter how milk is involved? Now that’s a much tougher challenge.
I stand by my characterization. Last night I decided to give it a try, and read through all my lines with a glass of milk in hand, and the simple change blew my mind. I couldn’t help but think, “Mmm, yum. Slurp slurp. Ha ha!” My character was just loving drinking milk, and she’s not going to apologize for that.
So please trust my instinct as an actress. I might not think like a writer, but I can think like my character, and my character loves it when her tummy is full of milk. But make it 2%, because there’s no way she’d like anything else and that’s just something I can sense about her.