As I write this we are about to have a rehearsal for the first time in a week. We have missed four full days of rehearsal. So a lot of my character work on Trigorin, at least in terms of on stage relationships has taken a back seat this week to working only with the script. Which hopefully will turn out to be very good for my memorization!
There are only a few things that are actually said about Trigorin, either by him or other characters:
1.) He’s a fairly successful writer, and somewhat famous
2.) He’s not as good as Tolstoy or Turgenev
3.) His work is “Charming & Clever”
4.) He has dark hair
5.) He’s described as shy, quiet, and “hardly ever opens his mouth”
6.) Loves to fish.
So my goal is to try and use the things mentioned in the script to begin to build a character. It seems as though the major characteristic of Trigorin is that he’s a writer. The stage directions in the script often have him jotting down words or phrases he has heard. Or even just making notes about other characters’ quirks and habits. He mentions that he stores away phrases and people to use for his stories. His reputation and his own ego as a writer seem to dominate his persona. It is true that for the majority of the play he is quite quiet. He mostly speaks for one or two sentences at a time. However, there is one longer speech in the middle of the play where he seems to finally let all of his emotions spill out. He goes on and on about how difficult his life is. Saying, although he has fame and success, he’s obsessed with writing and seems unable to stop. He admits to feeling terrible about all of his own work, and afraid for his own legacy. He seems to wear his criticisms like a chip on his shoulder. He’s constantly striving and pushing himself to improve, but is afraid he won’t ever get there.
This makes me feel as though Trigorin is more of a “watcher” of life than a participant. The things people around him do and say aren’t meant to be enjoyed, but instead are all just fodder for his stories. A thrown away phrase from a friend might be a new famous line. The characteristics of his neighbor might become embodied by his newest lead character. And the actions he takes in his own life might just be an attempt to “try out” a plotline for his new book. I also feel as though fishing is his only outlet. He mentions his love for fishing at least a half a dozen times. I feel that this helps show his obsession with writing. The only way he can rest is to find a pastime that will allow him to relax his body and mind.
As we dive back into rehearsals this week, I hope to be able to find ways to embody all of this. To show Trigorin’s obsessive compulsion to write, his role as an observer rather than a participant in life, and his need for a way to escape from his self imposed torment.
As for the dark hair? Fortunately, that, I was born with.