Monday, March 28, 2016

Ensemble Diaries:
TSP Company Member Logan Keeler

The Seeing Place Theater is thrilled to announce its 2016 Fundraising Initiative. As a part of the initiative we want you to give you a chance to get to know our members, so we gave them a little challenge. To start, the Seeing Place asked each of its members 3 questions which they could answer via text or video:

1) What is your hometown?
2) What is your dream role?
3) When was the last time you contributed to a campaign and how did it make you feel?

We then asked them to craft a little blog post about what brought them to The Seeing Place and why it means so much to them. We hope you enjoy getting to know our ensemble!


Company Member Logan Keeler
As the story goes, when Steven Spielberg approached Daniel Day-Lewis for the role of Lincoln, which later won Day-Lewis his third Oscar, the actor looked it over and said, “Ok, but I’ll need a year.” And you know what? They gave it to him. Now you might ask why anyone would need a year to discover a character. Take a few weeks to get the lines down, rehearse with a cast, sure. Take a month, fine. Sequester yourself in a cabin in the woods and delve into the desires, fears, behaviors, physicality of the character. Yes, this seems reasonable, even by today expedited Shoot It, Cut It, Sell It rigor of Hollywood. But a year?! Sure enough, one year later Day-Lewis came back to Spielberg after reading over 100 books on the famous president among personal accounts from the man himself, arguably surpassing the research of Tony Kushner himself, who wrote the biography of which the film takes its name.

Call Daniel Day-Lewis neurotic, over-excited and extreme in his methodology. But you could never call him careless. You could never call him rash. You could never call him unprepared. He took the precautionary measures to learn- historically, mind you- how Abraham Lincoln spoke, how he walked, the clothes he wore, the shoes he wore, the health conditions he was subject to, the sleep he had or had not, the pressures put upon him by not only the Civil War at home but relations abroad, age, relations, everything of the time and everything of the man. Lincoln’s mother-in-law didn’t appear in the film but you know that he had an opinion on her!

I bring this up today, because as necessary work that the actor must do, dramaturgy should not only be seen as pivotal but yearned by the actor. What a profound opportunity to find oneself in, to bring a character off the page to life. As one might expect upon seeing our shows at The Seeing Place Theater, we have our standard four weeks of rehearsal preceding it. What’s not so known to the theatergoer is that this rehearsal period is itself preceded by three or so weeks of a dramaturgy period. This time is spent in round table discussion asking the pivotal questions of the who, what, where and why. Every story we tell exists in a world larger than the stage you see from the house and all this is taken into consideration. Each decision of the character is questioned and discussed and the story behind the story is collectively written before we even hit the rehearsal room.

The Seeing Place ensemble find the humor in 
this lively dramaturgy session for OTHELLO
The purpose is simply this- to get the story and all its pesky details out of the way so that the actor may be free to explore it. Imagine entering your bathroom to brush your teeth only to find the light is out. You could probably go about the task with surprising ease. The cabinet is this far away, the toothpaste lies here, the faucet is exactly here. By Day One of rehearsal the goal is to know the story, understand the character and embodied the lines as much as to have the openness and freedom to move about the space as freely as you would reach for the toothpaste in the dark. The only real question now is how to go about it.

From my own personal experience, I can easily become trodden down by the tedium of research. This is different though. As objective as dramaturgy begins, naturally over time, I find, the character, without prompting, begins to flesh itself out. As Day-Lewis himself said, “Whilst you are learning you are not necessarily staying objecting.” The tedium is lost when we learn that dramaturgy is not about research at all, but discovery. We are not surveyors, we are archeologists.

3 Questions

1. Hometown: Falmouth, Maine
2. Dream Role: George from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
3. Last time I gave: I dropped a few bucks to Doctors Without Borders. I generally am hesitant giving to individuals that I don't know personally know but the organization and their goals I respected. I knew that my contribution would go far.

The learn more about Logan, visit


To help create new work with Logan and The Seeing Place by contributing to our campaign, visit

1 comment:

  1. This was so interesting to read. Logan is an outstanding actor. The first time I saw him, I got so lost in his performance that I forgot it was a performance (Two Rooms, Season 5--unforgettable). Seeing his commitment to dramaturgy gave me some insight into his craft, which is something I find fascinating. Thank you for sharing, Logan.


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