Word for Word is the only way.
Every word the Playwright writes is there for a reason. Quite a simple and seemingly obvious statement, yet too often actors are nonchalant about missing lines and changing words. The more plays I read, the more obvious it becomes to keep completely true to the words a playwright creates.
Each play is it’s own world. Just like many believe that each star is it’s own solar system and has it’s own version of Earth…humor my metaphor please…each of the countless plays written has it’s own version of Earth. Well written plays should blow your mind at how real it’s world feels. How much the characters’ realities impact you as an audience member or reader.
Therefore, every word, from each monologue to using a vs. the, is greatly important not only to the telling of the story but to the establishing and portraying of the character you are playing.
As an actor, we have the difficult job of reliving what the play is putting us through, over and over again. It’s hard, no doubt, but it is not our only responsibility. We are the vessels of the hard work that the cast and crew has gone through in the making of this production. We are the directing, the words, the characters, the costumes, we live in the sets and under the lights. We carry it all, we represent everyone and everything this play stands for in the moment of experience. So, it is that much more important that we do justice to the words on the page.