I have been reading the script for Romeo and Juliet each day. Yesterday I went through the first scene in which my character appears 10 times in a row, and I plan to do so again today. I am thinking of doing rapid fire reviews of each scene, such as I just described. Then eventually all of my scenes at one sitting. I do not know how it will work, bit a few things are going to have to go a little differently given the limited rehearsal time. So my theory is to pound each scene into my head one at a time. I may or may not get off book for each scene before moving onto the next "pounding", but it will certainly have made mental grooves in my brain by then...making memorization an overall easier task. That is the theory anyway.
I also spend about an hour last night just pondering the character and how I want to play him. A somewhat more daunting task for me than usual, given the fact that the language is an extra effort, the fact that this is an unconventional representation of what is often written off as a minor character, and, once again, the limited time for this production. But an idea is forming, based on what I see, and what the director's overall vision is. I have not yet spoken to her directly about it, but I am sure I will soon. However, these are just the broad strokes.
In the most general of terms, I am starting to see the good Friar as, first and foremost, the "good" Friar. There are some interpretation I have read, not without solid arguments, that present the character as ambiguous, and in some cases, evil. I am not going with either option. I decided right away that the Friar is to be a good man, despite some unwise decisions.
I have also decided, based on comments from more than one source, that though a Christian, he is probably more esoteric and mystical than most of his fellow Christians at that time. Hence the study of potions. (A discipline which, strictly speaking, a Friar probably would have no business pursuing. This doesn't make him a nut, or a wizard per se. But it does make his thoughts and perceptions perhaps a bit more metaphysical and deep than other such friars of his order.
So, after much thinking and comparing, I sort of came up with a rough amalagam of other characters that my version of the Frair may be. I see him as part Obi-Wan Kenobi (without the mind tricks and flying stuff), and part Father Mulchahy from M*A*S*H, along with a few other things. But younger, less seasoned than either of those characters. (Well, maybe Obi-Wan in Part I...if you follow that sort of thing.)
Anyway, I feel that in the play he has a spiritual depth to him for sure...but one that he perhaps has not allowed to develop as much as should be when he plots and plans the sleeping potion/escape to Mantua thing. One day, I imagine, he will be much wiser overall, but today, in the realm of the play, he is wise, but not yet as patient as he should be perhaps. Thus leading him to be too zealous in his plan, and perhaps not as flexible as he ought to be. Which leads him to some of the less than workable choices he makes.
Again, broad strokes. But something on which to start building.
The director has mentioned that some cast mates have been meeting with her periodically, in private, to discuss a few things. It may behoove me to do so as well at some point...or in the very least go over a few scenes with some of the other characters with which I appear during the course of the play. I am not certain when/if that will be happening, but I am looking into it. Any extra work helps.