Friday, December 16, 2016

Belated Send off to Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story

So it's Friday evening, and the show ended on Sunday afternoon. It's been a sort of distracted week for me, and I am just now sitting down to post the summary.

It was a sold out crowd, just as the previous Sunday was. Yet the crowd was not as enthusiastic as the first full house we had. They were not a dead audience by any means, but they didn't laugh as much or respond with as much to the show, or after the show.

To be fair, I don't think we did quite as well for them as we did the previous sell out either. There were a few trip ups, (I myself made a very minor one) and I think the energy was down.

That being said, it was still a decent, even if not amazing conclusion to a show that in many ways was different.

It began just a few days after Macbeth ended, so in some ways it felt like an odd extension of that show for the first few rehearsals. This is especially true given that everyone but one person was also in Macbeth. The total rehearsal time was only a month, (and coming after a show that had three months to rehearse, that was an adjustment for certain.)

I wore my base costume to the theatre and home every night, since I owned the whole thing.Because of this I was actually rarely in the dressing room. Being in the dressing room is a touchstone of the community theatre experience, and things feel off for me when it is missing. I kept my coat and personal items in there during the show, but that's about it. Never dressed or undressed in there during the show. And while I had my usual picture of Olivier there at what would have been my seat in the dressing room, I never taped it to the mirror as is my custom.

Due to the nature of the show, the only time I was in the green room was before the show, and intermission; nobody was off the stage long enough in this production to relax in the green room during the performance. That too made the whole show seem faster, and less official as well, (though it was the same for Night of One-ders.

Also, I have to say that in some ways, despite the changes in venue, script and cast, it sort of feels like a production of A Christmas Carol is never quite over for me. This was my sixth production of this story in some form, and no doubt there will be more. Many of the lines, and certainly the characters are the same for each one, and so though I still have to get off book each time I help tell this story, it sort of feels like a mere hiatus between such tellings. I've not been in this version of the story before, but once we got started on it, it didn't feel like it had been that long ago since I had been in a version. (Though it has been about three years, I think. Maybe more.)

Which is why I am almost always willing to be a part of this story on stage. The time may come when, for whatever reason I have to decline to be a part of a production of A Christmas Carol, but it hasn't yet. So timeless is the story, so loved by actors and audiences, and so tied in with a holiday that so many people revere that when in A Christmas Carol on stage, I feel part of Christmas as well as part of a show. (And I get to start celebrating the holiday a little earlier than most people when I am in a show like this.)

So, I do bid goodbye to this version, but it is only a matter of time, perhaps only a matter of less than a year before I help tell the story again.

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, everyone.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Home Stretch

For the life of me, I thought I had posted about last week's matinee, but I hadn't. And now here I am only a few hours from this week's matinee closer.

Like last week's, today is sold out. It proved a plus, as usual for a full house last week. They crowd was really quite into singing at the opening of the show, and they gave us a nice ovation at the end. Though to be honest, neither they nor any of the audiences so far have laughed at some of the things I thought they might laugh at. True, it is not a comedy per se, but there are still moments of humor that haven't translated in this production like I thought they might.

Still, the full house on last Sunday was our largest crowd in the small intimate space so far for this production. Just having that many people present is helpful for a show like this.

I also knew several people in the audience that day. The sad truth is that most people I know locally do not see my shows, so I usually know people when they are there for others in the play as well. Always adds a little something when you know someone out there in the audience is a friend of yours. (Even though often you cannot see them.

As for this weekend so far, Friday was tough. Not terrible,but it was our smallest crowd. I think 15 total, which even in a house that small looks, well, small. And they were quiet.

Last night was I think our second largest crowd,and I had family in that one. They enjoyed it. I fumbled a bit in one part of my performance, but I covered well and I don't think anybody noticed.

I'd say that last night's audience, though not a full house might have laughed more than any of the others have. Still not as much as I might have thought, and I don't mean gut busting here. But from my own angle, I think someone laughed at something more often last night than the previous nights.

A friend of mind was in the front row, and I knew I had to mess with him at least once. (Our director said we could sometimes interact with the audience if we wanted.) I had only one real chance. As Topper, announcing he is a bachelor, I sort of play that to the audience. I addressed it last night to my friend in particular, partly because he is married, so I emphasized "bachelor" and pointed at home laughing. (Little did I know, Scrooge later patted him on the head at the end of the show.)

A fun evening overall, I suppose.

Now, one more full house, and we close this production, which in  many ways seems to have hardly started. I'll update that, and  give overall thoughts on the show, later tonight when I get home from the cast party.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Second Night of A Ghost Story

Tonight was a bit of an oddity. I don't remember the last time a first Saturday crowd was smaller, and less energetic than an opening night crowd. But that's what happened tonight.

While opening night was about 30 people in a 50 seat house, I think we had just over half of that tonight. They did laugh at times, and seemed to have enjoyed themselves, judging by their clapping at the end, but overall it felt like an average matinee, but at night.

Some of that is on us; though there were again no major mistakes that I noticed, I think near the end all of us ran out of steam a bit. We weren't by any means dead, but I think we were slower than we normally are for the end of the show.

I do think some aspects did run even more smoothly, though. Once again, not to assume we are perfect by any means, but we have worked out some of the kinks over the last two nights, even if in front of fewer people tonight.

We are in a good place for tomorrow, if we can keep the energy up; it is already a sold out house. Will having a sold out house make for even more energy to improve our performances? Or will the matinee doldrums hit us?

Saturday, December 03, 2016

An Opening Night Carol.

Opening night last night, and I have to say it was solid. Not error free, mind you, but it was disaster free. Free of gaping holes. Unless something happened that I missed while off stage somewhere.

The house holds 50 people for this show. We had about thirty last night. As is often the case for Friday opening nights, (for whatever mysterious reasons) it was a quiet crowd. There was some laughing here and there, but they were quiet during some funny moments. And though I thought we were losing them for a bit near the end of the opening, (lots of narration to open the show) overall I believe they were engaged.

There were some young children in the front row. I feared they might be restless, but for the most part, the seemed to be paying attention. If not, they were quiet about it. When Marley screamed, some of them covered their ears, but none of them cried or ran out of the building. Even an infant in the lobby was quiet the whole time.

We hit some rough spots last week and this week in rehearsing, and it's very important not to assume there will be no mistakes from here on out just because opening night was solid. But solid it was, and it always comes as a significant relief when that first show in front of people is out of the way. There's a reason why a second night is almost always better than opening night.

Truth be told, I wasn't quite as nervous as I feared I might be going into yesterday. Not sure why. Confidence in my contributions, though with humility is probably part of it. We also had a good final rehearsal the night before. (The old superstition of a good final rehearsal portending a bad opening night did not come true in this case.) But everything just seemed more casual on opening night than it is for some shows. In some ways id didn't quite feel like it was opening night. Probably having just over a month to rehearse is part of that.

I must say I felt a bit awkward at the beginning, though. I lead the audience in singing. I'm not that worried about singing, but I'm out there all alone for quite a while, opening the show. I wanted to just get on with the rest of the show about halfway through the song.

The narration with everyone else that opens the show after the song makes me a bit nervous, though it went fine last night. Hopefully I will feel less nervous tonight. (But not complacent either!)

It's hard to judge reactions in a venue and in a play like this, but I think the audience liked Topper, my smallest role, the best of everything I did. I also think they liked my narration, but of course, an audience is always going to pay more direct attention to a narrator type character, I would dare say.

So the opening is behind us, and I am glad of it. Saturdays are almost always the best crowds. Will it be so this time? Perhaps the Ghost of Christmas Present will bless our humble playhouse with a sprinkling of his torch tonight.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Tech Week Carol

You wouldn't know it by my general radio silence over the last few days, but we have in fact been in the midst of tech week for Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story. Normally I have a bit more to say here on the blog for tech weeks, but I got to thinking that without major developments, most of tech week is the same sort of insider type of night that in general all experienced actors know about, and those outside of theatre would likely find a bit boring to read about. Plus I have been tired coming home at night as you might guess, for this has been one of the latest (at night) tech weeks I've had in a while.

A general overview:

We get out of rehearsal around 11 so far this week. I don't much mind this, since we need the time to get everything set up. Lights and sounds are still being worked out, and I'd rather take the time, than not get them right in the actual show. That's what the week is for, and it's part of the package when you volunteer.

Thus far, I've done pretty good as far as doing my job, I dare say. I've dropped a line here and there throughout the week, but as far as I recall, nothing that derailed the moment. Plus I correct the issue the next day in rehearsal.

I'm not what I call "secondary" off book as much as I would like to be in an ideal world. That is to say, how much information can I pull up to correct a mistake or omission made by someone else in the scene. I've been able to dive in and give a missing line or otherwise put tape over the situation here and there, I'm relieved to say, but in a perfect world I would always knows exactly how to fix something, and I confess, I've not had an instant fix for each mistake outside of my control which has occurred this week. Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself for this. I don't like to see fellow actors swinging out in the breeze though. I like to help if I can. And I have tried to do so. But I suppose there is a limit to amount of things one actor can juggle at a time. I have to remind myself of that from time to time.

Being so familiar with the story, however, does help at times to ascertain the general direction of things should they go awry for a moment.

On the whole, the week has been a bit rough for all of us, to be honest. But last night did show a marked improvement over the previous night.

Things started off with a cue-to-cue, wherein the light booth folks get their timing down for light and sound cues. That took a while. I think it took longer than than director expected. After that we moved into a full fledged rehearsal. Despite some bumps and a bit of fatigue on my part, combined with having a few new costume pieces and props to handle, some of my moments were the best I've delivered so far, I have to say. Probably because despite all of the technical issues, there is this awareness that we open tomorrow (!) and that it's time to home in on some more of the performance nuance.

Tonight is "full dress," though I wore all my costumes last night as well. Plus a few other nights last week. Some of the changes will be a little close, but if last night was any indication, all of them should be doable.

The first three staves of this tech week carol have perhaps not gone as smoothly as one would like. However, the show has gotten better each night this week, and there is no reason to believe it won't be even more improved tonight.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Topping Things Off

Our final non-tech week rehearsal was tonight. Difficult to believe we are there already, but I have to remind myself that we only had four weeks total for this show in the first place.

There's some work to do next week. It's a bit rough in places, though not as rough as it was on Wednesday night, during our previous rehearsal. (Though we had someone missing for each of the last two rehearsals.)

I myself made two or three errors. One or two others times I choked a bit on lines, but improved my way through to the right cues. But the rough spots for me personally are specific enough that focused review between now and Monday should be enough to fix things up.

My character with the fewest lines is Topper, who is a guest at Fred's (Scrooge's nephew) party during the shadows of Christmas Present. He is mentioned in the original book, and often, but not always shows up for a throw away line or two in most stage versions of the tale. I have played him in more than one version, myself, including this one. There's always a word game of some kind involved in the scene. I actually have less to say in this show than I have in previous incarnations of Topper, but I enjoy the scene nonetheless.

In fact, the scene for me was a highlight of tonight's rehearsal in some ways. I work hard of course on Cratchit, and I like bringing something a bit new to the Ghost of Christmas Past, (the director is pleased with my take), but that tiny scene with Topper and his few lines just felt so natural tonight, (other than one actress being absent today.)

I get to play around with Topper, and, as I have before in other shows, make him a bit rogue-like , though mostly harmless. I described him tonight as a "watered down Lord Byron." Probably a bit drunk in the scene. Probably a bit drunk all the time...but not useless. I feel I play off of the actor playing Fred quite well in my brief few lines, which I play up for all they are worth (and perhaps more). I don't think I'm scene chewing. I hope I'm not. But the whole short scene feels alive with character and relationship, even though everyone but Fred is a minor, one-off presence in the show.

That's the stage for you. Sometimes it is the smaller roles that allow a bit more freedom. With more freedom comes more creativity, and more creativity brings life to a role, and makes it one the audience will remember. That is of course the goal of all of my parts, and I don't for a minute mean to suggest that I lack freedom in my other roles. I have plenty. But there is more weight to Cratchit. People come to see any version of this show with a keen sense of watching Cratchit. That's partially true with Christmas Past as well. But someone like Topper, who in many ways is just there, for whom the audience generally lacks expectations, the process can feel much more natural in much less time.

If Topper were a main character would I feel the same way? I might, if I could play him like this. But because of the brevity of his presence, I can try things, (which the director allows) that I might not otherwise be able to try, if he were a main character. Things that may or may not wear thin in a greater quantity than are present now. I have some more work to do with Cratchit in the final week, and to a lesser extent Christmas Past. But I could perform Topper as is tomorrow if I had to.

Remember, that's acting too. It's all acting. If we ignore the smaller moments, we might as well ignore the larger, because you can never be sure what moment might speak to you as an actor, or to the audience. Not every line of every role you have will be a gem, but always go for it.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

WHOLE Lot of Catching Up!

I'm back, loyal blog readers, and you may wish to shame me with how little I have updated, vs. how much has been going on. But let me get the facts out of the way first.

Since last blogging here, I have had half a dozen rehearsals for Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story. This concise but somewhat meta interpretation of the classic tale will go on at the Black Box Arts Center (where I have done everything lately) during the first and second weeks of December. In fact we will have had just over four weeks total on this show, when Macbeth had over three months. So, it's a bit more of a tight squeeze. It will be close, but a lot of it is right from the Dickens text, so a general familiarity with the tale is helping memorization go faster for more than one person. Certainly for me, though I am not off book yet. I expect I will be in a few days, though. I am about halfway there as it stands, rough estimate.

During the same period since my last post I also had the first read through of David Mamet's Glengarry Glenn Ross. (Also at BBAC.) I'll be appearing in that play as Williamson, come February. Yes, that's a lot going on, but it won't really be simultaneous rehearsing; that initial read through I mention is the only time during Christmas Carol that I'll be doing anything with Glengarry. The rest of the rehearsing will take place after this show is over, so I don't feel overwhelmed just now.

As for the Christmas Carol rehearsals, there wouldn't have been much to report of interest yet anyway. Mostly it has been blocking. This has been tricky, as we are working on a stage that is not the shape of our final performance area. (Since the remodel of the space, stage area's are not more flexible.) But we will get our house layout set up by the time Monday evening roles around, as this is the final weekend of the current kid's show now on stage.

I have been in some version of a Christmas Carol, including staged readings, about six times I believe, all but one of them in this same building. (Though previously when it was under different management and going by a different name.) It's always hard to resist being in a production of this. And performances always bring big crowds at Christmastime. (Though this year several local theaters are doing some version of the story, though nobody else is doing this one, I don't think.) I don't doubt our  numbers will still be strong, though.

In this version, each actor plays  multiple roles, including that of narrator at any given moment. Bob Cratchit is my biggest role in the story, followed by Ghost of Christmas Past. I also play Topper, the party guest at Fred's and one of the businessman in the future talking about Scrooge's death, and having lunch at the funeral and so on.

I've even been each of these characters in previous productions over the years. I'll admit that while each show is different, I am calling on some of the nuances I have used in previous performances. Mostly in voices I use.

With the exception of Scrooge, everyone in this show was also involved in Macbeth.

So, that is where I am now. I will post more regularly as the show goes on now, but I don't promise to post something for every rehearsal, as there probably won't be as many insights to share on such short notice. But do stay tuned anyway, I may just find something new I have to say!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Malcolm in the...Finale.

Last night we closed Macbeth at the Black Box Arts Center.

I didn't update this blog on the two pick up rehearsals we had. It seemed sort of pointless and inside-baseball. So here I am to wrap up the experience.

To begin with, I'll admit I had my doubts about the level of interest a performance on Halloween night would inspire. Even our director called it "a gamble." But for the most part that gamble did pay off; we were at about 3/4 house for the show, with a good audience. (Many of whom were dressed in costumes to partake on the offered discount.

Overall, I'd call it our second best night, actually. Our first Saturday, for a full house was no doubt our best, but some moments from last night rivaled it. Plus I threw in some extra flare in places, to send things out with a bang. (Such as using the fake blood for the first time, at he very end, after my character has been in a battle. Weird stuff.) Check out this shot in the greenroom right after curtain call.

Good stuff.

Only major problem was one of my speeches was skipped in the big scene of 4.3. My scene partner jumped ahead. I'd like to say I was unfazed by it, but to tell the truth, for about a second I wasn't sure exactly how to proceed. I have no idea if this confusion projected into my performance for the audience or not. But after the quick moment of fog, I just jumped to the next line that would have followed the speech my partner gave, and the scene proceeded at normal from there. That was honestly the only major problem I recall ever happening in that scene during the seven performances.

I enjoyed that scene, but in a way I am relieved I don't ever have to do it again. Lot of thick dialogue there. Lot of speeches that, as I have said on this blog before, aren't as deep or motivated as other speeches in Shakespeare. Yet I was allowed to give the scene, and the character life and depth which is usually missing from both.

In college I was in a production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged. Because we rewrote many of the sketches in our own image, we started the process quite early. And then we took it on the road for four shows.

I didn't keep exact records, but I know that was the longest I was ever involved in one cast with one show. Macbeth was very close to the same length of time, give or take a week, probably. So I've been a part of this show possibly as long, maybe a tad longer than the longest ever for me. After a while, it's as much about the people as it is about the performance, especially since technically you spend a lot more time with a cast off stage than you ever do with them on stage.

Add to that the remodeling of the venue taking place during much of our process, and you have some unique circumstances.

To the very best of my knowledge, nobody fell in love with each other during this show, nobody ripped each other's throats out. No major clashes. (And thankfully our pregnant cast member did NOT give birth during the show!) Still, there is an intensity not just to a show such as this, but to being in such close quarters so often for so long. Now that there are no more audiences for this Macbeth, in a way the show no longer is about them; it's about us, those that were in it and made it happen. The feel of it. When something like this is over, you look back on an experience as much as (if not more than) the performance.

How will I do so? I will not lie and claim I was never annoyed. I was. Some things are just a pain in the ass. Some things, when you get amateurs together this long working this hard, getting this tired are bound to cause friction. However, there was not much of it, given the scope of this show. I've been in shows that lasted half as long and pissed me off four times as much.

All be way of saying, I am satisfied with my actual performance of Malcolm, despite his difficulties. But I am also satisfied with the overall experience of the entity that was this production. Taking the sum, from first read-through in June to last night's Halloween/cast party, it was a net plus. I will look forward to working with some of these folks again.

And I won't have to wait long...for I am in a production of a Christmas Carol at the same place, that with one exception stars people from Macbeth. We meet for our read through Wednesday.

But that is for then. For now, I close chapter of my theatre life out. We, the actors, like Malcolm and his troops behind the branches of Birnam Wood have thrown down our leafy screens, as Malcolm said, and shown like those we are-actors who did a good job in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

I guess I need to start calling it the Scottish Play again...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Catching Up

Despite the best of intentions, I often seem to let blogging about second weekend performances fall by the way side. But I can correct that mistake now, and do so expeditiously by concentrating on just one of the nights, Saturday night.

Not that Friday and Sunday were bad. They weren't. Friday was just smaller than the previous Friday, and Sunday was of course a matinee. (Though more people came to that matinee than the first one.) I'm satisfied in many ways with both of those shows, particularly how well 4.3 went. But without question the highlight of our second weekend was Saturday night.

For starters, it was a full house for the first time in the newly remodeled venue. I keep forgetting what that number is, but i think it's about 50 seats. That would have been a nice crowd even in the former house, though it would have only been about half of the seats. But a fuller, smaller house, not to mention one that is so intimate with the actors because of proximity adds many things to the show that even the other nights didn't have, or didn't have as much of.

The most of course is energy. Science would poo-poo it, but performers know better; there is energy in a crowd that can be used and reflected by the actor. Saturday's crowd was not only a full house, but a responsive one. A crowd that be it's very presence, (in many ways right in our faces) brought out the best in all of us.

That's not to say there were no nerves involved. Though I haven't felt nervous at the start of the show, I still get ever so slightly nervous before the start of the oft-mentioned 4.3. This was ever so slightly increased on Saturday. Yet it was in the good way, not the bad, for the most part. Enhanced focus and such. As a result, several of my line readings were somewhat different, enhanced by the extra energy. I use that energy in various ways, one of which is to think on my feet as to how I can deliver the line in news ways to express more effectively the character's thoughts and goals in the scene. It's not usually something I plan out, rather it happens as a result of the energy I have mentioned, as well as preparation.

Another plus? I pay extra attention to every word I am speaking, and I managed to not have rubber tongue at all that night. True, most people would never have noticed the times I did have it previously, but I always knew, and I was proud to have not experienced it through the whole show. (I didn't on Sunday either, to be accurate.)

I even had an audience member tell me afterwards that not only did I fully embody the character, but that my "diction was excellent." That's high praise any time, but particular in its sweetness when one does Shakespeare. I always work hard on my diction, and I am glad it paid off.

There were other little nuances throughout that showed up in my performances, as well as those of others. I saluted a soldier with my dagger right before a battle. It'snot a thing anyone does, I'm sure, but it seems to work in this parallel universe we've created for the show. Not to mention, it was all part of keeping the energy up. When you feel it, you don't want to let it slide.

I also delivered parts of my one and only "rallying" speech to the audience. Not directly to them the whole time, but as they are right there in front of us now, and as the director wanted us to make use of the audience when we could, it felt like a solid, effective idea to see the audience somewhat as troops about to head into battle with us. (Which in a way, they were.)

Yet I don't want this recap to be nothing but self-congratulatory. As I told (yelled) to the rest of the cast in the dressing rooms after that show, "That's the way it's done, people!" (I don't often do such things as that these days, though I used to do them more often in years past.) For indeed, everyone else I saw in the show was in the zone, en pointe, of whatever cute metaphor you want to use. i can say if all of them felt that it was their own personal best performance of the run, but I know it was mine, and I know all of them seemed quite happy with what they had done. I heard of no issues.

I wrote the cast and told them as much once I got home that night. 

I'll admit that even now I find Malcolm to be an odd Shakespearean character. As I told the Talk Back group last weekend after the first matinee, it feels like about five pages of his story are missing from the play. I think I'll always feel that way. But after Saturday's performance, and all of the "extras" that the energies of a responsive, appreciative crowd brought to the surface of the show, I felt greater appreciation for portraying Malcolm. I felt even more a Shakespearean actor after Saturday night than I did before, and I have felt like one for quite some time.

So much so, I think I carried some of that with me in to the matinee the following day. It of course did not measure up to Saturday night, and the crowd was small and quiet. But I have to say it was better than the first matinee, and I'm willing to believe that at least some of that is due to the injection of confidence and enthusiasm we all received from an excellent Saturday night.

Nothing this week at all. A week from Thursday is one pick up rehearsal. A week from that is another, full dress pick up, and then, on Halloween night, our Birnam Wood will come to our Dunsinane, and the production will close.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Macbeth Matinee 1

If you don't know I hate matinees, you have never been to this blog before this summer, so welcome.

That being said, our first one went well. I wasn't feeling 100%, outside of it being the exhausting time frame of a 2:30 PM show with a 12:30 PM call. I think I might not have had enough protein by the time the show started. But I was able to focus where I needed to, and though i didn't throw a perfect game, I made no major mistakes. My guess is that I made none that the audience would have picked up on, which if not a perfect game, is sort of like a no-hitter. Maybe.

My mother was in the audience, and she enjoyed the show. (Though she did request a brief synopsis of the plot earlier in the day before she got to the theatre, since she is less familiar with Shakespeare than I.)

Also, 4.3 went well, again. I admit I am still a tad nervous just before that big scene comes up, but it doesn't last too long, I suppose.

The crowd was smaller than it was on Saturday night. But a few of them stayed afterward for a Q&A. I didn't have any direct question to respond to from the audience members, but the director did ask me to elaborate on Malcolm a bit. I gave a brief rendition of many of the things about the character I've already shared here on the blog.

I am happy with the first weekend, but I think it ended just in time; I was in need of a break from the show, even though it went well. The impression I get is that many of the others felt the same way.

We report for a pick up rehearsal on Thursday. Three days off is good; haven't had that much of a break in a few weeks. Second weekends often have a totally different feel to them...something a bit energizing in a way that opening night is not. We are all Macbeth "veterans" now. When we reconvene in a few days, it will by in that context, and i think that tends to raise the confidence of an entire group on a subconscious level.

Unless there is some major development, I probably won't post about the pick-up rehearsal. It's not interesting material, and may not even be a full rehearsal, according to the director. Check back in on Friday to see how the second weekend kicks off.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Saturday's All Right for Fighting...and Macbeth

Good show tonight. In fact, our best to date, if you count full rehearsals and such.

To start with, the energy from a crowd of about 30 (our of 55 total seats) set the tone. As did the relief of it not being opening night anymore.

Energy was good. Pacing. All the components were in place for a show that was satisfying to perform, and exciting, (as far as one could tell) for the audience to watch.

I still got tongue tied once. I'd like to have that not happen anymore, but I corrected within the line, and it didn't ruin anything, so far as I could tell. It's just a matter of personal pride to throw a "no hitter" as it were. Yet i don't want to put undue pressure on myself, or the opposite of what I want is likely to happen. So, one performance at a time, one scene at a time one line at a time. That's the way it needs to be done, even if it is tempting to thinking too far ahead sometimes.

I do that a lot with Act IV scene 3. My longest and most intense scene as Malcolm. Though I don't let it distract me from the job at hand, that scene is never far from my mind once the show starts, even though I have much to do before getting there. (Not to mention there is intermission.) I won't call it an obsession, as that makes it sound unhealthy, but 4.3 is no doubt a focal point for me in this production. I go over it a few times in my head before the show starts, and then again between intermission and the scene itself. It's almost as if I haven't officially started my performance until that scene comes up, even though I've already done quite a bit of acting by then.

That scene was also probably the best it's been so far. At least my rubber tongue didn't show up in that scene this time.

My final speech, that closes out the whole show also went well. Better than on opening night. Plus unlike the previous night, the lights went to black out right after I finished my line. I may not have the largest presence in this particular show, but I admit I kind of dig having the final moment of it.

Sadly, next is the matinee for the first weekend. My mother will get to see the show, which is a plus, but it's still a matinee, and still a bit of a bane.

Still, it's Shakespeare, and I have a job to do. My powers are ready and my lack is nothing but my leave, as Malcolm himself might say.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Opening Night: Macbeth

I'd love to report that it was perfect, but it was not. I flubbed a line or two, (though i didn't forget them...just mushed them about for a moment.)

Also, a brief lighting snafu at the start of the show delayed the opening for a few minutes.

Notwithstanding, the first performance was a success, both for me personally, and for the show as a whole. The director was happy, I was happy, and I didn't encounter anyone in the cast who felt otherwise about how it went.

Some of us went for drinks afterward.

Only one person came to Thursday's open rehearsal, so last night was for all intents and purposes the first audience we had. The renovated space seats about 55, and I would say we had about 15 or so people come see the show. Though I didn't count them, I could have, given the far more intimate nature of the space. It didn't bother me as much as I thought it might, but it was different, and does take a bit of getting used to. Every move just about anyone in the audience makes, you can detect from on stage.

I added a war cry for Malcolm during the final rehearsal, because it felt right, and because that scene, which does take place right before we attack Dunsinane, always felt a bit low on energy, and lacking in urgency. So I kept it for the opening, and will keep doing it for the run.

Something happened to my script, however, and I'm not happy about it. I didn't need it, obviously, to get through the show, but I always have it around for reference and review. A back up and a means to time how long before I need to do something. Someone else was kind enough to let my borrow there's, but why mine should have to be moved from where I left it is beyond me. I will search the place again, even in places it has no business being, before the show starts tonight.

Opening night. It's usually fun, often a bit nerve wracking, and should be, if you've done your work as a show, a time to celebrate. Such was the case for us last night. But to be honest, I am happy opening night is over. The very things that often make the opening of a show exciting can also make it an outlier of sorts. The newness, the questions, the higher than average nerves-level. Once it's over, your mind becomes aware that yes, you are capable of performing this show in front of people who paid to see it. Being watched is no longer new. A certain relief sets in that allows you to to enter a type of comfort with your characters, the movements, the performance as a whole, that you can never quite reach during rehearsals and opening night. This was especially true for this show, since the entire place had been remodeled.

 Even if your opening night doesn't go well, it's great when it's behind you.

This doesn't mean you can get careless after opening night, nor does it mean that everything will then be perfect, and nobody will have nerves. But novelty can be a funny thing, and once it's gone, the potential for even better performances is there. The first Saturday or a two weekend show has been the best performance with the best audience in most shows I have been in, and that is probably no coincidence.

So I look forward to tonight, because it sort of the first real performance on an emotional level.

I'd like to find my script, though.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Final "Private" Rehearsals.

Tonight, Thursday, will be the final rehearsal for Macbeth after a long three month process. It will be, however, open to the public, free of charge, so it's quite possible some kind of audience will be present. It's not an opening, but depending on if anybody shows, it means the days of practicing the show in private are over. Our director reserves the right to stop and correct things as needed, and has warned potential observers that this may occur, but for all intents and purposes, the "true" rehearsal process ended last night, to me.

Last night and the night before, I am happy to say, were not seen as train wrecks by anybody. They did indeed go much better than Monday night. Both nights saw me make minor missteps, but nothing to derail the entire scene. With the knowledge that I am by no means perfect, I would say I am ready to perform my part.

Last night for the first time, we had lights. We don't do much in the way of light changes in this show, but running the scenes with the actual lighting took a few minutes to get used to. And in many ways it helped; in costume under the lights you realize all the more that it's time to eat.

Our director has said nothing about it, but I think the show, myself included, ran a bit low on energy in places the last two evenings. That's the only universal structural problem I noticed from my end. Even with the energy level, the show is down to a running time of 90 minutes. It's Shakespeare's shortest tragedy, and our script is editing to be even shorter, but 90 minutes for Shakespeare is a nice clip. You can't accuse of dragging it out.

I wore a homemade beret last night. Not in love with it, but everyone has one, so it's not like it's just a me thing. That's why they call it a "uniform" after all.

The building itself looks good, too. Construction debris and other such things have been cleared out, ready to host audiences. It always feels so much better to me once a place is cleaned up. I always heard that the disconnect closed-circuit TV feed, that shows the stage on a monitor in the green room, could be up and running again tonight. I love that running around checking on cues every five minutes. Only local theatre that has that feature.

Brought some dirt from my yard to smear on my face for battle scenes. Had been using dirt there at the theatre, but it has tiny pieces of gravel in it, and I think I scratched myself a few times in the application process. It had it's advantages though; the original dirt was lighter, and took less time to apply. Dirt from my home is darker, and looked almost like paint once I wet it and put it on. I want it to look less deliberate than that. I corrected it later, but tonight I think I'll apply it differently to give it a more random look, as someone who's been fighting out in a field would have. I'll post a picture if I think of it.

As always with me, it's the little things on stage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Train wreck."

That's how one of my cast mates referred to tonight's rehearsal, opening tech week. I wouldn't go as far as that, but it was rough in places to be sure.

I even totally botched a line I haven't botched in a while. (Though in my defense, it was the only line I botched on a night when there were all kinds of bumps in the road for the show.)

Friday, not everyone could show up for rehearsal, so we did trouble spots. Unfortunately, I was only in one of them, so I spent much of the evening in the theatre not being needed. Then we had off on Saturday and Sunday. By the time we started tonight, we'd gone three days without rehearsing the show, but I can't put the blame there because every week we have gone Friday, Saturday and Sunday without running the show as a whole.

So who knows why today went awry? It is what it is, and to be honest, I don't think it was that bad. I've been in far worse tech week rehearsals, that worried me much more than this one did. It shouldn't be repeated, but it's not a disaster either.

I smeared some dirt on my face for the two times I am in battle scenes. (Though I don't perform any combat on stage.) Looked good. I'll keep doing that unless I'm told not to by the director. I always felt like a guy who just had a shower, (which in fact I do before each rehearsal) as opposed to a guy who's been battling all day at the start of this play.

Been feeling a bit weird overall though about my place in this play. I must admit, that not only is my character, as written, somewhat off to the side, I myself personally feel off to the side as a person and actor in this production as often as not. This despite the fact I've known some of the people involved for years. This has been a recurring, even if not a constant feeling since the start of this whole experience. I can't explain it with certainty, but I think a need for a change of pace may be part of the issue.

I've been in three shows there this year, and 98% of my shows in the last 8 years have been there. Despite having some friends heavily involved in the running and current remodeling and rebranding of the place, it may be time to move along to somewhere else for a while. Even including gaps, I've spend more theatre time in this venue than any other so far in my life. I don't have the right personality to help run things, and I don't want to remain a silent foot solider in the arts forever either. My feelings of being on the outside of this production may just be a reflection of feeling the need to be branching out in general in the local arts world.

I'd like to direct a show there next year, now that they have remodeled, but I don't know if that will be happening. And in any case that is the future. The present is tech week of Macbeth, and I need to concentrate on that the most for the time being.

To that end, I need to make sure I don't miss lines again for the remainder of the runs like I did today. I believe I have another costume piece still to come this week that I want to get a look at. Plus there is all the ritual of tech week and opening weekend to prepare.

Friday, September 23, 2016

"Best Run Yet."

Those are the words of our director, after tonight's rehearsal. one can either assume she lied, or that we did in fact do great tonight. I think the latter is the safer bet.

In fact I myself feel that last night and tonight have been my two best rehearsals so far in the process. Though I am always looking for ways to improve, if my performances go as well as my rehearsal performances did tonight, I would in most ways be satisfied.

Yet I'm also grateful to have the week to hone things even more.

I of course can't speak for anyone else in the cast, so I don't know how good each person thought of their own performances. And I don't see every moment. But once again, the director said it was our best night so far, so who am I to argue with that? She's the one that has too see it as a whole entity, after all. But it did feel solid.

And fast. Seems like both acts ran less than an hour. Very close to 90 minutes of performance time total. Yes, the script has been edited for length from the original, but that's still some fast tragedy there, folks. Assuming we keep that pace when we perform, I would think it very difficult for audiences to even have time to become bored.

Not that I don't get a little nervous before the "big" scene for Malcolm in our show, that being Act IV, Scene 3. But I am less nervous about it now than I was a week ago by quite a bit.

Costumes are in place as well, though I am supposed to get a beret at some point. I'd be thrilled if I didn't have to wear one of those, as I have already opted for changing hairstyles between "Prince" Malcolm, and the Malcolm that will soon be king. But if a beret it is, so be it, I suppose. I'll find a way to make it work.

Making Malcolm work. It sounds like the name of a lousy indie-film, but it is in fact an apt description of my overall mission in this play. No character on the stage, especially in Shakespeare is effortless, if you want it to be a good performance. Yet some characters just challenge the efficiency of our work, and for me Malcolm has been one of those. Still is to some extent. So much so that I considered "making him interesting" my prime objective in the start of this process. Make him real. He's a device in many productions, and I was determined not to let that be the case in this one. Work remains on this goal, but I'm willing to say I am on the home stretch of that journey. If nothing else I feel I have raised Malcolm from the level of pipe-laying poetry vessel to living, breathing character with desires. It's been the case all along, according to some of my cast mates, but it is only in the last two nights that I have begun to start feeling this internally in a way I want to, more often than not.

But I'm covering territory I have already covered here over the last several weeks. Suffice to say for now that though it be draining at times, I have at last begun to present a depth to Malcolm in my performances that I find acceptable. At times, beyond that.

One cast member mentioned to me and Macduff how much the enjoyed our big scene together. If others are noticing it, we are doing something right. Here's hoping audiences feel the same way.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Q 2 Q.

That title is about the only thing fun about a cue-to-cue rehearsal. I've gone back and forth over my acting life as to whether it's necessary for actors to be present for them. On the one hand it gives people in charge of lights and sounds a chance to see the exact people standing and moving in the exact places they will be, in theory, when the sound/light is needed.

On the other hand, it can be difficult for actors to just drop themselves right in the middle of a scene without context sometimes. Q2Qs encourage boredom and discourage blowing off steam due to said boredom, so the testiness level is potentially high. Plus at this level, my experience has been that they rarely make any technical people more prepared for their job; no more prepared at least than learning their cues from the script, and pushing through them the first few times the show is run.

To be honest, I usually lean towards "no" on this subject. But unless I am directing, my thoughts on it don't matter in any given production. All by way of saying we had a Q2Q last night for Macbeth.

Sort of.

Lights are not yet set up for the new space, and the person running lights wasn't there, as far as I know. So in this case it was just the stage manager writing down in the script where and when to do things, for the tech people to refer to when they show up. Again, to me, this being the case, we didn't need actors present, but it was what it was. Not much worth sharing about a Q2Q, other than from what i could tell, all sound and light cues have been written down for when the techies show up. And if there are to be no techies at all, assignments to actors have been given as to when to change the set.

We did try on some costumes too, last night. Army fatigues for me, mostly. I opted to keep my costume on for the rehearsal, just to get used to wearing it for an extended period of time. Should be fine. Only problem is that it smelled a bit musty; I think the owners have had the costumes in storage for a while. I hope to be able to wash them before we open the show.

Tonight I bring my own boots to the party. That will be the real change, as I've never performed in them before. Even though I have no combat in that play, the boots might take me a day or two to get used to moving in.

The director referred to this as "tech week," though we don't actually open until a week from Friday. (Ten days from now.) I guess because there will be a lot more of the techie stuff going on, what with the remodeling and all.

On that subject, the place is almost totally painted black now, and all of the seating is where it will be for good. So in some ways tonight will be the first time we perform in the space as it is intended to be.

I'm feeling a bit better about my speeches and such. I went through them by myself yesterday afternoon in a sort of speed through, and it was almost without error. That to be says I have the lines in my head. The work now is giving them more feeling, and getting them out on stage to that end. (Which I have very nearly done already a few times.) I'm not worried. Plus I'm looking forward to hopefully finally working more on some of the extra nuance of the character.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Was Malcolm Edited?

Last night's rehearsal was a little different. Lady Macbeth couldn't make it, so we skipped most of her scenes. That obviously means it was nothing like an actual run-through of the show. (Though we did run everything else from the entire play.)

The director had emailed us earlier in the day, asking us to raise the stakes for our characters. In other words, she wasn't seeing what each of them was "fighting for" in any given scene. So she gave us a few minutes at the start of rehearsal to go through our scripts and write down some thoughts on what our characters wanted at any given time.

I have to say, I had done this a few times already throughout the process. I try to make that a regular part of my rehearsal process when I am not actually at the theatre, especially early on. But if I'm not projecting that as much as I should be, best to know it now, than later in the month. So, by writing down my thoughts on each scene's stakes, I was in fact able to sharpen some of the perceptions I had about what Malcolm is all about. According to the notes she gave us about the rehearsal at the end of last night's session, the director was satisfied that the stakes are becoming more visible in our performances.

Of course, as I have said from the very start of my entries about this play, Malcolm is an oddity of sorts. Though I have come to appreciate some of his lines more than I did when this show began, (even conceding that there are a few moments of poetry here and there that I didn't consider when we started), he can still slip into pipe-layer territory. (Existing as a device to move the plot or reveal information.) It is my job as an actor to prevent that from happening, and I like to think I am mostly succeeding. But still, there are times his presence is an enigma.

I've theorized before that some earlier draft of Macbeth, unknown to academia and almost certainly never performed, had a larger, more active role for Malcolm. Some of the things he says, and then proceeds to not do indicate to the writer in me that some aspect of his presence was cut from the play, and that the resulting cleave was stitched together to form the narrative as we today know it.

Consider that he flees Scotland. He is then not heard from or seen for quite some time in the play. The next time we do see him, Macduff is coming to get him, to reclaim the throne. In fact, as Malcolm reveals eventually, he does have the support of an English army already. One might conclude fairly that in some version of these events, we see Malcolm and his men charge back into Scotland and restore everything in a far more visible way than he does in the actual version of the play.

"When I shall tread upon the tyrants head, or wear it on my sword..." he says to Macduff at some point. True, by now he is testing Macduff's loyalty and strength, but there is nothing in this supposition to indicate he doesn't intend to come right at Macbeth himself. He of course doesn't and in fact, the two never meet in the entire second half of the play. Never exchange a single line in the whole play.

One could argue of course that when he utters this line, he has not yet been informed by Ross that Macduff's family has been murdered. Between this revelation, and the return to Scotland, Malcolm could have "given" the act of revenge to Macduff, in deference to all that he has lost at the hands of Macbeth. That is in fact basically how I am reconciling things as I play this part, Scotland and order being more on Malcolm's mind than personal revenge. But from a dramatic standpoint, why is such a shift not included within the text? It allows for interesting internal motivations and decisions for the actor playing Malcolm, but those seem to be more of a side effect of the (theoretical) editing I suggested earlier.

Malcolm, at the end of the same scene (4.3) even gives what could almost pass as a troop-rallying speech, if somewhat muted compared to other Shakespearean speeches:

"Come. Go we to the king. Our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave."

Malcolm then proceeds to march off stage...never in the text to actually engage anyone in battle personally. Though I concede that any given director could stage combat including Malcolm at some point, it is still Macduff who makes the ultimate move by milling Macbeth in a scene designed to that end. In other words, played pure, Malcolm isn't seen doing much on stage once he has "rallied" and returned to Scotland. He shines not like much of a beacon, even though it is he who will ultimately rule the land, and restore it to its proper order as he takes his proper position on the throne.

In the end, my personal speculation about the form the play takes or may have once taken is immaterial when it comes to this production, and almost all others that seek to be mostly pure to the spirit of the text. Because of this, I must work with what I have for Malcolm. All this by way of saying that whether by design and/or by hasty editing, the character's presence is, for lack of a better term, "choppy." Because of this nature, constructing both an overall arc for Malcolm, and infusing any given one of his (mostly) utilitarian speeches with emotion that is consistent with everything else he does has been one of my greatest challenges in this show. Internally, I have a solid, if not intriguing story going on for him, but in the midst of crosses, and scripts and other actors, and remodeling debris and memorization and securing props and so on and so on, I don't yet feel I am tapping into that story I have constructed as a means to inform my outward performance.

This may also be why certain phrases are still at times tripping me up, though I hope to have that eliminated soon.

I'd mention a few other things i did at rehearsal last night, but honestly they are not as interesting as some of the thoughts on Malcolm I've already expressed here today, and about which I thought last night.

Tonight, we run the whole show again, I believe, as we will have Lady Macbeth with us.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Nice Day For A...Fake Wedding.

No rehearsal tonight, as our director was sick. But on Saturday morning most of us in the show met at a vineyard to stage the wedding of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

It was all part of the director's vision to show events from before the play in a short movie before the opening curtain of the play. (Projected onto a screen.) We staged various moments of a wedding, and the party afterward, for the camera. They will be spliced together later, and put to some kind of music. (The actual audio of the recordings not being used.)

Here's a picture of me, dressed as Malcolm for this event. (Please note this is not my costume for the play itself, as I will be in army fatigues for that. But for the wedding images, we were to wear "cocktail" formal as it were. Here's what I came up with.

Simple jacket and my standard tie for such costumes in the theatre. But the added nuance, as you can see, are the decorations on my jacket pocket. I wanted to get creative, and suggest Malcolm's royal nature with some badges and such. The one on the left is a series of attendance badges belonging to my late father, commemorating his childhood attendance in Sunday school. The star is simply a cheap plastic earring that looks metallic from a distance.

It's the little touches. The extra little bits of character that can add more than their weight in character development. I won't be wearing any of this in the performances, but my small moments in the small video will be enhanced because this choice. 

It's not just about the large choices and overall arc in a play, but the details. Fall in love with details, and so long as you don't overlook the most important aspects of your work, you'll give more depth to your art.

Most of the footage for this fake wedding was of course focused on the "Macbeth's." (The vows. Wedding cake cutting, throwing the bouquet.) But various shots of all of us socializing were also taken. We did not, strictly speaking have to stay "in character" as we would in the show, but I did make efforts to walk and position myself as Malcolm, even if not everything I said was related to him. 

Some of it was, though. I gave a quick toast to the couple, without much poetry or sentimentality. My version of Malcolm is never exactly fond of the Macbeths, even before the murders, so this was consistent. King Duncan was not in attendance, in our little universe, so Malcolm was there as the official representative of the royal family, along with Donalbain. (A sister in this show.) So his toast reflected his presence; out of duty more so than pleasure.

Over all, we were there about two hours or so, and it was fun. I have to admit, however, that I'm ready to get back to straight-up rehearsals of the whole show now. We've had a barbecue, a night at the bar, and then the wedding, all of which help, but not as much as will the concentrated effort of repetitive rehearsing. Many of my hang ups with my lines are smoothed over now, or close to it, but I still need work, as does the show as I whole. Starting tomorrow we will, from now on, run the entire play each night.

So it's getting close. In some ways the most draining, but in other ways my favorite part of the rehearsal process...doing everything each night. 

Friday, September 09, 2016


We've got them, at last.

There is a lot of construction work left to do in a short amount of time over at the Black Box Arts center, where I'm appearing in Macbeth right now. A lot of stuff, junk and important, covers just about every corner of the place during this remodel. But, to my own relief, and without a doubt to that of others, the new entrance/exit aisles for the performance space have been cleared of debris, and we were able to use them tonight for the first time.

Things went a lot better, needless to say.

Tonight we went through the first half of the show again, and though there were problems, it clearly went smoother than it did the last time we ran it, earlier this week. You'd be silly to conclude that being able to move freely throughout the actual stage and aisles didn't have a lot to do with that. In theatre, things that don't seem connected actually have quite the impact on one another. Lines come easier when you can move as you are supposed to. Character development happens more rapidly when you don't have to worry about stepping over things backstage before you even go on. Flow. It's crucial to a show improving, and being the best it can be. Having the new aisles available for the first time tonight drastically improved the flow of the show.

(Not that I didn't flub a line here and there. I did. But it feels like the kind of flubs that will become less and less likely as time goes on now.)

As for the venue, chairs, or representations of same, were in place tonight as well, to show just exactly where the audience will be sitting under this new layout. The theatre goes from an intimate 100 seat theatre to a more intimate 46(ish) seat theatre. So it will now seat a lot fewer people, and plenty of those people will be a lot closer to the actors. I said before that I am not in love with all of the sudden changes to the space, but I am glad we are getting closer to what it will truly be like. And while it may not have been how I would have chosen to remodel the space, right now it feels that it will, for the most part, work.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Two Nights, Two Halves.

The last two evenings of rehearsal where some of the longest we've had so far. Tuesday was the first time we ran the entire first half of the show, last night being a rehearsal of the entire second half of the show.

Tuesday, for whatever reason, was rougher. More confusion, more "rust" from the pieces that hadn't been touched in a while. Personally I felt comfortable, but I do far less in the first half of the play than I do in the second half, despite playing three different characters. Still, the flow of the first half was virtually non-existent, and our director warned us ahead of time that it would be so.

One problem is that most of the exits, and maybe a fifth of the stage are still blocked by construction junk. Ironically, this is the second time I have been rehearsing a play in this venue during major construction. This time is a bit less stressful, nevertheless it is getting frustrating, not being able to rehearse in the space as it will be during performances. (Which begin in less than four weeks.) Things are what they are, and everyone means well, but for me, having space is one of the most important things for an actor to properly rehearse. We've been without that from the start. (Early rehearsals sometimes taking place in a space about one fourth as big as the actual stage will ultimately be.)

It is what it is, and I of course can't do anything about it, but I'm frankly weary of tripping over everything in the space. I'm more than ready to have all the space opened up, and am a little concerned at how little time is left. But I've been in far worse situations in theatre less than a month before opening, so I don't classify my feelings on the subject as worry. Annoying, maybe.

As is the fact that I have have addressed my very first lines, "This is the sergeant who like a good a heart soldier..." to thin air half the time, and to three or four stand ins the other half of the time. Only once, I believe, is the person who will actually play the part been present, and that was on the very day he was appointed to play the role. (Last week.) Absences in general are in fact one of my biggest annoyances in theatre. Maybe the shouldn't be, but certain people have hardly ever been at rehearsals, and the last two shows I was in suffered from extensive absences, so perhaps I'm just sensitive to it right now.

As for my performance, I put an eye patch on for the scene wherein I play a murderer for about five minutes. I wanted something to make him obviously different from Malcolm. And in the very next scene, I play a nameless banquet guest during the "Banquo's Ghost" scene. I'm going to use a cane to appear like someone totally different once again. I'd rather not be in the scene, honestly. I prefer some gear down time before intermission, so one or the other of the two scenes I mentioned would have been enough, but I hate having to hurry up and do tiny little bits of things leading into intermission.

Plus I've just been assigned sound effects duty for the scene right after intermission. Easy enough, but it's something else that takes time away from my main concentration in this production-being Malcolm. Two scenes later I have yet another sound effect job, newly assigned last night. What could have been a large amount of time to prepare for the challenging scene that is my biggest of the play, will not be broken up by tapping on sticks and bamboo. I know in community theatre everyone needs to work together and do multiple things, but there is "multiple things" and then there is "running around plugging all sorts of holes" kind of thing, and I'm feeling like this is the latter.  A few more people in the cast and this wouldn't have been needed, but...too late to be concerned about that now.

As for the second half of the play, (everything after the Banquo's Ghost scene), last night, as I said was smoother on the whole. I expected my big scene to be rough, and it had some spots, but actually went better than I thought it would go, given that we haven't rehearsed it at all in about three weeks. I would have loved more chances to rehearse it, but I'm glad to know it is as solid as it seems to be for the moment.

The final speech that gave me so much trouble earlier in the week, (except for at the end of the night the other night) went well, though I did trip on it a bit this time. During it, as per this production, the witches appear from the audience, unseen by those on stage, and surround the action as the play closes. That was new last night. Might take away from my speech a bit, honestly, but I won't know for sure how it feels until after we've done it a few times.

Now that even problem lines are starting to smooth out somewhat for me, I must dive further into the process of becoming Malcolm, giving him emotion and making me performance deeper. I've had no complaints about it from anyone, and I suppose it is near satisfactory as it stands. But I feel the need as an actor to flesh our his personality more, especially given some of the new directions and blocking the director has given us for some of Malcolm's scenes. (Some of which will change, slightly, the nature of my performance.)

Tonight, it's the first half again. Saturday morning is the fake wedding of the Macbeth's to be video taped for the prologue film to show the audience before the start of the play.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Birnam Wood Approaches Dunsinane.

Last night we rehearsed Act V several times. It is a short act, especially in our production. At most 15 minutes. Obviously it's an important 15 minutes, and we've spent several rehearsal night over the last month on Act V alone.

This will be our final one, however, as starting tonight we will be rehearsing entire halves of the show, and then not long afterward, stumbling through the entire show each night.

Yes, it's getting close. We open in less than a month.

Yet as for last night, I give myself mixed reviews. The final speech of the play is Malcolm's, and it was one of the last things I worked on getting off book for. I am so, but at times there are two places in the speech that I tend to trip over about half the time. I don't know why, exactly. Partly, I guess, is because it's not a particularly great speech. Partly because of the pressure of ending the entire play with it. Partly a few other things, I'm sure. But in the three times I did it last night, I needed to call for line the first time, totally botched the second time, but managed at last to deliver it in its entirety on the third and final run through of the night, much to my relief. I won't swear that means I'll have no more trouble for the rest of the rehearsal process with that speech, but I have proven that I do "have" it in me, and that goes a long way.

In the speech, Malcolm, now king of Scotland, thanks and rewards his followers, sums up what he plans to do first as king, and mentioned that when the time is right, he'll do whatever ever else needs to be done. Then he thanks everyone again and invites them to see him get crowned.

St. Crispin's Day speech, it ain't.

Still, it's my longest single speech in the pay, by word count, and it will be the final punch in the show, so I want to make sure I get it right. I don't want all the action of war and running in Act V that leads up to that moment to come to a crashing, boring halt on my account. I don't think that will happen, and I certainly don't want to implant that fear too deeply into my mind, but I wanted to at least mention I'm aware of the speech's place in the production, and the work and vigilance required of me to keep it going as well as I did at the end of last night.

I will say that on the most successful of the run-throughs, I delivered the speech as though out of breath from battle. Perhaps that is a clue as to how the speech should be given? Not, as I usually do, as some grand oration. It's utilitarian. It's functional. I need not be poetry, (though written totally in verse, almost.) It's like exposition at the end of the play. A strange place for it, but I can use that description to guide how to deliver it, perhaps. Malcolm is restored order in Scotland, and the speech is the first gathering of that restored order. If I approach it like that, I think I'll feel more comfortable with it, and if I am more comfortable with it, if I can relate to it, I am less likely to make mistakes. That is my theory at this time.

Act V is also the only act wherein Malcolm is directly military, in a sense, leading an actual battle. He comes in and out quickly, with a few short speeches here and there in the rest of Act V before the close, and I'm for more comfortable with those section for whatever reason. Though I will feel even more at ease when they can be blocked properly; because of the ongoing remodeling of the venue, we have yet to run any scenes with the actual blocking, as one main exist is blocked by lumber and equipment. I had hoped by now we'd have that route cleared, but it happens when it happens. It might lead to some confusion, with the new structure and traffic patterns, and less rehearsal time than ideal. But I'd rather exit through the wrong door than make any number of other mistakes. Besides, I imagine I'll get it right, once we can run it over and over.

Tonight, Half One. (A term I use so as not to confuse it with the "Act I" of the text. The half wherein I play Malcolm pre-kingly. Not to mention two other tiny characters consecutively. I think I'll try some costume pieces in those scenes, just to get a rough idea of what sort of timing will be needed. Plus I want to make sure that both are highly distinct from both one another and from Malcolm.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Boot Camp N' Beer

Believe it or not, that's not just one of my cutesy post titles. It's an accurate description this time of rehearsal last night. (Tuesday.)

Our director had all the people who would appear in battle scenes perform exercises similar to those in army boot camp. The immediate goal was to tire us out, but the artistic goal was to give us a sense of how it would feel to be not only in an army, but also in the midst of battle. Because we ran Act V right after doing said exercise, the hope was to infuse those scenes with adrenaline mixed with exhaustion, to give a more realistic sense of people hurrying around a battlefield.

It probably worked better at the start of the run than at the end, because there were still corrections that had to be made, and lines to be called for, so that by the end of the run-through of Act V, everyone had cooled down and caught their breath. But the essence of the exercise is clear: make sure we move fast, but appear worn and tired as we are storming Dunsinane.

We also worked on proper ways to give a military salute. I myself, playing Malcolm, don't salute anyone, so I didn't really have much to learn in that section of time. As Malcolm is either the second-highest or highest ranking person in every scene he's in, I don't see the director changing any of that. I suppose she may have me return a salute at some point, I'll have to ask. Either way, I learned how to do it, if called upon in the show.

Afterward, the director paid for us all to go to the nearby bar to have a round or two of drinks. This to help us get a sense of being comrades in arms. (Even though "Macbeth" was also there.) I'm not one to turn down free beer, of course, so I did go. But to be honest, I think the cast has been fairly open and comfortable with one another already. The beer certainly didn't hurt matters, but speaking for myself, I've felt for the most part at ease with everyone in the play so far. Half of them I already knew before hand, anyway.

But again, free beer. I have to share here what I shared last night. There is an English-style pub two doors down from the theatre. I spent the night playing a Scottish prince, then went to an English tavern, and ordered an Irish beer. (Guinness.) If I could have worked in something Welsh, I would have.

I am mostly off book, but find myself stumbling a bit more this late in the game than usual. Malcolm has some odd scansion here and there. I've said before that I'm not a strict scansion disciple unless told to be by a director, but even setting that aside, the man has some oddly worded phrases, even for Shakespeare. I'll be ready, no doubt, as I am essentially off book. Just not officially off book. (Theatre people will know what I mean by that, I think.)

The unorthodox rehearsal time continues tomorrow, as most of us meet at the director's house for a barbecue picnic that is to be filmed. The footage will later be edited together in a short film to play at the start of the production, giving the audience a peek into the antecedent life of these characters. I plan to bring a board game to play with the actor playing Ross, if he shows up, because in my interpretation of events, Malcolm trusts and enjoys the company of Ross more than many others outside of the royal family. Just a choice I  made at some point that he and Ross often, in the very least, engage in games and leisure together. (Malcolm on more than one occasion mentions how worthy Ross is, so I used that to add depth to the relationship.)

I'll probably end up doing chess, as the other actor says he knows that game better, though I was hoping for backgammon. I myself know next to nothing about backgammon, but that seems a more "Malcolm" game than chess, for whatever reason. An actor such as myself will sometimes get a sense of something about a nuance of a character for which he can provide no "proof." Nor should he always have to; when one owns a character for a few weeks, some choices must simply be because it "feels" right. This is art, it isn't forensic science, I say.

Back to the point, backgammon also seems a bit less cliche' than the idea of princes/kings playing chess. I have one of those combo board game deals, so I might just bring both of them, and see how it goes. Not like we would have to actually play, just present an accurate visual of playing.

If this all seems like a mountain from a molehill, in a sense it is, and in a sense it isn't. So much time is spent on the big speeches, and costumes, and Shakespeare's scansion, and blocking, and hugeness. In this, or any other show, it;s easy to forget the small things. Theatre isn't of course an 100% realistic, note-by-note recreation of life, but nonetheless there is room in it for detail and nuance. The silence between the notes, as I often quote here on the blog. A lot of that can get lost in the rush to master all of the mechanics. Naturally if one must go with only one or the other, one must go with the big picture and the mechanics. But I try to leave room for undercurrents and personal flourishes in my performances. It can't all be memorizing lines and such.

And this is the sort of thing I have to fight for, because the default position is to learn lines, listen to the director, hit my light, cross where I need to cross, know what the scansion and the meaning is, and convey the big stuff. The little stuff takes extra effort to incorporate into a performance, and I may not quite have the time to delve as deeply into some of it as I would have liked at the start. But I will dive into some of it. That to me is what makes my characterizations memorable.

So, barbecue tomorrow, and next week, to paraphrase Churchill, it will be the end of the beginning, as we enter our final month of rehearsing this show.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Last night was in all practical respects a minor rehearsal for me. I rehearsed only the scene wherein I play the murderer, who doesn't murder anyone. But it was a combat only rehearsal, which means i had even less to do. I literally steal a flash light from Fleance, and grab the collar of hist vest, out of which he squirms and runs away. That's my entire combat in this show.

Let me say, it's still important to run such a thing, as the kid playing Fleance was only recently added to the show. (I'd never worked the scene with the kid that had to quit.) Fleance deserves a feel for what will be happening, so despite how little I do in the scene compared to all of the others, (Fleance included) I'm glad I was there as much for his sake, if not more than for my own.

That is in fact one of the traits of this director; she takes no short cuts with combat, even the smallest moments of it. (Such as my own.)

More significant for the moment is the change to the venue. Our director, who was recently made one of the managers of the Black Box, has been allowed to re-design the entire space. As a result, the stage, seats, and the risers on which the seats were sitting for the last eight years have all been removed. The performance space is to be reoriented so as to face a different direction, and the stage is now about twice as wide as it is long, as per her vision of an ideal black box stage,. A "thrust round" she calls it.

Though I myself was very briefly named a manager of this same location, my influence quickly faded, and I no longer have any official role in the regular operations of Black Box Arts Center. So the place is what it is. (Or will be what it will be) regardless of my thoughts on the matter.

That does mean that I don't have thoughts on the matter, though, and with all due respect to the friends and colleagues with more influence than I, I'm not on love with the changes.

It will certainly be a fully functioning space, that in and of itself makes sense to me. (Though I'm not great at visualizing the final shape in my head.)  But, like old shoes, I was accustomed to the way things were for eight years. Things that I confess needed on some level some improvements, but are now totally gone.

And so quickly...only in a matter of days, the space in which I've done most of my acting over the last decade was destroyed and removed, both out of sight and out of mind. If you've done any community theatre at all, you know that a performance space can both aggravate the hell out of you, and somehow feel like home. For all of it's structural flaws at times, the place felt like home to me as an actor. Hell, I was one of the very people that helped build the space in the first place. (Before my influence faded.)

If it were up to me, I certainly would have remodeled; I don't think I would have rebuilt. I'd have done what I could to improve it, but it still would have felt like home. Though lots of friends still come in and out of it, it no longer feels like the "home" it once did.

Maybe it will again. I am supposed to be directing something there next year, (it's not known what yet) and I will of course be using the new version of the space. If I am in and out of their for another eight years, this new version will probably feel like a home.

And if it never does, it's not horrible. Not everywhere one works and creates can feel the same. I just perhaps would have preferred a bit more of the same in this situation to have survived.

I'm not bad mouthing anyone, or at least not trying to. I'm just a local community actor with a minority view on a major development. The actor in me remains committed to excellence on whatever shaped stage I'm using. That's the important thing.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Act by Act Makes the Play Go Round

It seems that when I have nightly rehearsals, I'm more likely to fall behind in the blog here. Sorry about that.

Though truth be told, there isn't a lot to go over that would be interesting for general consumption. Last week, as I said, I had rehearsal most nights, Monday through Thursday. Each night we worked an act of the five. I appear at least a bit in each act, so I was there each night.

There were once again several people missing for various reasons, and that makes it much more difficult to get an idea of where to stand and walk and such, especially since that was the gist of last week's rehearsals-seeing if we remembered the blocking, and if in fact it still worked. It seems the answers are yes, and mostly yes. I'm beyond ready, however, for the whole cast to be present...

Today is off book day, though I don't rehearse today. I am not officially off book for every section, but I am close. Close enough that by the time i next run any given scene, I'll have enough to call for a line as needed. (Which it will be.) I'll be working on my lines each day for a while.

Act IV Scene 3, with Macduff, (what I have dubbed "The England Scene" is bar none my biggest scene, in terms of number of lines and intensity. There is of course intensity in the scene after the king's murder, as that is Malcolm's father, of course. But that is more internal, not at all on the surface yet. That is in fact one of the reasons he chooses to flee, ""to show an unfelt sorrow is an office which the false man does easy." Yet that's a different, though possibly trickier type of intensity than the quasi-argument with Macduff.

Just today in fact I thought of another possible dimension to all of that. Malcolm, perhaps, is angry that Macduff "let" Duncan get murdered. It may or may not truly be Macduff's fault, and by the end, Malcolm clearly holds no grudge, but for at least a little while in the process, mightn't Malcolm wonder how one of the king's best soldiers could have allowed this to happen? I don't know for certain, but it's something I will think on a bit more.

Tonight, or rather today already, reconstruction of the Black Box itself begins. The stage platform and risers with chairs that have been in place since the establishment began as Full Circle Theater Company will be removed. I hope to get there to help with that either tonight or tomorrow. I look forward to rehearsing the play on the actual space we will be using.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Rehearsal almost every night this week. Last night we worked on Acts II and III. Monday, as you can probably guess, was dedicated to Act I.

Sadly, as seems to so often be the case with me this year,  some of my scene partner(s) are absent this week. I've not yet played the post-murder scene with the actress playing Donalbain. At all. And a shorter scene, wherein I play Murderer 3 also went incomplete last night, because of that actor's absence, along with his son's absence. (Both are in the scene.) It is what it is, and we've got plenty of time left, but I'm ready to start rehearsing with everyone. The post-murder scene is especially tricky for I must be emotional but not too emotional. It's a crucial turning point for my character, for obvious reasons, and I can't slough it over or phone it in. Yet much of what I'll do in that scene will be based on interaction with Donalbain, I imagine. I can't fake my way through that, talking to an empty space.

Because of that, I can't comment much on how it went.

Not that we've been working so much on character this week. The goal for this week is to test out how well the blocking for each scene looks in conjunction with others in an act. See how well we remember it, and if anything needs changed. When this week was planned out, the director was under the impression that everyone would at last be available. They are not, as I've said.

So unavailable are some, that yet another actor has been replaced, after having neither attended rehearsals nor answered any of the director's emails since the start of this process. (Guess who this person has a scene with?)

Thankfully, those with whom I share my biggest scene are almost always there for rehearsal. Macduff and Ross and myself as Malcolm have worked the "England Scene" together a few times. That also comes up tonight. I look forward to working that again. I'm not off book for it yet, but I am very familiar with it.

I am mostly off book for the scene we worked on Monday and yesterday, though. I actually set my script aside for my first two scenes. Even though I'm not off book for the show as a whole, it always comes as a bit of a relief when I can do even a little bit without my script in my hand-the first step towards a full, free performance. We're supposed to be off book for the whole show on the 22nd, and that'll take some extra effort on my part, particularly with the scene I talked about with Macduff and Ross. But I'm working a bit on it every day, and I should be ready.

It's easier to get off book when it's time if you've been reading and reading the lines over and over on a regular basis, even if you've not been working on memorization. That's where I am now...having read through the lines more often perhaps than average since getting the part. I have the notion of what comes next in most cases, and need only a few small steps before the words fall into sequence.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I'm in With the In Crowd.

Tonight we rehearsed a crowd scene of sorts. The Act III, Scene 4 crowd at the Macbeth house, during which the ghost of Banquo shows up.

I play nobody in particular in that scene. I've just a body on stage making it look like the party that it is. More specifically, I'm helping obscure the entrance of Banquo, as are most of the rest of the crowd.

I was the only person who delivered the like that is written for the whole crowd, ("Done what, my lord?") several times, so the line was given to me. That will teach me to do what I'm supposed to do!

To be honest, I dislike nights of rehearsal like this. Perhaps if it were the only thing I was doing in the whole play, it wouldn't feel so tedious, but as it is, I'm just a walk-on in this scene, in the same play in which I'm a solid supporting actor. I'm used to being proactive during the rehearsals I've been to, as Malcolm. If I had my choice, I'd not even be in this scene, wherein I walk around, pretend I don't see Banquo, and stare at Macbeth for 15 minutes as he acts crazy. I understand why the director needs so many people, but again, if I had a choice...

To further complicate this little nuisance scene, to coin a phrase, it comes immediately after the only other scene in the play wherein I am not playing Malcolm. I play one of the murderers of Banquo, (who actually doesn't do any killing), and as soon as I leave the stage for that, I'll need to make some kind of quick costume change into this party guest. I hate having to do that. (I did a lot of that in Radium Girls.)

On the bright side, these bit and almost-bit parts come right before intermission, and once the second half of the show starts, I don't have to do it again.

My hope is to have both the murderer and the party guest look and act quite differently from both Malcolm and one another. (Especially since one follows the other right off.) I'm hoping to have some kind of costume item for either one that is distinctive and easy to remove/put on. Not only do I want to make sure the audience isn't confused, but I want to give myself different focal points for my performances as well.

Playing two different small roles between the Malcolm of the start of the play and the Malcolm at the end of the play may actually help, in a way. Might allow me to reset Malcolm in some ways, to tweak the performance without overthinking the shift. Maybe. I'll find out when we start doing more of the show at once.

Next week is the first week we a start rehearsing entire acts in one night, and I'll be needed every day that week, I think.

So the intensity is about to ramp up, I would guess.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Five on Fire

So we ran through Act 5 last night, which the director wants to happen at a rapid pace. If last night's first ever run through of it as a whole is any indication, we're well on our way to meeting that goal.

There were several people missing, and in fact, two people had to quit the show. One mother and her son, who I only ever saw once, just couldn't make the timing work. Their roles have been covered, from what I understand.

Actually, I've not seen most of the people in this play since the table read at the start of it. It's compartmentalized in such a way that I'm not present for most scenes, and when I am present, it's usually with the same few people. This actually helps somewhat my interpretation of Malcolm as a sort of after thought, out of the spotlight, until his trip to England. Those aren't the best words to describe what I'm doing, but closest I can come for the moment. Put it another way, I can and have made use of my not being around many of the actors I don't know very often.

As for Act 5, it's mostly the battle of Dunsinane, wherein Macbeth is defeated and killed. The goal is to keep the scenes moving one on top of the other, in order to suggest the pressing forward of battle, and to suggest out numbers are in fact more than they are on stage. By this point, Malcolm is in charge of everything, and people are fleeing Macbeth all over the place. A sense of authority is to me among my top performance priorities in these scenes, for both obvious reasons and because of the fast pace which may not allow for as much nuance as some of the other scenes.

But it's also Malcolm's idea to cut down branches and to hide behind them, so his quick-thinking and strategizing is also on display. I consider Malcolm a strategist soldier, first and foremost, and his short lines declaring this idea is a prime example of that.

And of course he has the final speech of the play. Not a poetic speech, not especially memorable, but it is my longest, nonetheless, and it caps off not just the frantic Act 5, but the entire play, and I must be sure to deliver it in a way that matches the energy and tone of what came before it, while also serving notice, as it were, that Malcolm is now on the throne. Not as much emotional depth as his scene with Macduff in England, but still a chance for me to make my Malcolm something more than the usual flat plot device he seems to be in productions of this show. It's especially important to do this, as I'll not be seenin any combat, (though of course, he is involved, and if the director approves I may give him some kind of superficial wound as the act wears on, just to remind people that Malcolm is in the thick of things.

Long way to go, but a general semblance of the final product is beginning to take shape, and I look forward to seeing how the other scenes are going in the near future. (Soon, everyone will report more often to rehearsals at one time.)

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Bringing Down the House

Actually not the house, but part of the ceiling. Literally.

Just before rehearsal started last night we all heard a series of crashed coming from the hallway where the bathrooms are. Upon investigating, we found tiles and wires hanging from the ceiling.

Nobody was hurt, thankfully. But it took several of those assembled to get things back into a stable position. I stayed out of the way, as there were already too many people in the small space, and frankly I wouldn't have known what to do anyway. (Though I was available if called upon, of course.) I went over my lines.

After a 40 minute delay, we proceeded to work on Act IV, Scene 3, which is my biggest scene in the play. I've mentioned before that often this scene is a bit of a drag on productions of this play. I've also mentioned that Malcolm as a character often gets short shrift. From the beginning, our director has made it clear she wants to avoid both of these problems. Last night we went a long way toward that goal.

As a refresher for those who have not read the play in a while, (for those who have never read it...SPOILERS) the scene takes place in England. Malcolm has been there since he fled his father's murder in Macbeth's castle. Malcolm's presence in England until this moment is not featured in the play, and that absence from the script is something I've been using to build my take on the character in certain ways. So, by the time we get to this scene, and Macduff has come from Scotland to bring Malcolm back to lead attacks on Macbeth, an evolution of sorts has taken place in Malcolm, as I am playing him. Now, he is kingly, whereas before he was a mere prince, is the short way of stating it.

Yet given all that's happened, he doesn't embrace Macduff right away, but opts to test the man's loyalties. Malcolm feigns weakness and vice, and when Malcolm opts to leave. Only then does Malcolm reveal the ruse, his faith in Macduff confirmed/restored.

Later in the scene, the Thane of Ross arrives to inform Macduff that the rest of the Macduff's have been murdered. An emotional Macduff laments this, Malcolm comforts and commands, and the scene ends with the men off to assemble the English and Scottish resistance forces.

The scene is somewhat wordy, and has been shortened for our production. I think it's a wise choice. There is still plenty going on, however, and making sure what happens it neither skimmed over now a drag on the proceedings of the play has been the director's goal all along. The key? Make sure most of it is emotional between two people that are familiar with one another, as Malcolm and Macduff are. This way, if we are doing our jobs, not only does the scene move forward with greater energy and pace, but it also delivers on depth of feeling.

It's early yet, and this was only the second night we worked this particular scene. Still, between the repeated runs of it, and the conversations and questions and table work in between runs, plenty of proverbial meat showed up on the proverbial bones. So much so that someone who stopped by the theatre on other business, but dropped in to watch the scene told us they had chills watching it. This, with books still in our hands. A positive sign no doubt.

Knowing both of my scene partners for years certainly helps matters. Rare would be the actor who didn't feel at least a bit more comfortable in experimenting and pushing the envelope early on with people he already knows.

And the meter is coming through for me more and more, having come a long way just last night. I will confess, as I have before, that I in general am not as much of a stickler for precise meter when performing Shakespeare as some are. I do find that the natural way I deliver the lines often corresponds with the accompanying meter anyway, but when it doesn't match exactly, I'm usually all right with letting it alone. Our director uses meter as a guide point more often than I myself, and so I have had to adjust a few phrases from how I'd been working on them. Nothing, however, that has thrown me off in a drastic way, and in fact I can see the logic behind most of the meter-based changes, (even if all things being equal, it wouldn't concern me.)

But that's what being in a show is, right? You create, you mix with other actors and their takes on a scene. The director has to keep the ducks in a row. Fortunately, as with my scene partners, I've also known our director for years, and trust that she's not going to very often suggest something to which I would flat out object. Nor so far have I made a choice to which the director has objected.

To me, in the end, if you set aside director visions, scene partners and everything else, one must fully commit to, even consume Shakespeare when one is in one of his plays. Large, part, small part, it makes no difference. Whether you are easy on meter issues, more like my director, or if you are a meter fetishist (our director is not), you have to dive in to it. The language and the poetry, as well as audiences can forgive some uncertainly about vocabulary and references, but they don't allow room for lukewarm approaches to the text.

A Shakespeare speech might by one of love or anger, or fear, but whatever it is, it demands, I feel, passionate delivery. Energetic, presentation. You could be a master of meter and Shakespeare scholar to boot, but if you are timid with your lines, you  might as well be reciting a dictionary.This is true to some extent with all plays, but Shakespeare plays especially.

I've been diving into my lines ever since I knew what part I had. (And believe me, Malcolm has some weird ones. But even the odd, mouthfuls with obscure meter come out the better when I go at them full throttle. (Which is by no means the same thing as being loud, or fast all the time.) By doing this, though Malcolm is not often the most memorable, most quotable character in the canon, my portrayal of him can be memorable to the audience, and satisfying to myself.

I rehearse again next week. Off book day is August 22.