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...

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