Auditions: Part Three (the Day After)

Posted by A Quiet Man with a Loud Voice | Labels: , , , , , | Posted On Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Second verse, same as first.

I'm not going to go into details about the second day of auditions as it was essentially the same as the first day.

Only with different people.

The only thing worth noting is that I was better prepared for the challenges this time around, and the energy level of the second day was just as high as the first.

Fade out.

Cut To: Next Day.

The cast list is now up and it has come with a few surprises. As cast lists always do. For example, I wasn't expecting the role of "Everyone" to be split between four people. And I'm dying to see what Dan, the director, has in mind for that.

Me? I'll be portraying Death.

And I'm already off-book.

...'cause I got no lines!


A couple of years ago I was working on the rehearsal process for the Winter's Tale where I was horribly miscast as Antigonus. You know the famous Shakespearean stage direction "exit, pursued by a bear"? Yeah, that was me. Before being chased off, I was forced to do battle with the bear onstage. The bear in this case was a five-foot-four guy in a bear suit built for someone who was around six-feet tall.

For a better visual picture, just think of it this way: the bear had a saggy ass.

The whole scene was so absurd and so bad that, from what I understand, the house manager had to warn people that if they laughed inappropriately during it, they would be taken out of the theatre. Which was too bad, because Antigonus' soliloquy/monologue prior to being attacked by a guy in a ill-fitting bear suit is one of my favorite speeches in all of Shakespeare.

"Dreams are toys."
-the Winter's Tale III, 3, 1531

Anyways, very early in the rehearsal process I was told, essentially, that I was not allowed to use physicality to convey the character. The character according to the director, since this was Shakespeare!, had to come out solely through the language. "Let the words flow, like a river," were his exact words.

He then made a wave gesture with his hands.

I was then admonished for using my own hands when I spoke to emphasize whatever pathos I was trying to get across. I was told to keep them close to my body, at my sides, hanging limply.

No, I am not exaggerating.

This is the exact opposite kind of actor I am. I'm physical. I talk with my hands.

I read once that less than twenty percent of human communication is verbal. The rest is all body language, eye contact, spatial distance, etc. The Winter's Tale is the second worst theatrical experience I've ever had in my life. It didn't help that the play itself just wasn't very good either. Except for the second half when the comic portions of the script managed to sneak through the static direction.

Random Note: The worst theatrical experience I ever had in my life was Othello. I'll share the details sometime in the future. To tantalize you, let's just say this: it involves an ancient curse that shall not be named.

During that entire two month rehearsal process, I started wondering if it was possible to convey a character without the use of language. Is language necessary to convey all the weight of the emotions needed to craft a character?

End Tangent!

Death, in For Every Man, Woman, and Child, does not speak. He uses sign language perhaps once or twice in the entire show. The rest of his "dialogue" is performed entirely in mime or conveyed through physical expression.

Death is, essentially, my chance to see if language really is necessary for communication. This is one of the roles I've been dying to tackle for some time now - and I'm finally getting the chance. The biggest problem I foresee with the character is the lack of textual clues, which means I'm probably going to end up drawing from past incarnations of Death in literature and other outside textual sources.

Its probably a little more extensive than necessary, but I used to be a Theatre/English double major - and its the Literature nut in me sneaking out, I guess.

Random Note: I'm only maybe a semester and a half away from picking up my English degree if I ever save up enough money to get it. Then I can have TWO economically non-viable degrees instead of just one.


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