Hi Diddle Dee Dee…

So, in addition to rehearsing this play, I am preparing for the next plays I’ll be working on, and looking for the next play after those.

Today I auditioned for Twelfth Night at Milwaukee Shakespeare, to be directed by Paula Suozzi, returning to the director’s chair after a bit of a hiatus, as I understand. I got lucky — Paula was having actors read in pairs, so I got to read with a real live actor as my scene partner. And I happened to know this actor, having worked with her before, so there was a nice level of comfort and ease with her that allowed me to open up and let some instincts flow. I wish this were always the case. Often, in the professional world, when we read a scene for the director, it’s with a reader, someone who’s been brought in specifically to read the other characters in the scene, for everyone who auditions that day. Sometimes the reader is an actor, and so you get a little something to play with, but more often than not, they read from a chair next to the audition table, and they read more than one character per scene, making it difficult to create a relationship. Worse, yet, sometimes it’s not an actor at all, and there’s very little off of which to play.

So, today I got to read with an actor, and a good one at that, and it made me happy.

That said, I sometimes have a bit of trouble at auditions. I am pretty cerebral, and I find myself getting in my own way quite a bit at the beginning of the rehearsal process. I do think of myself as a physical actor, but, especially with Shakespeare, the text comes first, and it may take a little time to get that transferred into my body. And, since the audition happens at the very beginning of the process — before you’ve really had a chance to get a good understanding of the director’s vision and ideas — all you can do is come in with what you’ve got, with little time to prepare, and hope for the best. I learned the lines, made some choices about character and my objectives in the scene, and went for it. I’m always happy for an audition like today’s when the director gives me an adjustment and I’m able to take that and run with it. So, we’ll see. The role I auditioned for can go any number of ways depending on chemistry and design, so now I just sit back and wait.

While I wait, in off time from 1 Henry IV rehearsals, I’ll be preparing for my summer at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. I have plenty to do down there, and I go down there immediately upon closing up here, so I want to go in as prepared as possible. One of the roles I’m playing, Fluellen, in Henry V, is Welsh, so I’ve gotten my hands on a Welsh dialect CD, and have started to learn the intricacies of the accent — and how it differs from more popularly known accents like Scottish and Irish. I generally like to learn my lines after tablework on a Shakespeare play; I find I have less preconceived notions and am generally a little more open to discussion. But because there are three plays to learn, and not a lot of time to rehearse them, I’d like to go down there with all of my roles off book, so as to be able to jump right in. Even though we have yet to receive the directors’ cuts of the plays, I can start to break down the text and do some homework and research into the language: do as much tablework on my own as possible. And then I’ll start to learn it, and hope that the cuts arrive before I get down here, so I can better integrate them.

And, in the meantime, every day I’ll be checking the casting call website maintained by Actor’s Equity, looking for work for the fall. It never stops.


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