“Cymbeline” Love: Backstage Vibes

Whoosh, it’s Sunday morning of the last show of the run, a day in which almost everything I do will be touched by awareness of “This is the last time I’ll do this…” , which will elicit some sadness, but plenty of relief.  It’s been a long hard run. (Yes indeed I did finally get sick, albeit mildly.) But there is no denying I will miss this show.   Certainly there are more than ten things I love about “Cymbeline.”   There just won’t be ten blog entries about it.  Nonetheless, I’ll get as many as I can up between now and leaving Milwaukee on Wednesday.  There is much to be commemorated.  Just don’t expect too much is all I’m sayin’.

I never dreaded having to go to the theatre to perform “Cymbeline.” This is not always the case when you’re doing a long run of the same play day in and day out.  Some days you’re just not feeling it, or can’t bear to have to deal with so-and-so or what’s-his-face.  But I truly enjoyed the backstage atmosphere and eclectic camaraderie of “Cymbeline,” so I’ll share with y’all a handful of memories that’ll stick with me.

The endless free-associative dressing room jukebox, with Todd Denning especially standing out as someone who could pick up on an obscure lyric I half-mumbled and belt out half that artist’s oeuvre, or songmaster me (the process by which one person embeds another tune in your subconscious) with some blue-eyed soul one-hit wonder of the late 70s/early 80s.  Always kept me groovin’  like Earth Wind and Fire and reminiscin’ like the Little River Band.

Jonathan Smoots’s impromptu one-man tribute shows to William Shatner, spanning from Star Trek to Boston Legal with an easy and impeccable impersonation that made me feel like I was in the presence of ham-greatness.

I loved the diversity of conversation I found myself in during this run,  finding something in common with each company member to exchange ideas about, and thus maintaining an active, creative mind and spirit throughout the process, whether it was talking craft with Wayne, relationships with Amanda, sports with Jarecki or Darcy, politics, TV, the good ol’ days, cheese, whatever.

The calming zen presence of Patrick Lawlor, ambling in at 5 minutes till top of show like he just parked his surfboard outside.

The endearingly irritating nature of Joe “Why Don’t I Hate You More?” Foust, who when not doing a great job serving as Equity deputy or dispensing knowledge as a great Shakespeare authority, was acting like the older brother I never had, making me squirm and laugh with his disarming powers of scatology.  Literally. Once while having a perfectly normal (for once) conversation in the lobby while waiting to make an entrance, Joe pulled the sword out of my belt, farted on it, and place it back on my person. I just stared at him with my mouth open as he said, “Put THAT in your blog!” Quintessential Foust.

Cave boys.  Having to wait around for half the show before their first entrance, and then playing unsocialized lads o’ the wild, Andy and Nick developed a prep routine around intermission that was an amazing thing to behold to say the least.  Running, grunting, pushups, bellowing “Brothers!”, and taking turns hitting each other with various objects (including dowel rods, sandpaper, and Twizzlers) was their way of making sure the show’s energy did not flag at the top of the second half, and I believe kept excitement and enthusiasm in the air for everyone, even if sometimes (Flarp!) it resulted in a groan of “Oh, those cave boys.”  If the alternative is morose oh-so-seriousness, I’ll take overflowing cave boy energy for the rest of my life, please.

I have to cut this off to go get my gold tooth put in.  But I’ll get at least one more entry up.  “Rarry Rarry Rar” is still out there, as well as noting what was potentially my last performance on US soil. So, lots of love, “Cymbeline” peeps, and more to come, readers!


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