No rest for the weary, lovers. I write to you in the throes of my post-show blues after opening and closing Mamet’s Romance last weekend. Character-wise, I am inclined to say that it was my proudest performance at Northwestern to date. The show was very positively received as hilarious and severely offensive, which sounds like a success to me.
I learned a whole lot from this show and I am still processing how to make sense of it all. Romance was the first time I was married onstage and also my first all-male cast. I am a very touchy-feely, no-boundaries sort of person and building an onstage relationship with an actor who is basically my complete opposite offstage was an exciting challenge. Fortunately I was blessed to be working with a really good actor, and we both pushed each other a lot to create something real.
The role of Bernard is definitely one of my favorites. I guess you could say I was type-cast as the sassy, flamboyant, fierce, young gay. However, even though a lot of the role was similar to who I am as a person, the director, Phoebe, and I set several challenges for me to work on. First and foremost: to avoid making Bernard a stereotype. I’m not sure if this was entirely successful, but I felt as though I formed a three dimensional being who touched on some real human emotion, beyond just being a fabulous diva. The other big challenge was finding his sense of vulnerability, which is something that does not come easily to me. Within the same week, both David Bell (my musical theatre professor) and David Downs (my acting class substitute) told me I need to “get rid of my survival instincts.” An unyielding sense of power and an desire to entertain are two things that constantly get in my way as an actor. Finding the openness to be hurt for Bernard was a big hurdle to overcome in the rehearsal process. Ultimately, the character could have been something easy for me to just memorize the lines and exert little or no effort. However, I wanted to work really hard on it, and, based on the reactions from my friends and peers, I think it paid off.
Now we are moving forward with Pericles, which I am also very excited about. We are doing the show promenade, which is a set-up I’ve never performed before. (It basically means there are no chairs and the action happens around and within the audience who moves about rather freely.) We are also doing the show with a cast of six, which is a challenging prospect for Shakespeare. Design will be very minimalist, and it’s going to be all about the language and storytelling. Among other characters, I am the story’s narrator and I am charged with taking care of the audience and guiding them through their two hour experience. We are almost done with table work and about to get into blocking, which I cannot wait for.
Also this summer, I am going to be an Acting Apprentice at Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. I’m excited about the program, and a couple of the Goldmembers (my acting class) are going as well. I honestly don’t really know what to expect, but people I’ve talked to who attended the program previously loved it. I imagine my time will be split rather evenly between stalking Jason Robert Brown and stalking Robert Sean Leonard. I’m sure I will be updating the blog a lot more over the summer than I have had time for during school.
Speaking of school, I am going to die. I just declared my legal studies minor this quarter and I have so very many credits to get through if I am, indeed, going to graduate with a theatre major, Spanish minor, legal studies minor, and musical theatre certificate. Eek! Looking forward to a FULL course load all throughout senior year.
In other news, I am now in a relationship. Yay! His name is Louis and he is a sophomore math major at UChicago from New York City. This is good for me, but maybe bad for you if you enjoy posts about my love life strife.
Anyway, that’s a basic update on what’s going on with me. Making some theatre and tryna remember what a personal life is.
Stay hot and keep it messy,