Friday, August 5, 2016

Where I Can't Say No

I wanted to say no. I really did. Yet, for some reason I didn’t. What I said was “Sure, I’ll read for a minor part.”
            Oh, I’m sorry, I suppose I should tell you, the conversation was about me trying out for a part in a local theatre troupe. Now, for those of you who don’t know, I have been asked on occasion to perform in small productions at a local church and occasionally work as part of set building.
            I suppose all of this started in the fourth grade when I acted in my first school play. Something I didn’t really want to do but my teacher said the experience would be good for me. I didn’t like doing the performance but I did it. Then, many years later, I was tasked with a part in a play in High School. The only reason I agreed to that part was because I only had three lines and for the most part, I stood in the background and occasionally handed a sword to the lead character. No one really saw me or even knew I was in that play. Which was cool. I dig my anonymity. Plus, I got to play with swords!
            Then I went on acting hiatus. For thirty or so years.
            If you’ve read my blogs throughout the years then you’ll already know how I was brought back into the theatre fold. If not, that’s okay. I will say this, I said no then but the director refused to take no for an answer.
            What followed was two more plays for them.
            So, two weeks ago when I received a phone call saying that the local theatre troupe wanted me to read for several parts, I said I would. After all, it would give me an opportunity to act with my daughter and wife. A true family experience. Something we can all bond over, complain about, enjoy and grow as a family and community.
            When I went to the audition, I read for three parts. Two minor and one major. (Because I’ve been told there is no such thing as a small part or large part.) After my readings the director and I spoke for about thirty minutes and then he excused himself by saying he was going to go get me the script for my role.
            When he returned moments later he had an orange folder in his hand. I couldn’t see the name on the folder and as he handed it to me he said “You’ll make a handsome Falstaff.”
            I couldn’t speak. I didn’t expect that roll. The lead male that everyone hates. A man who is a Knight and is destitute. A man with a devious plot to gain fortune through courting married women. A man who is despised by not just passerby’s but the men under him as well.
            I know, it’s another typecast role in my life.
            So, now, once again, I’ve committed myself to memorizing lines, learning to act, and committing what little time I have from working to performing a character I have little knowledge about. So, I’ve been studying. A lot. I’ve even gone so far as to watch other productions of the play performed by professionals.
            Every time I watch one of these actors perform I cringe. Not because of their performances, but because I see the character a bit different than how they are performing him. This might be due to the fact that I’ve never had an acting class or any direction from a professional director, or maybe it is because I see this guy as a desperate, arrogant man who is used to getting what he wants when he wants it. Then, when he has nothing left, not even one friend, he reverts to vile underhanded tactics that he knows he can get away with because he has been knighted by the king.
            Of course this is my uneducated opinion. After all, I haven’t really read Old Bill since I was in High School. Which means, I have no clue as to what I’m doing, well, except for making a total ass of myself in front of ten people or so over six performances.

            Well, that’s enough for tonight. You all have a great week and if you have any suggestions, recommendations or thoughts, please, let me know.

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