From A Beer Hall To AgincourtWednesday, September 01, 2010
Because I am playing the same human being at different stages of life, there is no confusion regarding whose shoes I am filling on a given night. But I have discovered that my pre-show routine has evolved to be somewhat different for both shows. On Falstaff nights, I have found I can afford to be a little looser in my preparation. I arrive an hour before. Run thru my epic sword-fight with Bob Frazer, who plays Hotspur- a mandatory rehearsal, lest someone inadvertently lose a limb. Then usually play some hacky sack or tekraw (a recently discovered kind of hackysack/badminton/volleyball hybrid originating in Thailand) with some other members in the company. Because the young Hal begins as such a loose and wayward lad at the beginning of his arc, I allow myself to in a sense warm up during the first few scenes of the show, and find focus and intensity as the show progresses, and Hal is thrust into responsibility and manhood.
With Henry V, I find I have to be a little more focused and isolated beforehand. I always take nap in the afternoon...(my ninety year old grandmother would approve that we are on the same schedule!). I 'drive the bus' the whole night long, so I have to make sure I am energized from the first word. Funnily enough, I have found that I get into costume at the very last moment. I like stepping into the clothes and armor and literally walking onto the stage moments or minutes after. Not sure why. Maybe it helps me feel a sense of momentum and informs Henry's restless state at the beginning of the play as he decides whether or not to wage war. Either way, whether playing the boy or the man, I am always ready for a hearty meal by the final bow...
Antony & Cleopatra
Richard III at Safeway