He’s a Conspirator!
And we’re back with Episode 7 of our slow out into the Twin Cities theatre community.
Tonight I open Julius Caesar, the first part of this season’s “Spring Rep” with the Classical Actors Ensemble. Tomorrow we go even bigger with a two show day, opening Macbeth to make the pair. It’s perhaps a little odd to celebrate your third (and fourth) show(s) in a city, but – at the risk of sounding like a baseball fan parsing a hitter’s batting average on Sundays at home when it rains – tonight I open my first show in town that I’m not part of because I know my wife. My first two shows in town were great experiences, and I was a valuable part of both of them, but my involvement had an awful lot more to do with my knowing Megan, my infinite availability, and my price more than something I inherently brought to the table. For better or worse the Spring Rep I’m part of own my own merits. I am barely part, so let’s not parse that too closely… but part.
I’ll be playing the part of “loud voice” and “man with sash” for the next month. I have written before about the joys of being in the ensemble. The art of disappearing or of energy spiking a scene (in either direction) and of the importance of being production neutral. Hitting the beats on rhythm is an actual visceral pleasure. Pushing back at Antony and Brutus through their monologues in the Senate hard enough to help them drive through and soft enough for them to be heard and to have the ability to win the throng over is as alchemical as any of the Macbeth/Lady Macbeth two handers.
The delicate balance is actually needed for all of the time off stage. For my last few ensemble roles or multiple character tracks I’ve taken on, I was already a known quantity. I had my next 2 or 3 shows lined up and my role off stage was solid. Whether that was serving as a sounding board for text choices or character beats or listening to frustrations over gin, I had a place. Here I’m just Loud Voice and Guy with Sash.
The balance required is beginning to grow the me that I’m going to be here in the Twin Cities while not being over-solicitous and remaining production neutral. It’s demonstrating additional value while remaining frictionless. Largely it’s meant behaving myself in a corner and waiting. I have to allow organic growth. Relationship is built by shared experience, not simply shared stories.
It’s so easy from the heart of a moment to forget the hours and months and years that are built into it. I find it specially true for myself, I discount how much time and effort underpinned so much of my last 5 years in Austin. Now we go back to the grind and collect the materials and experiences that will serve as the foundation of the me I am to become here in Minneapolis.
Come, go we to the king; our power is ready;
Our lack is nothing but our leave;