What Is Making Me Happy This Week : Recognition
This has been a year of abundance for me in performance. I have worked with great people in great shows with great roles. As I’ve been so fond of saying in my elevator pitch about how busy I am, my first show this year opened January 4th and the final show closes the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year of abundance rolls on, last night the fight choreography for Dr. Faustus was nominated for a B. Iden Payne Award , along with my first Show with Trouble Puppet, Cruel Circus, which took 5 nominations including Outstanding Drama, Direction, Score, Cast, Puppetry and Costumes. And for this first time in my life my work as a performer has been nominated for an award.
Last night it was announced that my performance as John of Gaunt in Poor Shadow’s of Elysium’s Richard II was nominated by the B. Iden Payne Award Council for a Most Outstanding Performance by a Featured Actor in a Drama award.
(This moment was not the last moment in 2013 I would look at Aaron Black murderously)
It’s a weird thing.
I loved playing that role. A lot. Any time you get to sing one of Shakespeare’s greatest hits (and the This England speech is that) followed by telling off the King of England then dying two lines later? You do it. To top it I then got to come back as a Bishop in a sheet and do at worst a great B-side in the Marry God Forbid speech and I would argue that it’s a feel good summer hit…
In thinking back on most shows there are two levels of memories.
The huge memories, the Moments and then the the Flashes, the little bits of things that just… stick with you.
The first time there were people in the booths at the scale Elizabethan theatre we were performing in when I was delivering the line: This happy breed of men, this little world. And realizing how delightfully literal Shakepeare was being.
The sneer on Kevin Gates’ face when he decided to banish my son on any given night.
The way either of the Kings held their crown while Sitting Upon The Ground.
Trace Pope’s heart breaking every night when the Kings dressed him down.
But the moment that anchored me every night was after taking the half curve cross to open stage with the line:
Methinks I am a prophet new inspired
And thus expiring do foretell of him:
His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
I would check in with Steve Price as my brother York who was holding center with my chair.
And holding center is about right.
Gaunt is a usually role played by folks on the other side of Lear.
Carried on in a chair with one last burst of fire before the flame goes out.
I ain’t that guy.
I played Gaunt like Robert Baratheon caught in a bear trap.
But it’s easy when playing things at that size to lose specificity for volume and to give up nuance for the blast furnace.
But how when your brother is waiting there patiently just trying to calm you down so you don’t stroke out?
I spent hours taking that monologue around the track. Trying angles and tracks, feints and tacks, paces and volumes – my poor neighbors.
But it didn’t come to life until it got centered by a treasure of a man who gave me the gift of listening.
Thank you brother.