My most recent risk was accepting the role of Mr. Kirby in a local production of “You Can’t Take It With You”. My last big role? The summer of 2016; Big Jule in “Guys and Dolls”.
The risk? This is a big role. This character develops more from first entrance until the final curtain more than any role I’ve played. He goes from comic victim of circumstance in Act 2 to indignant sparring partner with Sycamore patriarch grandpa to caring, compassionate and fun loving father figure in the final turning point scenes.
An emotional roller coaster for sure. How did it work out? Very well, thank you.
Last Sunday afternoon our local community theatre group closed the books on “You Can’t Take It With You”. I thank everyone who came to see the show and everyone who had a hand as cast and crew for this timeless classic.
Crowd reactions were awesome. We were pleasantly surprised that so many patrons ‘got’ the 1930s period theme and writing and humor. Comedy will always be my favorite genre of live theater. Being laughed at on stage and particularly being laughed at the moment you enter the stage is contagious. The roar of a crowd will always be my favorite part this crazy hobby.
The theatre’s managing director told the cast prior to our final performance that this show is the largest gate post COVID19. That was satisfying and good news for our beautiful little theatre home.
Keeping the new Fine Arts Center financially sound is always in the back of my mind when we choose a show. Being a part of a financially successful show is satisfying…however….
Watching a show develop from table read to blocking and watching the set magically appear little by little, seeing the cast gel, and finally folding the sound, lighting and special effects into the mix is what really excites me as part of the theatrical fraternity.
This cast and crew bonded as a family. The story’s feature premise was one of family. A family that loved each other and honor each other no matter what they chose to do or be. Our direct encouraged and coached and nurtured the central theme of family to the cast from the script. Audiences must be able to see how much these families love each other.
This is the most prepared I’ve been for a role since “Wait Until Dark” in 2010. The production director and managing director and the cast patriarch all challenged us to learn our parts verbatim. I took that challenge to heart early and committed the story to memory.
Beth and I spent countless hours working the lines at home and in the car. Without her help, I would never have been as good at being Mr. Kirby. Many thanks to Beth!
Learning the lines early meant more time developing character and tweaking the blocking and facial expressions with my cast mates. Adding this and changing that.
Some of the cast and crew will work together again, some will not. We had two new faces in the cast. Will either grace our boards again? We certainly hope so.
Will any of us be together again? Some for sure. I’m directing a Neil Simon production in October of this year. Many cast members have asked about the characters, the story line and when auditions take place. I’m sure some of these faces and some new faces will appear!
Until the next show, thank you one and all!