Im currently in a production of Much Ado About Nothing at UVU and I must say, I am quite enjoying the experience. After participating in Chris Clark's production of As You Like It, I couldn't get the idea out of my head that I really wanted to be in another Shakespeare piece. I enjoyed the vitality and exuberance of Shakespeare's characters, and since I was only a musician for As You Like It, I was really anxious to sink my teeth into an actual role.
So here I am, weeks after a very nerve wracking audition, playing the role of El General Don Pedro. Here's an image of what the director, (John Graham) is envisioning for us:
That's right! We're Mexican! It's taking place during the Mexican revolution. I'm having a lot of fun and I'm learning alot of things. I've made a list of some of the experiences and lessons that I've learned.
1. Cowboy boots are a pain in the butt. I've never worn them before, and I have to wear them every rehearsal. Mine are kind of stylish though, so its cool. Beauty is pain....?
2. Bull fighting is a horrible sport. My character is supposed to have a certain grace mixed with machoism, so I was told to watch bull fighting. While I could see how it applied to my character, the event itself is one of the most violent and cruel things I've ever seen. They basically skewer the bull alive. Im all for a good show, but seeing a animal in spasms on the area floor vomiting blood? Not really my cup o tea.
3. There is not very much subtext in Shakespeare. Everything you need is in the script. People said what was on their minds so all the clues needed to build a character is all there for you. This was a little hard to do at first, but after a while I've found it makes acting so much easier.
4. Stage Combat is convincing when its practiced well. One of John's specialities is stage combat and so our process is really specific and detailed for every fight scene in this show. It usually consists of doing each movement step by step and in slow motion until it's completely safe. Some of the actors are doing movements so complex that they wont be going full speed until the week before the show opens.
5. Make bold choices! Sometimes you make a mistake, but if you never do something bold, you can never do anything exciting either. There are many people in this cast who are making some pretty great choices in their characters, and its only been through trial and error that those choices were found.
6. I will never like Mexican food. I'm okay with salsa, and Wendy's bean dip is to die for, but I am not a fan of Mexican food. I had such a hankering for ribs when I was in Charlotte's web, and I thought this might be the same, but no. I'm just not a fan.
I love this show. Viva Zapata!