Kasey Kenyon has a repertoire of goggle-eyed masks of surprise the way Eskimos have a vocabulary for different kinds of snow. This, it turns out, is fortunate. This is a farce with lots of characters, each one a precisely placed cog in the plot’s machinery. How does the actor keep who’s who and what’s what as straight as possible? “Reading through the play,” he says. “Reading through the play…numerous times.” Which makes sense. In Shakespeare, almost all of an actor’s questions can be answered by the text. “Who am I?”, “What do I?”, “Which one is that one and who do I think she is, again?” He’s playing a character searching for a family lost, and there are some that’ve lept through all sorts of hoops to achieve that. It’s just this time it’s funny. His character, Antipholus of Syracuse, spends most of the play hurtling from one surprising encounter to another, either pampered by strangers for no discernible reason, or chased by people he takes for witches and sorcerers. The island of Ephesus, it appears, has been infested by magical madmen, and he simply wants to find his long-lost family, then leave. Happily for us, his journey is anything but simple.
– Nate Beynon
Debora Bercier is tall for her height and she takes the stage the way the way Columbus must have taken the New World: “With all due respect to those that were here already, ” she seems to say, “All this is mine, now.”
What she actually says, is, “The venom clamors of a jealous woman poisons more deadly than mad dog’s tooth. It seems his sleeps were hindered by thy railing, and there-of comes it that his head is light.” She says more. The other woman, the wife of a man who seems to have been made mad, shrinks under the heat of the Abbess’s feverish scorn. I ask Debbie why the Abbess is so feisty. She tells me, her character “…never had the desire to be a nun, but was forced into it, and so she feels resentful. She wanted to be a wife and mother. And she’s bored with her vocation as an Abbess. There are very few nuns or children to take care of. Certainly no men! But… now, for the first time, a man has come into her domain. An opportunity to truly protect and minister to this man, and no-one will prevent her from experiencing this.” The woman who the Abbess is yelling at isn’t that different from her, she tells me, “She just has the life I wanted!”
Farce, of course, is the great equalizer-it throws people of every class into one monumentally ridiculous tangle of surprises , punishes the wicked, rewards the good, and marries off the young people. Who knows-the Abbess may get her husband and child before the day is through…
– Nate Beynon
Normally, when you audition for a play, if you are chosen the director tells you what part you are playing first thing. Linda [the director] didn’t do it that way. Although she obviously had some ideas about who would play what role, she had us read the play without giving us parts. That way we would focus on the play as a whole and the cast as an ensemble without highlighting our own lines (and counting how many we had). After we had read the play, she asked us which characters we felt drawn to. I was at the end of the circle and noticed that no one had said the Marshal, so I chose that character. And indeed, I ended up playing the Marshal. He is a character I would not have normally auditioned for, but he is a challenging and interesting role. I feel this production will be theatrical magic.
– John A. Nickles, Town Marshal
Once again, I am reminded that one brain does not make a show! Elephant’s Graveyard has opened the great circus tent of wonderful, imaginative, creative, opinionated, performers,writers and designers. When I begin a show, I feel childlike. I am never quite sure where the show will take me. I always have a knuckle of an idea, but that idea is transformed into magical wonderment after hearing the voices of the actors who will play the parts, and listening to the designers that will make the vision come to life. Elephant’s Graveyard is a very difficult piece to work on because of its subject matter. But I am blessed having so many talented folks supporting this show. Just like a trapeze artist, I am ready to fly. Onward we go!
– Linda Shirey
I was tasked with attempting to write something regarding my experiences with Martha Louise Livingstone. For the past four weeks I have been working hard to be to be true to her. As an actor I want to be true to the text and make use of all the wonderful things the playwright has given me. It’s daunting. There is so much. She lives with me every waking minute of every day. My goal has been to be honest and authentic.
Martha is penitent and engages the audience as confessor. This role is thrust upon the audience. The play demands it. Mea culpa…
This process of creating Martha Livingstone, for me, has been many things…challenging, enriching, terrifying, joyful, frustrating, gratifying, exhausting, and supremely humbling. I am grateful for the opportunity to be humbled. Let’s begin…
– Kathleen Reilly
Tick tock…..The second act of Agnes of God centers around two sessions of hypnotism that the doctor orchestrates. These scene are wonderful bits of theater. Past traumatic events in Agnes’s life are acted out, heartbreaking revelations shatter illusions- Imagine a the prison scenes in Silence of the Lambs combined with the last scene of Carrie. This is high melodrama brought right to edge of credibility. There’s a reason these scenes are favorites of acting classes. Hence, the metronome. I don’t think we’ll be using it during the actual dialog, as it’s more than a little distracting. But, oh, that sound- I can’t resist live organic sound. Something that says, “This is happening, right now, and all of us, both on stage and off are experiencing it as it happens”. It’s a way of putting your audience in the same room as your actors. Whether they want to be there, or not….
– Nate Beynon