Saturday, October 1, 2011

Twelfth Night

So this last month I was Malvolio in Brown Box Theatre Project's Twelfth Night.

The cast arrived in Maryland with their lines memorized, and we rehearsed every day for three weeks. Then we performed the shows for a week at public locations and schools throughout the Ocean City area.

Ocean City, being a resort town, mostly shuts down as the warm months draw to a close. Brown Box intended Twelfth Night to be for the enjoyment of those who lived in the immediate area rather than tourists.

Since those in the immediate area are all business owners, Brown Box was able to raise funds to such a degree that would be impossible in a town saturated with theatre like Boston. Not only was this show of kindness very fortunate for the production, it was very heartening to me. These people clearly wanted to us to do what we were doing.

The cast and crew stayed in housing donated by local business and the director's family. I lived in a trailer on their horse farm, where rehearsal took place.

Rehearsal was new for me. I'm often used to making adjustments and internalizing them over the course of time, often between rehearsals. Since time was short and rehearsing the show was the reason I was there, I had to make changes immediately. It was hard, and it was good.

I had only been in three Shakespearean productions; two of them were Much Ado About Nothing, and none of them were professional. For someone who doesn't perform Shakespeare very often it's easy to get stuck on the text - knowing what the words mean, saying them very pointedly, but still not believing in them entirely; wearing the words like a shirt instead of letting them slip into you.

The solution, as always, is listening to your companions on stage with you. Understanding where they come from can help you get to where you're going.

The set was designed by Cory Rodriguez to fit into a goose neck trailer and be assembled and disassembled on site (and, of course, to look bad ass), and the whole cast took part in the labor. In one production I got to act AND move stuff around.

We worked hard and we put on a good show for a community that normally doesn't get any theatre.

It is one of the coolest things I've ever done.

And Brown Box is moving base to Boston.

So get ready.


Oh, and also. Ocean City is the site of the now infamous

Yes, much like the Phoenix Saga from X-Men, the Smirnoff Ice Saga influenced the hearts and minds of a generation. Comrade challenged comrade in a thrilling game with no boundaries and one rule: if you see an Ice, you drink it. Well, there are other rules, but the first is the most important.

If you're ever in a closed environment with a certain group of people, icing is an excellent way to build an environment of camaraderie and fear simultaneously.

Most of the Twelfth Night Smirnoff Ice saga is accounted here. Though some icing occurred in unrecordable circumstances, the album gives an idea of how everyone fared. At a score of 3 Ices given and 10 Ices received, I was the worst player by far.

* Icing is not condoned or endorsed by Brown Box Theatre Project.
** Brown Box Theatre Project is not condoned or endorsed by Smirnoff.

EDIT EDIT (10/3):

Chelsea Schmidt was funny and convincing in her lead role as androgynous Viola. Laughs poured from the audience when Kevin Little and Joe Ruscio shared the stage as drinking buddies Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Sir Toby Belch. And Terry Torres stole the show as a quirky, animated Malvolio.
It's not the first time my name has been mentioned in a review, but it's the first time my performance has been!


1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! That last part was awesome.

    I'm so proud of everyone in Brown Box for their truly amazing run of "Twelfth Night"! I only wish I could've been there to sit in the front row and cheer you on. What you're doing is amazing: Professional, DIY theater from the best new talent around. Congrats, and good luck with Brown Box's move to Boston!