In my last stage show – My Fair Lady at Arena Stage – I was cast as a member of the ensemble and understudied a principal role. It was a blast, by the way. Arena Stage is a great place to work; the cast, crew and creative team were very nice people; and I had an awesome time doing basically four very different (one was Irish, one was Cockney, one was ostensibly Greek, and one was posh Brit) small roles across the span of each show. Of course, that meant I spent most of my time off stage changing clothes. Ha!
As I say, I had a very good time. All my friends who came to see the show enjoyed my transformations (characters, accents and hair – beard, clean-shaven, toupee, mustache). But as a member of the ensemble, you naturally don’t expect the audience outside of your close friends to really see that much of your individual performance. You know? So, appropriately, my goal was to add to the audience’s enjoyment without getting in the way of the story being told. And, in fact, I believe that our whole ensemble did that damned well!
Imagine my surprise when, a few weeks after the end of our run, a complete stranger chatted me up at the gym between sets with “Weren’t you in that cast at Arena Stage?” Well … yes, I was!! Holy cow, somebody did notice me! A couple of days later another person – a gym acquaintance but not a close friend – told me that he had also seen me in the show. They both had nothing but positive things to say, and the latter – given the chance to exercise his dry wit as well as his biceps – said that it looks like I have some “marketable skills.” LOL
I guess it just goes to show … onstage you never know who might pick you out of the crowd.
BTW! Here’s a video interview from American Theatre Magazine highlighting the steam punk inspired costumes from the show which were designed by Judith Bowden. The video is basically a slideshow of pics from our show, and the insights into Judith’s creations are quite interesting. Enjoy!
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/58563002 w=400&h=300]