Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just Like An Old Shoe...

(Note: Listening to Cirque de Soleil's Solarium as I write this... Cirque de Soleil has great music for their shows, and Solarium is a bunch of re-mixes of their music. VERY cool stuff. You can listen to samples at the page I linked to above)

I just got done with my second murder mystery rehearsal tonight... but it felt more like a "pick up" rehearsal for a show I've been doing for a while. Makes sense, when you consider that I've been working with Wild Bills for almost ten years now.

James O'Neil, father of Eugene O'Neil and a contemporary of the great American actor Edwin Booth, played the title role in The Count of Monte Cristo for almost 30 years. I remember reading that fact in my college theatre history class and wondering how you could continue to play the same part in the same play for that long and still keep it interesting. I'm certainly not at the 30 year mark, and Yuletide Homocide, the murder mystery I'm doing this month, is a far cry from Alexandre Dumas (sorry Steve)... but I think the past couple of rehearsals have given me a little taste of what it must have been like for O'Neil.

Coming back to Ned Cypher, the computer geek who's constantly mocked by his employers and office-mates, has been like getting re-acquainted with an old friend. Reading through the script before the first rehearsal on Sunday was more of a refresher than an exercise in memorization... it was all in the grey matter. I just had to dust it off.

Putting on the mannerisms in the rehearsal itself was like second nature. I could feel my face automatically taking on its squinty-eyed, lip-curled mask the minute I walked on as Ned. This actually worried me a little... it's more than possible to be too comfortable with a character, to the point where you're just going through the motions by rote instead of actually making the character "live" in the present moment of the play. Like I say, murder mysteries aren't Shakespeare, but you have to play a believable character for the patrons if they're going to get a good show.

I needn't have worried, however... I'm working with talented actors like Tony Sonera, Tyler Hughes, Duane Hanson, Kelly Stewart and Lori Lewis. They gave me fresh stuff to react to and play off of, and Ned was there to respond to them. We all had a good time getting re-acquainted with our characters on Sunday, and we had another quick rehearsal tonight... we're more than ready to do the show for an audience on Saturday.

I'm actually looking forward to it... I love doing these murder mysteries, even if they aren't "Theatre with a capital 'T' ." They've become an essential part of my holiday festivities... if I can't get out in front of folks and perform at a few parties, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. Ned's been with me for almost ten Christmases, but I haven't gotten to play with him (or the murder mystery audiences) a couple of years in the past because I was in a conflicting show, or out of town. I've missed the fun of performing each of those times... the holiday just didn't seem all that full without them.

Anyway, that's what's going on my life... hope you're all having a happy holiday season (screw you Bill O'Reilly - I know plenty of people who DON'T celebrate Christmas, and I'm under no moral obligation to push MY holiday down their throats)