Romantic Comedies Are A Gift

Romantic Comedies Are A Gift

As I'm writing this, I'm in my final week of shows for the absolutely delightful romantic comedy "Almost, Maine" by John Cariani playing at Pacific Theatre in Vancouver. I've had the privilege of doing all sorts of projects in my life. They are often intense, and I can be weighed down by their significance sometimes leading me to lose my joy of play. But then a lovely script with heart and a whole lot of laughs comes along, and I'm reminded of why I ever wanted to act in the first place: it's fun! I love talking to people, I love playing with them, I love feeling the audience, I love riding the wave of laughter, I love holding the audience in the palm of my hand, hearing their gasps, and just relaxing in the midst of it all. Trusting myself, my scene partner, the scene, and the audience as we join in an agreed communal journey. There's nothing like love and laughter to bring you back to a place of fun and delight. What a gift.

 

Always Learning

Parable of two sons.jpg

I've got to be honest: it's been a pretty cool year for me, gig wise. The two plays that I've chosen to be a part of are in two vastly different venues. One was the Badlands Passion Play in Alberta, which is in the largest amphitheatre in all of Canada! It seats 2,700 people, and the stage is as big as a football field. The other, Almost Maine at Pacific Theatre, will begin in November and is in a 190-seat alley theatre in Vancouver.

I knew before beginning the Badlands Passion Play that clarity would be of the utmost importance. So I engaged the use of articulation and projection, and quickly realized that wasn't enough. The audience is often more than 50 feet away and they can't really see my face. It's like watching a Lego man at arm's length. So, I wondered, how do I communicate a thought from that distance when the audience can't see it in my eyes? It's all about amplification! The breath informs the thought, to inspire leads to inspiration, and then turn it up to eleven. Every moment comes from breath, but expands past the lungs, through the body, and moves me. For example, when an idea strikes me, my idea is in my breath and it pulls me forward three steps. The audience can see the thought in my body and it reads truthfully without turning the performance into some grotesque pantomime. This new "physical language" was great to discover. 

Every time I work with a different director I learn something new. I was fortunate enough to work with Barrett Hileman and Jessica Hickman this summer. The insightful and valuable lesson I learnt on this production was "phrasing". I always do my work. I know what I'm saying, to whom, and why. I understand the thoughts, beats, moments, arc, and the journey the character takes. However, this summer I finally understood "phrasing". For example, when you tell a story, there are many details, moments, subplots, and asides that can often distract from the overall point of the story. It's easy to get marred down by the details and the weight of those moments, but it's important to push through and past them; to carry the thought to the end of the sentence, to the point of the story. In other words, finish the "phrase". This is a valuable tool that I can apply to achieve clarity on any stage and in any subsequent project.

I'll be back in Vancouver this coming November for Almost Maine by John Cariani at Pacific Theatre. I'm curious to see how my new discoveries will inform my work in such a different venue. Of course, since the technical requirements of the space are different, I will adjust my performance for the medium and the space. But the same breath inspires the moment and clarity of thought. Communicating to the end of the phrase will always apply. And so, I will return to Vancouver a stronger actor. Always learning, always working, always better.

#My True Story

#My True Story

"Seven friends, sit around, drink beer, and shoot the shit... these are their true stories." #MY TRUE STORY an original comedy web series.

She Has A Name

She Has A Name

Gil Bellows and I sharing a scene in the feature film She Has A Name. Filmed on location in Pattaya, Thailand.

Canadian Badlands Passion Play

Canadian Badlands Passion Play

I'm looking forward to the wonderful oppurtunity to play to this 2700 seat amphitheatre in the role of Jesus this coming summer 2017 at The Canadian Badlands Passion Play. Book your tickets and come experience the over 200 person cast tell The Greatest Story Ever Told!