An actor speaks out about “Shakespeare, Abridged”!

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Aral Gribble, currently starring in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged, shares his version of the exciting tech week we just went through, including how we accidentally installed the set 8 inches away from where it was supposed to be! 🙂

Well, I’m writing this on my day off, Monday, (which, by the way, is AWESOME! Actor’s NEVER get a “case of the Mondays”) because I actually have time to write today.

To be honest, I thought re-staging this show would be a little easier than it was…physically. Mentally, it was great! No real problems adjusting the blocking or figuring out costume changes and traffic patterns backstage, but physically…well, let me sum up: I rolled an ankle, Tony bumped his head, Kevin majorly skinned his knee (even though it was during tape-ball and not a run) and I think Keith saw his life flash before his eyes going down what is deceitfully being referred to as a staircase behind the set. The lack of space and the abundance of action in this play create the possibility for some REAL comedy. Real painful comedy. Although, the funniest moment, to me, was about a week and a half ago when they moved the set in and I went out to check out the amount of space we had to work with behind the set. We knew it would be tighter than Tipping Point, so we all just wanted to make sure I fit.

I didn’t.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m what physicians refer to as “Obese.” Somewhere along the line calculations got miscalculated and where they thought they were 3 inches short on the set placement…they were 8. I showed up, and before Tony had the chance to tell me this, I was sucking in my gut and squeezing my chubby self between the set and the wall, mumbling “make it work…make it work.” After coming to the realization that I couldn’t do this show in that little space unless one of our props was the jaws of life, I told Tony, “This ain’t gonna work.” But no worries. Tony and the construction crew had realized this a few hours earlier: A few minor adjustments later and there’s room backstage for me AND Keith to pass by each other to get to our spots (even though we still suck in our guts when we do it)…and it’s all totally worth it. I LOVE my job. Is it easy? Not always, but through the buckets of sweat, the bruises and the burning calves, one fact remains: there is NOTHING I would rather be doing. I can’t imagine living a life behind a desk, or a counter, or in a boardroom. I would go insane. I mean, I love my job so much that on my day off, I’m sitting here writing about it because I can’t stop thinking about how lucky I am. So thank you Tony, for giving me the best job ever.

Oh, one last side note: MVP award goes to the unsung hero, Josh, our Assistant Stage Manager, who’s backstage helping w/ props & costumes. Without him, there is no show…and nobody even knows he’s there. All right. That’s all for now. I’m gonna go enjoy the rest of my day off by hanging out in my boxer-briefs on the couch eating ice cream, putting on all the weight I lost over the weekend. See you @ the SHOW! (well, I’d better, or I’ll hunt you down…I know where you live…)

Aral Gribble
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
The Williamston Theatre

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