Thoughts from another “Shakespeare, Abridged” actor!

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Keith Kalinowski recently appeared in our production of PANACHE, and will begin performances at the Williamston tomorrow night for THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, ABRIDGED!

I thought we had a pretty good rehearsal yesterday. The show flowed from beginning to end, and some new discoveries were found, which is always a plus. After you have been doing a show for so long, like we have, you start to get too comfortable and you forget that the audience will be seeing the show for the first time. Tony has frequently told us to just “tell the story,” and that’s really what its all about. Communication. If you keep it simple, the audience will gladly go along for the ride.

But along with “telling the story” comes “Wow, this stage is a lot harder than the one at Tipping Point. I’m going to break my arm!” or “Why is it so HOT up here on the balcony?”

But, we’re actors. And an actors job is to change. Change costumes. Change characters. Change within a character. The set is a bit different at Williamston in that we dont have the backstage space we had over at Tipping Point, so all of our costume changes need to be done in the wings. Consequently, there are a few costume changes that are a bit hairy, requiring me to say a line, exit the stage, make sure I dont fall off the balcony, throw my helmet down to our Assistant Stage Manager while flying down a very narrow “flight of stairs”, put on a another hat, slip on Polonius’ overcoat, grab his cane, and re-enter the stage all in about 10 seconds. Its about 95% repetition and 5% luck, but when its done well its the proverbial “theatre magic.” Tony was commenting the other night about a show he was working on where they actually sold tickets to patrons so they could sit backstage and watch all the commotion. I think that would be a great way to experience a show, and It’s something that should be done more often…giving the audience a little peek into our world.

We’ve got one more rehearsal tonight and then it’s Previews. We’re looking great and I can’t wait to put it up in front of an audience. Its the kind of show thats a bear to rehearse and repeat, but once it gets in front of people and they get to hear those words for the first time and (hopefully) bust a gut laughing, you realize that its what we, as actors, live for. We get to tell stories and make people forget about the economy, or the job market, or whatever they come to the theatre to escape from.

Now the only thing we need to do is put some bubble wrap under the stage….

Keith Kalinowski
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Abridged
The Williamston Theatre

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