Shakespeare Forever! - part 2

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David Loftus
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Shakespeare Forever! - part 2

Postby David Loftus » Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:57 am

I've been cast as Macduff in an early summer, twilight production of "Macbeth" that will be staged outdoors in a concrete-and-grass urban park. So it's not the lead, but I get to kill him. Shakespeare's stage directions say I carry his body off, but I hope I won't have to do that.

The other Shakespeare-in-the-Parks show, for the latter half of the summer, is "The Merry Wives of Windsor." Not sure I want to be in that one. It's a crappy play.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Thu Apr 13, 2006 11:05 pm

Bite your tongue, Loftus. When you can write as well as William, then you can bitch. Maybe he was having a bad day; one of his servile wenches wouldn't put out or something.

rich

Re: Shakespeare Forever! - part 2

Postby rich » Fri Apr 14, 2006 3:43 am

David Loftus wrote:I've been cast as Macduff...


Didn't he also take a 'bite out of crime'? Are you gonna wear a trenchcoat and bark?

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Michael D. Blum
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Postby Michael D. Blum » Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:57 am

Congrats, David - great role, great play. I was fortunate enough to play Banquo several years back - had the time of my life. Play on, Macduff!
"When you're on stage, it's not about being judged - it's all about trying to say something that you really need to say."
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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:51 pm

From the womb untimely ripped? Cool.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:40 pm

I'm quite sure our Harlan had his suitcase packed, when he rode out from the womb.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu May 11, 2006 12:54 pm

FrankChurch wrote:Bite your tongue, Loftus. When you can write as well as William, then you can bitch. Maybe he was having a bad day; one of his servile wenches wouldn't put out or something.


Have you read it? Have you seen it?

I suppose strong actors and great staging could make it memorable, but on the page it strikes me as warmed-over Chaucer.

It was a hack job written specifically to please the queen.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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markabaddon
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Congrats

Postby markabaddon » Thu May 11, 2006 1:31 pm

David, congrats on your being cast in "the Scottish play". I need to check to see what Shakespeare in the Park productions are scheduled here in the Twin Cities.

Just saw the final production of Hamlet over at the Guthrie theater and it prompted me to re-read the original play (and while I was at it I also re-read Macbeth).

Their interpretation was different from how I view the play. The supporting charaters were very good, but they chose to play Hamlet as this manic almost childlike nutjob, and I always saw him as much more mature. Still meshuganah, but a scholar and not prone to running around the stage flailing his arms wildly.

Also, and this is a small point but it annoyed me, they did not have him dressed completely in black. The text of the play often refers to Hamlet's inky cloak, and he was dressed in a dark grey suit.

I am probably just over-analyzing this one, as I am prone to do with Shakespeare.

Anyway, lay on Macduff, and good luck again

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Postby Michael D. Blum » Fri May 26, 2006 12:08 am

Hey, theater fans - I have been long away doing the directing and producing thing, but the latest news is I just signed on to direct Ray Bradbury's "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" for the end of August! Rights are being acquired, contracts signed, designers hired - I'm back in the saddle again, and it feels GOOD. Anyone fancy a road trip in August?

best to all,
Michael
"When you're on stage, it's not about being judged - it's all about trying to say something that you really need to say."

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Postby David Loftus » Fri May 26, 2006 10:17 am

Michael D. Blum wrote:Hey, theater fans - I have been long away doing the directing and producing thing, but the latest news is I just signed on to direct Ray Bradbury's "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" for the end of August! Rights are being acquired, contracts signed, designers hired - I'm back in the saddle again, and it feels GOOD. Anyone fancy a road trip in August?



Oh, man. I'd sure love to, but I'll be recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery that I'm currently putting off until "Macbeth" closes. (I'm already chewing up a lot of scenery in rehearsals and yelling myself hoarse, and we're still three weeks from opening.)

There's also a strong chance I've already been cast in a brand-new play (still being written; I've participated in public readings of working drafts of it twice now) about a Mexican-American lawyer/teacher who becomes a medicine man under the tutelage of an old Guatemalan-Mayan shaman. If so, that starts rehearsals in August and opens in September.

But what a great opportunity, Michael! I'm hearing that the idea for the show did not originate with you, is that right?

(I'm on the downhill side of Sam Weller's recent bio of Bradbury. . . .)
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby David Loftus » Wed May 31, 2006 3:45 pm

Things are humming along nicely in Macbeth rehearsals. I don't know whether I mentioned that the director cast Duncan's two sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, as daughters -- so the armies that march against Macbeth late in the play are led by a manly female, who is really getting into the role after the disappointment of not having been cast as Lady Macbeth.

Also, something I only realized in last night's rehearsal when I saw the scene played for the first time: the director substituted another character, not just a doubled actor, for the messenger who brings Macbeth the bad news that Birnam Wood is marching on Dunsinane. I've usually seen this messenger played as a terrified geek, and was puzzled when I saw a young woman in the cast playing it sneeringly, gloatingly. Slowly it dawned on me that she was the ghost of Lady Macduff, who was of course slaughtered mercilessly by Macbeth's men a few scenes earlier. There's a note to strike an extra gong of fear in our hero's heart!

By the way, I am now also in rehearsals for the next recording in the Speak-the-Speech.com series -- Henry IV, part 1. I'll be voicing the Earl of Northumberland (Hotspur's dad) and Sir Richard Vernon as well as the odd carrier and messenger.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby Duane » Wed May 31, 2006 6:44 pm

David Loftus wrote:Things are humming along nicely in Macbeth rehearsals.....


So much for that Macbeth curse, eh? Not afraid of tempting the Fates by mentioning the name of that particular Scottish play, are we? My hair's standing on end portending an imminent lightning strike and all I'm doing is pointing it out.

Scuze me whilst I take cover....

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Duane
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Postby Duane » Wed May 31, 2006 7:39 pm

...arthroscopic knee surgery...


Been there and back again. Tore my ACL during a pickup game of Ultimate Frisbee three years ago. On my 40th birthday, of all days. I thought the whole adage "give it up and retire to the recliner, old man!" had come home to roost. I had faked out a much younger player and had schooled him, but landed wrong after making the catch.

One knee surgery later, three years on, and I'm back on the field again, but I've learned to apply more finesse to my game and to not sweat the occasional schooling that comes my way. Let the young'ins run themselves stupid. I'll be Gretzky, somehow looking forward into time and staying one step ahead of the slump-browed muscle machines.

The poor knee aches after every game, though. I guess you can't have everything!

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Postby David Loftus » Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:20 am

Duane wrote:
David Loftus wrote:Things are humming along nicely in Macbeth rehearsals.....


So much for that Macbeth curse, eh? Not afraid of tempting the Fates by mentioning the name of that particular Scottish play, are we? My hair's standing on end portending an imminent lightning strike and all I'm doing is pointing it out.

Scuze me whilst I take cover....



Technically, you're not supposed to invoke the name while inside a theater, but no, I have absolutely no concern about that superstition -- or just about any other -- and neither does pretty much anyone else in my cast, from what I've been able to tell. We should be in the clear, so to speak, anyway, since we're rehearsing in the cafeteria of a engineering firm on the fifth floor of an office building, and the play will be staged outdoors in an urban park. Not a theater in sight.

I'm curious about how this supersitition came to be. Everybody seems to know about it; nobody seems to know where it came from. I'm guessing a series of leads coincidentally suffered accidents and gave rise to the superstition, but who? And when? And where? Early 20th century? 19th? British? American? . . . .

Maybe I'll investigate this.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Postby David Loftus » Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:03 pm

Some really cool things developing in rehearsals. Last night was especially rewarding.

There's a scene just after the murder of Duncan -- Act 2 scene 4, I think -- that is mostly just expository and kind of boring. Ross and an Old Man talk about how many unnatural events have occurred since the Great Chain has been disrupted by the murder of a monarch, and then Macduff comes in to explain a few other things. It's a pretty dry scene after the humor of the Porter scene and then the excitement of the discovery of the murder.

The director had already decided a week or more ago to make the Old Man blind (partly a physical appearance thing, since the actor playing him has already appeared on stage not long before as Duncan AND the Porter).

But last night, he decided to try setting the scene in a men's bathroom, with the blind old man as towel attendant and Ross and Duncan miming pissing in the urinals (upstage, away from the audience) and washing their hands in the sinks (downstage, facing the audience). Remember, we are doing a gangs-in-suits interpretation of "Macbeth," so we're looking for opportunities to make it more urban and gritty. The director said he was 95 percent sure it wasn't going to work . . . but it did!

Having so much physical activity to concentrate on gave us a lot more focus, and will hold the audience's attention better, as they watch in order to figure out everything we're doing -- washing hands, unzipping and zipping, taking towels from the old man, returning them, digging out a tip to toss in his bowl, etc.

I'm having a lot of fun with this.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus


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