Monday, March 30, 2009

Monologue Monday - Macbett by Eugene Ionesco

I haven't been able to deliver a Monologue Monday in a bit, I've decided to give you a two-fer today. Both are from the play Macbett by Ionesco, which is a sort of bizarre retelling of Macbeth.

The first is one that I've actually used several times. It's the part of Soldier, who shows up for this monologue and that's about it. He's just coming from a battle. I feel like this one is pretty self explanatory.

I don't know. I was just coming out of the pub and a sergeant on horseback lassoed me. My mates were lucky. They got away. I tried to resist, but they hit me over the head, tied me up and carried me off. They gave me a sword. Oh, I seem to have dropped it somewhere. And a pistol. (He puts the pistol to his head and pulls the trigger.) Out of ammunition. Must have fired it all. There were a load of us out there on the field and they made us shout "Long live Glamiss and Candor."

And then they shot at us, and we shot at them.

And then they took us prisoner. And then they told me if you want to keep a head on your shoulders, you'd better join us. They told us to shout, "Down with Gandor, Down with Glamiss." And then we shot at them and they shot at us. I was hit several times, wounded in the thigh, and then I guess I fell down. Then I woke up and the battle was still going on a long way away. There was nothing but heaps of dying men all around me.
So, as I said, I started walking; and my right leg is hurting, and my left leg is hurting, and I'm losing blood from the wound in my thigh. And then I got here... That's all I've got to say --- except that I'm still bleeding.

The second one is Macbett himself during the analogue of the dinner scene from Macbeth. In this one, the ghost of Duncan appears to Macbett and all his party guests. Macbett is pretty nonplussed, but his guests are freaking out. This is his reaction to that. I've cut this one together, a but, but I think it flows pretty well, all things considered.

You didn't believe Banco was real, but you seem to believe that Duncan exists all right and is sitting there in the throne. Is it because he was your sovereign that you've grown used to paying him homage and holding him in awe? Now it's my turn to say, "It's only a ghost." (To Duncan) As you can see, I've taken your throne. And I've taken your wife. All the same, I served you well and you distrusted me. (To his guests) Get back to your places. (He draws his dagger.) Quickly. You have no king here but me. You pay homage to me now.
(To Duncan) I don't want to see you again till you've been forgiven by the thousands of soldier I slaughtered in your name, and till they have been pardoned in their turn by the thousands of women that they raped, and by the thousands of children and peasants they killed.

Go on, shoo! you silly old ghost.

Maybe that one is a little intense, but I love the juxtaposition of the rape and murder with the "Shoo, you silly old ghost." To me, hilarious.


Today is Atlanta Unifieds! I love auditions. Today, I will be judged only by what I bring into the room. If you're following my Twitter, you've seen this already, but allow me to expound upon it a little.

At auditions, it doesn't really matter what you've done before. It doesn't matter what you can do, how well you can dress, what else has been going on in your life. None of that. All that matters is what you bring into the room. What you show them. I love that. I love the challenge. It's freeing. To be able to look a group of people who, in some cases, may have my financial future (Really, most certainly, my Atlanta future...) in their hands, and say, "This is what I am today. Nothing more. Nothing less." I love the calm that overtakes me. I love the sense of competition that I get. I love listening to music before I go on stage and I love the feeling of being wholly and 100% myself, while being wholly someone else. Someone who I'm not entirely comfortable with. Someone who hasn't had the chance to find out exactly who they are in the world with a month of rehearsal with a cast. It falls on my shoulders and mine alone. And I love that feeling.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

"Really cool event"

So, if you folks really want to see me act (read: have a script in my hands and desperately struggle to make eye contact with my fellow actor and audience), but simply can't wait the week for Hamlet, come on out to the Tavern March 30th. I'll let the press release do the rest of the heavy lifting. More from me after.

The Atlanta Shakespeare Company cordially invites you to a really cool event on
March 30th, from 7 to 8:30 pm

Tiffany Stern, Professor of Early Modern Drama (Oxford University) and Beaverbrook and Bouverie Fellow and Tutor in English (University College) will be visiting Georgia the last week of March, under the aegis of the Pierce Program at Oxford College of Emory University, and is giving an informal talk at the Shakespeare Tavern on her research on Shakespeare and original practices in Elizabethan theatre. Her areas of interest include Shakespeare, Early Modern Theatre and Early Modern Texts. She is the author of several books, including Rehearsal from Shakespeare to Sheridan, Making Shakespeare: From Page to Stage and Shakespeare in Parts.

Join Professor Stern, ASC Artistic Director Jeff Watkins, Director of Education and Training Laura Cole and some of your favorite Tavern actors as they take part in an informal presentation with Professor Stern on her research into Shakespeare’s rehearsal processes, performances and texts. A lively discussion is sure to follow and will include acting demonstrations of our style.

This is going to be really cool for all you Shakespeare geeks out there!

If you have enjoyed the style of performance the Tavern specializes in, or would like to know more about Tavern rehearsal processes, how we mount each show, what goes on in the rehearsal hall and why our shows are performed the way they are, you should not miss this opportunity!

This is a free and casual event but please RSVP to our box office at or 404-874-5299 ext. 0. (Food not available, but the bar will be open! House opens at 6:30pm)

So, yeah, I'll be doing that. I'll even be performing with my former partner, Tiffany Porter, who I haven't acted straight on with since Twelfth Night. Actually...we didn't even really act head on in

But, yeah, come out. Have a beer. Listen to an important scholar. Watch me try to memorize a line or two before we go on stage. It'll be fun.

EDIT: I will now also be acting with Drew Reeves in a scene from Cymbeline. The very same scene I did for my final scene night as an apprentice...but on the other side, as Posthumus as opposed to Iachimo. It's going to be difficult, because I hated Posthumus so much. I've got, like, three days to figure out why and how I feel for him. Oh...and memorize the lines. Some folks aren't lucky to have a photographic memory. Hate you, Abby... HATE YOU!

Not really, folks. We actually had a very good time at the Cut Copy / Matt and Kim show last night. But that is neither here nor there. I need to work on lines.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"...and I was wondering if every Dairy Queen blizzard must suddenly seem a little sweeter."

I just Googled myself (Oh please...act like you've never done it...) and discovered that this blog is the third thing to come up. I feel like that puts some pressure on me...

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite piece of media this week, which is where my headline comes from. Slate has been incrementally covering my favorite show, Friday Night Lights. Incidentally, you should ALL check it out. It's wonderful television. I'll let you borrow season one if you want... Anyway, I digress. Even though one of the people covering it is Emily Bazelon, who I have SUCH a nerdy crush on, I've got to say that Meghan O'Rourke has taken the cake for a beautiful paragraph she wrote about the most recent episode. I'm going to quote it here, but I feel very strongly that you should go check out the piece which is located right here and is called The Joy and Melancholy of Being a High-School Senior.

Meanwhile, everyone is growing up and preparing to move on. Somehow, this episode really caught the flavor of senior-year joy and melancholy: the way that suddenly you feel adult, replete in the new sensations of independence, and at the same time feel the pangs of change. A new life is just around the corner for a lot of these people—even if it's just the new life of being post-high school in Dillon, without a job. I spent this past week in West Texas, a couple of hundred miles from the real place that Buzz Bissinger wrote about in Friday Night Lights; the seniors in town had been getting their acceptance letters, and you could feel that same sense of nervy excitement around them. Things were going to change. I remember that feeling, and I was wondering if every Dairy Queen Blizzard must suddenly seem a little sweeter.

People often ask me about my hometown. About why it means what it means to me, and, somehow, this paragraph encapsulates everything about home that I love. It makes me ache for home and for the simple joys of a life well lived. While you're over on Slate, I'd also recommend her wonderful series on grief called The Long Goodbye.

What does she say is the best thing to read while grieving? It's obvious, isn't it? Hamlet.

Hamlet is going well. We're about a week away from tech, which always shocks me when it happens. Especially this time around, when, even though I only missed one day, I feel like I'm coming in mid-stride. I'm incredibly busy, driving from day job straight to rehearsals on many days, not having much time to get anything other than fast food to eat. But this week is going to be a cake walk compared to next week. What's so bad about next week, you ask? Well, I've got Kidstuf rehearsal, inventory at my day job, Hamlet tech-ing and opening AND, to top it all off, Atlanta Unified auditions.

I'm excited about Atlanta Unifieds. I mean, first off, I'm grateful that I got in. There are many talented performers, people I think are fantastic, who are on the outside looking in this year, so I'm happy to have slipped through. I'll be using the same set of monologues I used at UPTA, so I won't really have to worry about time. I don't know, man. I just like auditioning.

Speaking of, I've got a couple of out of town auditions coming up, both of which are going to require me driving all night to audition in another state in the morning. Oh, what we do for our (jobs) art.

Nothing on the horizon in Atlanta. It looks like this summer is going to be quiet. I'll be going home to be in a friend's wedding ($160 is just too much to pay for a rented tux, am I right?) and at least I'll be available for Kidstuf and reThink.

There is much to be grateful for. Much.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Tavern Story in the AJC. Not necessarily the story we would like to have...

I feel that I need to mention this...

If you can cut loose $20, we'll take it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sorry for the absence

Real life has intruded pretty heavily on my blogging. I've had some pretty serious things happen in the past few weeks. If you care to know anything about them, feel free to e-mail me. I find that I tend to be pretty open about most things. I just hesitate putting them here, even though I know it would be good for me, in a way.

I never got to talk about the last Kidstuf we did! Sadly, I probably won't, at this point, since much of the high has worn off. But, suffice it to say, it was (no exaggeration) one of the best artistic experiences of my entire life. I think so much of it is because I'm essentially playing myself. Sure, there are bits and pieces where I'm some guy with a zany hat on, and obviously we're dealing with a sort of heightened reality, but I'm just Jacob... Which was why it was so emotional. And rewarding.

I just wrapped up rehearsal for Hamlet, which is a lot of fun, thus far. Obviously, nice to be back in the building. Nice to see my friends. Nice to be in ATL, ya know?

I've got a couple of out of town general auditions set up for the next couple of months and they BOTH involve all night driving after a performance of Hamlet. I'm such a dummy... But an active dummy is better than a lazy one.

I need to find a monologue from Midsummer. Maybe one of the lovers?

I've got a lot in my head right now. Maybe it'll all fall out eventually, but for now, I'll see you on the other side.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Story of Jacob and The Dog

Even this blog post has backstory.

So, I felt like I needed to post SOMETHING. Please note, I'm still reeling from Kidstuf and there's a chance that I'll talk about it more at a later date. But, this weekend is very high stress for me, so we'll just have to see when that happens. Just know that when I post about it, it's probably not a good thing. Also, Hamlet starts next week, so I'll have stuff to talk about.

But, until then, here's this story. Redd, at one point asked for some Embarrassing or Awesome stories for the Shakespeare Tavern blog. The only one that I could think of was this story from my time at Double JJ. She never ended up doing the blog post, but my tale was so very long, I figured I'd use it. So, enjoy. PLEASE NOTE - Some language used is not suitable for children. Kidstuf fans - Please avert your eyes.

I was at the Double JJ Ranch and Resort for one summer where I worked on staff as "Entertainment". That title covered a lot of ground, from setting up the mechanical bull to working on a rifle and bow range to performance. Even the performance was varied. Throughout the week, we would perform in stunt shows, a children's theatre piece, an improv show, and a country and rock musical revue (I know, right? I still know all the words to "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)"). But, since our entertainment managers were former (Current again? Nice! Go check out Jason Leyva's website, especially if you're in Oklahoma.) theatre people themselves, they also had, during the summer, a legit theatre day. It was performed in one of the several bars on property called "The Silver Dollar". They tended toward longer one-acts, so that one week, we could have James McLure's "Laundry and Bourbon" or "Lone Star", another "Jack and Jill" by Jane Martin. It was an odd collection, and once a play was out of the rehearsal phase, they would toss it on the schedule on occasion, just to keep it sharp.

I tell you all this to set the background for my one moment of glory(?). One of the reasons I came to Double JJ was to do Albee's "The Zoo Story". It's a seminal play in Albee's career, and just a great piece of work for two men. The other actor, Matt Waldrep, and myself took turns on occasion. One day he'd be Peter and I'd be Jerry and vice versa. On this particular day, I'd be playing Jerry, the guy who carries the lion's share of the text. It had been a bit before we had put it up, and recently I had been playing Peter, so I wasn't as solid as I could have been on the lines. I spent all day going over it, trying to make sure it was in there. By the time I got to The Silver Dollar, the emotion I felt was very similar to going on as an understudy during my apprenticeship here. Sort of unprepared, but excited for the challenge. But unprepared. Did I mention that?

When I got on stage, things were going alright...they ticked along just fine for a bit, but something began to stick in my head. Someone had a dog in their car outside. And he was barking. Loudly. And constantly. Now, we're talking about a play that clocks in at around 45 - 50 minutes. Not too long of a time, but imagine a dog barking through that. Seriously imagine it. The longer the dog barked, the more my performance began to suffer. This was when I was a far less disciplined actor than the rock of consistency that you know and love, so I was really letting this dog get to me. It got even worse when I got to the largest section of Jerry's text, fittingly enough entitled, "The Story of Jerry and the Dog." The dog outside just started getting more and more insistent, louder, and my monologue began to get more incomprehensible. Finally, I broke down to the point where I stopped, mid-line, and yelled, "Will someone PLEASE shut that f***ing dog up!" I took a quick breath and continued on with the remainder of the line.

After my outburst, I saw one guy look back to the door, slowly sidle outside, and the dog stopped barking. I finished the rest of the show without incident, but it was the first time I had ever dropped character like that in front of an audience. NOT something I intend to do again, but, man...I gotta admit, it was liberating.

So...there it is. The story of Jacob and the Dog.

If you ever need someone who has done absurdist theatre on a ranch, you give me a call.