Well, a new season is beginning and as I have stated before on the blog in A New Theatre Season is Upon Us (https://asota.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/a-new-theatre-season-is-upon-us/) there are plenty of good shows to choose from as an actor. I thought I would try for something up at Noblesville’s Belfry Theatre. I have always liked the folks who people that theatre – I have written before how there is a real ‘family’ feeling there.

So in the last week or so, I have auditioned for, got cast in and started rehearsals for The Mouse That Roared. Some of you may recall the Peter Sellers film of that title from back in 1959 (when I was just 10 years old). It has been on television a few times, and it was remarkable because Sellers played 3 roles in the film – the old monarch of Grand Fenwick, Grand Duchess Gloriana; the prime minister, Count Mountjoy; and the hero of the film, young Tully Bascom. I was pleased to get the part of Mountjoy – it gives me a chance to work on an interesting character that I can really throw some ideas into.

I was also pleased that I get to work with director Ryan Shelton again. This will be our 4th show together – I have asst. directed a show he acted in (Don’t Dress for Dinner), have shared the stage with him (My Three Angels), and have been directed by him previously (Fools), all at The Belfry. We get along great and as a director, he will let one try things until the final product is hammered out.

When I get a role like this, where the interpretation is wide open – I have to ask myself a number of questions: first, what does he look like? Well, he looks like me, of course – but he is an important man in a tiny European country and we are setting the play in the 1980’s….so I figure he has a bit of facial hair, and his age can be exactly my age (so the gray hair works). I plan on either growing some facial hair or using a fake mustache. Next, what does he sound like? I think from what the script gives me, he looks down his nose at a lot of people and their ideas. Thinking about those aspects I remembered the vocal quality of William F. Buckley Jr. – a snobbish, soft, precise, and self-assured air comes through with that voice – so I have been working on that, which is difficult because not all the lines work when I use that snobbish quality, but I figure I will have a derivative of that prepared to go with. Lastly, at this early stage, how does he move? It feels right to have him be very demonstrative in his expressiveness – so I will try to incorporate a bit more hand and body movement than usual. These are all just starting points, of course, so we’ll see if the resulting character is anywhere near where I started assembling him.

So right now the drill is, block a scene or two – memorize those scenes. So far I am on schedule. Not ready to go without a book in my hand right yet, but I will hope to get to that point soon. Anyway, the process has started!

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