Jessie Mutz, Managing Director, waves goodbye

Jessie

Jessie Mutz, Managing Director of the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, is picking up and moving back to Florida to further her education. It’s an exciting future, and I (like everyone) wish her the best. Parting is such sweet sorrow, though.

Jessie first met the Unrehearsed World in Summer of 2010. She attended and observed our ReUp, then watched our Chicago debut: Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest. She immediately expressed interest in spreading the technique, fostering classes, and performing more.

This was a dark time for Unrehearsed Shakespeare. Virtually every aspect was managed by one man: me. I had all the company props and costume pieces in my car, since I was homeless. It was a full year before I had the security I needed to produce another show (Shrewthello: Taming of the Shrew and Othello). Jessie was onboard from the get-go, spearheading our advertising, discussing recruitment opportunities, and very happy to finally perform the technique onstage after waiting a full year.

Jessie in her debut as Curtis in Taming of the Shrew

Jessie in her Unrehearsed debut as Curtis in Taming of the Shrew, with Danny Pancratz as Grumio. Photo by John McDaris, Jr.

Most of us were introduced to Unrehearsed via the annual Bard in the Barn festival in Macomb, IL. Even though we’d performed four additional shows in our final year of Grad school, we were still used to getting to perform Unrehearsed just once a year.

Without Jessie Mutz, things may well have stayed that way.

Both our 2010 debut and our 2011 Shrewthello had insular audiences. We weren’t reaching new people (we didn’t even make Facebook events!), and even some of our base was dwindling. In 2012, thanks in no small part to Jessie, we finally started to grow.

Collaboration is how companies thrive, and we kicked that off with Blunt Objects’ Shakespeare I Love You. We worked with four other companies to produce Pericles, each of us handling one of the five acts. Thanks to Jessie, we greatly expanded our notoriety in Chicago with this single performance.

Then we went on a Pirate Ship! With the Tall Ship Windy, we got to perform an hour-long cutting of Comedy of Errors at Navy Pier.

Jessie as Luciana in Bard on the Boat! Opposite her friend and mentor Tiza Garland as Adriana

Jessie as Luciana in Bard on the Boat! Opposite her friend and mentor Tiza Garland as Adriana

It wasn’t until Comedy of Errors that we became a real company, I think. We started having regular meetings (often hosted by Jessie), responsibilities were divvied up and assigned (often to Jessie), and the freedom of delegation allowed us all to thrive in our specific areas of expertise. Imagine producing a show with no design budget and little-to-no control over a cast of 12-to-16 actors, and you can imagine the frustration that was magically lifted from my shoulders, thanks to Jessie.

Probably my favorite photo. Jessie and me at a ReUp before Bard in the Barn 2012

Probably my favorite photo. Jessie and me with Brian Elliott at a ReUp before Bard in the Barn 2012. Photo by John McDaris, Jr.

Along with all these heavy responsibilities (she consistently handled the most mundane and arduous tasks), Jessie has also performed major roles in many of our shows. And deservedly so: there are few actors who so quickly take to the rapid pace, powerful energy, and deep commitment that Unrehearsed requires; or at least, that good Unrehearsed requires.

In 2012, Zack Meyer and I took over a flagging Bard in the Barn festival in Macomb, and Jessie was cast as Rosalind in As You Like It: the largest female role in a single play and the largest Comedic lead in the canon. Preparations for As You Like It were frequently eclipsed by Antony & Cleopatra, the other show in the festival. Despite all this, and despite scheduling and managing text sessions for two shows at once, and despite hosting and managing track proofing sessions, she still managed to deliver a powerful and dynamic performance.

Jessie as Rosalind/Ganymede in As You Like It, assertively interacting with an audience member

Jessie as Rosalind/Ganymede in As You Like It, assertively interacting with an audience member

Oh! and later that year we staged Comedy of Errors again. TheaterRED in Milwaukee put up Bard in the Bandshell, and Jessie performed her first male lead: Antipholus of Syracuse, where (among other things) she got to beat up a Dromio that outweighed her by about a hundred pounds of muscle.

Jessie as Antipholus of Syracuse, practicing some violence with Christopher Elst as Dromio of Ephesus

Jessie as Antipholus of Syracuse, practicing some violence with Christopher Elst as Dromio of Ephesus

2012 was a good year for us, where we sowed and reaped a lot from our new friends in the biz. But in 2013, things really started to explode.

The low overhead of Unrehearsed shows makes it easier to put up productions, and in 2013 we produced nine shows: productions both in Chicago and Milwaukee, small staged readings of new verse plays, and even a high school workshop in Carbondale that Jessie and I ran (thanks to friend and gifted Unrehearser, Ben Ponce). In 2013 alone, Jessie played Viola, Hipolyta, Beatrice, the Host of the Garter (AND Anne Page), AND Lady MacBeth. All in a single year!

Jessie as Hipolyta in Midsummer Night's Dream

Jessie as Hipolyta in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Corey DiNardo

2014 is a bit slower, but she still managed to knock Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Julius Caesar, and Juliet herself off the ol’ Shakespeare bucket-list.

"Ay me..."

Jessie in the Balcony Scene. Photo by Jill Meyer

I’ve frequently said that genius exists in small moments. Jessie’s “Banishment” Monolog in Romeo & Juliet was one of those moments. Her combination of physicality and psychological gesture, her commitment to emotional truth without sacrificing technique, her language, her refusal to judge, and her connection with herself and others, is a rare privilege to observe in Theater. And this was at least 90 minutes in, just when exhaustion starts to set in (and after the crowd-pleasing Mercutio and Tybalt are gone), and less experienced actors might start to flag or fail.

The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company is suffering a serious loss, but we have grown so much stronger because of Jessie, that we will continue to flourish and grow stronger. And while I hope deeply that she will still be able to attend and perform in some of our shows, I am heartened by the ever-increasing number of actors who show a genuine interest in the technique and freedom and personal growth we can offer. None of this would have been possible without her, and I wouldn’t be the artist I am without her.

Jessie Mutz is a gift to any person or institution that meets her, and I hope Florida appreciates what it has.

If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
Injurious distance should not stop my way;
For then despite of space I would be brought,
From limits far remote where thou dost stay.
No matter then although my foot did stand
Upon the farthest earth removed from thee;
For nimble thought can jump both sea and land
As soon as think the place where he would be.
But ah! thought kills me that I am not thought,
To leap large lengths of miles when thou art gone,
But that so much of earth and water wrought
I must attend time’s leisure with my moan,
Receiving nought by elements so slow
But heavy tears, badges of either’s woe.

-Sonnet 44

By for now, Jessie!

By for now, Jessie!

Unrehearsed Workshops finally return to Chicago

Contact jared@unrehearsedchicago.com for more info

Contact jared@unrehearsedchicago.com for more info

At last! This July, the Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company will be offering workshops for new students. Focusing on the Basics, Partnering, Physicality, Storytelling, and preparation, this series will even offer a Masters Class where experienced vets will share with newcomers (and each other) their unique approaches to performing the technique.

Approach Shakespeare with a sense of fun, focus, teamwork, and discovery! For years, the Unrehearsed Technique has been helping actors learn to derive clear motivation and tactics from their text, build dynamically meaningful relationships quickly, react honestly to the unexpected, tell an immediately recognizable story to the audience, and leave their inhibitions at the door.

If you wish to be added to our list of potential students, please contact jared@unrehearsedchicago.com with your contact information.

Eyes on Actors: Glen Wall

Glen Wall in King John

Glen has been performing Unrehearsed Shakespeare since its Illinois inception at Western Illinois University.

Q: You’ve played some enormous roles (Richard III, Coriolanus) as well as supporting (Pistol, Borachio). Does your approach differ depending on the size of the role? What about the role’s notoriety?
GLEN: To answer the last question first, no. Big, small, famous, infamous, or second spear carrier from the left, I treat all my roles similarly and give them much the same approach. That said, with the larger roles I do more work determining what the most important words, concepts, and thoughts are and then give those items more attention and detail because if everything a larger role says has equal value then they tend to get bogged down and slow the process of the play which is probably the biggest sin of unrehearsed (that and not crossing to whom you are speaking), the show must go on despite Richard’s two-page monologue. And I often find the smaller roles more fun, Shakespeare gave some of his best one-liners and action moments to his small roles and I find that their specificity of text gives me more time to focus on the detail of their gestural and vocal life.

Q: You’ve performed Unrehearsed out in the open (Bard in the Barn), in larger theaters (Wauwatosa’s Sunset Studio), and the intimate spaces of Chicago bars. Do you have a preference? Does your technique change depending on venue?
GLEN: My only preference is that the venue have a bar, and honestly not just for my sake. I like that we encourage our audience to behave as an Elizabethan audience would and I find that the liquid courage of a couple adult beverages helps our audiences to shake off their modern day “good audience member” habits and really get into the spirit of the performance. Otherwise I have little preference and enjoy the challenges and opportunities that both types of venue present. Outdoors I can generally “act” bigger and use the full expanse of the space to create some very dynamic action and indoors things become much more intimate and I find myself trying to create a much more detailed and nuanced performance. Basically I attempt to fit the scale of my performance to the scale of the venue.

Q: You’ve been doing Unrehearsed for many years. How has your technique changed over the years?
GLEN: Generally speaking the basics of the technique have become so deeply ingrained that I can devote more time to picking out the details of the text. I spend less time fussing over the you/thee and here/there and more time looking at how the vocabulary, verse structure and punctuation in a character’s text can be used to determine their objectives, tactics and state of being. I also find myself looking for every opportunity to speak directly to the audience or to encourage them to become involved in the action of the story as I feel that audience participation and interaction is one of the key components of our unique approach to Shakespeare.

Q: This is your second time performing Unrehearsed Romeo & Juliet. Do you anticipate many differences between this show and the first (2007)?
GLEN: Absolutely. Every show, even within a run, is different from the last, that’s another of the unique and exciting aspects of what we do. Every time I perform a role I get to reinvent (within the context of the technique) what I do and I’m often working with a different set of actors, frequently in a new space. So there’s no question that there will be differences between this run and the last, and that’s a large part of why I keep coming back to do Unrehearsed, even when it’s a show I’ve done before.

Q: Do you have a favorite Unrehearsed role to date?
GLEN: So many favorites, but off the top of my head I have to say playing Olivia in Twelfth Night at ACTF in Milwaukee a few years ago was a highlight, the jokes that Shakespeare wrote for his contemporaries surrounding the gender bending that was required during his time are so much more fun and apparent when it’s a guy playing that particularly lusty and lady-like role. Other favorites of mine include Tybalt from the Bard in the Barn production of R&J (Sixteen lines, 3 fights and a death scene, yes please!), Macduff from our recent production of Macbeth (again, few lines, lots of fights) and Borrachio from Much Ado (c’mon, his name literally means “Drunk” how can that not be fun?).

Who’s Glen gonna play this time? Come find out!

UNREHEARSED ROMEO & JULIET
Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark Street
May 13 @ 7:30 (doors open at 7:00)
May 17 @ 6:00 (doors open at 5:30)
May 20 @ 7:30 (doors open at 7:00)
General seating; Suggested Donation of $5 at the door

Brutus (Glen Wall) defends himself to Antony. (Sydney Ray as Cinna)

Glen as Brutus in Julius Caesar

Everyone Knows the Play But YOU!

Meyer as Richmond (Richard III)

By Zack Meyer

The first time I performed in R&J was the first time Unrehearsed performed it in 2007. I hadn’t read it by that point and the only version I had seen was the Baz Luhrmann film almost a decade earlier (which I mostly slept through). This was only my second time performing in the Unrehearsed style and I was cast as Romeo. I felt fairly confident because I was a hotshot 20 year old and didn’t know any better.

One of the main aspects in prepping to perform in an Unrehearsed show is that you don’t read the play. You rely on the director to give you tools to survive the battle and when the day comes, you charge into the fray.

As I was working with Bill Kincaid on my text session, I noticed scenes (and only my side of them) that I didn’t remember in the movie. Bill kept saying things like, “You don’t know about this scene? Oh, well you’re going to have fun.” He seemed to enjoy the fact that he was working with a relatively blank slate for such a well-known show.

My confidence rapidly started to wane. My insecurities with the style, knowledge of Shakespeare, and performing raged through my head and heart the longer my text session took.

How am I supposed to perform such an iconic role in a show that I, apparently, don’t know at all?! Everyone remotely involved in Theatre knows this show by heart. How had I gotten to my third year of pursuing a college degree in Theatre and let this one slip by?

I brought it up to Bill that I was overwhelmed and nervous to take this role on while feeling so unprepared. He gave me a piece of advice that keeps ringing true the more I perform.

“Trust the text”

Initially, I was livid. It felt like it was a throw away. I wanted the “OK” to secretly read the play and watch the movie so I could brush up on things. I wanted to know what was going to happen to me. I wanted to know the other side of the arguments from my track. But I decided to trust Bill and the text.

I ran my scroll so many times that I burned through 2 pairs of rubber bands.

The day came. We had beautiful weather at the barn compared to the day before but I was sweating bullets. We learned our rehearsed segments and fights. Insecurities ran through my head like, “Why the hell do I fight Danny if he’s not Tybalt?! Am I missing a scene?!”

The audience piled in and Bill took the stage. He gave his normal speech at the beginning promoting our sponsors and explaining what we do.

As Bill was coming to the end I threw up a prayer, triple checked that my scroll was rolled to the beginning, reminded myself to trust the text and “without further ado, Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.” We’re off!

It felt like I was in a pinball machine. Characters were bouncing off each other. Bouncing off of what I’m saying and vice versa. The first scene felt like a blur but slowly the text started locking in with itself. My lines started to make sense when they aligned with the other tracks. The banter back and forth made sense. The musicality of R&J’s sonnet when they first meet finally made sense. We were all one unit. We may have been 16 separate actors but we had come together that day to put on 1 play. We all had a puzzle piece to contribute.

The show ended and we all felt utterly exhausted but satisfied with what we had just created. Looking back on it, I realized what a great piece of advice Bill had given to me, but it was missing an important piece. “Trust the text and trust your cast-mates”.

Now, as the director of this Unrehearsed production of R&J, I can give the same advice that got me through the first. In Unrehearsed, no one is an island even if you’re the only one who doesn’t know the play.

The Players!

Zack as the First Player (Hamlet)

“OMG! Juliet is DEAD! OMG!” or “The moment I Knew I loved Unrehearsed Shakespeare.”

Pancratz as Buckingham (Richard III)

By Danny Pancratz

SPOILER ALERT: Juliet dies in the end. But that’s not what I want to write about. I’m referring to Act 4 when Juliet is found “dead” on the morning of her impending nuptials. When you think about the most realistic reaction by parents to such a horrible (if true) discovery, what does it look like? What does it sound like? Chaos? Screams? Agonizing loss? I’m sure many of you have seen the moment played that way. 

Now look closer at the text: why are there musicians underscoring the moment with happy songs? To add to the tragedy of the moment? Perhaps. But remember that we, the Audience, know the truth: Juliet is alive. 

Now look closely at the speeches of those who found Juliet. Notice the repetition. Notice how what they’re saying isn’t as important as the fact that they are saying something–anything to try to express what they’re feeling. 

It was this scene, this moment, when I went from intrigued by the Unrehearsed Shakespeare method to completely in love. Why? Because Bill Kincaid in an introductory session — as I’ve seen him do in many workshops at theatre festivals — showed the room how Unrehearsed Shakespeare can reveal a more truthful depiction of this moment than modern conventions. He explained how all these things — the repetitive, redundant speeches of woe, the timing of the musicians — are perhaps clues to something bigger that should be happening: overlapping dialogue. 

After all, the actors would not have had full scripts, but merely sides with their lines and cues. The first folio and other editions put the speeches “in order,” but think back to my first question: how would it *truly* look and sound when adults discover the “dead” body of their beloved Juliet? Chaos, right? 

If we use these clues to tweak the accepted cues for the speeches in this scene we get that chaos. No longer are a mother, father, or nurse waiting for their turn to speak. They can all speak at the same time. All that matters is that one of them cues the next important action. This immediate response creates an honest chaos. Not to mention how it saves the actors from having to find other behavior to mask the silence of waiting to speak. 

Now the musicians’ underscoring of dramatic speeches becomes a hilarious cacophony of contradicting emotions. It becomes a scene befitting the first 3 acts before it: funny. And honest to the reality of the scene.  

And the best part if all of this? Overlapping dialogue’s usage is not limited to comedy. If you’ve seen one of our shows, you’ve seen it used in any moment the “Director” (the person who tracked out the roles) discovered clues in the text to make this an option. In this latest edition of R&J we’re starting from scratch. I can’t wait to discover which moments Zack found for us to experiment with overlapping dialogue. I hope you’ll come out to see it too. SPOILER ALERT: It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Danny as Cassio (Othello 2012)

Danny as Cassio (Othello 2012)

 

Romeo & Juliet!

R&J Banner 4

Unrehearsed Shakespeare is ecstatic to announce that the Bard’s best known play is coming to Mary’s Attic this May!

ROMEO & JULIET
Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark Street
May 13 @ 7:30pm
May 17 @ 6:00pm
May 20 @ 7:30pm

Come see the legendary love story play out right among you. Come be something great: the Audience!

The Ides of March Have Come and Gone

Julius Caesar has come and gone. It featured an explosive 3.2 with Mark Antony rising the Romans to an eruptive force. 4.2 showed us fascinating alterations in style based on word usage (and the classic Brutus/Cassius fight). And the Conspirators bathed in red veils in place of blood.

Check out these photos below (taken by Angela Davis. Equipment loaned by iNDie Grant Productions).

Access our Production Photos to find more shots from Julius Caesar.

Eyes on Actors: Robbie Bersano

Robbie

Robbie Bersano, working actor and aging punk, is currently working in “This Is Not a Cure for Cancer” with Collaboraction, running through March 30th.

Q: How did you get involved with Unrehearsed?
ROBBIE: “Jessie invited me to learn the technique and shortly after I was asked to fill in as Verges in Much Ado.”

Q: You’re still fairly new to the technique: has your approach changed much so far? Do you alter your preparation based on comedy vs. tragedy?
ROBBIE: “My approach to Shakespeare in general has changed, looking at the text for clues as to how my character interacts and has opened up my options as far as “acting” choices. As far as comedy vs. tragedy, I tend to look for jokes in comedy that might not be obvious to the audience and find a way to emphasize it without hamming it up.”

Q: One of Unrehearsed’s defining attributes is the lack of the 4th wall. How has that been for you? Is it a challenge to overcome, or is it more liberating for you?
ROBBIE: “I love the lack of 4th wall. It makes sililoquizing much easier when you consider you’re talking directly to the audience. It’s also fun to get them involved, and get them on your side.”

Q: What draws you to Unrehearsed? Do you just love Shakespeare, or is it the freedom? No rehearsals?
ROBBIE: “All of the above. I love the hell out of Shakespeare and I always love a different approach. Unrehearsed is great because you can do it even when you’re already in a show/rehearsals. I also like that I can drink on stage.”

Q: Favorite role?
ROBBIE: “So far, I really enjoyed playing Murder 1 in Mackers. It’s so fun to be evil and have the audience hate you.”

Will you love Robbie or hate him? Come judge for yourself.

JULIUS CAESAR
March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (Just off the Southport Brownline stop)
Doors open at 7:00. Show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

The Revolution will be staged!

Eyes on Actors: Marcee Doherty-Elst

MDoherty_351

Marcee Doherty-Elst is a Milwaukee-based actor and Co-Founder of TheateRED, host of four Unrehearsed shows to date.

Q. How did your Unrehearsed Shakespeare journey begin?
MARCEE: “As part of something incredible – the audience!  My husband, Christopher Elst, did his first Unrehearsed show the year we started dating, so my journey started as an audience member! I found the direct address with the audience engaging and loved being able to discover parts of the text for the first time right alongside the actors performing (one of my most vivid memories is Glen Wall with a green onion at my 1st Unrehearsed performance at Eureka College in Illinois), but quite honestly, the thought of actually performing Unrehearsed really made me nervous.  But, I couldn’t resist the siren call of the scroll – it was just so incredibly obvious how much fun the actors have performing the show and I wanted to experience that energy. Plus, I had gotten to know many of the actors from being in the audience of so many of Christopher’s shows, so I also wanted to have fun onstage alongside them! I was also really interested to learn the technique and see the impact that it would have on my approach to more conventional performance styles.”

Q: So, has Unrehearsed affected your approach at all?
MARCEE: “Definitely. Most markedly I think it has made me a better listener onstage.  Unrehearsed forces you to listen to others onstage and be present in the moment – and, in fact, it depends on it – and I think it is such an important ability. I also think it has taught me better preparation methods – my favorite point to emphasize when talking to people about Unrehearsed Shakespeare is ‘Unrehearsed is not Unprepared!’ On a purely practical note, making a scroll is a great way to learn and run your lines for any show so that has been useful, as well!”

Q: In addition to acting, you’ve watched your fair share of shows before taking up the scroll. Have you noticed much evolution in the technique over the years, or would you say it’s a pretty solid style?
MARCEE: “Very true – Julius Caesar marks the 6th Unrehearsed Shakespeare show I’ve done, but I still think that I’ve been in the audience for more! I think what I’ve noticed is the product of folks becoming more and more expert in the technique, which results in greater creativity and natural charisma in their performance and in finding ways to engage the audience and tell funny and tragic stories with rich gestural choices. Having been in the audience for so many shows, it is fun to watch actors take on larger and more challenging roles than they have in the past and see them Rock It! So, I guess I’d say that the style seems solid but it is evolving as folks become more experienced in that they continue to find ways to add meaning, depth, and frivolity to their performances. It is also very cool to see new faces – the growth of the troupe makes me really excited for the future of Unrehearsed Shakespeare!”

Q: TheateRED has hosted and produced four Unrehearsed productions in Milwaukee. What can you tell us about the future of the company?
MARCEE: “Unrehearsed Shakespeare will always be a part of Theater RED – our very first Theater RED show was an Unrehearsed performance of The Comedy of Errors in Milwaukee, WI.  We performed free, outside in a park and during the opening monologue, the skies opened up and poured rain on us! Our intrepid actors and about 25 brave audience members scrambled under a very small nearby band shell and it was one of the most engaging performances that I remember! Actors and audience were huddled together – it was really fun! Our second Theater RED show (indoors this time) was Twelfth Night, which we performed in January 2013 on twelfth night, was a huge success with almost 100 people in Milwaukee experiencing Unrehearsed Shakespeare for the first time – it was electric! We’ve also produced Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Merry Wives of Windsor and again had great audiences and a lot of fun – it is great to see audience members coming back for Unrehearsed shows and bringing their friends! There’s nothing else quite like it and we love being able to bring that to Milwaukee.

“Theater RED’s mission involves creating opportunities for new playwrights, providing challenging and prominent roles for women in productions, and establishing a community where learning and creativity are fostered. In 2013, we were able to fire on all 3 of those cylinders with our Unrehearsed shows and our first full production – the world premiere of A Thousand Times Goodnight by a man who needs no introduction in the world of Unrehearsed Shakespeare, Jared McDaris! Looking ahead, we want to continue to produce new works by local playwrights and continue to be focused on shows that provide meaningful work and prominence for the many very talented women around here! Unrehearsed Shakespeare allows us to bring more Shakespeare to Milwaukee and support our Theater RED goals by providing learning opportunities for actors to grow and develop and utilizing gender-blind casting to allow women greater prominence in productions.”

(For more information on Theater RED and their past or upcoming productions, “Like” them on Facebook or visit www.theaterred.com.)

Q: Favorite role?
MARCEE: “Gosh, that’s really hard! I guess I’d say I have 2 favorites – I loved playing Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor because of all of the great interaction she has throughout the play with Mistress Ford and Falstaff and I also loved playing Speed in Two Gentlemen of Verona because it is always very challenging but lots of fun to play a Clown/Fool character.”

What’s Marcee gonna play this time?
Find out soon!

JULIUS CAESAR
March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (Just off the Southport Brownline stop)
Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

Eyes on Actors: Christopher Elst

1507678_10153895161940072_1776154850_n

A co-founder of TheateRED (host of four Unrehearsed shows), Christopher Elst is Milwaukee-based fight director and actor, SAFD Advanced Actor Combatant, and DAI Apprentice Instructor. He’s also a gamer geek and self-proclaimed ‘ultra baldie.’

Q: How did you first start doing Unrehearsed Shakespeare?
CHRISTOPHER: “My main focus as an actor is movement, specifically stage combat, so I spend a lot of time traveling the country attending different workshops. When I attended the Central Illinois Stage Combat Workshop in 2009, Bill Kincaid and Jared McDaris taught a sister workshop in Unrehearsed Shakespeare, culminating in a performance of Henry V. Ever since, I’ve begged, pleaded, cajoled, and threatened to be involved as an actor as often as possible.”

Q: You play a fairly wide range of characters: plenty of bruisers, but also dukes and even clowns. Do you have a favorite type? Does your approach differ depending on whom you’re playing?
CHRISTOPHER: “Shakespeare was good at providing every character with an important function in the story, so whether a duke or a clown, or even a brute, an actor always has great poetry, philosophy, or profanity to give to an audience. I find my favorite type to play are fictional Dukes who come into a scene and set the tone for an act.”

Q: TheateRED has hosted and produced four Unrehearsed productions in Milwaukee. What can you tell us about your company and its goals/destiny?
CHRISTOPHER: “TheateRED allowed Marcee, my wife, and I to create a venue for the things we love most. Theater Education, unconventional productions, and opportunities for local artists. In the future, we intend to try and advance Unrehearsed Shakespeare even further by creating a permanent place for it in Milwaukee and a better understanding of its value.”

Q: How does Unrehearsed relate to more conventional productions? Do you see any overlap at all, or are they entirely different animals?
CHRISTOPHER: “I try to put a little unrehearsed into everything I do. All productions could benefit from better close-reading of the text, more listening, and clearer intentions. While I can see how most shows written with the fourth wall in mind would not benefit from the audience-friendly style of Unrehearsed, it does arm actors with tools they did not have before and, perhaps more importantly, makes Shakespeare instantly vital and relevant to audiences whom he might otherwise have missed.”

Q: Favorite role?
CHRISTOPHER: “Sir Toby Belch, of course. He’s a perfect character for me: boisterous, cowardly, manipulative, and filled to bursting with dirty-minded philosophy. And getting to play him in a bar meant I could drink everyone’s beer and have them cheer me for it.”

Chris returns to the bars next week!

JULIUS CAESAR
March 18 & 25
Justin’s, 3358 N Southport Ave (Just off the Southport Brownline stop)
Doors open at 7:00. Show starts at 7:30
$5 suggested donation at the door

Rome is calling! Come and answer it!