Chad is the Head of Theatre at Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota. When not changing the lives of the young, he is descanting on the Bears or rocking the Unrehearsed.
Q: How did you first get involved with Unrehearsed?
CHAD: Like many of the ‘Un-rehearsers’ before me, I got my unrehearsed education from Bill Kincaid at Western Illinois University. In an effort to keep this not sounding like many of the other WIUers responses, I will say my involvement was probably a bit different than most. As I first entered graduate school I had absolutely no interest in Shakespeare. In fact, it scared the crap out of me. So, when ‘Bard in the Barn’ happened my first year of Graduate School, I figured I would watch, but ultimately ended up volunteering as a prompter for ‘Volpone’. As I sat and watched the productions it was like this crazy, artistic train-wreck. I had no idea what was happening, but it was awesomely fantastic and I couldn’t look away. Right then and there, after watching it in action, and being so fulfilled, I knew I had to take part in Unrehearsed as soon as I could. It worked out well for me because, a few months later, Bill was taking some WIU students up to the American College Theatre Festival to perform a late night version of Unrehearsed ‘Twelfth Night’, and I asked to help in any way I could. So, I made my Unrehearsed debut at 11:30 at night as Curio. It was terrifying and exhilarating and every good feeling I could have ever wanted. I got the bug then, and continued from there.
Q: You’ve been doing Unrehearsed for a while. Has your approach changed at all over time?
CHAD: I would say I have a very unique approach. It’s a time-tested, pretty perfect approach called the ‘DWM Approach’ or the ‘Don’t Wet Myself Approach’. My goal, each and every time out, is to make sure I don’t get so scared that I wet myself in front of everyone. So far so good, but who knows what THIS “Twelfth Night” will bring! In all honesty though, my approach has always been to do as much homework as I possibly can, get as prepared as I can be, and then when it’s show time FLY through my scroll. Taking your time while performing unrehearsed is NOT your friend, and can ultimately derail a performance, and I believe one of my best qualities has been to just make sure that I’m driving the tempo of every scene that I’m in. I’m not sure if I would say that my approach has dramatically changed over the years, but the confidence that has been installed in me with doing unrehearsed more and more and more has really helped me fine-tune the work that I do.
Q: As a teacher, you do a fair bit of directing. Has Unrehearsed influenced your work with students/actors at all.
CHAD: Absolutely, it has. I’m a fairly new teacher/director, so I have just recently begun experimenting with different teaching techniques and seeing which techniques reach my students best. It must be noted that I do not work with kids who are going to school for theatre, I just work with 15 kids a semester who are taking a class to fulfill a gen-ed requirement. Now, while some of them HAVE acted before, most are just kids who really know nothing about theatre and have no clue what they’ve gotten themselves into once then sign up for my class. With these kids, most of the time they get a Shakespeare monologue from me, it’s the first time they’ve ever attempted to SPEAK the language, let alone act it. I have found that the techniques of unrehearsed, especially ‘action-to-word’ has helped those kids really get a great feel for what they are doing. Of course, once they experiment with the technique a bit, we pull some of that stuff back when they perform an actual monologue. This last semester watching them perform for their final, it was very clear to me that teaching these novices some of the basics of unrehearsed can really help them grow leaps and bounds as beginning actors.
Q: Why do you do Unrehearsed? Do you just like Shakespeare, or do you enjoy the freedom that comes from no rehearsal? Or some other, equally cool reason?
CHAD: As an educator, I find myself being much busier than I could have ever imagined. Being involved in unrehearsed gives me the freedom to be able to travel to Milwaukee or Chicago for a weekend and take part in a show with my friends, when otherwise it just wouldn’t be possible. Another one of the main sticking points for me, that keeps me attached to the Unrehearsed world from so far away, is that I have so many talented friends who take part in the Unrehearsed world. The company of Unrehearsed Chicago is comprised of many of my very close friends and they have such immense talent and such a passion for this technique, it’s great to be able to return home to Chicago and get to play around with them once or twice a year. Also, I’m an adrenaline junky, and the rush a performer gets from performing an unrehearsed show for the first time is second-to-none.
Q: Finally: favorite role?
CHAD: Favorite role, hands down, second-to-none, is Toby Belch in Twelfth Night. I’ve gotten the privilege to perform the role a few times under the direction of Jared McDaris, and the first time we did it was perhaps one of the most satisfying experiences of my theatrical life. While I was still in graduate school, Jared decided to put on an unrehearsed production, one of his firsts, if I recall, and decided to use current WIU students. The trouble was, most of the WIU students at the time were unrehearsed novices and Jared was taking a big risk on making the show happen. Up until that point, I had been great at playing Unrehearsed bit-parts, but had never had a role like Toby. Long story short, there was a real curiosity on how the show would go, and it ended up being incredibly successful and just a lot of fun. That was the first moment that I gained any semblance of confidence in my work as an unrehearsed performer and really got me jazzed up to perform at any chance I could. Needless to say, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into Twelfth Night ON Twelfth Night here in Chicago! See y’all at the show!
See y’all at the show!
January 5th and 7th
JUSTIN’S, 3358 N Southport Ave, second floor
Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 7:30
$5 Suggested Donation
PLUS: After the show, we’ll be announcing our Season lineup for 2014.
Tallon as Doctor Caius in Merry Wives of Windsor