Friday, February 02, 2007

From Ron Clark (Marvin in Guys on Ice)

So the question arises from insiders as well as interested patrons: “Do you have to prepare as seriously for a comic role like Marvin in Guys on Ice as say the title role in King Lear? The simple answer is, “yes” and “no.”

I always think it’s a huge mistake to not think about the inner life of a character no matter what the genre. In a play like Guys on Ice it is essential that the actor find the heart of the character and explore it with as much empathy as you can muster. The temptation is to just play the jokes without thinking about the true life that generates them. Once you go over the top and lose the characters intentions, goals or objectives (choose your noun depending on where you went to acting school) the audience can tell and will no longer care about the stage action. As an old director/friend of mine used to say, “They’ll be playing mah jong in the back row if you keep that up!”

But doesn’t Lear require more truth? I don’t know – it requires a hell of a lot more work. He speaks over 20% of the lines in one of Shakespeare’s longest plays, so the sheer energy required is extraordinary; it’s even tougher than singing and doing a soft shoe number in L.L. Bean snow boots. Lear as a human being is certainly more complicated than Marvin the ice fisherman, but Marve deserves just as much truth in the telling of his story.

See ya on de ice.
Ron Clark