Utah Shakes 2021: fresh every time.
Forgive me as I try to digest this peculiar and incredible season.
I can't believe people are letting me loose on roles like this. But this summer, Vince Cardinal came to play! Comedy of Errors was ready to rock this 70's vibe as he began locking pieces into place early on. To be honest, I was nervous about such a tall order. But in all the days that followed he continued to let us play with those building blocks, and we made them our own. All of us have a great sense of play and our ensemble feels tight-knit. (All the best plays should be exactly that way.) The Utah Shakespeare Festival is great at bringing in people that are easy and exciting to work with. But this season has a very special crew of people that have impacted me in amazing ways. I have nothing but gratitude for all people I've worked with this summer. Particularly those who trust me, (or are forced to rely on me) as I get to play.
Vince described Comedy as a cupcake. If that's true then Richard is a t-bone steak.
To be totally honest, when I was offered this contract, of all the roles I was offered, I was most excited to play the Second Murderer. It's such a small but impressive little role, and Cameron Knight was a master director. Every role was filled with a powerhouse. Rooms like this have talent that's larger than any space can hold. I was able to study in awe of these great performers; listening as they speak masterfully, some of Shakespeare's most epic text. Oh, I'm not afraid to single people out. Aidan O'Reilly as Richard, Melinda Pfundstein as Margaret, and Rene Thornton Jr. as Buckingham; simply listening to them deliver text is a masterclass. I was lucky enough to be in the room and made better by their work.
But if you can't stomach the red meat that is Richard III, maybe sushi is your thing.
This is the unicorn show. I didn't know Pericles very well because I have never had the chance to even see it. So I jumped at the chance to get to work on this. I was also starstruck that Danforth Comins would lead this odyssey. I watched him play Hamlet at USF years ago, when I was an undergrad, and now I was going to share the stage with him on this rare production. Although I found this show difficult to work on, I will say this was a great example of how much we can trust the text. Maybe because the show is less familiar, there seemed to be some uncertainty in the room. But the moment we played it for an audience, it's clear how the language brings the story forward. A story that feels very apt and hopeful.
This last year, (or more), we have all been tossed from place to place. I will admit to feeling lost at times, uncertain, and afraid that all hope is lost. Pericles shows that one can be completely without hope, then suddenly, all hope fully restored. Never let go of hope.
I really love USF. Every season here has been so different and so fulfilling. This year I've seen structural and program changes that make me hopeful for all of American Theatre. And once again USF has brought together incredible artists for work that I'll never forget. I'm really excited for where this company is going and incredibly grateful to share in some tiny part of it. It was a pleasure.
Till next time.