Archive for March, 2013

This week, Macbeth cast member Kate Tubbs (Lennox, Messenger) answers our acting questions.

1. How do you typically go about preparing a Shakespearean character?
Many people I know view the complete works of Shakespeare as the bible, and for an actor it is. Text is key and king when playing Shakespearean characters. Speaking, reading and acting Shakespeare can be difficult, because the language adds another layer that an actor must dig through when preparing a role. You simply cannot act Shakespeare if you do not understand the words. Once you understand his Early Modern English you can start to fall back on other acting methods or techniques to develop your character. After that he’s just like any other playwright, and if you find and pick up his clues into your character, you’re well on the way!

2. What do you find to be the most helpful part of PCSC’s standard rehearsal process?
This production of Macbeth is my first with PCSC, and our rehearsal process has been much different than PCSC standard. This show is ensemble directed, meaning there is no director. Each cast member is also asked to help direct the show; any decisions or problems must be dealt with by the cast as a whole. I love collaborating with others on almost everything I do; and working so closely with other castmates allows an actor to really fine tune her work. When you receive feedback from a few different people it can seem daunting, but overall it makes for a much more flushed out performance. I’ve really enjoyed our rehearsals so far and it’s been very welcoming to join a cast that wants your feedback and your thoughts on all creative decisions.

3. What do you like to do for fun outside of theatre?
I like to meddle in lots of different art forms, including painting, photography, illustration and book making. I love film, literature, music (listening and singing)…anything that is a creative outlet. I also do yoga and love the great outdoors. Camping, hiking, swimming….I’m just kind of a hippie…

4. What is your day job? What do you want to be your day job?
In February I started a new job in Brand Communication at Steelcase. I assist the PR team and 360 team (which publishes the quarterly magazine 360) with a little bit of everything, but mostly administrative & support tasks. My dream day job wouldn’t really be a job. I’d love to be able to honestly introduce myself as an artist, someone who survives by creating. My office would be my studio, or wherever I am inspired. My boss would be me and my only deadlines would be the bottom of the page.

5. What theatre plans do you have in the next couple months?
Don’t know yet! Anybody know of upcoming auditions?!

Pigeon Creek board member and repertory company actor Kate Bode (Second Witch, Lady Macduff, Gentlewoman, Seward) discusses the physical side of playing non-human characters.

I was very excited to begin exploring the witch characters of Macbeth. After all, they are some of the most famous of Shakespeare’s characters.

As I started my process of trying to create a character, however, it dawned on me that they are some of the most famous of Shakespeare’s characters. This suddenly became a very intimidating thought. Everyone knows about the witches. Everyone has some preconceived notion of what they should be. How can an actor live up to that? But then I thought: I don’t.

It is my job to create this character anew, and share it with the audience.

For me, the biggest struggle is the physical creation of a character: how they walk, how they move, their mannerisms, their habits, etc. My friends all know how much of a klutz I am, and my movement is sometimes hindered by chronic knee pain. So, for me, movement becomes an even bigger challenge when working with a non-human character.

But I found that I can use these weaknesses to my advantage. Because the witches are non-human, my awkward movements and lack of grace can actually help me to distinguish my character’s movement qualities from those of the other (human) characters in the play. Strange, angular movements that look so clumsy and so pitiful in the real world, seem fantastical, “weird,” and completely appropriate in the world of Macbeth.

I also found myself defaulting to the movement qualities I worked so hard on for the character of Ariel in The Tempest – the non-human spirit that is a servant to Prospero. At one point, one of my fellow actors pointed this out to me, and I realized that, while that movement quality worked for Ariel, it does not work for the witches. I had to deconstruct that movement and use bits and pieces of it to build a new, and more appropriate, character for an altogether different kind of world, and discard the things that didn’t work.

In the end, I hope that the movement and character that I have created for my witch will be both new and familiar, and that the audience will enjoy the hard work and effort of my clumsy, awkward self.

Pigeon Creek newcomer Dynasty (Third Witch, Donalbain, Menteith, Second Murderer) talks about her experience rehearsing Macbeth.

1. How do you typically go about preparing a Shakespearean character?
When first starting to prepare for a Shakespearean character I make sure I have a full and clear understanding of the play itself. By understanding the play’s intent I am then able to understand the intent of both my character and other characters as well. I find that this helps to create a smooth and clear message to both the other actors in the scene and audience members, painting a better picture of what’s going on scene by scene. After getting the broader picture I try to fine tune it buy assessing each one of my character’s lines as well as going over scansion and pronunciation. Another thing I like to do with pieces by Shakespeare is to go over each word breaking down consonant and vowel make sure that they are highlighted throughout my speech so that audience members can clearly hear each word that is spoken.

What I find to be the most influential in character development, whether it be a Shakespearean character or any other, is to really do my best to embody the character I am playing; meaning behave, move, and have the energy level and needs that particular character would have.

2. What do you find to be the most helpful part of PCSC’s standard rehearsal process?
This is actually my first time working with Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company and I find that most helpful throughout the rehearsal process is the feedback that you get from all of the other actors. we are all directors as well as actors within the production. I find it helpful that the same person I’m out there acting with is also collaborating on the direction of the scene. I feel like this method helps to bring all the actors on to the same page at a quicker pace.
 We also collaborate on talking about the scenes together and discussing the intent as a whole and that really helps to know that everyone is understanding the material as a whole 

3. What do you like to do for fun outside of theatre?
This question has always been a struggle for me to answer. I feel like there’s not enough time in a lifetime to do all of the things I like to do. With that being said, I probably like to do to many things so I guess I will just list a couple of my favorite things. I love to travel places I’ve never been, hike, camp, fish, dance, play the guitar, sing, shop, have game nights, and be lazy.

4. What is your day job? What do you want to be your day job?
Well I don’t have a day job per se I have a night job. I work at an adult foster home for developmentally and mentally disabled women. it is quite challenging and often fun but ultimately I want to be a psychiatrist working with the mentally ill.

5. What theatre plans do you have in the next couple months?
Acting wise I’m always an open book and ready for anything that comes up. Sometimes I have to work on pacing myself and not doing too many things at one time. As of now I have a couple film projects in my future. And nothing planned so far within the theatre but I am excited for what may come. I have been away from the acting world for a while and I am more than ready to dive right in!