Some insights into her acting process from Sarah Tryon (Juliet, Escalus).
1) When creating a Shakespeare character, do you start from the “outside” (voice and physicality) or the “inside” (relationships and motivations)? Why?
When I first get my hands on a script, I like to decode the text and find out who my character is, who they talk to, how they feel about who they talk to, how they are influenced by events, and how they fit into the play itself. However, with the role of Escalus, I knew that I would have to do a lot of vocal work to conceal my feminine voice. And I would also need to decide how old I want him to be so that it can inform my physicality.
2) Is there anything about Shakespeare’s language you find especially helpful in preparing for a role? Anything that is always challenging?
Shakespeare really gives his actors a lot. I find scansion is really the best tool for me. If my character is speaking in verse it could be because of he or her status or there is heightened emotion, etc.
3) How do you prepare differently for an ensemble directed production versus a production with a director?
For an ensemble show, I more often decide on something I want to try in a scene before rehearsal, whereas with a director, I’m more likely to try what they want me to try.
4) What is your favorite “Original Practice” (audience contact, cross-gendered casting, live music and sound, etc.) and what exactly do you love about it?
Audience contact because plays are for the audience so why ignore them?
5) What is your dream Shakespearean role?
I’d like to play Viola again, but I would love to play Beatrice, Ophelia, Cassius, Feste, and pretty much every other character …
This summer, PCSC has started a new means of gathering the inside scoop of our actors in their processes. In addition to the normal blog entries you read on here, there will also be a series of questions posed to our actors. Enjoy.
This week: Sarah Tryon (Katherine / Dull) and Chelsea Kaye (Mote / Mercade) are on the docket for Love’s Labour’s Lost.
How do you typically go about preparing a Shakespearean character?
Sarah: I don’t really have a “typically” at this point with Shakespeare. Up until this point, I’ve only played one other Shakespearean character with more than 3 lines. What I’ve been doing is really looking to the text for clues about my character to inform me on how they speak, their relationship with the other characters, etc.
Chelsea: Reading, research and more research! I read the play over several times and do a lot of textual break-downs.
What, thus far, in rehearsal has been helpful?
Sarah: I’ve really liked the feedback I’ve gotten from the other cast mates. This is an ensemble directed production, so we all have a voice about what we think works about each other’s performances. I’ve really appreciated having a cast of very talented and experience actors to throw ideas at me. This is especially true for our workshop days (thus far we’ve had two with Katherine Mayberry, Executive Director), which have helped me become more educated about Shakespeare’s style. This is also my first time doing a show with thrust staging, so getting everyone’s assistance has been very helpful.
Chelsea: The workshops (which have consisted of thrust stage blocking, textual work, character games and all of the subtext work.) Some of my theatrical background lies in improv, so the ability to break down the complicated and witty lines that Mote has and to be able to say on the spot what he’s really thinking to Don Armado has been super helpful.
What do you like to do for fun outside of theatre?
Sarah: I like to do a lot of “boring” things like reading and running. My favorite literary genre is historical fiction. I’m also a huge horse fanatic and wish I could ride more often. I also have my tv shows. I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones on HBO and Mad Men.
Chelsea: Fun outside of theater? Blasphemy, say I! No, really, I do fill my time outside of rehearsals with many joyful activities. I just forget what those activities are right now.
What is your day job? What do you want to BE your day job?
Sarah: I’m working at the Crooked Goose in Standale as a waitress, but I’m also a full-time student at Grand Valley State University. Ideally, I’d love to be a working actor.
Chelsea: My day job is working as a program secretary for a local non-profit agency. What do I want to be my day job? Oh boy… I can’t think of anything real specific, though being a masked crime-fighter/vigilante sounds pretty cool. Maybe the official banana peeler for the Chiquita Banana lady? Host of Whose Line Is It Anyway in Italy? Professional Cyclist and Guacamole Maker? These all sound good to me.
What do you plan to do after this show?
Sarah: After this show, I’ll be working a lot and taking summer classes before heading into my senior year at Grand Valley. I’ll also be part of the Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival’s touring production, Bard to Go.
Chelsea: Give thanks to God for this wonderful experience and pray that He provides another! I’ll probably continue my adventures in cooking, camping, reading, script writing, sleeping, volunteering at church, and playing with my house-bunny, Bam Bam. Oh, I remembered my outside activities!