Perspective. For an actor we call this Point of View and one’s point of view is built on your given circumstances. Last Thursday I attended a really great production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors” performed by the students at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. My nephew Alex Butcher-Nesbitt (remember that name, btw - you heard it here first) was in the cast and I must say he did a stellar job. Their timing was like greased lightning, the way great comedy must be played. On the whole the cast’s connection to each other was genuine and their understanding of the jokes was deep enough to make this play shine again.
Juxtaposed against the events of that day; the brutal and fatal violence and on going manhunt just 30 miles away in Boston. It was a mind bender, and I must give credit to the director and young actors for knowing that their jobs that night were, in part, to give us a two hour break from the trauma of the bombings and ensuing tragedies. And the playwright deserves his due for illuminating our hypocrisy. In the first act, all the characters are claiming a knowledge that “something’s afoot” and spin tales based in small observations that they hold to be true, because, well... it’s fun to make up tales, isn’t it, even at the expense of another? In the second act, when it becomes clear that some characters may be harmed by their association to the events in the play, they suddenly deny any knowledge of anything, at all. In the end of course, the truth is so fantastical that no one could have ever dreamed it up, except Neil Simon, who blesses us all with a glimpse into our own personal need to know things if they serve us, and to deny all knowledge if they implicate us.
On my long westbound drive back to Albany the following day, with emergency vehicles flying eastbound toward Boston, I had a good long think about the importance of our work as actors. How else can our society see it’s foibles and pitfalls in such easily digested forms like a silly comedy about silly people?
Hope to see you in the studio soon - Come tell your story with us.