During Horse Girls I started rehearsals for Pride and Prejudice. This was to be the 4th iteration directed by the original director and adapter -- who is British. So really, we had the best insight! The actress who played Elizabeth was reprising her role for the third time, and the actors playing Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were performing the show for the second time. The entire cast was the most experienced cast I've worked with to date and it was a delight and a lesson every day of rehearsal.
We were performing the Christmas/Holiday show for Book-It Repertory Theatre's 25th season. We ended up selling out the entire run after our second week, and added a performance because of popularity. This was the longest running show I've performed, to date. It came in at just over 30 performances.
I had such a great time playing a character I've never had the opportunity to play. I love classic work, I love dialect work, and I love character roles. Most of my time in Seattle I've spent playing 'leading ladies' or 'ingenues'. This is the gift I've been given by Seattle, because this city has yet to type cast me. This time, I was being given the opportunity to play the slightly dour, very inquisitive, uniquely insensitive, and incomparably competent Mary Bennet.
I read 12 books onstage every night. By the end of the run I had read the history of Japan, the history of Jesus Christ, the history of World War II, the collected short stories of Edgar Allen Poe, several tales from the 1001 Arabian Nights, The Story of The 47 Ronin, two encyclopedias full of random pages about numerous subjects, several presidential addresses, and all about the inventions of Thomas Edison. I also got some great arm muscles from miming piano playing every night.
Mostly, I was reminded of the lessons I'd only recently learned during Frankenstein. And I learned some new ones too.
1. Performing a show night after night, and sometimes more than once in a day, can be the most rewarding experience. Even if I was exhausted I would still wake up the next morning and think I had the best job ever.
2. Always remember your training--warming up really is the most important thing you can do.
3. Supportive shoes can make or break a long running show.
4. Baking for your cast is always the right idea.
5. Dancing 300 year old dances teaches you that dancing then was no less exhausting than dancing now.
6. Layers upon layers of clothes onstage that make you incredibly hot is still my favorite thing. Maybe this is why I love classical shows so much.
7. Hearing a young or an old person tell you after a show that they love this book and you helped them want to read it or read it again never gets old.
I'm sure there were other lessons, but I can't think of any more at the moment. It was an incredible experience, and I made great new friends, and I'm grateful for my time spent on this wonderful piece of literature.
Reviews posted for posterity:
Heed the Hedonist
Push to Talk
Drama in the Hood
I'll post the pictures when I receive them. I had one week off between the end of this show--and the beginning of my next!