With the show opening tomorrow, Richard has been in tech week for Peppermint Creek's Stuff Happens all week. It will be his final show as a non-Equity actor. He's mailed off his check for the Equity initiation fee and his next show will be as a union member.
It's been a frightening choice at times, but I'll save Equity talk for another blog entry.
In Stuff Happens, Richard is playing Donald Rumsfeld. If I were prone to making oversimplified statements, I'd say that he's one of the villains of the work. Certainly when I read the script last year, it seemed to me that Colin Powell was the tragic hero who has the fatal flaw of saying "yes sir" to the president while Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney were the antagonists who were recklessly hawkish.
One of the challenges of doing a piece like this is that all of the characters are well known visually as well as personality. It's easy enough to study voice patterns and mannerisms. It's a little tougher to make yourself look like someone else--especially in the small space of Perspective 2 where the amount of makeup that can be used is limited because of the proximity of the audience.
So there will have to be some suspension of disbelief on the part of the audience when it comes to appearances. Not that there hasn't been an effort made to have the actors at least suggest what the person looks like.
To that end, my husband has been making changes in his grooming. Last week, he took a trip to our local barbershop. It's a great barber--one of those old fashioned shops that is really geared toward men's haircuts. It's owned by very politically active residents. We've even gone there to vote in a Democratic primary. They're very staunch, loyal Democrats.
So I was amused from afar at my husband going in and asking them, "Could you please give me a Donald Rumsfeld haircut?" I don't imagine they get that request very often.
I was even further amused on Sunday. He'd just gotten back from an audition in Toledo and was getting ready for the first tech rehearsal. It was time for what we'd both been dreading--the removal of the beard.
I've always loved my husband's beard. It's very dashing (especially when it curls) and is perfect for most of his Shakespearean roles. However, Don Rumsfeld is clean-shaved. He's also in his 70s. When my husband came down with a grimace and a frown, he said, "Great, I look like a 15-year-old."
He did--except for the balding spot. He groused that as soon as he put his suit on, he'd look like he was on his way to pick up his Homecoming date. Given that I was his Homecoming date during our senior year of high school, I couldn't disagree with him. Granted, he's put on weight since then, but the face was definitely youthful.
"Most people would love to be able to shave and look 20 years younger," said I.
"That would be more convincing if you weren't bursting out into laughter," said he.
So they took out the line in the play where he talks about being 70.
I'd post a picture, but he wouldn't let me take one.