Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Roles Played, Roles Dreamed Of

What do you want us to do, dress in drag and do the hula?

-- Timon, The Lion King

I received word from the author of Low Blood Pressure that I have been tagged with a request to answer the following question:
So, it's been awhile since we've had a bit of tag in the neighborhood. Has anyone else played, in HighSchool or later? Or wished, either secretly or publicly to be a simple character in a musical?... Tell us who you played or would like to play...if only for one performance...who would it be?

In my high school years, I was involved both with the Drama Club and summer youth workshops for the county's community theatre group, with a total of five stage roles and one assistant directorship. Here are the roles I played.

Malforce, The Clumsy Custard Horror Show, community theatre, 1984 -- One could describe this play as some sort of Fractured Fairy Tale. The role I had was small, a two-faced trusted advisor to a "dull witted and insipid, but definitely not stupid" good king who meets a rather painful demise at the end. However, I did get to kiss the cheek of one of the actresses for the play, which was kinda cool.

Mr. Beaver, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, community theatre, 1985 -- The worst part of this role... the makeup. I really hope there are no surviving negatives of my performance. The best part... I won an award at the next year's community theatre end-of-season meeting. It also marked the beginning of a typecast, wherein I played the roles of mentors, somewhat transcendental in nature. I also coined the unofficial cast slogan: "Where in the hell is Cair Paravel?"

Mr. Trevor, The Humpty Dumpty Complex, high school drama club, 1985 -- My debut in the high school leagues involved a play about an angel who develops feelings for the human he's been assigned to guide. Continuing the typecast, I landed the role of the senior angel, who supervised the conflicted angel. Most valuable lesson from the experience? Learning the word conundrum.

Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, community theatre, 1986 -- OK, so this doesn't quite fit into the stereotype of immortal or mentor. But at least I didn't have to dress up as an animal. I wouldn't have minded the part of Eeyore. Unofficial cast slogan: "Winnie Say: BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! I wonder why he does."

Stage Manager, Our Town, high school drama club, 1987 -- This is the role of which I am most proud, save for my really bad New Hampshire accent. The part was demanding, requiring a vast amount of memorization. Fortunately, I had a director who knew this play forwards and backwards and really knew what the play was all about. He provided me the much needed guidance to become the character. Oddly enough, last fall, I was passing through the hallway of the office building where I work, and I had a chance encounter with someone who worked in a neighboring office. She recognized me, but I had trouble recognizing her. It turns out she remembered me from this play. She had played the role of Emily. One of things I recovered in the post Christmas hometown trip was a poster for the play, signed by members of the cast.

I guess I should say a few things about roles I would like to play.

The only stage play role that comes to mind would be the role of Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey. I've always been a fan of Jimmy Stewart, and I think I could pull off the role of a harmless, yet likable, eccentric.

I've never had much of a singing voice, but if someone put a gun to my head and said, "Pick a role!"

I guess I'd have to go all out in drag and say Tanya from Mama Mia... just so I could do a kick @$$ rendition of "Does Your Mother Know?"
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