Jim's Richard III Blog

What had started as a blog of Richard III rehearsal process at Cal Shakes has now evolved or devolved into a small novella. The author is petrified to change the name for fear it'll disappear, and wouldn't know what to call it anyway. Many stories are included and questions are even answered sometimes!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Blogged On!


I finally figured out the routine--tried to sign in on my old Blogger Account, and found I had to have a GOOGLE account first now that things had been IMPROVED and the newer, faster, sleeker, sexier version was ready!....................It's taken me 2 hours, and I haven't linked to the Calshakes website yet so I may be typing this for absolutely no reason. BUT!! I now have a Google account!! Yaaay!! And another password!! Yaaay!!

Do I sound bitter? Perhaps I am. A cranky old, bitter, electronically inept, blogging impaired old poop. Which is actually a good mindframe for me for Richard III--good segue, eh?

So this is our first week--and not much has happened for me thus far. I'm playing King Edward the IV, the ageing and ailing current King of England who has one scene (a good one, mind you--I'm not griping) and then he dies.....Yep. Just up and croaks. Then I appear as the Bishop of Ely ( pronounced EE--LEE ) in a brief and brilliant bit of comic relief with strawberries,
and then he's gone. I don't think he dies, he just fades away. That's it for me in Richard III. Sound a bit light, loadwise? Well, I have to confess when I heard the casting I thought--for a moment mind--"That's ALL I'm doing? Do I suck or something? When did I piss off Mark Rucker (our director) and will someone tell me what I did?" and then I thought "Jim, you have been working your BUTT off in some very large, strenuous, and physically demanding shows lately and you could use a break. Take it easy, son--and remember Mark wouldn't USE you if he didn't like your work." All of which is true.

Mark directed a production of MacBeth that Susanah Schulman, Reg Rogers (who's playing Richard) and myself were in at Shakespeare Santa Cruz in 1992. I played himself, Susanah was one of the witches, and Reg played Ross (and perhaps some others as well); it was a very primitive production look-wise and I thought Mark did a fine job with it--Susanah painted herself blue (seriously) pretty much from head to toe every night and then put on a very gross padded overgarment which made her look as if she was expecting a child. The resultant look for the witches was of a naked, blue, pregnant THING. Creepy and funny. You always knew when a witch had been in the shower ahead of you......blue from nozzle to drain. They'd also copied Celtic tattoos and had them cut out of thin rubber so that we could ink them and use various combinations for each character. Reg was shaven bald at the time and had a huge Celtic Cross tattooed on the back of his head, and I had snakes coiling up my arms. Cool, huh? We also had chainmail doublets in the show which they MADE and which worked as was made evident to me when I misstepped in a fight and took a broadsword aross the belly. And they gave me leather pants. Not so cool. Very hot.

I remember roaring alot in that production--sometimes roaring can be good. Sometimes not. I was given a photo after the last performance and didn't recognize the person in it. I remember looking quizzically at the photo and thinking "Why is he giving this to me? I don't even know who that guy i.........." and then I recognized myself in this weird rush. I mean, when do you NOT recognize yourself? Never--you always know who you are. But this was a totally berserk portrait--me in a full beard with hair to my shoulders, done up in leather and chainmail, a sword flung out in my hand, and a weird, wild, mad gleam in my eye. And roaring. It's one of my favorite photos to date.

Saturday we had rehearsal for the Act 2 King Edward scene and it went very well--I think Mark was excited by some of the ideas I had, and if we've not polished them yet they are at least there in place to expand on.

And I will expand upon this later......

It's good to be back!

Ta for now,
Jim Carpenter