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, April 6, 2008


This weeks' not been much different than the last--the same strange, the same incremental climb of performances; we did have one hitch however--Sam discovered that after 5 days of doing the new version of his character, Neetroy, after discovering the lateral lisp and Rider's seeming enjoyment of what he was doing with the character, that Rider pretty much hated everything he was doing and was frustrated with Sam's progress. This was news to all of us as we thought he'd liked it and it had the ultimate effect of causing Sam deep distress.

I decided to step in. Normally you don't do this for another actor--the role is his and his battles his own to fight, but these are not normal circumstances. The next morning at rehearsal I talked to Rider, said basically that Sam and I were a part of a "comedy duo"-- a straight man, funny man team and what affected Sam affected me. I tried to get a read on what his interpretation of Neetroy was and it sounded like it boiled down to his feeling that Sam was being too cute and that he visualized the character more along the lines of Rick Morranis in Ghostbusters; I asked if rather than a run through of the play with no specific point in mind that we instead do a work thru with Sam giving it another shot based on our collective interpretation of what Rider wanted and he agreed. I talked to Sam, told him what I'd done and what Rider had said and what we'd be doing with that days rehearsal. I think he was grateful I'd interceded on his behalf and we did the show with his new tack on Neetroy, the rest of us discovering how his adjustments affected our own dynamics. Rider seemed well pleased at days end and I think the problem is solved once and for all.