Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When Ensembles Attack

As some of you may already know (if you read ModFab as you should), Gabriel is working on a production of Angels in America in the Baltimore area with his friend Shannon (an amazing and hilarious designer --I'm still pissed that she didn't end up on Project Runway when she auditioned: she'd be great TV.) They've launched a blog to document the rehearsal and production process on their version of Tony Kushner's sadly still contemporary gay fantasia. I found this entry from one of their actors, he who plays Prior, to be very interesting:
One thing I noticed during our first rehearsal was the wide variety of acting styles...This worries me a little because I don't want to stick out from the other characters too much.
That's a valid and normal concern I assume on a first day. Ensembles that aren't cohesive are a big turnoff (at least for me) in movies. This is a weird example but the only thing I remember about Kevin Costner's hit Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in the 90s was despising it because with each new character that was introduced I felt like I had entered a new movie. And all of the movies were bad. But you can have excellent ensemble work using disparate performance styles, provided the director manages to harness them all appropriately: think I Heart Huckabees. Oh, yes, do think about that! Think about that fondly and often.

HBO did a wondrous job of adapting Angels in America for the small screen but you really should see this masterpiece on stage. It was a truly momentous experience for me when I first saw it performed live in the 90s. It belongs to the theater. If you're anywhere near the Baltimore area, go see this production when it opens. It runs from October 13th through November 11th. I'm roadtripping from New York to see it.

4 comments:

ModFab said...

Aren't you the best! Thanks for the post. Don's concern about acting styles doesn't really take into account the fact that is was by design...a play with Roy Cohn, a man with AIDS, and a fantastical hallucinatory antarctic travel agent needs to be approached with a variety of techniques, and we were very aware of that when we started. Actors aren't aware of everything the directors and designers are thinking, but we do have some secrets.

Thanks again...you've got two comps on the aisle and complimentary cocktails if you want to come down for the opening!

Reel Fanatic said...

Two examples of ensembles that just totally didn't work for me were Robert Altman's Pret a Porter and David Mamet's State and Main .. each actor in both flicks just looked totally out of place

Trashbag Kid said...

I'm in the Baltimore area. I will have to check this out.

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