|The Hudson Warehouse loves blood, and even more, they love splattering it all over me. In both Richard III (above) and in this year's King Lear, I had blood spouting out of various orifices.|
King Lear was plagued with lousy weather (ironic, considering much of the play occurs during a storm). During our final week of rehearsal, which included all our tech/dresses, we were continually aborted by rain. I mean torrential downpours which kept the cast scurrying toward the nearest overhang, attempting to protect costumes from the gales of rain.
|Our King Lear opened a month ago, on the opposite side of this|
monument, against some substantial odds provided by Mother
Nature. All rehearsals and performances happen in this
|Elegant 1980s clothes were not made to wash and wear.|
Rainstorms plagued our rehearsal period.
We had plenty of fireworks on our own, mostly provided by our dynamic King Lear, David Brown. David was fiery and robust in the role, and I loved playing our scenes "on the heath," when Lear has gone mad, and my character, Gloucester, has been brutally blinded and is wandering around trying to commit suicide.
Oh, but rain was not our only weather issue. The New York area, as with most of the eastern seaboard, was hit with record breaking heat for days on end.
|With the heat index reaching triple digits, and humidity higher than the Empire State, we canceled two shows. The Heat was the big news that week in New York City, and the Daily News picked up on our cancellation. While we were all impressed that our King Lear received this publicity for NOT doing our show, I wondered aloud if we would ever get any press for actually DOING the show. This comment was not met with much enthusiasm from the Hudson brass.|
What does any of this have to do with this week's Dance Party? Our Friday night performance was also a good one, and it had an unexpected participant, at least for me.
|I've got something in my eye.|
During the show, I made several loops around the monument to cross from stage right to stage left. During one of those trips, I passed a charming family seated on the lawn, having a picnic. The mother was hugely pregnant, and there was a husband and toddler there as well. Unfortunately, I had removed my contact lenses by then (I learned early on that I could not be wearing the lenses during my "blinding" scene, as copious amounts of blood squirted everywhere, and turned my contacts pink).
|I was pleased to work with Laura|
Frye again; we appeared in Taming
of the Shrew a year ago. Go here for
So, everything was pretty much a blurr as I loped around the monument to make my final entrance. I was wearing the sunglasses which my character wore after losing his eyes, and my shirt and face were covered in stage blood.
|This spot below our playing space was a prime picnic spot.|
On Friday, a Manhattan family spread out their blanket,
and listened to the performance of King Lear happening
on the cement stage above them.
I was set to ignore the family seated on the blanket enjoying the evening, but the mother piped up, "Hello, Gloucester!" I was pretty impressed that she pegged my role from the blood and sunglasses, clearly she was up on her classical theatre. I was to learn a moment later, from one of my castmates, that the woman on the blanket was Broadway headliner Kelli O'Hara. In her honor, she stars in this week's Dance Party.
Other than this momentary meeting in the park on Friday, I have never seen Kelli O'Hara live, but her performance in the hit revival of South Pacific has been preserved on DVD, which I own and enjoy.
Kelli was born and raised in Oklahoma (and trained by the same vocal coach who taught Kristin Chenoweth), which may give some clue as to how she can so thoroughly inhabit down-to-earth characters.
|Kelly O'Hara as the 50s suburban housewife|
in Far From Heaven.
In this week's Dance Party, she attacks this well-known song so enthusiastically, you can't help but be won over. If only I had been wearing my contacts last Friday night, I would surely have responded to her sweet greeting with an expression of my admiration of her work. Perhaps this will do.