Unmasking The Malcontent: v.I

Antaeus began rehearsals for The Malcontent this week, the first production of our 2011 / 20th Anniversary Season. A2 Ensemble Member, Abby Wilde, has joined the cast, and will be sharing her experiences working on this production. We at Antaeus think this is a great way for our friends and patrons to get a glimpse of the behind-the-scenes process of getting a production up and running. Here is the first installment of Abby’s blog series:

A2 Ensemble Member, Abby Wilde Photo: Karianne Flaathen

This week, we begin rehearsals for John Marston’s The Malcontent, the first play of the upcoming season at The Antaeus Company, and I must tell you all: I am feeling mighty excited. Since first taking Classical Styles with Antaeus in 2008, I’ve played in a ton of readings, workshops, and 2nd stage productions, but The Malcontent is my first step onto the Mainstage, which will be different than anything I’ve done here before. For starters, we’ll have a much longer run than I’m used to, and we’ll have a set built especially for us. But the aspect that’s the most new and unknown to me is that it will be my first time working with the Antaeus double-casting system.

It works like this: Antaeus is a large company filled with immensely talented professional actors, which presents two major problems. First, you have more talent to choose from than you would under normal circumstances get to use, and secondly, anyone in your cast might be called away to another gig at any time during the run of the show (lots of the company members have recurring or series regular roles on popular TV shows, for instance — Susan Sullivan, Emily Bergl, and own humble self to name but a few). So Antaeus has made double-casting an official part of it’s process: two actors share a role, getting an equal number of performances (nobody’s in the “B Cast” and nobody’s an “understudy”), and stepping in and out of either cast as professional circumstances demand. The other major advantage is that throughout the rehearsal process you and your double get to share developments to your character that you might never have found on your own, allowing you to deepen and develop your character in all sorts of new and exciting sorts of ways. Not only are you allowed to steal insights from another actor, it’s practically required.

Abby as the Foley Artist for "The Thin Man" Photo: Geoffrey Wade

I’ve been cast in the role of Emilia, a role I’m sharing with the brilliant and lovely Joanna Strapp. Emilia is a young lady in the court, constantly in the company of her best friend Bianca (Blythe Auffarth and Marisol Ramirez) and her mentor in all things gossip and intrigue, Maquerelle (Saundra McClain and Lynn Milgrim). I’ve begun to privately think of the three of them as castmembers of “The Real Housewives of Genoa.” We’ll see if I’m right when rehearsals are underway. For now, though, I’m afraid that’s all from me; it’s a great big world out there with lines to learn and essays on Jacobean drama to read. See you next week!

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