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In My Mind's Eye with Matt Fowler and Mychael J. Overton

This week: Matthew David Fowler and Mychael J. Overton are on the docket for Antony and Cleopatra.

1. How do you prepare a Shakespearean character? Matt: Step One is to use my formula for any character I take on; Shakespearean or Non-Shakespearean. What does my character say about himself/herself? What do other people say about me? What is my character afraid of? What does my character desire? Then with a Shakespeare role I have the added bonus of textural clues to help me get into my character. Does my character speak in prose or verse? Does my character use thou or you?

Mychael: Since I have never performed a Shakespeare play before, the best thing for me was to research the history of the play. With Antony and Cleopatra, I not only researched the history of the play, but I also researched the historical figures and events Shakespeare used to write this play. After I figure out who everyone is in the play, my next step is identifying their personalities and finding natural ways to bring their unique traits to the stage in an accurate and entertaining way.

2. What thus far in rehearsal has been helpful? Matt: The way Katherine directs is unparalleled to any director I have had thus far. The techniques we use really inspire me. For example, for scenes with complex blocking we figure out when the stage picture changes and freeze frame the scene. When we are talking about a character in the scene who is not present, Katherine puts him or her in the middle so that we can reference them. When a character needs to be a listener, he or she repeats words from the speaker that hit home.

Mychael: Our director, Katherine Mayberry, has been meeting with a some of the newer cast members to help us with the Shakespearean text. Her knowledge and techniques have been wonderful for bringing my characters to life.

3. What do you do for fun outside of theatre? Matt: I take pride in finding the most unique hobbies and making them a part of my life. I learn different foreign accents on CDs, I make animations, I create papercrafts (three-dimensional origami), I practice my ukulele, or I collect artifacts that express my love of purple.

Mychael: I enjoy the outdoors for a little fresh air and exercise during the day. At night, you can usually find me curled up watching a movie.

4. What is your day job? What do you want to be your day job? Matt: Currently I am a full time student at Grand Valley State University. I dream of becoming a motivational speaker so I can inspire young people to chase their dreams. There are a lot of horrible feelings in this world, but nothing can compare to knowing you had the opportunity to do something you truly enjoy and you didn’t take it. I believe that everyone deserves to know this fact early on because most people discover this on their deathbeds when it is too late.

Mychael: I am a currently a full-time student at Hope College. I would rather be writing screenplays, directing a movie, or figuring out the logistics for my own film productions someday.

5. What do you plan to do after this show? Matt: In the Fall I will be the Stage Manager of Grand Valley’s Bard to Go, I will start my second term as president of the student theatre organization: STAGE, and I will appear as Norman Bates in Stark Turn Players’ Psycho the Musical.

Mychael: I plan to return to Hope College and continue working on my B.A. in Communication and Theater.

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