In My Mind's Eye with Mary Bridget McCarthy
This week: Mary Bridget McCarthy is on the docket for Antony and Cleopatra.
1. How do you prepare a Shakespearean character?
After my ceremonial happy dance that I got a role, I usually dig right into the text. The awesome thing about Shakespeare is that he gives you so many clues with: the words you speak, the way you speak, the way you choose to speak to others, etc. I read the play a few times and then start to break down my character. I look into what the character says about him or herself, the dynamics that he or she plays with the other characters and so on. I then go about making each character as distinct as I can. This usually means a change in voice, posture, gait, assumed power, and anything else I can think of.
2. What thus far in rehearsal has been helpful?
I am going to start this off with some honesty: I am a newbie. Shakespeare is fairly uncharted territory to me. The idea of thrust staging, audience contact, doing live music, doubling, playing MALE characters, and having more than a line or two of Shakespeare had me more than a little anxious. And I was right! These things do take skill and require some technique. What I did not bank on, however, was the amazing group of people that would be around me. I would have been lost had it not been for our wonderful cast and the incredible director at our head. Working with this cast has been a huge blessing. They are wonderful acting partners and simply great people to create with. Whenever I have questions or have sought advice, they have been amazingly helpful. Our director, Katherine Mayberry, is incredible as well. She has been an invaluable resource. She has meet with several of the newer actors to help with text, voice and movement work, and some acting workshops. I feel that I have grown as an actor, even beyond Shakespeare, due to the people I am working with.
3. What do you do for fun outside of theatre?
I enjoy midnight swims in Lake Michigan, reading good books, having good conversations, being with good friends, drinking good tea, watching good movies, and staying up far past reasonable hours to have good times.
4. What is your day job? What do you want to be your day job?
I am currently a student at Hope College and work at Staples. I don’t know how theatre will be my day job in the future, but I would love it to be. Whether that be in acting, teaching, stage management, non-profit theatre, I will be happy and grateful.
5. What do you plan to do after this show?
Time to go back to school! After doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream up at the Rose at Blue Lake with PCSC (Come see it, by the way. You will see lots of faces you know from Antony and Cleopatra!), I will be returning to Hope to start my sophomore year. I have my fingers crossed and hope to be cast in the fall semester productions. Beyond that, I would treasure an opportunity to work with this company again some time in the near future. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with everyone.
I hope you come see Antony and Cleopatra, and find as much joy in watching it as we have in bringing it to you!