I grew up in the Detroit area and, as such, started going up to Stratford, Ont. in the late 50’s until 1968 before moving out of Michigan.
It was a continually staggering theatrical experience at Stratford and, I, of course, had an opportunity to attend many of Shakespeare’s works staged dazzlingly in the wonderful Festival Theatre. This continued at university and subsequently at the Goodman School of Drama.
I got to study and act in a number of the bard’s works and loved every moment of it! But I have not done another character in any of his plays until now; playing Gloucester at Pigeon Creek. It was a role I always wanted to essay, but for years was just too young for it as far as I was concerned.
Gloucester’s story rather parallels Lear’s. We see in both men how the consequences of hubris tear them apart when the truth is upon them. What is different about them, I think, is that Lear fails to see the trouble that already exists in the minds of his two elder daughters, but Gloucester is blind-sided by an outright lie, that he too readily believes. For me that situation is even more poignant than what Lear faces and that’s how I wanted to portray him.
Katherine, our director, let me follow that path and I am so thankful for her permission to do so. I was amazed at the passionate dedication this company has exhibited in bringing this staggeringly difficult play to life. A collaborative atmosphere is nothing if not so productive as these people are!
I’ve lived in Grand Rapids for the past three and a half years, but only got back into theatre early in 2016, performing at a number of the community theatres in the city since then. One of my ‘projects‘ this past year has been to get out of my comfort zone and attempt roles I’d never thought to attempt before. Gloucester has been one of them and I hope it resonates.