Gang Aft Agley

Sorry for the radio silence last week. I was in tech for twelve hours the day my blog was due. I had a whole plan to do a sort of check in type post. You know, “10:20AM: Getting into costume and trying to tame the hair and beard. 11:45AM: Drinking copious amounts of water, sweating in my wool suit under the lights, and still trying to tame hair and beard.” That kind of thing. But alas, The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,/Gang aft agley…

But, here I am, back again. I got through tech. We got through tech. And Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol is up and running and bringing Holiday joy to many a fine folk.

I have learned so much during this process. I can’t believe it took me almost 18 years in this profession to do a one-man show. We had an opportunity in college to write and perform a short one-man show, to get that experience, but laziness and fear got the better of me. So here I am, years later, realizing that every actor must do one of these at some time. So much to glean from the experience, not the least of which is the great joy I am deriving from performing, by myself, with only myself, the audience and my amazing stage manager to count on. It is thrilling. And I know going into my next few gigs (if not the rest of them for all time), I will take a new confidence and strength in my work that will be an asset for all involved.

All that being said…Wow. Holy cow. What a few weeks it has been. So hard. It continues to be so hard. I am on vocal rest right now, meaning I am not talking much during the day and night other than when I am on stage. I am saving my voice. Such a pretentious thespian thing to say, but hey, there it is, I said it. Or at least I typed it, you know, ‘cause I’m saving my voice…

But yeah, it’s hard, man. It feels a little bit like an opera to me. If I knew what performing an opera felt like, that might be a pretty good comparison.

The physical and mental endurance it takes to get through the show is really something. The focus I am employing, the precision in my movements and speech, the technical elements of the dialect shifts, as well as the varying postures I use to bring all these different characters to life is a lot harder than I thought it would be. And I thought it was gonna be hard. However, the rewards and the growth I am experiencing as an actor are well worth the struggles. When I look out at the end of the show and see the smiles on peoples’ faces and the tears glinting in their eyes, it makes me so happy.

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL

Cody Nickell in JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL

And, every night, my fearless leader, Kristen Coury, who was such a spectacular collaborator on this piece, an amazing director and guide, she is right there with a huge smile, ready to give me a hug. The pride she feels in this show is palpable. And that makes me feel all kinds of great. When audiences love a show, or when a critic does, that is all great. But when your collaborators, the ones in the trenches with you, are so thrilled and pleased, that is a special kind of acknowledgment.

I feel a little like I’m rambling right now. I am sure I had a good through line that I was gonna write about, but if I did, I don’t know what it was. As I said earlier, or actually as Robert Burns said much earlier, all them good plans Gang aft agley. Know what I mean?

3 thoughts on “Gang Aft Agley

  1. Cody… I can’t wait to see you in this production…and I just know that when the evening is over, I, too, am going to want to give you a big hug! Thank you for sharing……

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