Did I Mention I Was Excited? by Cody Nickell

Rehearsals started this week for ‘Art’ and God of Carnage, the first two productions of the ’12-’13 season at Gulfshore Playhouse. The Playhouse is producing these two plays by Yasmina Reza in repertory, which means we are rehearsing them at the same time, and then opening and performing them at the same time.  Well, not the exact same time, that would be weird.  They will be performed on rotating nights, with a chance to see both on Saturdays.

So.  I am acting in Art and directing God Of Carnage. This is a new experience for me. I’ve made theatre all over the country for the last 15 years, and while I have acted in two plays at the same time, I have never had the chance (challenge, craziness, thrill, whose-bright-idea-was-this?!?) to direct and act at the same time.

The time leading up to rehearsals is always filled with excitement and anticipation.  How is everybody going to be? What is the play going to sound like out loud? How will we make all the things happen we need to make happen? And for me, this prep time has been doubly exciting. Prep work on two great plays: one as an actor, the other as a director. And now, here we are.  All the actors are here, sets are being built, costumes are being tried on, tickets are being sold. Time to actually make the plays.

The first and most important thing I should say: Boy, do we have a talented bunch of theatre professionals bringing their talents to bear on these plays. As an actor, I feel so grateful to be sharing a stage with Scott Greer and Brit Whittle in ‘Art’.  These guys are great. And Kristen Coury, what can you say? The excitement, energy, and passion she brings to the project are infectious.

And then as the director of God of Carnage: I am so lucky to have the cast I have. Scott and Brit, in different roles, but equally great, and add to that Laura-Faye Smith and Brigitte Viellieu-Davis, two astoundingly funny ladies. I found myself crawling up on tables out of sheer excitement to sit and watch my cast working today .  I realized I was perched on a table and thought to myself, “What the heck are you doing? Sit down, butt in a chair buddy!”  I would crawl off the table, and plant myself firmly in my seat, only to find myself on top of the table again, roaring with laughter at a choice one of the actors made.

We are off to the races over here at Gulfshore Playhouse. But what a fun three days it has been. So much to look forward to over these next few weeks, all in preparation to share these beautifully funny plays with Naples. I am a lucky, tired, excited (did I mention I was excited?), thankful actor and director.

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