Scott Greer is playing Yvan in ‘Art’ and Michael in ‘God of Carnage’.
A rip tide, according to Dictionary.com, is “a tide that opposes another or other tides, causing a violent disturbance in the sea”. While acting in two plays by the same author at the same time may not quite fit the “opposing tides” metaphor, the “violent disturbance” image seems apt. At least, in terms of brain space. I have been acting in plays professionally for over twenty years. Rehearsing a play takes over your life. Long hours and a seemingly perpetual lack of time (“we open when!?!”), eclipse family, home and sleep. I wouldn’t have it any other way mind you, but one tends to get submerged. And that’s when you’re doing one play. Doing two at once is, well, a “violent disturbance”.
I have, over the years done ‘rep’ (repertory theatre) a couple of times. The way it usually works is you rehearse one play, open it, and then begin rehearsing the second during the day while you run the first at night. .When the second play is open, you begin running them in ‘rep’: switching off from night to night. I have also overlapped shows many times; rehearsing at one theatre while performing at another. While that is time consuming, it is less “disturbing” because the show you’re running takes care of itself. I’ve never done a project like this one. We began rehearsing Art on Monday, September 17th, and then started God of Carnage two days later, and switched back and forth every couple of days for most of the process, eventually moving to days that were split between the two; building two shows at the same time. It was an exhausting and exciting process. There are still times onstage when I am moved to say a line from the other play. The greatest challenge throughout has been continuity. Since we were building two shows at once, remembering the small adjustments made to each became a real challenge when we would get a note and try to remember to implement it 48 hours later. Now that we’ve been running both shows for a few weeks, it has amazed and encouraged me that despite taking 3-4 days off (we don’t switch back and forth evenly), each time we return to a show, it has grown and deepened and gotten better in the same ways it would if we were doing it consecutively.
I have wanted to play Yvan in Art since seeing the play on Broadway in 1999. When I read God of Carnage, I felt a similar pull. These are great plays that ask great questions, and they’re funny. Very, very funny. When Gulfshore Playhouse made their offer, I could think of little else. I knew it would be hard and rewarding; it has been; and I’m very proud of what we have. Both shows are great, and getting better. Hard work is obviously the norm here at the Gulfshore Playhouse. Everyone on staff seems to have three jobs and do all of them well; so this project is maybe a logical extension of the work ethic around here. It has been inspiring to work along side them. After all, “violent disturbances” often yield unique and thrilling results.