A Butler in the Wings by Cody Nickell

Well things are in full swing here at The Playhouse. I Am My Own Wife is up and running, playing to sold out crowds, and rehearsals are well underway for our next show The Importance Of Being Earnest. I have the distinct pleasure of playing two small but very fun roles in this production. I am having quite a good time discovering these characters, finding ways to differentiate them (an eye twitch and a stutter have already been shot down; I suppose our director Kristen Coury is looking for a little subtlety). But mostly I am delighting in sitting back and watching this wonderful group of actors create their characters and discover the hilarity that still jumps right off the page of this 118 year old play.

Kristen Coury has put together an incredible cast of actors from New York and Los Angeles and they are bringing their considerable talents to bear on this play. Since I have relatively small parts, just like a butler from the Victorian era, I can stand on the edge of the room and observe the wonderful work being done. Wilde’s witty dialogue is popping in their very capable hands and there are lots of laughs ringing through the rehearsal hall. Not to single anyone out, because all the work is absolutely inspiring, but watching Nick Ullett trot about in a rehearsal skirt and take on the battle-axe-of-a-roll, Lady Bracknell, is a particular joy for me. I had the pleasure of working with Nick in a repertory season at Shakespeare Santa Cruz a few years back. He is such a funny man to begin with, then add a dress, a very funny voice,and the rapier wit of Wilde and I am thrilled to stand to the side and watch until I am called upon to bring tea.

So, all signs are pointing to yes as Kristen, the cast, and the crew tackle this very funny play. And as far as this eye-twitching, stuttering, limping, lisping, butler is concerned, I couldn’t be happier.

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