Who Am I This Time? by Cody Nickell

Well another show is in the books at Gulfshore Playhouse.  The Importance Of Being Earnest has ended its record breaking run and we have moved onto the next show, The Whipping Man. In fact, we started rehearsals for The Whipping Man during the final week of performances of Earnest, and for yours truly, that meant pulling double duty. I played two small parts in Earnest and am one of the leads in The Whipping Man, so last week was pretty crazy for me.  By day, in rehearsal, I was playing a wounded Confederate Civil War soldier, and by night, in performance, two different, silly, British butlers. Funny voices all around. Oh, and I think my Artistic Associate duties may have intruded occasionally and an NEA grant may have been written.  It’s all a little bit of a blur.

I got into acting for many reasons, not the least of which was to explore other peoples’ lives.  Delve into characters, learn their secrets, see what makes them tick.  So, in theory, last week was kinda my dream week.  Three characters, three completely different lives, three different stories to tell.  But boy, it proved to be a bit of a workout, mentally and physically.  Without giving too much of the plot away, in The Whipping Man, my character loses a leg, loses his love, and loses his faith. In Earnest, I poured tea.  And made funny faces while I did it.  Oh, and walked funny, too. To shift back and forth between the head space necessary to pull off the witty comedy of Oscar Wilde, and the straight-up moody, mysterious, melodrama of Matthew Lopez’s play, left me a husk of a man, shivering under my dressing room counter, gnawing on a piece of stale calzone.  Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating a little bit, but only for dramatic effect.  I mean comedic effect. Wait who am I?

Claire Brownell and Cody Nickell in "The Importance of Being Earnest"

Claire Brownell and Cody Nickell in “The Importance of Being Earnest”

Oh, right, I’m playing Caleb in The Whipping Man.

Cody Nickell in The Arden Theatre's production of The Whipping Man

Cody Nickell in The Arden Theatre’s production of The Whipping Man

But really, other than the inevitable exhaustion, it was a totally fun week.  They are all such fun parts to play, and now that Earnest has gone away, I am really able to sink wholly into Caleb.  And we are having a lot of fun working on this play.  The guys directing and acting with me, our great crew, we are all learning about the special kind of joy we have to bring to the telling of this beautiful, hard, wonderful story. I am really looking forward to putting it all together next week and adding that ever-lovely last touch, the audience.

So, ta ta for now, chaps. No wait, uh…

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