I am really thrilled to introduce this week, my guest blogger, Ian McDonald. Besides being my better half, he is also a very talented actor. Ian is currently in rehearsals for The 39 Steps which opens on Saturday, February 16th. This week he shares his experience:
“I always wanted to be an explorer, but – it seemed I was doomed to be nothing more than a very silly person” – Michael Palin
When I heard that The 39 Steps was being produced by The Parkside Players, I was pretty sure I’d be auditioning for it. I only say pretty sure because I was fooling myself into thinking I wouldn’t audition for it. And when I did decide to audition for it, I was still fooling myself into auditioning for the role of the single character Hannay, as deep down I knew I should be auditioning for the role of one of the clowns.
I was built for the role of the clown. From the late night viewings of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on public television back in the late 70’s, to the memorization of, and subsequent repetition of, just about every piece Python and Kids In The Hall I could get my college-aged hands on in the mid 90’s, it was obvious I was infected with the disease known as “sketch comedy.” Late one night in 1995, the disease took full root and over caesar salads and carafes of orange juice at Denny’s Joe Koyon, Michael McVeigh, Chris Gladis, and I went all out and invented our own Sketch Comedy troupe. We were called “It’s Just A Phase” and were on the razor edge of comedic genius – we were edgy, sometimes offensive, often introspective, and always hysterical – at least to each other. You see this was long before the age of YouTube, portable digital video cameras, and your new fangled interwebs. We ate and laughed and wrote and laughed and ultimately never shot a single frame of the comic gold we had been mining. And we really didn’t mind. We were making each other laugh and that was what was really important at the time. Eventually, we all went our separate ways – staying connected over the years in varying degrees through social media and sometimes visits to the far-away lands to which we had all spread out, and somewhere – possibly in McVeigh’s footlocker, is a black and white marble composition book filled with what the outside observer would no doubt think were the ravings of a madman. So there it ends – the illustrious and meteoric rise and fall of my multiple character comedic disorder – or so I thought until I was offered the role of the clown.
Malini has often commented in the past on my seemingly schizophrenic ability to be jump from self to character in a matter of seconds when we’ve done shows together. These days, Malini never knows who is walking in the door after a rehearsal. Could it be the ebullient supershowman Compere? Is a cockney thug ala Jason Statham’s Turkish sitting in the living room playing on the Playstation? Did Ian just walk through the room in a kilt whistling Scotland the Brave? And did he just call Malini “Meine schatze” in a German accent? The answer these days is yes to all of the above. This masterpiece of Hitchcockian comedy has finally allowed me to “get my sketch on,” as it were, playing fifteen different characters with some of them actually having conversations with themselves. It’s wonderfully frenetic, incredibly freeing, and hysterically funny – at least to me. And while I always hope others can enjoy my comedy I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing wrong with making yourself laugh.
“He who laughs most, learns best.” – John Cleese
The 39 Steps
by Patrick Barlow
adapted from the 1915 novel by John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock
The 39 Steps is a raucous comedy based on the Hitchcock movie, a man with a boring life and no passion meets a mysterious woman who claims to be a spy. When she is murdered in his apartment, he finds himself running across Britain from the police and an organization of enemy spies, all the while searching for an answer to a question of national importance: What are “The 39 Steps”? A cast of 4 recreate the film playing over 150 characters in a fast-paced whodunit certain to keep you guessing….what madcap stunt the cast will pull next!
Fridays, February 22 & March 1 at 8:00 pm;
Saturdays, February 16, 23 & march 2 at 8:00 p.m.;
Sundays, February 17 & 24 at 2:00 pm.
Feb 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, March 1 and 2, 2013
Admission: $14 / $12 for Seniors
CAST RICHARD HANNAY.........................................KC Scwabb ANNABELLA SCHMIDT/PAMELA/MARGARET.................Monica Barczak CLOWN 1.............................................Johnny Young CLOWN 2.............................................Ian McDonald