Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

MySpace Theatre Survey

Karen sent this to me, I did it on MySpace, and thought I'd share it here. Feel free to post yur responses, Richmond theatre-ers.

Theatre Survey

1) What was the first play you ever did? What role/job?
I was Jesus Christ in a second-grade Passion play. It was the biggest part.

2) What was your most recent show? What job/role?
I'm leading the band for The Tempest at the Richmond Shakespeare Festival, and I'll be playing drums for Henry IV Part 1 in a couple weeks.

3) What was your most fun show/role?
Jeez, I have to pick just one? The Taming of the Shrew last summer was like lightning in a bottle. Twelfth Night last April was also amazing. Directing Doctor Faustus with Julie Phillips was the most fun I've ever had behind the table. And Picasso at the Lapin Agile still makes me smile.

4) What was your most challenging show/role?
Adapting, directing, arranging, producing, musical directing, and promoting Joe Jackson's Night and Day in 2004. I would do it again in a heartbeat if you could promise me I wouldn't have to produce it.

5) What is the most bizarre show or role you've ever done?
I scored Theatre of Operations' Operation Hamlet at the Ranci Raygun. That was pretty strange. But you know what's a weird play? The Tempest.

6) Has anyone ever written a show for you?
No. I do the writing around here!

7) Have you ever gotten romantically involved with a co-star?
Yes, our 10th wedding anniversary is this Thursday. Cue: Awww!

8) Have you ever quit a show to accept a better one?
No.

9) Have you ever completely blown character on stage?
One time, while doing Trumpet in the Land, I was playing a dying British soldier, lying downstage center in front of a 1000-plus-seat house. The kindly Moravian Indians gave me a ladel full of water before my cue was to die. One evening, the kindly young man who gave me the water looked soulfully into my eyes and said, "This will kill you." I tried, I tried so hard not to laugh. God bless Tim Braden, the first Equity actor I ever worked with, who never broke character or judged, he just rotated my face upstage and kept going with the scene.

10) What show are you just dying to do?
Chess, Richard II, A Month in the Country and a couple shows I'm in the middle of writing.

11) Have you ever done one of your "dream" shows?
I've gotten to play a couple dream roles: Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Cassius in Julius Caesar. Being in Jesus Christ Superstar was awesome.

12) Who was your favorite director?
Gary Hopper and Anthony Luciano.

13) Who was your least favorite director?
It's not nice to speak ill of the dead.

14) What is the most surprising role you have ever been offered?
Cassius in Julius Caesar.

15) Have you ever injured yourself onstage?
My death-fall in Caesar involved a leg-flop that, once or twice, sharply crushed my unmentionables.

16) Have you ever worked on an original play?
I'm a playwright, so I've worked on my own plays as well as the two magnificent ensemble pieces generated by Theatre VCU's "Project: Evil" in 2004 and 2005.

17) What show(s) have you done multiple times?
A Midsummer Night's Dream (x2), The Tempest (x2), Romeo and Juliet (x2).

18) Have you ever done different adaptations of the same show?
No.

19) What roles do you usually get?
The goofy, harmless sidekick with no romantic interest whatsoever. Mercutio, Hortensio, Schmendimann, Rick Steadman, Stanley Jerome, Simon Zealotes, etc.

20) Have you ever had an onstage kiss?
Several times.

21) What was your scariest moment in a show?
Standing there, watching the pause extend with the reviewer in the audience, with nothing I could do to help.

22) What is your best show memory?
Massive, shrieking applause after every song in Joe Jackson's Night and Day, watching this show work twice as well as I ever dreamed it would (we need BADLY to do that show again in Richmond)... and spacing rehearsal of The Tempest, watching Stephen Lorne Williams' Prospero raise a tempest with a real thunderstorm approaching across the lawn of Agecroft.

23) What is your worst show memory?
The run of Othello going on and on while Iago went more and more away from what I directed.

24) Have you ever pulled a prank on someone in a show?
Oh my goodness yes. In my foolish youth. "Shoot him in the knee!" "I didn't ask for the anal probe." "Probe-ly." Outdoor drama can be a freaking circus when you're 22. Oh! and always making eye contact with Matt Polson during Shrew and silently mouthing "Mo"--our nickname for each other--simultaneously.

25) Have you ever been the recipient of a prank during a show?
Rock up the butt crack. At least it wasn't MY butt crack, but I was the intended spectator.

26) Do you have any theatrical superstitions?
I don't have any, but I respect my compatriots who do. No whistiling, no Scottish Play references, and I always say "Do good. Don't suck" instead of "good luck."

27) Ever had a show open or close too early in its run?
If only Othello had closed about a month earlier...

Labels:

7 Comments:

  • At 6/26/2007 8:42 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Brave man to answer all those questions!

     
  • At 6/28/2007 6:13 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    I did one too-- over on my seldom-updated blog. Peace!!

     
  • At 6/30/2007 12:14 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Okay, so I'll play and post on Scott's as well. Here goes:

    1) What was the first play you ever did? What role/job?
    There might have been a second-grade in-class play or something, but the first one for an actual audience was in 5th grade. I played Julius Caesar in "Julius Caesar" on our huge cafetorium stage. I had made a ketchup filled blood packet for the assassination scene, and lacking any tech rehearsals (couldn't squirt blood all over my white toga but ONCE), the packet didn't ooze blood as I'd hoped. As I was repeatedly stabbed, I kept pressing and pressing until...POP! An audible BURST of ketchup ALL OVER the toga. Big laughs. But I was seriously embarrassed, this was a SERIOUS 5th grade Shakespearean drama, man!!! Guess that should have told me where future roles would come from.
    2) What was your most recent show? What job/role?
    Gonzalo in "The Tempest" for Richmond Shakespeare. I almost declined the role (in fact I did and then was persuaded to take it). It's turned out well. Sometimes I'm an idiot. At least I know that.
    3) What was your most fun show/role?
    Yeah, that's tough. Most fun role might have been Max Prince in "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" with Richmond Ensemble Theatre, but the Toby Belch/Antonio dual role performance recently in "Twelfth Night" ranks up there too. Most fun show? Again, those stand out...but "Midsummer Night's Dream", with Andrew Hamm's music and playing opposite Scott Wichmann, has GOT to be right up there. No kidding.
    4) What was your most challenging show/role?
    It's GOT to be "Twelfth Night". Playing a clown like Toby Belch, then turning around to play the steadfast, lovelorn Antonio.

    5) What is the most bizarre show or role you've ever done?
    Ah, Jesus...that would probably be playing the ghostly King Verence in a production of "Wyrd Sisters" at Chamberlayne Actors' Theatre. Bizarre role, bizarre script, bizarre production.
    6) Has anyone ever written a show for you?
    Not yet dammit! But I'm waiting!
    7) Have you ever gotten romantically involved with a co-star?
    Yes. On more than one occasion over the years, actually. Let's leave it at that.
    8) Have you ever quit a show to accept a better one?
    No. I doubt I ever will, but if I should ever retire and then act as my second full time career, I could see it happening.

    9) Have you ever completely blown character on stage?
    I don't think so, no...but I've come close and I've screwed up pretty good a few times. During the final night of the 2004 "Midsummer Night's Dream", I skipped a half page of dialogue. (chirp, chirp) Long pause. Brandon Kethcum as Bottom throws it RIGHT back at me..."isn't there supposed to be something about a WALL?" (nice cover man, thanks!) I backpedaled and brought it back around somehow ("Now, about that WALL you mentioned"...)
    10) What show are you just dying to do?
    George in "Of Mice and Men". And "Last of the Red Hot Lovers". I'm sure there are others, but I'm mainly working on getting cast in shows I KNOW are upcoming next season.
    11) Have you ever done one of your "dream" shows?
    Well, it wasn't a dream at the time, but Max Prince in Simon's "Laughter" was a real dream role. Otherwise, no.

    12) Who was your favorite director?
    Jeez, that is tough, because I like so many of them. But both Anthony Lucianno and Kate Powers in the last two shows do come to mind. I've been lucky to work with some terrific directors such as Bruce Miller and Grant Mudge and Jan Guarino and Susan Sanford, so you're talking cream of the crop there.
    13) Who was your least favorite director?
    Yeah, no names. But that person pretty much allowed US as the cast to direct the show. Then there was the clipboard-throwing tantrum guy back in college. Good times...

    14) What is the most surprising role you have ever been offered?
    I guess right now is the one. Gonzalo in "Tempest". Just could NOT see it. But God bless Anthony Lucianno for allowing me to take it in a WHOLE different direction than traditionally performed.

    15) Have you ever injured yourself onstage?
    Bangs and bruises. Typical stuff.
    16) Have you ever worked on an original play?
    Yes, "Oneax: The Death of A and B" for Yellow House. I was A. Or was it B? Anyway, it was a title role! Staged reading, multi-media, but cool.

    17) What show(s) have you done multiple times?
    A Midsummer Night's Dream twice. That's it.

    18) Have you ever done different adaptations of the same show?
    No. That would be strange, I think.

    19) What roles do you usually get?
    Lately broad comedic roles are most common; sometimes the everyman schlub as some sort of service guy, like the phone repairman in "Barefoot in the Park". But I've also been getting some more dramatic type roles showing some noble qualities, and I like that. But I'd like to play a really EVIL character.
    20) Have you ever had an onstage kiss?
    Several times, including recently in "Twelfth Night" (which also included gratuitous fondling and canooding with the lovely Suzanne Ankrum, though I point out that much as I enjoyed it that it was the DIRECTOR'S idea, not mine); within the last few years in "Bright Ideas" (reading script, realizing I'd be kissing Katie McCall: Oh my God! I hope I'm worthy!!!); and a few other shows before that.

    21) What was your scariest moment in a show?
    Yeah, as mentioned above: Blanking out in "Midsummer Night's Dream" after I skipped half a page.

    22) What is your best show memory?
    God, there are lots of them. That's why I do this. But playing (and I mean truly PLAYING) opposite Scott Wichmann in "Midsummer Night's Dream", and stepping out at curtain call to rousing standing ovations over top of Andrew Hamm's TRULY MAGICAL original music. Thank you God, thank you, for that experience. It will stay with me until my dying days.

    23) What is your worst show memory?
    That would probably be a horrible Brecht production in college of "The Good Woman of Setzuan". Really, really bad.

    24) Have you ever pulled a prank on someone in a show?
    No, not that I recall. I pretty much steer clear of that, unless it's really tiny stuff. I might play a bit and do something unscripted, of course, but not a full blown prank that might throw off my fellow actor.
    25) Have you ever been the recipient of a prank during a show?
    No, no - can't think of such an instance.

    26) Do you have any theatrical superstitions?
    Personally, no...though I do say "Scottish play" out of respect to others. I do say "break a leg". Once, I worked with this hideous, untalented actress who took THAT as bad luck after I told her to "break a leg" (her personal superstition). She made me take it back, so I said "leg a break" and walked away. The seriously disturbed look on her face prompted a quick retreat. The woman had some REAL issues, not the least of which was that acting was NOT the line of work for her.

    27) Ever had a show open or close too early in its run?
    Not yet. But this raining out of "Tempest" is getting REALLY old, man!

     
  • At 7/11/2007 8:34 AM , Blogger Larry Belew said...

    Andrew--you weren't at actor in the New York production of "Razor Wire and Twinkle Lights" but you wrote and performed a wonderful song about shepherds working the night shift, which accompanied a lovely dance by your date of nine years. As the playwright, I would definitely think that that qualifies as working on an original production.

     
  • At 7/11/2007 8:36 AM , Blogger Larry Belew said...

    I have no idea why I said "nine years" when your comments plainly say "ten." Blame it on the administation; everyone else does.

     
  • At 7/11/2007 11:51 PM , Blogger Larry Belew said...

    You comment on Tempest being a strange show reminded me of a comment our director made when I was playing Alonso not so many years back. At the end of a scene he said, "So here's where we say to the audience, 'You didn't get that scene so we're going to run in another one for you.'" He "scored" our production with Orff's "Carmina Burana" and it worked well, but I would love you hear your music.

     
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