Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

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

Friday, February 01, 2008

Coming Attractions: "Measure for Measure"

Next up for Richmond Shakespeare: Measure for Measure, directed by James Alexander Bond, featuring Liz Blake, me, John Moss, Julie Phillips, and Dave White, costumes by Rebecca Cairns, and stage managed by Heather Johnson.

I wrote the "professional" blurb over at the RS Blog, but this is where I get to be a little more honest and self-serving.

This is my second time acting under the direction of Mr. Bond, and both times I have come out of the process feeling like I've grown as an actor far beyond where I thought I could go. This particular process has me simultaneously thrilled at the leap I feel I've taken forward and more than a little frustrated at the little places where I still feel myself holding back with only a week to go. I feel like a huge breakthrough is just one rehearsal away, but I've felt that way for two weeks.

I have to say here that every truly huge advance I've taken as an actor has been every bit as dependent on acting partners as on directors or teachers. senior Year, it was Mark Joy's and Yvonne Graetzer's Acting for the Camera Class, but it was also the huge brown eyes of actor Summer Bashaw, just listening to me talk about my brother. In David Leong's and Aaron Anderson's Physical Acting class first year of grad school, it was Matt Ellis, who is not only just about the best actor I know but who became my best friend while we rehearsed that first scene. (Our feedback from David: the unforgettable "Good work. No notes.")

Two years later, the actor-writers of Project Evil shepherded me through a process I was ostensibly supposed to have been "teaching." Piper Blouin, Jeff Cole, Elaine Deichmeister, Julia Rigby, and Caitlin Stafford: hats off to you all. Don't think I've forgotten.

The whole cast of Measure is great. Dave is one of my best friends, John is consistently hilarious, and Julie Phillips is simply one of my favorite theatre artists to work with in the world ever. But here I have to single out Liz Blake, Fievel Pockets, my official unofficial little sister.

This is three years now I've been working with Liz on and off, and the first time I've gotten to play with her extensively. And it has been one of the joys of my professional life to see her grow into each role she plays. She's our Isabella, all passion and pleading, the nun's novice whose virtue steals my Angelo's heart (among other things), and in the moment when she kneels at the side of my throne to ask if I've ever had fault like her brother's, I gaze into those prismatic brown eyes and fall completely in love with her. Every. Night. The rest is, as Mal Reynolds would say, easy-peasy. (Except the "little sister" part; that's pretty much gone forever.)

So I hope you'll come see Measure for Measure, not to witness The Greatest Advance in the History of American Acting but just because I'm happy about it and I think you'd like to see it.

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  • At 2/02/2008 6:23 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Well brother, now you know how I felt playing Antonio opposite Liz' Sebastian in Twelfth Night. While my Toby Belch's passion for Suzanne Ankrum's Maria was more mischievous and lustful, with Antonio and Sebastian it was romantic and soulful. And that's what Liz always brings to the stage: Romance and a vulnerable glimpse into the soul of an artist.

    With Dave White, I don't think I've ever met an actor with whom I so immediately created a sense of improvisation and play in rehearsal. Dave's huge and generous spirit, coupled with an immense talent, helped us to create what John Lennon called instant karma. It got us! From the very first rehearsal together (and we only had - what - TWO???), it was clear our onstage chemistry was going to be special, indeed. And in Twelfth Night, along with your incredible Feste and the beautiful talents of Liz and Suzanne, something magical did indeed happen. I'm expecting the same will hold true with Measure.

    I'm hoping Suzanne's rehearsal schedule for Much Ado About Nothing will give us the opportunity to come together to see our Twelfth Night brethren (accompanied by John and Julie, of course)in Measure for Measure at the same performance. If not, I'll be there and I'm sure she will as well on separate occasions.

  • At 2/04/2008 9:42 AM , Anonymous philip hamm said...

    Rose and I are looking forward to coming down for a performance.

  • At 2/04/2008 3:21 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...



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