The Comedy of Errors
We needed someone really funny, really physical, and really fun to play with – and we couldn’t find anyone we thought was right. But here’s where networking paid off. One of our former company members – Patrick Flick – had gone to the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, where he is now an Associate Artistic Director. He had hired both Darren Bridgett and Mary Knoll to work in Orlando. When Darren told us there was a perfect actor in Orlando, and Mary and Pat confirmed it, we hired Brandon Roberts sight unseen for this make-or-break role.
Actors sometimes practice trusting one another. We do exercises; we take risks. We were thrilled to put our trust in Darren, Mary and Pat, in Jim’s health, in Brandon’s talent – and to have it pay off so richly. Brandon gave a superlative performance and was a joy to have around. What started off as a production process full of uncertainty, turned out – with a lot of leaps of faith and patience all around – to be a sure fire hit.
From the Playbill - Director's Notes:
As the great English actor Edmund Keene lay on his death bed, some visitors inquired as to how he was feeling. He is said to have replied, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard!" This story has been repeated by actors through many generations. We don't really know if Keane said this or not, but it certainly rings true with those of us in this mysterious profession called the theatre. A joke that will bring down a house with gales of laughter may elicit not a peep at another performance.
I have found, however, that the best physical "bits" of comic business and comic delivery of lines always comes from the actor. My job really comes down to steering actors within the bounds of what I think the playwright might have had in mind, and to work with the entire company to create an ensemble style in playing that seems easy, but in reality is very difficult.