Thursday, January 20, 2011

Surrender the Booty!!! (Day Two)

Well folks, a new show is upon us! Full of Buckled swashes, adventure, comedy...PIRATES! And that means we are once again sitting down with our latest cast for a series of interviews. Today we sit down with someone who is no stranger to the Makeshift Family, Mr. Matt Arnold.

So, Matt, tell us a bit about the character you play.
I play two characters throughout the play. Black Dog is a mean, nasty pirate who bullies people to get what he wants. Israel Hands is an equally mean, equally nasty pirate, but he's not terribly bright. My favorite thing about them is that, well, they're pirates! Pirates are definitely in the running to be the coolest thing ever, and it's a lot of fun to play not one, but two.

You've worked with Makeshift before, right?
I've done lots of shows with Makeshift in the past. I've been (in no particular order) three princes, a king, a French guy with a sword, a French Guy with a talking cat, and a bird.

What's the hardest thing you've ever had to do as an actor?
Auditioning. Since we're talking about Treasure Island, I'll compare it to treasure hunting... except instead of a shovel, you're digging with your face. There's a tiny fraction of a chance you'll get what you're after, and it doesn't actually hurt to try, but it's really uncomfortable while you're doing it no matter how much you prepare.

How do you prepare before you go on stage to perform?
Honestly, I don't. I just step on stage and "go." Even with all the lines and blocking and memorization, theatre is so spontaneous that I feel there's not much an actor can do to prepare once the rehearsal process is over. The important thing is to be aware of everything that's going on onstage and to work with it, since no two performances are ever going to be the same.

How do you memorize all those lines?
It just sort of happens as part of rehearsal. If there's a large monologue I need to memorize I'll take a few hours to go over it, then recite it in my head everywhere I go just to be sure, but the "basic" lines come naturally through rehearsal.

Is it hard to learn all the sword fighting?
The hard part isn't learning how to use the sword or even memorizing the fight sequences. The tricky part is keeping total coordination and control during the fight. All the fighters need to be not only aware of themselves, but of each other. If someone messes up it can be a disaster; at best, the fight looks bad. At worst, someone can get hurt. Safety is priority number one.

Makeshift Theatre Co Presents: Treasure Island Opens this February.
For tickets and showtimes please visit

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Surrender the Booty!

No, we're not talking about the truely awesome new theme to Booty Bay in the new World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion (Though lets face it, if Nero had his way, we'd all be hearing about how he spent 4 hours last night with his 85 Worgen Rogue battling his way through Grim Batol only to have his group fall apart right before he could get his fingers on Cho'Gall's Missive. Whatever that is. But Cho'Gall is a bad guy so I suppose his Missive would be something hands should be gotten around. Look, I'm not saying I lied and it was me and my Undead Warlock, but frankly I'm a busy guy and I've got things to do so if you're not going to quest to the end, why even bother in the first place? Stupid PUGs...)


Point is, Makeshift has a new show on the horizon and that show has PIRATES!

YES! Pirates!

And there's an ISLAND. Yes an Island. But unlike more well known islands, this one has TREASURE instead of smoke monsters and mind bending mysteries.

Next month, Makeshift returns with the incredible, exceptional, awe inspiring, totally uber l33t Treasure Island.

Pirates! Booty! Long Johns! Silver! Jims! and Hawkings!

Can you tell we're excited?!

Well we want you to be excited too, so once again, we're sitting down with a cast member for an informative infosession to give you, our faithful readers, a glimpse into the people that make up Makeshift Theatre Co. Today we are sitting down with newcomer Todd Larson.

1) Tell me a bit about the character you play. What do you like about him/her?
Squire Trelawney is a blustery, idealistic and often naive magistrate (a landed gentry landowner type) who organizes and orchestrates the trip to Treasure Island, only to see his fantastic plans go awry when Long John Silver commits mutiny and claims the ship and treasure for himself. I like him because I enjoy playing British gentlemen with thick accents, and I like the fact that he is unusually childlike and daydreamy in his aspirations for his age, therefore vulnerable to critical errors of judgment, which I myself can be at times.

2) What is/was the hardest thing you've ever had to do as an actor? Playing multiple roles as one of the lead actors in The Christus, an annual touring passion play staged by St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. It was hard because of the diversity of characters I had to play (which included the Angel Gabriel, a tax collector, and one of the thieves crucified with Jesus) and the often angry, ranting temperament of the director.

3) What was the most fun you've ever had as an actor?
Studying, analyzing and developing my role of King Henry VIII in Robert Bolt's A Man for All Seasons with minimal direction.

4) How do you prepare before you go on stage to perform?
I thoroughly study my script, making notes of the character's subtext (inner thoughts that accompany the lines) and intentions. I also go over the lines again and again to memorize them as early in rehearsals as possible.

5) What advice would you give to a young person in the audience that might be interested in performing? Project your voice forcefully, put your whole self into your role, and don't be afraid to take risks. Also, study your script thoroughly and carefully.

6) Who are some of your heroes and why?
Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer and Orson Welles, for being my favorite actors of all time; Peter Sellers and Alan Arkin, for being models for versatility in comic acting; and John Houseman, for being an academic and theatrical role model as Professor Kingsfield in The Paper Chase.

7) How do you memorize all those lines?
I go over them several times on the T and during meals, and I write in their subtext to help me understand their context.

Makeshift Theatre Co Presents: Treasure Island Opens this February.
For tickets and showtimes please visit