From Lindsay…

It’s a cold November night. The wind (OK… cars) are whistling by outside as the rain hits the window pane. I’m tucked up under a duvet watching old episodes of Most Haunted…

Why? Apart from not being the worst way to while away a Monday evening, I’m doing my research and learning the ropes of the psychic world from the one and only Derek Acorah (warning… may contain sarcasm).

Indeed, I am having a cheeky watch as I am enjoying my journey into discovering Felicia Dantine – the character I play in Paul Rudnick’s unapologetically silly play I Hate Hamlet.

Felicia Dantine is a realtor who places Andrew Rally in John Barrymore’s old apartment. When she isn’t dominating the world of real estate, Felicia enters a preconscious state so she can talk to spirits… well, just her mum.

Felicia is described as a no-nonsense, eccentric, imposing, and gregarious character born and raised in New York with an accompanying twonk to her voice.

So… nothing like me at all then (well, I may describe myself with the above superlatives after a bevvy of booze) but that’s the main reason you want to get on stage right? Step into someone else’s shoes and forget about you for a while. Brilliant. So, although daunting, the challenge to discover Felicia has been a great one – and it’s still ongoing.

Character Mapping with the cast at one rehearsal helped to flesh out the bones of them all and starting my development of Felicia’s story, stance and style. The main thing being worked on by me is the New York accent – much to my boyfriend’s dismay as I continually exclaim, “Gawd, I love Cowaffee” instead of my usual, “Mmmm, nice brew”.

We’ve had our first act stumble through – or more specifically for me a sniffle through with a lovely dose of man flu – which was exciting and went great. It was lovely to see how the other scenes are flourishing. Half of our whole is there, now we polish, preen and perfect!

Now… back to Felicia’s past time of psychic ability… I wonder if I can convince my cast mates to come down to Edinburgh’s famous vaults with me to see if I can conjure up a spirit or two…

Lindsay (Felicia)

From Dave…

John Barrymore – Actor, Legend, Seducer… Corpse. One of my favourite lines from this fantastic play and also a line that hints at the tragedy of this great man.

This is my first time acting (well, apart from my legendary Scrooge in Waid Academy’s Christmas Carol circa 1996) and what I’m finding fascinating about the rehearsal process is the character research (and the sword fighting!)

John Barrymore was an eccentric, a larger than life character who one could easily play as a ham. While a lot of this role is comedy that plays on that aspect of him, my biggest challenge in trying to get to the heart of JB is to portray his inner turmoil. He once said “The only time I’m at ease is when I can bury this damn profile of mine behind funny whiskers and a false nose. I need a barrier, something to hide behind.” While I’m trying to play him essentially hiding behind his “sterling attributes,” I also feel it’s important that his drunken eccentric demeanour is not the only thing the audience go away with.

Barrymore was a tortured soul as well as a bon vivant and he feels his chance to instruct Andrew Rally to play hamlet is his last lunge at “cosmic redemption.”

It is this side that I feel we can all relate to. We are all, in part, living behind our own barriers and the key to life is to break through them. Sadly, Barrymore’s demons got the better of him but he should be remembered and celebrated for being essentially human as well as his “legendary” status.

Here’s to you Blythe!

Dave (John Barrymore)

From Sarah…

Hello! I’m Sarah and I’ll be playing the part of Deirdre in I Hate Hamlet. If you haven’t read the play by Paul Rudnick, I highly recommend you do, especially if you like running jokes about hair pins and really bad (and good!) Shakespearean acting.

*Added bonus, this is one of the very few plays (that I’m aware of) to have an equal number of male to female characters. Gender equality in theatre points right there.*

I’m hugely excited to be involved in this piece; the character of Deirdre is something completely new to me, with my previous roles being very, very far away from the world of a 29 year old virgin girlfriend with a Shakespeare obsession.

We’re still early on in rehearsal stages but already the play is pulling a great shape. Andra – our director – is very great at allowing us to experiment with our characters and giving us the freedom to play, which I know has been pivotal in my own character development.

The rehearsal process has been so relaxed, which I find makes everyone work better together and we move forward much faster.

One rehearsal we spent some time asking ourselves and each other questions about our characters, which was a great way for us to build our character’s backgrounds. We decided how Deirdre and Andrew met, why Lillian became an agent, and if Felicia finding that apartment for Andrew really was a coincidence…

All in all it’s been great fun so far, and I’ve never laughed so much in a rehearsal room, so I can’t wait to share this all with you come February.

Until next time!

Sarah (Deirdre)

First Rehearsals

After a fruitful and fun set of auditions, our show is cast and we have started rehearsals. It’s been really fun to get to know each other, and to see the play start to come alive. Over the past week we have done some character work, and they are starting to feel more well rounded. Now, I’m looking forward to getting into the meat of the play and am very much enjoying the process of bringing it to life with my fantastic cast!

Andra x

Here we go!

So today, we officially launch Beam Theatre into the world with our first play I Hate Hamlet. Welcome to our blog site – here’s where you’ll be able to follow along with the process of taking a play from the page to the stage.

Thanks for coming to visit, and come back soon! We’ll update regularly.

Thanks,

Andra (Director)