Directed by Sharon Bebout-Carr
(*-denotes Black Mask Honorary Dramatic Society member)
My involvement in The Canterbury Tales is something of an oddity, I suppose. Originally, another actor held my roles. He actually auditioned for the show; I did not. However, conflicts reared their ugly heads, and he left the cast, or was removed from the cast, creating a void in need of filling. Dr. Bebout called me, and I was brought into the show. I shall be forever grateful for the mercurial whim of fate that dropped this role in my lap. I had a great deal of fun with it, as it taught me several things about myself as an actor, provided me with opportunity to work with some incredibly talented people, and, perhaps most importantly, gave me something to do.
I haven't counted, but it has been suggested that I had the most lines of any male role in this show. I don't really agree, but I will say I had a lot. Coming in two weeks late didn't help matters much, and I'm sure Dr. Bebout was panicking much more than she ever let on as Opening approached and I was still on book. However, everything did come together in the end, and it was beautiful.
Experimental theater is pretty cool; the show was done outdoors, to a soundtrack of police sirens, trains, and barge workers. It was tough, but a lot of fun. The nature of the show (i.e., its outdoorsiness) is a true testament to the talent of the people I worked with. Rachel Roberts was truly incredible, switching from a ragged old hag to a convincing (and horny!) rooster in less than 20 minutes, with other roles in between. Roman was as solid as I expected, after working with him on Good Doctor, and special thanks to him, as he was my Prof o' Ass-grabbage for my role as Nicholas. Tonya was quite good as the Wife of Bath, using her gadget well and willingly. Dan's versatility was impressive, as he changed from old man to young man to priest, separating each clearly. Maggie and Becky rounded out the cast, each performing against gender and against type, with marvelous results. In all, it was a good show.
The Second Time Around:
In the Fall of 2001, we performed a shorter version of Canterbury for the Petit Jean Performance Festival in Arkansas. The cast was revised, as follows:
Petit Jean was an experience in and of itself, including what may well have been the best performance of Canterbury this cast ever gave. The festival also engendered friendships, solidified others, and provided a much-needed break from the humdrum madness of everyday campus life.
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Copyright ©2001 Adam Rutledge