Chicago actor Joe Dempsey plays William Shakespeare’s most autobiographical character, Peter Quince, in the Chicago Shakespeare Theater production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Joe talks about playing this prototypical actor-manager, the rehearsal process for this gloriously funny production, the importance of listening to director Joe Dowling, the joy of rehearsal invention, the freedom of actor ownership, the balance of hustling for auditions, the delight of working with T.R. Knight (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy) as Bottom, the incorporation of many Shakespearean deaths, memories of working with the late great John Mahoney (Frasier), and the fundamental difference between being interpretive and creative artists. (Length 18:33) Peter Quince (Joe Dempsey, with bullhorn) directs Francis Flute (Alec Silver), and helps Nick Bottom (T.R. Knight), assisted by Tom Snout (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) and watched by Snug the Joiner (William Dick) in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Joe Dowling, December 6, 2018 – February 3, 2019. Photos by Liz Lauren.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised] returns for its first US tour in almost ten years! Two of our actors prepared for the tour by performing un-reduced Shakespeare this summer: Michael Faulkner(above, right) performed in Othello and the Two Noble Kinsmen for Kingsmen Shakespeare Company in Thousand Oaks, CA, while Jeff Marlow(above, left) played three roles in the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles production of Henry IV, which featured a young up-and-comer named Tom Hanks as Falstaff. Michael and Jeff discuss the importance of calf exercises, the strengths and limitations of LPMs (Laughs Per Minute) as an appropriate barometer, actor shorthand, honoring laughs, opening doors for yourself, unlikely expectations, the magic of theatrical alchemy, and the wonderful relationship between performing actual full-length Shakespeare — and then reducing it. (Length 18:32)
“In addition to performing our shows around the world, we teach theatre workshops in many of the various communities where we appear. This week we talk about the various workshops we offer and discuss the importance of listening, how you can book a Reduced Shakespeare Company Workshop in your community, the true value of BFA degrees, and some important ways you can absolutely blow an audition. (Length 17:04)
“We saw some great actors last week when we conducted auditions for the upcoming UK tour of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) [revised]. Austin Tichenor, Matt Rippy, and Davey Naylor discuss the process by which we whittled over 1200 applicants down to almost 40 auditioners to 18 callbacks. Featuring tips for actors on keeping your online resumes current (we recommend it), suggestions for the word that designates a collection of actors, and some fantastic and entertaining vocal characterizations. (Length 19:26)
“Audition glory this week, both the ones we won and the ones that got away. We share tales of auditions that went spectacularly well and gloriously bad, and talk about how to shake it off, survive in the room, and live to audition another day. Featuring disasters, success stories, a special appearance by Conor Lastowka from the Citation Needed Podcast andRifftrax.com, and secrets to putting your best foot forward. (Length 25:54)
“Actor James Morrison talks about the movie he’s directed, an homage to the working-class actor called “Showing Up: A Conversation About The Actor’s Audition”. Featuring revelations about what actors go through, why actors are like baseball players (no, not because of the steroids), how actors can wield what power they have, a surprisingly spiritual detour, and where everyone (not just actors) can present their true authentic selves. (Spoiler alert: Everywhere.) (MP3. Length 19:59)
“Want to audition for the Reduced Shakespeare Company? Reed and Austin outline everything they look for during RSC casting sessions. Featuring advice, tips, warnings, and explanations why sometimes even the best actors don’t make the cut. Plus, a special appearance by Brick Hawke and Attacus Dove, hosts of the Hawke and Dove Political Punditry Podcast. Break a leg! (MP3. Length 20:18)