Lovers and Liars : A David Garrick Double Bill
(Actor playing ‘Flash’)
With opening night looming, I think you’ll have fun watching Captain Flash. Much like his namesake, you can expect to see a performance similar to the more famous Flash, played by Rik Mayall in Blackadder II. Flash is, as described by our leading lady Biddy, a ‘fine, blustering man’; that is, a man who prefers ‘strongly to come’. Flash has so much potential to deliver laughs, and so I only hope you’ll be gracious enough to laugh at/with me at the wonderful way he’s written.
There was quite a large amount of research and rehearsal needed in order to make Flash the imposing, strong and ridiculous character he is. This week, I’ve really been trying to push the practice of Commedia Dell’Arte, and I think it’s working well, seeing as our esteemed director has been pretty pleased with the runs of Flash’s scenes. Commedia Dell’Arte was key in making Flash as ridiculous as he will appear; a man who is all posture and presence. The stride, the exuberant movement, the loud commandeering voice, you can are all heightened by the fantastic period costumes we are using.
I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll be seeing a bit of swordplay from Flash. Since Flash is of a military background, he uses his sword as an extension of himself and his ego so it was key to get the swordplay as accurate as possible. This involved living out a wonderfully boyish dream of mine and learning to swordfight. Thanks to the excellent Tom Cornford, myself, Ben (Captain Rhodophil) and Sean (Fribble) all learnt how to attack, defend, manoeuvre and flourish with rapiers ready for the swordplay you’re going to see come opening night. That is, if I correctly get my sheathing and unsheathing movements correct!
Watching everything come together in the full runs from this week has been pretty exhilarating. Our director’s vision, I would say, has been realised. And it is from her consistent models of rehearsal, voice and posture training exercises that we’ve managed to hammer and chisel a hunched, introverted and otherwise quiet young man into the blustering, explosive and presence-centric soldier you’ll be watching on opening night. And if that ‘Ugliest Ducking’-esque story isn’t enough to convince you to come… well, still come anyway, you’ll be missing out on a great show otherwise!