I’ve been persuaded to tread the boards once more and attempt, what’s worse, an American accent. The play concerned is Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, in which I have been cast as Act 2’s Jesse Kiplinger, bent on the seduction of old school flame Muriel Tate.
This short play revolves around seduction, but the twist in the plot is that it is the seducer who is seduced.
This is a two-hander. In other words, two actors are on stage for the duration and it is their relationship which is unfolded and explored through the drama. I’ve never played one before and have some anxiety about learning the lines as a consequence – I’m too used to smaller parts which mean I can nip off and check the words between entrances.
This is also a physical play, in that there is physical intimacy between Jesse and Muriel. Not more than kissing and caressing, but again these are new departures for me. Not having met the lady who had been cast to play with me before this evening, there was a little bit of uncertainty about meeting her – and no doubt on her part about meeting me. Well, at least she didn’t run screaming from the room scattering the book behind her, so I can’t have been too scary.
We did no more this evening than read through the play, but we seemed to have found something in common in our readings, or at least something complementary upon which we can build.
There are some lovely changes of pace and colour in the play, but the drama revolves around the switches of power and intention between the two characters. The depth of the production will lie in exploring these switches and the ulterior messages which lie beneath the spoken lines, and on which the drama depends.
The play, together with the other two acts, is intended to be performed in late August. The absolute key to success is learning those lines and getting the book down as soon as possible. Only then can rehearsal and exploration proper of the play begin.
This is going to be interesting …