Underneath the lintel
“How do you remember all those lines?” This is surely the question actors get asked most after a live stage performance and probably their least favourite. If you really want to make an actor all gooey, ask them instead something like: “How do you so bravely and nakedly channel the attributes, nay, the very heart and soul of your character?” Or simply, “How do you stay so good looking?”
The sparkly trick of memorizing lines, I regret to say, is achieved simply by the mundane process of repeating them over and over and over and over and over again. An actor does this whenever and wherever he can. Repeat, repeat, repeat. At home, in the car, in the café…mumbling, shouting, gesticulating at people who are not there, the line between art and psychosis impossible to discern.
I remember an odd moment when I was auditioning for TV shows in Vancouver, there was a series called Bird On A Wire which was set in a mental hospital and shot at the abandoned Riverview facility in Coquitlam. Legions of hopeful actors, waiting to be called in, shuffled up and down the hallway of the old ward, like ghosts, muttering to themselves, never making eye contact with each other. Home at last.
And so you may have noticed me recently, trudging the roads of Bowen Island, shouting at the clouds and shaking my fist at the trees as I learn my lines for Kingbaby’s upcoming production of Underneath The Lintel. It’s a chunky endeavour, a 75-minute monologue, which is happily the exact amount of time it takes me to walk from my home to Artisan Eats, coffee and rice pudding waiting. The pudding is wonderful but so is the trudging because I am so in love with the story. Written by Glen Berger, it presents the odyssey of a Dutch librarian who finds a book one day in the overnight return pile, 113 years overdue. “Whoever this scofflaw is, he’s not getting away with it, not a chance,” he declares and sets off on a world tour to unravel the mystery. The account is funny, poignantly philosophical and entirely entertaining for adults and older children.
Underneath The Lintel is directed by Jackie Minns and will be performed at the Tir-na-Nog Theatre from January 31 to February 9. Tickets will be available at Phoenix on Bowen as well as online at www.kingbaby.com.