Perspectives on The Weird Plays from newbie, actor and deity – Daniel Yeow
What man can claim to understand the manifestations of God?
Who the hell knows, but I had to try and figure it out for my part in the recent Omniprop double bill – Euripides: The Weird Plays, which included the somewhat whimsical Helen and the rather darker Orestes. These plays were my first involvement in both MUCAAS and its spin-off theatre company Omniprop. The experiences were quite positive, so much so that I was promptly sucked-in to MUCAAS and am now a fairly regular pub attendee.
Jumping into the role of Apollo was no easy task. (I played Apollo in the plays, did I mention that?) I had astutely avoided all classics subjects in favour of archaeology subjects for most of my classics and archaeology major. In addition to this, I had not acted in anything since year 12, which was so long ago that I don’t care to mention it here.
The rehearsal schedule was rigorous and intense (especially during the “intensive” sessions held during the September break). The MUCAAS crowd were ever-helpful and not nearly as intimidating as I thought they would be. The breakthrough came when it came out that I had attended one of those exclusive private boys schools. “Ok Daniel, Apollo is an arrogant dick who thinks he’s better than everyone else”. It was easy from there on in. It was almost as if I had spent my school days training to method act the part of Apollo.
Opening night was nerve-wracking. Not because I didn’t know my lines, not because I was afraid of delivering them in front of an audience, no, nothing trivial like that. When the guild theatre opens to the public and people start walking in and taking their seats I am on stage. I AM ON STAGE! I have to stand there, in nothing but a skirt (which got shorter every night) and “androgynous” (think drag-queen) make-up. Needless to say, I got alot of strange looks.
I was very lucky. I had three long-ish monologues, but apart from that, I didn’t have to do very much at all. I got to open the play and I got to close it. In between, I got to sit backstage and do… whatever. I got up to various different things, practicing my speed Rubik’s cubing, playing Tetris, Chess or Go on my laptop backstage, helping people to conduct ridiculously quick costume changes. After everyone was over the first-night-nervousness, things were fairly smooth sailing from there.
As the nights went on, we became more and more comfortable with our lines and our characters. The audiences increased and so did the volume of the laughs… and the claps. By closing night, a few minor incidents aside, we were ready to cap off a very successful season of Euripides plays. Aside from the chore of having to repaint the whole of the Guild theatre black, it was a fairly fun, if slightly long, bump out.
Bless lovely peace