Hamilton Gibson Productions Logo

      I GO, I GO...SEE HOW I GO by Thomas Putnam

      blogh83 dOne of the great delights of live theatre is to see how a character or scene or lines can be played so differently. The more a play is produced, the greater the chances of witnessing this phenomenon: the exact same words being spoken but in a completely different way. We get to see this in our own two versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL each year.

      In all the years that we've produced the Dickens classic we've only had three different Scrooges. I played it the very first year out of default due to the original actor having to drop out of the first performance about 10 minutes into the show. But aside from that, the two casts have been headed up by Tom Walrath and Rob Kathcart. If you haven't had a chance to experience both productions (usually running alternately throughout the Dickens weekend) you might enjoy seeing how differently Scrooge can be played. (Not to mention Scrooge via George C Scott or Mr. Magoo and so many others.)

      Shakespeare productions are another golden opportunity to witness the power and magic of this miracle: incredible words spoken by different actors—guided by different directors—and realizing that it works; that there is no “one way” to see any particular character. In the Globe Theatre production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (perhaps Shakespeare's most produced play) which I saw the other night on-line, I was delighted to see a Puck and a Bottom played so differently from any way I had seen before, and I've seen at least three stage versions and two filmed versions.

      We produced the play a few decades ago and it remains high on the list of HG favorites with so many people. Our Puck was played by young athletic Peter Baldo who gymnastically moved with a mysterious intensity. Our Bottom was played by a strong physcially aggressive fellow with a gruff voice. He was incredibly funny and commanded the stage every time he entered.

      The Globe production held many delightful surprises. Puck was a thin young boy who skipped about amiably but in no particular hurry. He was a clumsy adolescent having fun...or not; his focus skipped as often as his feet. There's a moment when Oberon commands him to carry out yet another mission on this mixed-up night in the woods and Puck's usual response is darting off with speed like “The Flash.” This Puck, played by Matthew Tennyson, turned, kicked a pebble absentmindedly, and ambling off stage...in absolutely no hurry...delivers “I go, I go...look how I go” with a droll, adolescent almost snarky sarcasm. It was worth the price of admission.

      I could cite many examples of these surprises but will close with just one more. Bottom is played in so many different ways. This Bottom was so unassuming and had such an interesting vocal quality that it was like seeing Bottom for the first time. Brilliantly underplayed, it becomes soon clear that this Bottom knows his way around. The slightest pause, raised eyebrow, repeated word, glance; this guy knew how to play the game. Hilarious.

      One of the great creative joys of live theatre.

      © 2020 Hamilton Gibson Productions. All Rights Reserved. Designed By ElectronMonkey LLC