Since Youffraita has to work this evening, I was asked to publish the Monday Night Theatricals Diary, discussing some of the roles I have played over the years. Those have been mostly in community theater, but also some extra work in film & TV. I have posted here on the GOS about many of those roles, including a Photo Diary of a "Dinner & a Show" Meet-Up when I played my absolute favorite role, Henry II in The Lion in Winter.
So why was that my favorite role? After all, I was playing a deceitful, manipulative, adulterous, arrogant asshole, whereas in reality I am a quite honest, straightforward, and faithful one. To join my self-indulgence, and address that larger question of the roles we all play, on stage, in film, and in life, please proceed beyond the squiggly orange curtain.
Recently, I have been cast alternately as powerful monarchs, and scary guys with heavy make-up jobs. After playing Henry, I played Marley's Ghost in last year's production of A Christmas Carol.
This spring I played Theseus, Duke of Athens, in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
...and most recently, I played Jonathon Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace.
I was playing a psychotic serial killer, but not a well-beloved one like his aunties. People told me I was "Scary", and "Creepy", and I thanked them. It was the first time I had played a real villain in a play since 2000, when I played the traitor George Corell in Steinbeck's The Moon is Down (sorry, no pictures). Then, people came up to me after every show and said "Norm, you're a real slimeball.", and I said "Thank you!" My own father booed me during my curtain call!
At the other extreme, I once played Matthew in Anne of Green Gables, and people said "You made me cry!" Hey, I was just following the script; I didn't create such a sweet, lovable character, only to kill him off near the end.
As well as Marley's Ghost, I have played many roles in productions of A Christmas Carol over the years, including Ebeneezer Scrooge and Mr. Fezziwig:
I am not the Pope, but I have played one on TV (Urban II in The History Channel's Secrets of the Koran), so if any of you need an Indulgence...
On TV, I have also played an inmate in background scenes in the first season of Prison Break, and a drunken rock band manager (with one line!) in the HBO Film Normal (at the link, if you view the trailer under "Videos" - not "Watch Trailer" - you can see me).
I encountered some controversy here on Daily Kos, when I mentioned that I played the role of Buffalo Bill in a production of Annie Get Your Gun.
It was pointed out that in history, Buffalo Bill exploited Native Americans (and this is less known, but many African Americans were cast as Native Americans in his Wild West Show), and that the play portrayed negative, demeaning stereotypes of them. That was toned down greatly in the 1999 re-write of the play, but I can understand how some still find it objectionable.
There was controversy in our theater group when it was decided to produce The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, out of concern that it was scandalous, and that it portrayed prostitution in a positive way. I had not intended to audition for it (not due to the controversy, just wasn't interested), but was persuaded to, and wound up with my first leading role, as Sheriff Dodd.
These controversies beg the question of what responsibility an actor has for the roles he portrays? Is it wrong to accept a role which portrays an objectionable historical figure in a favorable light, or in a play that makes light of serious issues? Is it all right to play a traitor, or a psychotic serial killer (see above), as long as you play them as villains? How do you feel about this issue?
Those are some of the many roles I have played over the years, some serious, some funny, some sweet, some evil, some ambiguous. Of course, in my "day job", I play the role of "Norm, the annoyingly cheerful guy in Accounting." At home, I have the easiest roles to play, as loving husband to my lovely wife, and domestic servant to our pooties.
So what roles do you play?