Hey Folks! It's Wednesday, August 1st, which means today is the world premier of Hamlet! The Musical! Just kidding, it's actually the real play, Hamlet: A Downer in Five Acts. I thought for today's post it would be cool to do an interview with Stephen Thorne, the actor playing Hamlet. But first, let's have a little context.
We should begin by explaining the summer play is a big deal for us English Nerds. You see, for one week during the summer, Bread Loaf is transformed into a veritable hotbed of culture. Theater lovers from all over New England come in droves to pack it in at the Burgess Meredith Little Theater. (Mostly to see the summer productions, but also to gawk at English Nerds in their natural habitat, giggling when they spy a Nerd buried in a book running smack dab into a wall or pine tree.)
And yes, we are referring to that Burgess Meredith, the actor who played Micky, the guy who trained Rocky, who right before the best training montage in film history snarled, "You's gonna piss lightnin' and crap thundah!" Turns out Micky was a serious patron of the arts and funded the re-building of the Little Theater after it burned down several years ago. Who knew?
Back to the plays. The way it works is that a troupe of actors cobbled together from the Trinity Rep theater (located on the mean streets of Providence, Rhode Island), along with a few strays from New York City, gather on the Mountain to perform plays. And when they aren't dazzling English Nerds with their acting skills, they assist the Bread Loaf professors with dramatic performances of classic texts. No one is sure how many years actors have been an integral part of the Bread Loaf way, but we managed to locate an old photo album documenting past productions.
|1924. Ancestral Nerds.|
|Same play, 57 years later. More Chicks + More Writhing= ManNerd Heaven.|
|It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Super Nerd. Feel free to add your own Nerd jokes. And no, I didn't ask him to wear this t-shirt for the sake of few Nerd jokes. I wish.|
On to the interview. Being that Esquire is one of my favorite magazines, a natural choice for the Urban Daddy that I am, I decided to borrow from one of Esquire's best features called,"What I've Learned." Here's how it goes: celebrities are given a word to consider, expound, and riff on while a professional interviewer--in this case, me--writes down everything they say. Well almost everything. It was really hard to type as fast as Stephen Thorne talks but I'm fairly certain I got at least 43% of what he said. Don't sneer, folks. It's called "Journalistic license." Look it up. Amateurs.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED (in five minutes)
with Stephen Thorne (Hamlet)
The Little Theater: I love Burgess Meredith. I love that space. I feel like the audience and the actors have such intimate direct contact with one another.
Mothers: (laughs) Working as an actor, you work at night. Angela [Stephen's wife] has been with the kids more this summer, but even when I'm at home more, mothers tend to be a center for kids. The first person you call out for is mother. I find that rather profound.
Revenge: I spend a lot of time in my car thinking about the things I'd like to say or do to other people. I know that makes me sound mad, but other people do it too. It's a funny instinct. You find a way to negotiate it or get around it.
Beards: I can't grow one. Mine is patchy.
Madness: Someday they'll have a name for Hamlet's type of madness. When you disregard any rules of how to behave or communicate and just do what you want it makes life difficult for everyone else. [Editor's note: I took this comment as a personal attack.]
Front Desk Mavens: The pillar. Answer to and for all things. And yet I always have to look up the freakin' number. You'd think after 13 years I'd have it memorized.
And that's that.
Christian Patrick Clarke
Front Desk Novitiate, 2012
Hic et Ubique