Digital Places of Interest

Friday, August 3, 2012

Post #16: Five Minutes with Marcellus

Hey Folks! It's Friday, August 3rd, and we're
winding down on the Mountain. Next week is closing time, but a steady stream of Loafers have already turned in their departure information to the Front Desk.

Sad Nerd Face.
But alas! The summer term is not over yet, folks! Tonight I'm off to see Hamlet: Live from Denmark State Prison. Rumor is, Hamlet does an awesome 16th century cover of "Walk the Line." Tonight's show will be the third performance of Hamlet, and the consensus from the Bread Loafers is that show is Simply Nerdtastic! Delightfully Nerdiful! Absolutely Nerdulous!

"I laughed! I cried! I nerded all over myself twice!"
On Wednesday we talked with the lead of the play, Stephen Thorne, but for today's post, I thought I'd take a different route. For today's Esquire-style interview, we have as a guest one of the student members of the cast. Student actors are essential to the plays. The professional actors typically number around a dozen, which is never enough to fill out all the roles in the average Shakespeare play. To round out the cast, the director auditions the minor character roles to Bread Loaf students and faculty. It is, without doubt, one of the coolest traditions of the play and a true act of community. As stated before, (but never stated enough) I was lucky enough to score a role in a couple of summer plays back in my pre-Maven student days.  The experience was so kick ass that when I was fortunate enough years later to find myself co-directing the school plays for my high school, the Bronx Academy of Letters, we incorporated the communal spirit of Bread Loaf. Every play for the past three years has included students, faculty, staff, and administration. 

Shakespeare in the Bronx. Gangsta.  
On to the interview. Out guest is Matt Kasper. Mr. Kasper has several roles in The Hamlet, most notably the role of Marcellus, who I think is one the soldier guarding the ramparts of Elsinore. But he also might be a mysterious drug kingpin from Los Angeles. I'll get my crack research team on that. When he isn't busy guarding Elsinore or being sexually assaulted by a gimp, Mr. Kasper teaches literature at St. Paul's of Baltimore. Hey, you know who else teaches literature at St. Paul's? Maven Overlord Edward Brown. You know who taught Matt back in the day? Both the Maven Overlord Edward Brown, AND the Maven Overlord's Overlord, Victoria Brown. Once again, because of my high journalistic skill level, I managed to record nearly 40% of everything Matt said during our conversation.

Can you imagine being the student of both Maven Overlords? The result is this guy. 

WHAT I'VE LEARNED (for five minutes)
with Matt Kasper (Marcellus)

Hamlet [the play]: I'm almost overdosed on the greatest play. Taking the class, in the play, and preparing to teach it next year. and I still haven't determined who Hamlet is. I'm in a weird place with Hamlet. [The man?]

Acting: I'm excited about trying to re-engage with that. I was in The Changeling two or three summers ago and that was my first acting experience ever. This year I wanted a chance to have lines. I'm ready to take the next step: play a part in a play, any play. But it's hard. As you know, during the school year, it's hard to pursue fledgling interests. Now that I think about it, teaching is a form of acting. You're not yourself. I never thought about that connection too much before acting.

Marriage: Uh, less than a month away.

Fathers: Have one right now. Which is good. The idea of the Father Figure to me is overrated because I such a great father. I was talking to someone about Batman, they were frustrated about his need for father figures. I didn't see it that way. I saw him as self-contained. All he needs is Albert. I've never been interested in looking at things through the lens of a father figure.  

Mothers: Mother figures, hmm. Maybe that's more attractive to consider. My soon to be wife does things that my mom use to do. [Laughs. A lot. Too much?] I mean, in the sense of keeping my life organized. She helps me understand the purpose. [Laughs more.] Is this gonna be on Dispatches from the Mountain? I'm glad I never ran for office. I'm like Joe Biden.

Bread Loaf: Always hungry for more. It's the appetite that's never satisfied. It's like Dim Sum. But at some point, you just have to get up, walk away from your table, get in your car and drive away. And I'm full. I'm going to remember this taste of this place as long it lingers on the tongue.

Edward Brown: Edward is this all consuming force. I'm around him constantly. We work together. we hang out together outside of school. We're up here at summer. It's hard to gain perspective. He loves baseball. That's my most recent discovery. Rabid fan. He watches games constantly. He gets in trouble for it with Victoria. He has to make up reasons to go to the game. For his fiftieth birthday I wrote a play about him. It's all the different versions of him talking to each other: the jock, the teacher, the photographer. They don't get along. In the play he starts off asleep and  all the versions decide whether to wake up his consciousness. Eventually he decides to start a school where all the versions can teach, but then one version wins the lottery and they open a cheesecake factory. Because Edward loves cheesecake. I should have sent that to you instead of talking.

And that's that. See you on Monday, for the final week of the Bread Loaf School of English.

And now for today's Re-Installment of Edward Insults Me: Recently while debating the merits of driving stick shift vs. automatic, I commented that I have problems driving stick. "Oh, you got problems slick!" he said. "I just hate it though when you limit them to driving."

Christian Patrick Clarke
Front Desk Novitiate, 2012
Hic et Ubique

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