Last night we had our second and final reading of A Simple Piece of Cloth, a play by Jeffrey D. J. Kallenberg. Jeffrey arrived in Richmond Tuesday and provided feedback to the cast as we finished rehearsing the reading. It was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to work on a show with the author attending rehearsals.
It was great to work with Dorothy again. She’s brilliant, and it was fun to see how she put Alice, the family matriarch. Nice dialect, and cleverly nuanced line readings that turned on a dime at points. This was the first time I got to work with Dorothy on a comedy, and she noted last night that I was able to achieve my wish and play a nice guy in a play that my daughters saw. Previously I’d been the king of Naples in The Tempest, wearing an SS uniform, and the constable who kicks all the Jews out of town in Fiddler on the Roof.
Willy – my character in this week’s play – is a nice guy. He’s hard working and a loving husband, even if he doesn’t take his wife Sydel out to dinner very much. He’s often corrected by Alice, but mostly a spectator to the evolving relationship between Alice and her eldest grandson, Stanley.
It was nice working with Billy, Dan and Anne – student members of the cast. I’d worked with Billy last in Fiddler. I also had the pleasure of working with Neal Sonenklar again. Jody Smith Strickler played Alice’s older daughter Ruth. I last worked with Jody in 1991 in Death of a Salesman. Once again she brought a sensitive reading to her part.
It was also nice meeting and working with Charity Schubert (my wife Sydel) and Darryl Clark Phillips (Bernie). Charity is a recent graduate of Centinary. When Harold and Kumar 2 comes out, she’ll be a stewardess. I never saw the first movie and am not sure it’ll have much to do with the second, but I’ll definitely see the movie. Charity is a thoughtful actress and it was fun to work with her this past week. Darryl is an experienced actor from the Richmond stage. I saw him in Richmond Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part 1 earlier this summer, and it was nice to have the opportunity to work with him.
I hope I get the chance to act again sometime soon. I was asked to be in the Scottish play this fall, but I don’t have the time for all those rehearsals. Too bad – I think it’ll be a good show.