Thursday, January 26, 2012

"A Tech Survival Guide" by Nathaniel P. Claridad

Nathaniel P. Claridad
by actor Nathaniel P. Claridad

Nathaniel plays Corporal Nym in The Making of a King: Henry IV and Henry V.

In my years of being an actor in DC, New York City, and now happily at PlayMakers Repertory Company, I have never been a part of a project of such epic proportions.  I have also never been part of a project that was in tech for NINE DAYS.

Usually, tech (which is when the creative team for any given show adds costumes, lights, sets, and props, and plods through the show making sure us actors look dashing and brilliant) lasts about two to three days, and goes straight into previews. But when you're doing essentially three plays (Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 being condensed into one play, and then Henry V), you're going to need more time.

So, since I've spent so much alone time with the character I'll be playing in both shows, Corporal Nym, is a quick guide for surviving tech through the eyes of the dagger-happy tavern dweller, Corporal Nym:

Corporal Nym's Tech Survival Guide
  1. Buy a smart phone.  Being in a theatre from 12pm to 12am can cause copious amounts of cabin fever.  I find solace in Words with Friends.
  2. Find a daily ritual to keep your creative juices flowing:  the out-of-town actors treated the cast to Krispy Kreme...and the donuts came with a little hat...Nym's daily ritual?  Taking pictures of the cast in said hat.  There is nothing funnier than seeing a "hair-brained Hotspur" wearing a Krispy Kreme hat.
  3. Nym is not fond of war, so he has a bit of time to relax.  During long breaks, WATCH THE SHOW COME TOGETHER!  The creative staff for this epic is mind-bogglingly talented, and since I won't be able to watch the show during the run, this is my one chance to see what the audience will be "oooo-ing" and "aaah-ing" at.  I don't want to give anything away, but when watching the show, the word "magical" comes to mind.
  4. John Patrick, the vocal coach, has a favorite saying: "Stay curious."  And this is a great time to stay curious about the many actors in the show.  When you're in a dark theatre for 12 hours, there is no choice but to get to know the people you are sharing the stage with.  Ask questions, and get to know your castmates, more often than not, the answers and their stories will surprise and amaze you. 
  5. Nym is lucky enough to have a best friend: Bardolph (played by John Allore).  If you don't have a best friend in the show, find one...he or she will keep you sane and keep things fun.
  6. And last, but not least, after many hours spent in a tavern on stage...go to a real tavern on Franklin Street after tech.  Two 12 hour days will make anyone desire "small beer". 
See you all from the stage!

The Making of a King: Henry IV and Henry V runs January 28 to March 4. Click here for more information and tickets.