Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Get to Know Adam Segaller

1. What is your position, role or roles in Kit Marlowe?

I'm playing Kit Marlowe.

2. Is this your first go around at the Rorschach rodeo? If no what have you done for us before? If yes, what has surprised you the most about working for us?

It's my first time. I think the biggest and most pleasant surprise has been discovering so many talented young people in one place, making the kind of theater they want to see. Professional theater seems to me to be a business where everybody, but especially the young, must make their own opportunities. That's what I see happening here and it's extremely refreshing.

3. If this play were a Beatle which one would it be and why?

Funny you should ask that. In explaining to a few friends not steeped in Elizabethan drama who exactly this character is, I tried to field a few biographical questions without boring them: "So this character you're playing is a real person?" "Yeah, he was an Elizabethan playwright who died young." "So is that the same period as Shakespeare?" "Yeah, they were born the same year; he started writing a little sooner than Shakespeare did." "So was he not as good as Shakespeare?" "He initially made as big a splash as Shakespeare; that many consider Dr. Faustus to be a better play, structurally, than anything by Shakespeare; that he only wrote a handful of plays to Shakespeare's almost forty; that those plays Marlowe did write were all written before his thirtieth birthday, since he died before he could reach the mature age at which Shakespeare wrote most of his really great stuff (Lear, The Tempest, Macbeth, etc.); that in the time Shakespeare had had one career, Marlowe had had about five, including priest-in-training and agent On Her Majesty's Secret Service."

Seeing the attention wane, I boiled it down thus:"If Shakespeare were The Beatles, Marlowe would be The Rolling Stones."

4. What feature of Marlowe's London should Rorschach duplicate to really enhance the audience's experience?

The lack of sanitation is pretty key (a rich person owned more than one set of clothes and bathing was considered metrosexual); but I think that even more important than that is the sense of show. For all the filth, there was this really rather modern obsession with clothes, jewelery, getting your hair just right, even in the lowest classes. Wooden playhouses were painted to look like they were made of marble; rich people were more likely to perfume themselves to cover their stink than to actually wash the odor off. Add to that the fascinating fact of sumptuary laws— that if you were of a low class you couldn't wear certain fabrics, for example. For all the dress-up, the upperclasses were terrified of the growing threat of social mobility and, somewhat like the fascists after them, held people in place by badging them. I think this all feeds into Kit Marlowe as Grimm writes him, as well as what we see in the real man's plays— both character and playwright love dress-up as a perverse act, and there's a suggestion in this play that when a society is overly rigid, perversity becomes a response to social injustice.

5. What was your best/worst haircut or body modification for a part ina play?

As is often the case, my best is also my worst: I recently had the very strange opportunity, at the somewhat under-ripe age of 24, to play Prospero in The Tempest. The design plan was intriguing to say the least: Ariel was played by three women, all dressed more or lessas Geishas; and Caliban was covered in what I can only describe as white bruises. The idea was that Prospero's magic left white marks, so my hands were painted white. The design for my character was a mix of Maori and Samurai: I was bare-chested beneath my magic garment, and one very spare inch of skin the director himself had tattooed me in SHARPIE! A dragon tattoo ran over my shoulder and up my neck; my armsand fingers were covered in Arabic incantations, and my face was covered in tribal-looking dots and curlicues. To say nothing of the old age make-up. The effect was pretty cool in my opinion, but it was hell to remove.
6. If you could go out for a wild night on the town with Kit Marlowe, where would you go and what would you do?
We'd start by loitering at the 7-11, inventing new curse words. Then we'd shoplift doublets, get drunk on large tankards of small beer at the bowling and bear-baiting alley, make the Pope dance the Watusi, nail our Penthouse Forum submission to the church door, get Raleigh fries from Elizaburger's, and end the night at the 24-hour footlocker, picking out goggles.
7. Can you think of worse way of being killed than being stabbed inthe eye? If so how?
Hot poker suppository, a la Edward the Second. Or being stabbed in both eyes, a la Stooges the Three.

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