Nine changes of the watery star hath been
The shepherd's note since we have left our throne
Without a burthen: time as long again
Would be find up, my brother, with our thanks;
And yet we should, for perpetuity,
Go hence in debt: and therefore, like a cipher,
Yet standing in rich place, I multiply
With one 'We thank you' many thousands more
That go before it.
Polixenes, THE WINTER'S TALE, Act I, sc. 1
Thank you, Milwaukee. That was awesome.
During the show last night, I received a text from Laura, a friend who had seen THE WINTER'S TALE already. She wrote:
"I was on a flight to New York yesterday and randomly overheard the woman behind me talking about the Shakespeare in the Park production of Winter's Tale that she'd attended. She said it was the best she'd ever seen."
Wild. Thank you, Laura. That was a delight to share with the cast and crew backstage.
Great show. Standing O. That is all.
Thank you for the very nice thoughts about THE WINTER'S TALE, Amanda! Only 4 more nights for you to see it too.
Read the Footlights review here.
Thank you all for coming to the show tonight. You rocked. Especially you. You were my favorite. See you next Thursday.
Sharing some kind words from Mr. Dan Schley:
Optimist Theatre has done it again. On a foggy night, on a hill overlooking Milwaukee, they took me right into the world and William Shakespeare and The Winter's Tale. It is great to be able to see such a fabulous group of Milwaukee artists open up a show that I had yet to see. And true to form, I can continue to answer when asked "What's your favorite Shakespeare play?" it's the last one I saw. Thanks to Ron Scot Fry, Susan Scot Fry, Tom Reed, and everyone involved in that experience. The show runs this weekend and next. It's free. And it's fabulous!
Mr. Tom Strini shares some wonderful thoughts at THE WINTER'S TALE. We'll greatly miss your insightful art reviews when you move to Colorado, sir. In the meantime, thank you for coming to this show!
Sharing a very kind comment from an audience member who came to last night's show:
Last night was my first time at Optimist Theatre. It will not be my last. This is a real jewel, the much below normal June temperature was hard, but it could not put a chill on the fantastic performance.
The outstanding stage and house crew for THE WINTER'S TALE set up for opening night. What a beautiful setting in Kadish Park.
What brought you to acting?
I came to acting fairly late, although I loved a good story as much as any kid.
My parents were not theater-goers, but nurtured an appreciation of narrative by watching old black & white movies with me.
I saw a terrific production of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in middle school and was moved to tears when Lennie died.
My first real stage experience was in a production of The Lark by Jean Anouilh as a college freshman and I never looked back.
What did 10-year-old Mark think he'd be when he grew up?
I was going to be a Marine Biologist. I was an avid swimmer and (thanks to The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau) had an obsession with marine mammals, especially dolphins and orcas.
What is the greatest challenge of playing Polixenes?
Taking on 'Shakespeare' always requires hard work, humility and a certain amount of courage.
An obvious question: How does one play a King, having never met one?
And Polixenes also has to embody seeming contradictions (which, of course makes him human). He is victimized by Leontes' unreasonable suspicions but later threatens to disown his own son upon learning of an unsanctioned love affair.
What do you hope that Shakespeare in the Park fans will take away from The Winter's Tale?
As one of Shakespeare's later plays, The Winter's Tale combines genres. The first part is cruel, dark and tragic. How can we forgive the unforgivable? Is reconciliation even possible? Fortunately, that's not the end of the story. Shakespeare is at his most moving when he addresses the theme of the 'lost thing found.' After the violence and loss of part one, the audience can look forward to a miraculous series of events which will restore and redeem much of 'that which is lost.' I think we all hope and long for the possibility of healing.
Who should play you in the feature film of your life?
This is a hard one. Since I'm still playing me, and the story is not (quite) over!
The two actors that people have said I remind them of are John Malkovich and Kelsey Grammer. I'm flattered because I admire the both - but they're so different from each other. Some other actors whose work I love are Paul Giamatti, John C. Riley, and Philip Seymour-Hoffman (Heaven rest him)
What Shakespeare character to you most resemble?
My Scottish blood always simmers when I'm around Macbeth, but - who knows? Shakespeare doesn't provide much in the way of detailed physical description for most of his characters. We're fortunate as actors, as this allows for a wide variety of interpretations. Whatever 'images' we do have are the result of strong choices made by previous producers; but there's always room for a new take
What's your superpower?
Empathy? Useful for an actor: The curiosity to delve beneath the surface. Not exactly x-ray vision - but a sensitivity to hidden energies - the ability to see and feel the unseen.
Tragedy, comedy or history?
I've had a great time in the Comedies, loved the operatic sweep of the Histories, but the Tragedies have left the deepest, most profound imprint.
Truth or dare?
'The Truth will out.'
Jean-Claude Van-Damme movies.
More about Mark:
Mark is thrilled to be making his Optimist debut. Local audiences may recognize him from his work with several other Milwaukee Theatres.
During his many seasons as a resident actor with the Milwaukee Rep, favorite productions included: True West, The Cherry Orchard, Seascape, The Foreigner, Dracula, King Lear and quite a few A Christmas Carols.
Mark has also spent past summer's with The Utah Shakespeare Festival, American Players Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Festival and SITI Company. Favorite productions include: Endgame, Merry Wives of Windsor, Antony & Cleopatra and The Importance of Being Earnest. Mark is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Professional Theatre Training Program