Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Students Poke Fun at Theater in Double Bill

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Students Poke Fun at Theater in Double Bill

Article excerpt

THEATER

The FSU/Asolo Conservatory is opening a new season by poking fun at actors, critics and the theater itself while giving the second- year students lessons in different styles of comedy.

Conservatory director Greg Leaming is staging the double bill of Tom Stoppard's "The Real Inspector Hound" and Christopher Durang's "The Actor's Nightmare."

In "The Real Inspector Hound," two critics named Birdboot and Moon are watching and commenting to one another about a British murder mystery when they suddenly become part of the action. In "The Actor's Nightmare," an accountant named George Spelvin gets mistaken for an actor and is pushed onto a stage to play a role he knows nothing about.

"They're sort of the high-wire act of the theater," Leaming said of the two plays.__ Leaming said he started with__ the Stoppard comedy because__ "it's a great play and it's a__ big challenge. It's the kind of__ material the students don't__ usually get a chance to do. The__ comic skills are ridiculously__ hard, and it's Tom Stoppard,__ so it's giving them a chance to__ work with some really dense__ material, learning to play in a__ certain style and still make it__ human."__ Brett Mack plays Moon__ opposite Brandon Maldonado__ as Birdboot, and the two__ actors said they have been__ studying famous comedy duos__ like Abbott and Costello and__ Laurel and Hardy to prepare__ for their roles.__ They have been working__ on how "the comedy is__ dependent on the rhythm of__ two people, how they speak__ and deliver punchlines," said__ Mack. Being good friends off__ stage since joining the conservatory__ a year ago has helped__ them with their rapport, they__ said.__ "They'll be talking to each__ other but won't be having the__ same conversation," Maldonado__ said.__ Mack said that's part of the__ challenge. "I'll think he's talk-ing__ about the play at one point__ and the dialogue matches up__ that way, but Stoppard has__ it so that our lines are in the__ middle of the characters in the__ play that we're watching, so__ things match up in odd ways. …

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