Here's a brief story that tells you a little about what actually goes on on stage (and where my mind is usually at):
As an opening scene to Much Ado About Nothing, the director had decided to stage a battle between Don John and Don Pedro's troops. Since I was playing Borachio, I ended up on the losing side. As I knelt on stage next to the actor playing Conrade, the guard walked past and farted. Conrade and I started to chuckle as the guard took up a position behind us. Now, I need to point out that this was out-of-doors and a pretty good breeze was blowing. But then we smelled it. I don't know what the dude had been eating, but it was something mean and Mexican. Ultimately, Conrade and I were led from stage shaking with laughter and with tears in our eyes, pretending to be shaken with sobs of remorse. Now that's acting!
I also remember a great exchange during a rehearsal of IV,ii. As most of you know, an actor will call "line" during rehearsal if he or she has forgotten their lines, and the stage manager will read off the line. Our Borachio was not the sharpest pencil in the pack...
DOGBERRY: "Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?"
ACTOR PLAYING BORACHIO: "Line?"
STAGE MANAGER AND ENTIRE CAST: "Borachio!"
I'll also say that Much Ado is one of my favorite shows to appear in. My favorite production had me playing Don John. Directors too often allow John to be an ineffectual (and sometimes effete) whiner. In our production, the director had me beat the crap out of Conrad in I,iii, and it made John a much more ominous presence. The audience actually booed me at curtain call!
Some Richard Research
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