For as long as I can remember, Much Ado About Nothing has been my absolute favorite play. This is not an elitist "I appreciate Shakespeare and am therefore better than you" thing, it is just genuinely my favorite play. Much Ado is my favorite play for the same reason Gilda is my favorite movie: the love/hate relationship. (Gilda would require an entirely separate blog post.)
Benedick and Beatrice exemplify what I find the most fascinating about male/female relationships: the way grown adults are driven to act like children because of pride, possible rejection, previous actual rejection, arrogance, and maybe even just because they can? It's amazing and hilarious and TRUE. I even wrote an essay in college comparing the Kenneth Branagh movie to the play. It was probably the most enjoyment I've gotten out of writing an essay (nerd alert!)
As a feisty redhead myself, (Seriously. Gilda.) I have always strongly identified with Beatrice. I have, in spite of myself, always wanted to appear strong even if I was secretly hurting inside. This probably stems from growing up overly sensitive, being very prone to getting picked on, and the resultant suffering. But before you think "woe is Katie" - without that experience I would not have become the quick-witted spitfire I am today. I don't think a single man I've dated has made it one evening without warding off at least some of my unintentional (or intentional) barbs.
Part of it is my past, part of it is my preference, part of it is stories like Much Ado. Who doesn't like a little excitement? What fun is it to just be lovey dovey all the time? I believe boredom is one of the worst things that can happen to me. Even romance novels usually have the hero and heroine hating each other at first. (At least the ones I've read ...) Then it's hotter when they finally do get together. It's the ability to get under someone's skin. To be affected, to feel a spark, to incite passion.
This is why I *need* to be in this play. I have had no such luck so far (with this type of relationship) or getting this part but as God is my witness (that's another one) I will play Beatrice!! Even if I have to produce it myself, I will play that part one day! As for now, I'll just have to settle for watching and re-watching the movies and continuing to display my wit like a badge of honor.
On Sunday, I taught a sold out advanced improv workshop at ComedyWorx (my old stomping ground) in Raleigh, NC. It went really well - the class was hungry for more advanced improv and acting instruction from Chicago :) I focused on the Annoyance aesthetic as well as Viewpoints training. Since I had received Viewpoints training probably 5 times in my life, I knew the value of exploring the space and being aware of your body and warming it up before performance of any kind! No matter how many times an instructor would teach the basics, I always thought it was a useful reminder. In addition, everyone has something different to say on the same subject. For example, one student is actually an improv teacher in the area and she said I taught the viewpoint "architecture" in a way she had never heard before!
A surprising amount of improvisers are not actors and vice versa, but I think experience in both is valuable for any actor or improviser - especially in the current trend of commercial auditions which favor actors who can improvise. (I got to audition for KFC because I was an improviser! That was a treat :) And on the other side, if I had not had experience memorizing lines and auditioning in front of a camera, I would not have been ready for that audition.
I could tell what I had to teach blew their minds a little bit, but that was definitely the goal. I think they appreciated the challenge, and I savored the ability to get to put my experiences into words! I remember when I was in school I wouldn't really learn something until I understood it well enough to feel like I could explain it to others. This workshop was a prime example of me putting my money where my mouth is, walk the walk and talk the talk, and any other idiom that fits this situation :) I hope I get to teach there again and explore what other knowledge I have to impart!