My initial impression was that it was quite different from anything I'd read. It's a subtle play, which on the surface is this disagreement over a painting but it grows into much more than that. I think it also will be a play that is better in performance then it is in reading as each actor brings a level of complexity to the roles that doesn't leap off the page. These characters talk about their relationships in a way that can be unusual for American men, but after rehearsing for a week it feels comfortable. I have to say also that the humor has really revealed itself as we've been rehearsing.
What do you like about taking on the role of Serge?
What I love about Serge and also what is challenging about him is his dual nature. He is a medical doctor, a dermatologist, highly confident and capable in his working life, a take-charge sort of person. Outside of that realm, however, he becomes more tentative and his friendship with Marc and Ivan have always given him a sense of identity outside of work. At the time of the play, he has been cultivating another set of "friends" - people in the art world - and this is part of the betrayal felt by Marc. He is a man of science who has artistic "enthusiasms".
Is there any aspect of this production that you are especially looking forward to?
I love the exploration of characters interacting and searching for ways to make those characters manifest in quiet, less obvious ways. What I have always enjoyed as an audience member of Vermont Stage productions has been the sense of intimacy which allows you to enjoy performances that are subtle and naturalistic. It is more like watching a film. You get close-ups. The difference is that your eyes and your brain are making the choices about where to put the focus.
What do you hope people leave the theatre thinking about?
I hope people are thinking about the nature and importance of friendships, their delicacy at times, and how easy it can be to scuttle them. I think people will be talking about the ending of the play and its significance. I hope they call a good friend they haven't seen in awhile and set up some time to spend together.
Is there any line in the play that makes you giggle?
I giggle pretty much every time Adrian (Ivan) comes on stage. Ivan is this lovely tragi-comic character, the perfect foil/antidote for Serge and Marc, the catalyst for a fair amount of their tussling, and Adrian is just nailing it. Audiences will just love Ivan.