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Actor's Voice

This is a company page - the intention is to create a space where those who have worked with us can, if they wish, have a voice on the site and that visitors might enjoy reading; we hope it will be of particular interest to other actors. At this point we are still collecting information (and it should be noted that not all actors like to write) and working on the page but, as you see, it is coming along. If you are interested in or company as an actor, or for volunteer or intern opportunities, please get in touch with us - click here for our contact form. Please do be aware that we do a very small number of productions, often only two per year, but we are always keen to add people to our source list. 


Mikhail Horowitz - in his second outing with our company wrote the following in a journal kept while rehearsing for Endgame (March–September 2012):

     
The "Pomeranian" from ENDGAME - designed from a found image and made by artist Carol Zaloom.

For weeks, I've been puzzled by Clov's line, "Your dogs are here," when he enters with the toy dog. Then just like that, it became clear: he's referring to the the three-legged dummy dog and himself, the lackey who fetches and heels at Hamm's command.

                                       * * * * *

Actor's plea: Empty me, please, and let the void that is Beckett fill me.

                                * * * * * * * * * * *
Can we imagine the small boy Clov sights at the end of the play as one of his "visions," perhaps a memory of himself as a small boy, first coming into Hamm's service? If so, then why does he want to take the gaff to kill this "potential procreator"? Is it a form of self-murder, or euthanasia, of sparing the child (himself) the suffering he's doomed to undergo? It's the genius of this play that one can get endlessly sidetracked by such considerations, yet never exhaust the possibilities inherent in the text. And the wonderful thing is that all these possibilities are borne by the richly minimal point and counterpoint of Beckett's language, which is akin to chamber music, or in this case, torture chamber music. "I want to sing," says Clov, in the pit of his misery. And he does; his suffering is an aria of wretchedness, an exaltation of larks in the irreducible darkness.


Rehearsing at SPAF, semi-abandoned factory and warehouse , trying to maintain focus as a Jacques Tati collection of loud sounds—drilling, hissing, banging, clanging, clattering, beeping—continually interrupts our scene work. But the aptness of the location—its aura of discarded space and lost time, its litter of dead machines and objects of forgotten utility—to the substance of the play could not be more suitable. 

On the face of it, Hamm's threat to starve Clov is an empty one—Hamm is blind, and can't move, whereas Clov is the dispenser of the stores, and could take as many biscuits as he wants, provided he has the nerve and the will to disobey his master. But Clov's obedience, deeply ingrained, is what Hamm counts on to hold sway. It is people's blind obedience, their fear to mount a challenge to authority, that keeps the Hamms of the world in clover, as it were, sitting pretty (or ugly) atop their wobbly thrones. 


Mikhail is also a published poet, parodist, satirist, social commentator, author and editor. He refers to himself as a "Tragedian."

Mikhail Horowitz - Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza 2011 (Baruch Spinoza/Idle Jack)

"When Carey [Harrison] placed the revolver to my head and told me that it was Spinoza or my life, I opted to live, and began to scrape the corrosion from my acting chops, which had more or less atrophied after 20 years. I remain immensely grateful for Carey’s faith in me and for the opportunity he gave me to push the envelope, playing a serious, meaty (but strictly kosher) role as part of such a talented cast. To this day I’m amazed that I was able to bring it off. I will always treasure this play and the way I was able to rise to its occasion."

 

Mikhail Horowitz and Terri Mateer during the "Party" scene and / Mikhail as Spinoza. Also at right is Mikhail and Phillip X Levine in the Gas Chamber scene at the end of the play.

Terri Mateer - Midget In A Catsuit Reciting Spinoza (played Guard/Waiter/Rat)

"Useful first-time realizations and reminders I got from working with the Woodstock Players:

No roles are minor. The theater is for the actors' voice.To have been among actors who are so gifted was a true treasure. To be called back on the stage for two curtain calls from the applause of the audience was a thrill of a life time.To be called my angel was really, really real and really, really nice. To be naked in a live production was a dream of mine come true. To be a part of an original and new play and be a part of the creating of the written word was empowering."


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                       The Woodstock Players
                       
Violet Snow  - Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza (played Katya/Wilhelm the Guard/Rat).

Violet is a regular contributor to the Woodstock Times. Following is an extract from a diary piece written Violet during the rehearsal stage of the production - to read the whole piece, see link below photo.


"Tomorrow we take our clothes off for the first time to rehearse the gas chamber scene. I’m a little nervous. Will I look fat? Will we all be sneaking peeks at each other’s bodies? Or will it be relaxed and natural? I remember how I loved skinnydipping in the river when I was in college — it was so freeing.
...the cast is warm and completely democratic. Even the principals don’t look down on the ensemble players but treat us as equals."
 
L to
R: Terri Mateer, Andrea Maddox, Violet Snow, Neil Howard (mouse-over for) Violet Snow as Katya in the Party scene.

Almanac Weekly - The rat’s eye view An actor’s diary of rehearsals for new Harrison play
*Violet Snow will be playing the lead role in this summer's (2012) production and world premiere of Carey Harrison's new play Hedgerow Specimen.* Click HERE for more information on that and other projects in the works.

Marcus O'Really - Midget in a Catsuit... (Lord Mayor of London/Maître d')

"Having recently begun living at Findhorn, a spiritual community in northern Scotland, I am attending a workshops that concerns the spiritual practice of manifestation. The premise is that we can manifest anything - we do it all the time.  But what does it take to manifest the authentic self, to become truly transparent in an otherwise veiled world? 

Reflecting on my experience with Midget and Carey's invitation to join the cast - he said, "Marcus, you need us as much as we need you." Yet there was no character for me at the time and what characters did appear for me once the play was complete were quite small, except for the one who appeared in the final scene.  In that particular scene, in that role of death camp prisoner, with no lines, no clothing, in ensemble and yet naked and transparent to the world, I rose above myself, rose above the little man I sometimes see in myself for the greater good of the wonderful play I was in... and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of an incredible journey created by Carey and The Woodstock Players."


From Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza - L to R:
Richard Bennett, Phillip X Levine (in the catsuit), Mick O'Brien, Kris Lundberg and Marcus O'Really. 

Kris LundbergMidget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza (played Mary Jane Hammond)

Very proud to call myself one of the founding members of The Woodstock Players, I first met Carey and Claire back when this company was a wee seedling.  Prior to The Woodstock Players, I had performed at NYC’s Mint Theater in the world premiere of Carey’s play, Scenes From a Misunderstanding, as the illustrious maids, Gretl and Franziksa.  The success of this play extended to Woodstock where we performed it at the Byrdcliffe, in addition to a new play, Bad Boy, where I played the role of Alison.  About that point, Carey determined to pursue one of his dreams…to run his own company where he would produce and direct all of his own plays.  I’ll never forget…it was an artistic moment in time…when we were at an art exhibition showcasing Claire’s paintings and, while gazing at one of her paintings, dream speaking of how this all would come to be.  Months later, Carey and Claire set their plan into action and thus begat THE WOODSTOCK PLAYERS.  The following summer, the world premiere of MAGUS launched their first season;  I played Jane Dee alongside Carey as John Dee, the Magus.  Finally, I had the opportunity to play Mary Jane Hammond in Carey's masterpiece Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza, a role that was specifically written for me (every actors dream). It was a great honor to play one of the strongest leading roles I’ve had the chance to play in my career.  Carey understands actors and works intimately with them to make sure, as a playwright, his words are reflecting the context and emotion to which they were written and, as a director, the story streamlines that visual image of the play he had when he was writing it.  It’s always a more desirable experience working directly with the playwright to be able to fully comprehend the text you are given within the circumstances you are in.  It creates an immersive experience for the actors and, therefore, enhances that depth of experience for the audience.  It translates and, if we’re lucky, audiences will keep coming back to be moved by great stories.


Kris Lundberg as Mary Jane Hammond in:
 Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza - June 2011












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