Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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Father Mark Tips & Tricks

This tattered old card has never been seen by the audience at Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, but it’s been seen by me on over a thousand separate occasions. It is paper-clipped inside the Bible that I read from as Father Mark. Yes, obviously these words could be memorized, but since they are supposedly being read by the character, Father Mark always reads them from this card. The handwriting is not mine; this card was in that Bible when I began five years ago. Frankly, I’d rather not know who jotted it down – it’s nice to leave a little mystery sometimes. But I felt the need to show the card here because it is a part of the Father Mark experience that goes just a little bit into the sub-dermal realm.

I’ll mention one other little thing I do as Father Mark; something I do differently than any other actor who has played the role. Let me set the scene:

The actor playing FM has a lot of leeway in terms of how he gets to where he needs to be for his formal entrance at the beginning of the ceremony. Some FMs come out early and mingle with patrons in the lounge. Some are not seen until the last possible minute. Some do something else. What I do is based on something I noticed about priests when I was a kid.

It seemed to happen whenever I went to a church outside of our own parish – say, for a family reunion, wedding, or funeral. At some point before mass began, I would see the priest appear on the altar, emerging from some door that came from parts unknown. He would bustle about for a moment, picking up or dropping off books or other priestly paraphernalia. Then he would leave, often exiting via a different door than the one he’d come in through; a door which led off to some other mysterious place. Some version of this scenario seemed to happen every time I went to another church; I looked for it and waited for it.

So, when I began playing Father Mark, I decided that I had to put some version of this into my portrayal, just to make to whole thing more real for myself. So when we are about 5 minutes away from the beginning of the service, I appear on the altar from the stage left door (which actually leads to the ladies’ dressing room). I almost never look at the audience or acknowledge them unless specifically called. I go over to the pulpit, get my Bible, and leaf through it as if looking for a specific passage. I stand reading it for a few moments, after which I close the Bible, cross to the other side and exit out the stage right door (which actually leads to the parking ramp). From there, I can go around to the lobby and wait for the service to begin.

Honestly, there is another important purpose served by this move – it puts me into the same environment as the audience for a moment, during which I can pick up on their vibe and begin to gauge my focus and energy level accordingly.

I don’t know whether this sort of preparatory minutiae is of interest to anyone besides me, but there it is!

No better place to begin than with a shot of the dapper Matt B. and the lovely Jaclyn M. as our two eponymous leads.

Cheyenne P. as Maddie and Pete B. as the father of the groom, Mr. Nunzio. Maddie is Nunzio’s date for the evening. She is also, by the way, a performer at Nunzio’s club, The Candy Store.

That’s Todd M. on the right as caterer Vinnie Black. That’s a vacuum cleaner on the left. I told Todd that I was going to caption this photo “Things in the show that suck,” to which he said something that decorum prohibits repeating here! Frankly, Todd does a fine job in the show, but please don’t tell him I said so, as it would irreparably damage our interpersonal dynamic.

Matt, Paul, and Jaclyn teaching the audience how to dance The Car Wash, with a little help from Susan at the far right.

Last, but never ever least, we have Kelley as DJ Monty. CC’s reaction to this photo was this: “If the other photo was things that suck, this one should be called things that blow!” Hey, her words, not mine!

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