Charmed, I’m Sure

Posted on May 15, 2011


Did you miss my performance as Sebastian in the recent production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night?  If so, let me be the first to mention I did not receive a single negative review.  I didn’t receive a single positive review either, but who’s counting?  Besides my wife.

There were six reviews in local magazines and entertainment websites, and the name Sebastian was mentioned only once, but only for my ability to have lipstick smeared on me during my kissing scene with Olivia, who apparently was outstanding and had great hair.

I asked my wife what she thought of my performance as Sebastian, and she replied,

“You were great.  And so was the actor playing Duke Orsino.  He just had so much presence.”
“Yeah, Duke Orsino was good.  But how did I do?”
“Great.  You were great.  Is the actor who played Duke Orsino single?”

I’ve performed in the theater before, but I recently decided to tap into my thespian reserves in an effort to improve my writing for the stage.  On Friday I performed as part of a reading of one acts sponsored by a local theater company.  One of the plays was a modern day “where-are-they-now” update of several fairy tale characters, and I read the role of Prince Charming.  The role called for a handsome (check), charming (check), prince (my grandma says I’m a distant relative of Prince Philip), with a penchant for vanity (you decide), and the slightest hint of smarminess (my wife says no, but only after a lengthy pause).  Staged readings eliminate a lot of the dramatic elements that bring theater to life, so I was surprised to get such positive feedback.  I don’t know if I’m a good actor, but apparently I’m very charming.

A lot of people complimented my performance as Prince Charming–accomplished actors who hadn’t complimented my Sebastian, people whom I had previously assumed weren’t the type to give compliments.

Every time a girl approached me saying, “You did such a great job being smarmy,”  I’d say, “You mean charming?  Thank you. That’s exactly what I was going for.”

When a woman approached me saying, “You did such a great job portraying the handsome but shallow boyfriend,”  I’d say, “You mean the good looking, charming prince who makes all your dreams come true and whisks you away from your mundane day job?  Thank you.  That’s exactly what I was going for.  You really get me.”

To those ladies who said, “You did such a great job portraying the jerk boyfriend,”  I said, “You mean portraying the guy who makes all your girlfriends jealous–as long as they only spend thirty minutes with me and never meet me ever again?  Thank you.  That’s exactly what I was going for.”

Based on the Prince Charming feedback, I’ve decided to only play charming roles from now on.  If you want me to be in your play, don’t be surprised if I interpret my character with an extra dose of charm.

Here are some roles I never thought I’d be able to play, but that I’m now reconsidering:

A Streetcar Named Desire: I’ll play Stanley and still agree to yell, “Stella”, but it will be the handsomest, most charming yelling of Stella you’ve ever heard.

I will play Javert in Les Miserables, but my interpretation will be full of smiles and swagger.  Don’t be surprised Jean Valjean if Javert pulls a coin out of your ear.

I think I could play the Phantom of the Opera, but I insist on interpreting the character as being more handsome.  Instead of being moody and disfigured, couldn’t he take off that mask to reveal debilitating good looks?  It’s basically the same role.  Think about it.

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