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What About Bob?

Robert Brustein. 80-something years old and still amazing. His energy is great, his aura draws everyone around him into whatever he’s talking about, and his love for the theater makes you remember why you got into the game to begin with. His wife Doreen is also pretty fabulous.

I’ll be working as Bob’s assistant for the next three weeks in a Shakespeare Seminar for advanced students. Basically, we’re going to start at the top of Othello and read through slow as we can, round-robin style, digging into the language and story as we go along, as if doing a table read for the first time.

This is one of my favorite ways of working—sitting around a table and dissecting a piece, its motivations, its secrets and lies. I love really taking the time to pick a text apart give the actors in the room the space to think about the origins of motive and action. My worst fear in a rehearsal is an actor thinking they’ve discovered all the answers, the way its “supposed to be” (whatever that means) on day one. Humans are complicated and fickle and stupid, and so are characters in plays, so I think one needs to be cautious of ever thinking they know exactly what a character is doing or playing. I rarely know why I’m doing what I’m doing in my everyday life, why should these characters be so different?

Outside assisting Bob with the reading, I’ll also be directing a staged reading of a show he wrote Face Lift.

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