If you caught Hideo: Overture at Fanime this year, then you saw Hannah Ward performing as Rebecca and me performing as the Boss. This wasn’t the first time Hannah and I shared the stage in largely comedic roles.
Back in 2003, our high school put on Oscar Wilde’s satire The Importance of Being Earnest. When Algernon discovers his friend Earnest is actually named Jack, he visits Jack while using his own made up identity. Jack maintains the ruse to conceal his own dual-identity secret from his family. The ensuing drama plays like a Shakespearean comedy when love interests become involved. Hannah played Cecily, a somewhat strange young woman who was Algernon’s love interest. A sample of their discourse:
This is the box in which I keep all your dear letters.
My letters! But, my own sweet Cecily, I have never written you any letters.
You need hardly remind me of that, Ernest. I remember only too well that I was forced to write your letters for you. I wrote always three times a week, and sometimes oftener.
Oh, do let me read them, Cecily?
Oh, I couldn’t possibly. They would make you far too conceited.
Portraying Algernon was one of my favorite stage experiences, though it certainly had its share of challenges.
Ever heard my British accent? It’s… not that great. Before Earnest, I’d never acted with an accent. I watched some British films to help myself out, but I struggled with finding the correct variant of English accent. I was a little too cockney for Algernon. Also, I had to say “Australian.” Apparently, it is impossible for me to say “Australian” with an English accent. I always sound Australian instead.
Another difficulty involved eating onstage. The challenge is speaking clearly between bites and also not spewing food at my cast mates. That’s easy, you say. Just take small bites. Oh, that would be nice. Except that Algernon is a voracious eater. Plus, there’s a lot of food the script says he has to finish. We’re talking platters of cucumber sandwiches here.
The character Algernon was a lot of fun to portray because of all the humor he’s a part of, both intentionally and unintentionally. I’m definitely looking forward to reprising my role as the Boss this fall for the same reason. Plus, there’s no British accent to worry about.