BWW Interviews: Rebecca Watson on Playing Beatrice in Pioneer Theatre Company's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
The delightful Rebecca Watson took the time out of her busy rehearsal schedule to speak with BroadwayWorld about her role as Beatrice in Pioneer Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, opening this weekend.
1. What is special about this particular production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?
In a world where shows and movies like GAME OF THRONES, AVATAR, and HUNGER GAMES are popular--our MUCH ADO is set in a very "other worldly" place and time, which I think is going to make our take on this story that much more exciting and engaging to a contemporary audience. This is not your grandma's Shakespeare. Specifically for me, Caitlin Ward's costumes, take us to a very different place, unique to our production of this story.
2. What have you enjoyed about playing the part of Beatrice?
I love Beatrice's strength and wit. Although I think Beatrice is quicker and wittier than I am, I find a lot of myself and my desires in her. I know the sense of being betrayed and holding a man accountable to his word. I love that she holds strong to her values of choice-she's not a feminist per se--but an advocate for an individual's choice, holding out for someone worthy of her trust, her heart, her hand. I'm also having an amazing time getting to do some sword work in this production! Working with our fight choreographer, Christopher Du Val, has been a blast. It's a tiny bit scary how much fun I'm having working with a Samurai sword!3. Do you approach Shakespeare differently than other roles?
No, not really. The text is always the place where I start, be it a play or a musical. When I'm doing Shakespeare, working in verse, the verse must be honored and used to inform, just as note values must be addressed in a song. It is different than approaching a Pinter play, for example, but the search for honesty, the search for how to best tell the story and how to connect to the character, is pretty much the same. Actually doing musicals is much like doing Shakespeare. When the emotions become heightened, you must sing, you must dance. In Shakespeare, when emotions heighten, you must speak to the audience, you must speak to the Gods, yourself.
4. You recently gave a stunning performance as Lady Grace Manley-Prowe in SOMETHING's AFOOT at Pioneer Theatre Company. Why did you decide to return to PTC so soon again this season?
Thanks for your kind compliment on SOMETHING'S AFOOT. We all had such a terrific, fun time doing that show! It's always an easy decision for me to make, regarding the Pioneer Theatre Company. I love working here! I've done two productions here in the past with Chuck Morey, and now recently working with the fabulous new Artistic Director Karen Azenberg on SOMETHING'S AFOOT...this place continues to sit high on my list of favorite places to work. That being said...it's Beatrice!!! It's Beatrice! It's Beatrice.
5. What are your favorite projects you've been part of as an actor?
This is really a hard question. I love the wide spectrum of shows I get to do. I am so grateful to my agents, who constantly think "outside the box" for me! Getting to do BY JEEVES on Broadway with Alan Ayckbourn, singing and dancing Andrew Lloyd Weber's music--getting to play P.G. Wodehouse's "nice house, nobody home" Madeline--sheer delight! Getting to create loner, painter, Lily Briscoe in the world premiere of TO THE LIGHTHOUSE with Berkeley Rep., a dense, difficult play based on a novel by Virginia Woolf--it doesn't get better! Getting to play Cassius in a contemporary production of JULIUS CAESAR--a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even having a two-line scene in the upcoming THE NORMAL HEART [HBO], a story I feel very proud to be but a tiny part of....these are each wonderful gifts and keep me feeling profoundly grateful and hopeful in a business in which we are constantly making sacrifices. Quite simply, I love the variety of projects I've gotten to do!
6. How is Utah different from other places you've performed?
Sunday is our day off and Monday nights in the theatre are packed. :) And the beauty of the mountains and variety of hiking options are fabulous, for days off!