This photo says it all.
During our trip to the London Fringe Theatre Festival in 2004, our company of actors stayed at Stratford about an hour away, where we hung out, saw shows at the Stratford Festival, played in the parks, drank in the bars and rehearsed – a lot. At least that’s how I remember it.
The show we presented at London Fringe was inspired by Pierre Marivaux’ The Dispute. It played out as a battle between the sexes with a philosophical bent about what is love and who is more faithful, men or women. It was a mashup of sorts with a lot of movement and added text from Shakespeare, Blake and others can’t I remember.
We had a great group of actors with Patricia True, Laura Shatkus, Kaitie Mayberry, Joe Schuman, Daniel Radcliffe and myself. This was core Janus at the time. And this was a fun, sweaty show that received a lot of praise at the London Fringe.
But this picture. Man. Take a look at that for a moment. In my mind, this would be a snapshot of classic Terry right after rehearsal. Here he is, notes in his arm, hand to his chin, talking out about the details of what just happened, and how we could make it better, deeper, more meaningful.
And look at us. There’s Laura (far right), eyes like a Hawk on the group, engaging in the dialogue. There’s Danny staring right back at Terry and not afraid to say anything. Trish has her head down to the ground taking it all in. Then there’s Kaitie, always an intense performer along with the mellow Joe, fixing their gaze at Terry. And me, head off to the side, wondering: “Where is he going with this?”
This photo shows us all working out what he is saying and trying to make sense of what we need to do. These were typical moments at the end of rehearsal. It was rare that Terry didn’t leave you with something to think about. It was part of his training and so, by extension, it was part of your experience working with him.
This frustrated many actors. They preferred rehearsal to end with high-fives or constant positive praise. And they wanted immediate gratification and answers now. This wasn’t how Terry worked. He was always upbeat and supportive, but he was also adept at giving constructive criticism, and letting you know there was more to do, and that you were on a journey of discovery and you needed to find your way.
I think what I love about this photo and the memories associated with this group of people is that we were all working on something we built from scratch and we were taking it to a place we’d never been before. That was gutsy for us and scary. We all had different personalities. And we had to work and live together for some time. It wasn’t always pretty, but we made it work, and looking back I’m so glad we did it.