TheatreSquared’s version of Stephen Karam’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play “Sons of the Prophet” wraps up this weekend in Fayetteville.
The final performances of the show, which T2 artistic director Robert Ford called “one of the smartest, funniest and deeply felt new works that has been written in this decade,” are scheduled Thursday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 3 at Nadine Baum Studios.
Todd Taylor, a third-year University of Arkansas MFA playwright, recently caught up with Kathleen M. Darcy, who plays “Gloria” in the play for this interview.
You have extensive experience acting both on the stage and for the camera in film and television. Could you talk a little bit about the different challenges of each?
Well, the emotional work is the same, but the physical work is very different. You have to keep everything very small for the camera. If you think it, the camera will see it. In the theatre everything is much bigger. Because of the staging, there are scenes in this play where I have my back to the audience and I literally have to do, this a terrible term, “back acting,” where I tell the audience what I’m feeling with my back. If you do stage acting on film, you’ll look like a circus clown. If you do film acting on a stage, you’ll look like a walking tree.
Do you find it easy to move back and fourth between the two different styles?
I came here straight from performing in a play in Los Angeles, so I didn’t have to make any adjustment this time. I’ve also done a lot of television commercials, which is a sort of midland between the two, where you want things big, but not too big. Commercials have been moving away from the old “bite and smile” style of acting to something more like film. I’ve worked for a director who will actually say, “I want this very small, very film.” There’s a wonderful freedom about acting on a stage where you don’t have to hit your marks exactly. But yes, once I go back to LA and get a job in front of the camera, I’ll have to shrink it way down again.
What was it about the character of Gloria that attracted you to the role?
I love Gloria. She’s very smart, very needy. She just wants to connect. There’s a lot of Gloria in everybody. She’s lonely, and a little bit crazy, and kind of self-involved. She assumes everybody wants the same thing she wants. But I think there are a lot of people who live that way.
Have there been any special challenges in working on this play?
There’s a lot of overlapping dialogue, and we’ve had to work very hard on that. It’s kind of like learning a dance, where you have to get the timing right. And with some contemporary plays, you can add a “like” or a “you know” to the dialogue. But this play is like a poem; you don’t want to mess with it. The more I delve into it, the more brilliant I think it is. I think we’re still making the adjustment to incorporating the audience’s laughter, the timing of that. When you rehearse a play every day, you forget how funny it is. The audience is that last character you have to add in.
Performing in this play has meant a seven-week commitment to living in a very different part of the country. How would you describe you experience here?
I love Fayetteville—it’s so charming, so welcoming. I really cannot get over the arts community here. There is so much support for the arts; in every store and every restaurant you find things people have made. And the theatre-goers have just been wonderfully supportive. They recognize me from the play and stop me on the street. I’ve been working as an actor for years in LA, and that never happens to me there.