Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Spamalot - Meet cast member Peter Halverson

What do you find appealing about your characters and this show?
Are you kidding?  I get to re-enact some of the best scenes from the Holy Grail movie ("Huuuuuge...tracts of land"), a comedy classic that my friends and I could repeat practically word for word.  And I get to do it in public, in character, with costumes and props and sets and even a bit of swordplay.  Add the wonderful spoofing of Broadway tropes and cliches (some clever, some subtle, some silly) and you have a spot on description of my ideal musical.

What have you learned about yourself in playing these roles?
I'm a newbie when it comes to acting skills, so it's been an enlightening experience to take these characters that I know so well and add depth and insight.  It's not enough to just parrot the movie, the humor comes from infusing these familiar lines of dialogue with your own spin: timing, intonation, physicality, back story, etc. I doubt I'm ready for "Death of a Salesman" quite yet, but I feel I've learned a lot.

What do you want the audience to experience and take away from this show?
This is a silly show.  A wonderful, fun, hilarious, musical, witty but still ultimately silly show.  My biggest hope is that they have as much fun as we do.  If that silliness carries over after they leave, so much the better.  And always look on the bright side of life!

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
It's one of the more technically complex shows I've done to date.  A bazillion costumes, props, scenery, and special effects.  Backstage during a show is going to be insane.  But that's part of the fun!  Spamalot is also the first show where I'm older than most of the cast (I think I have Carla beat on that).  Most of the cast were not born until 20 years after the Holy Grail movie was released and some had never even see it at all.  It's been interesting to watch them discover this material with a completely fresh perspective.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theater?  How did you get involved with LTA?
I only got active in community theater about 5 years ago.  I'd been performing as a singer and musician since junior high school (vocal ensembles, opera, recitals, etc.) but aside from a few revue style productions, I hadn't delved into the dramatic side.  I had just left one vocal ensemble and was casting about for something else to do with a friend suggested I try out for a show (which Wade Corder also directed, as it happens).  I fell in love with the genre and have been involved ever since.  This is my first time performing with LTA.  I've done tech work on other shows here (mostly lighting related).  With LTA's lengthy performance runs, I was waiting for a show I could really love before committing that much time and energy.  Spamalot is that show and I'm thrilled to be part of it!

Monty Python's Spamalot will be on the LTA stage from August 8 - August 23.  Get tickets at www.thelittletheatre.com

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