Anticipating a Dream Role

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on March 5, 2011

Gregory Pember, who received his training from The Boston Conservatory, made his Roxy debut last season as Frankie in Forever Palid and as Jack in Into the Woods. Other past performance credits include Oklahoma! (Interlakes Summer Theatre) and Little Shop of Horrors (Norman Rothstein Theatre), among others. This season, Gregory returns to the Roxy stage for Hamlet (Hamlet) and Bea(u)tiful in the Extreme.

I want to say how awesome it is to be back in an environment where actors are so respected and everyday is all about the work! This is what I’ve been looking forward to as I’ve been eagerly awaiting my return to The Roxy. It has been such a relief to finally get on my feet and interact with such talented, focused and supportive actors as I have been anticipating and working on my own in preparation for rehearsals in New York City for awhile now. I will say that it was a weird adjustment, at first, to be back in Clarksville without the casts of Forever Plaid and Into the Woods here as well, but as soon as we began to work in rehearsals a new family was immediately established.

It is an absolute honor to be playing such a monumental role in the history of dramatic literature. It is the most humbling experience in my professional career so far and quite possibly ever. This past fall my acting teacher helped put my mind to ease, as he could tell that I was putting an extreme amount of pressure on myself and the process in an effort to live up to my own “expectations” of what the role “should” be. He then imparted his wisdom by telling me to stop putting any pressure on performing the role as this is my first opportunity to play Hamlet. Even if I never do in fact have the opportunity to play this role again, which I pray that I will, with this mentality I was able to relieve much of the stress that I was putting on myself to give the role the credit and the performance that it deserves and calls for.

I am definitely going to be sad to see the rehearsal process come to an end, which is a rarity for me when preparing to open a show before an audience. I was very anxious to begin this process as I could not fathom how two weeks would suffice for rehearsal time to put together a production of Hamlet in which I was playing the title role. However, the amount of work that had been done on everyone’s part before rehearsals even began was so evident at our first read through that I was no longer scared about the short process but inspired and excited to work with such a professional, passionate and respectful team. I have always been told that theatre is communication and this idea is definitely driven home when working with Shakespearean text. Since the language is not as accessible as contemporary drama such as Mamet or Miller, it is our job as actors to make sure that we are communicating the text to the audience in such a way that it is accessible and that the story is clear and easy to follow. This is definitely a challenge with Shakespeare, but I think that is what makes it so fun to approach from an acting standpoint as we have to almost “decode” what is being said through the text. If we don’t know what we’re talking about there is no way that the audience will. I do hope that you will come and join us at the theatre to take part in this exciting production of one of the best (if not the best) plays ever written!

Gregory Pember

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