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Undergraduate Experiences

LaRue Vigil Performs in As You Like It

LaRue Vigil ’26 as Phebe in As You Like It at Prague Shakespeare Firm

Theater Arts Main LaRue Vigil ’26 and Professor Dmitry Troyanovsky spent summer time 2023 in Prague with the Summer season Shakespeare Intensive Program, hosted by Prague Shakespeare Firm. LaRue participated as a scholar and performer, Dmitry as a college member and director. Right here they’re discussing their experiences in Prague.

Dmitry: You are captivated with Shakespeare. What was particular about exploring Shakespeare within the Prague intensive? What had been a few of your discoveries?

LaRue: I’ve all the time liked watching and studying Shakespeare, nevertheless earlier than this program I by no means had any formal Shakespeare coaching. The Prague intensive taught me a lot about each Shakespeare and appearing generally. This system is break up in a means the place we had been doing Shakespeare workshops from 10 a.m. to six p.m. after which rehearsals from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The workshops taught me so many alternative strategies and a lot concerning the theater business generally. I particularly liked the voice and motion workshops since they helped me get into the physique and voice of my character which made all the things really feel far more pure. I additionally discovered a ton in rehearsals due to the surroundings of this system. For the reason that rehearsal course of is so quick, we had been anticipated to memorize our traces as quickly as doable, being off e-book so shortly helped to provide me extra time to be within the physique and thoughts of my character, Phebe. We additionally didn’t have time to overthink every of our strikes, in order that helped me to only go along with my instincts, so Phebe felt far more human-like.

Final Spring you directed the present Silly F*cking Fowl right here at Brandeis. Are there any huge variations you discovered between directing that present right here at Brandeis versus directing Macbeth in Prague? For the reason that rehearsal course of for the Summer season intensive is so sped up, did you discover that it modified the tone of rehearsals?

Lady MacBeth in Prague
Woman MacBeth in efficiency

Dmitry: Not like the actors in SFB, the actors in Macbeth did not know one another earlier than the method.  They got here from totally different nations and had very totally different sorts of prior theater coaching. In just some weeks, I needed to encourage a way of ensemble and make a extremely stylized venture.  As you point out, it is also a extra compressed rehearsal course of in Prague.  You do not have as a lot room to finesse the staging.  It is like portray in brash daring strokes fairly than tiny pointillist ones.  You have got much less time for self-doubt in rehearsal.  You have to embrace your instinctive inventive decisions and maintain shifting ahead.  It isn’t a nasty train for actors and administrators.

You had been directed in As You Like It by Sharon Ott, one of many preeminent leaders of American regional theater.  It is a distinctive alternative to be taught from somebody like Sharon.  What was your rehearsal course of like?  What did you’re taking away from it?

LaRue: With the ability to work with Sharon was an absolute dream come true and I felt so fortunate to get to be taught from her. She is really a creative genius. She would all the time push us to make our personal robust decisions and inspired us to attach with our characters. She all the time trusted us to go along with our instincts and imagine in our data of our characters. This helped me be taught a lot extra about my character and he or she made it a secure house to mess around and make daring loopy decisions, she would largely simply give us little instructions to assist with the aesthetics or information us in the correct route if we weren’t deciphering one thing accurately. I keep in mind for the primary ever scene I rehearsed I used to be so nervous because it was additionally my largest scene. She instructed me to strive it as soon as with none instructions and simply do what I felt was proper. I got here operating onto the stage whereas my scene companion, Silvius, chased me across the stage. It was such enjoyable blocking and he or she ended up loving it, she simply gave us some minor changes about which instructions to run and the best way to work together with one another. It felt nice to have a director who trusted all of our visions and our concepts of how our characters would act. 

Prague is a particularly lovely metropolis, did the surroundings encourage any concepts or visions that you could possibly apply to your present?

Dmitry: Undoubtedly.  For instance, we frequently rehearsed at Na Zabradli theater.  The theater was based by the legendary playwright, dissident and later Czech President Václav Havel. In the course of the days of Communism, folks like Havel made theater regardless of the censors, the ideologues, and the threats from the regime. They made intricate, metaphoric, multi-layered theater. Each time a second or a picture in my Macbeth was feeling too literal, I attempted to recollect the place I stood.  After which I’d make a extra fascinating directing alternative.

What is the funniest factor that occurred throughout your time in Prague?

LaRue: Between exploring Prague with the chums I made in this system, the comedy workshops, and the late night time rehearsals, there have been many laughs and humorous moments. Nonetheless, there’s one reminiscence which I’ll all the time be capable of snigger about. In ‘As You Like It’ my director, Sharon, determined to have an enormous dancing, celebratory scene. It was a good looking thought and I’ve been instructed it seemed nice on stage, however getting there was undoubtedly an fascinating course of. The general public doing this program are simply actors and never dancers. So, this resulted in about 15 of us stumbling across the stage operating into one another, whereas our director and stage supervisor hysterically laughed at us within the viewers. It was nice as a result of nobody took it too significantly and all of us might simply snigger at one another. We labored on it for a couple of days and finally all of it got here collectively, so it was a very enjoyable and exquisite expertise! 

Had been there any huge discoveries you discovered that you simply may not have in any other case? 

Dmitry: I do not consider myself as a Shakespearean director.  I am all the time nervous once I method Shakespeare’s performs. Maybe it is as a result of English is just not my first language.  Being a part of the summer time intensive made assured.  I had terrific colleagues who inspired me.  There is not one proper method to stage Shakespeare. Certain, there’s approach in terms of dealing with the language.  However when it comes to idea or type, Shakespeare may be so many issues.  Throughout our weeks in Prague, we noticed a musical model of Midsummer Night time’s Dream, a Hip Hop infused adaptation of the Roman tragedies, a deconstructed Richard III, a delightfully elegant As You Like It, and so forth.  I made Macbeth my very own and it labored out effectively.

Would you suggest this system to your friends at Brandeis?  If sure, what recommendation would you give them?

LaRue: I’d undoubtedly suggest this system to anybody at Brandeis who desires to be taught extra about Shakespeare. It’s such an exquisite, distinctive expertise which taught me a lot. The recommendation I’d give is be ready to work and be targeted. You have got a while to discover town, however your fundamental focus goes to be no matter present you’re in. Additionally, it’s very doable to discover and work on a number of the exhibits on the identical time. There have been many instances once I labored on traces on the trams or in among the many lovely parks in Prague. It’s a chaotic, intensive program, however everyone seems to be so devoted, proficient, and respectful. It’s a huge group effort to place the exhibits collectively, so bond together with your forged and simply throw your self into it, don’t maintain something again! 

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