Performing the role of The President in Jean Giradoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot

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Title:
Performing the role of The President in Jean Giradoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Creator:
Willinger, Wayne Rudolph ( Dissertant )
Pinkney, Mikell ( Thesis advisor )
Williams, Judith ( Reviewer )
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Notes

Abstract:
This document describes the process of developing the character of The President in Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chiallot (La Folle de Chiallot). This paper will explore the creative exploration and the technical preparation involved in crafting the role. This play was performed in the Nadine McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion Black Box at the University of Florida and ran from March 18th through March 27th. This document begins with a section dedicated to the preliminary research of the playwright and the piece itself. The second segment focuses on the actor's rehearsal process and the development of the character from genesis to opening night. The last section communicates the actor‟s self-evaluation of the performance as a whole and of the final presentation of the character. The entire voyage is explained and the various acting, voice and movement techniques are examined that were employed as the actor explored creatively to develop the voice, body and psychology of the character of The President.
General Note:
Theatre terminal project

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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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AA00001621:00001


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CREATIVE PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS
PERFORMING THE ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT
IN JEAN GIRADOUX' S
THE MAD WOMAN OF CHAILLOT










By

Wayne Rudolph Willinger


SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE

Dr. Mikell Pinkney, Chair
Dr. Judith Williams, Member









A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS
PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


May 2011











TABLE OF CONTENTS



A B S T R A C T .............................................................................................. 3

INTRODUCTION ......................................................... ................ ......... .. 4

RESEARCH

I. HISTORICAL BACKROUND................ ..................... ............. 6

II. THE PLAYWRIGHT AND HIS VISION...................................... 8

III. APPROACHING THE ROLE................. ..................... ........... 10

REHEARSAL PROCESS

I. EARLY STAGES (EARLY FEBRUARY)................................... 14

II. EXPLORATION STAGE (LATE FEBRUARY).............................. 19

III. SOLIDIFYING THE ROLE (EARLY TO MID MARCH)....................25

PERFORMANCE & PROCESS: SELF EVAULATION

I. O PEN IN G N IG H T .............................................................. .. 27

II. DISCOVERIES DURING THE RUN AND CLOSING NIGHT.............. 30

III. SELF-E V A L U A TIO N ................................................................ 32

B IB L IO G R A P H Y ........................................................................................ 33

APPENDICIES

A. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH......................... ............... ......... ...... 34

B. SIGNATURE PAGE ........ ................................ ......... ..... 35

C. PRODUCTION PROGRAM/ PHOTOGRAPHS .................. ................ 36















Abstract of Performance in Lieu of Thesis Presented to
the Graduate School of the University of Florida
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for
the Degree of Master of Fine Arts in Theatre

PERFORMING THE ROLE OF
THE PRESIDENT
IN THE PLAY, THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT
BY JEAN GIRAUDOUX


By

Wayne Willinger


May 2011



Chair: Mikell Pinkney

Major Department: Theatre and Dance

This document describes the process of developing the character of The President in Jean

Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chiallot (La Folle de Chiallot). This paper will explore the creative

exploration and the technical preparation involved in crafting the role. This play was performed in the

Nadine McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion Black Box at the University of Florida and ran from March

18th through March 27th. This document begins with a section dedicated to the preliminary research of the

playwright and the piece itself. The second segment focuses on the actor's rehearsal process and the

development of the character from genesis to opening night. The last section communicates the actor's

self-evaluation of the performance as a whole and of the final presentation of the character. The entire

voyage is explained and the various acting, voice and movement techniques are examined that were

employed as the actor explored creatively to develop the voice, body and psychology of the character of

The President.









INTRODUCTION

Theatre by nature is a collaborative art form that often evolves from its original vision

into a finished product that may represent a drastic alteration from this initial conception. The

University of Florida's production of The Madwoman of Chaillot is no exception. When my

graduate class was first being considered for our thesis roles, I was approached by the play's

original director about interest in the piece. Having just completed performing the title character

in Oedipus the King with this professor, and having cherished the experience, I was very excited

to work with him again on my thesis role. I was even asked about which role I thought I would

be interested. Immediately the role of The President stood out to me. I thought it would be fun

to play the "bad guy" in the play, but I also thought that the representation of the play's

antagonist in conflict with the protagonist of the Madwoman would also involve a great deal of

responsibility. There is quite a lot of humor in The President, as well as many other characters,

but if The President was not properly characterized the important message of the play might be

lost in the humorous tone. I communicated my interest in this character to the original director

and he agreed that it could work. All was set in motion. Plans were drawn up and established,

but before rehearsals began the original director backed out of the commitment to direct the play.

A new director took over the responsibility. The new director and the original director have very

different sensibilities, and this production of the play was transferred from one man's vision into

another's. While the final product might have clearly been different, there is one thing that

remained constant, the steadfastness of the characters.

The characters of The Madwoman of Chaillot, in its original form (adapted by Maurice

Valency) have the characteristics of absurdist theatre. There is no room for any 'grey area'

characters. The characters are relatively "good or bad". The people in the world of this play are









from two distinct classes of society. There are the bohemian eccentrics led by Aurelia the

"Madwoman," and the wealthy, greedy, corporate bureaucratic politicians led by the man who is

simply called The President. This document is an account of the journey I personally took in

developing my portrayal of The President in this production. This journey began with the first

time I read the adaptation of the script before our revisions, through our rehearsals with the

newly updated version and continued to the final performance of the play. I will explain and

explore the challenges of developing The President, a character who does not change in his

single-mindedness and greed. The President has clear wants and needs and there are no

variations. Portraying a character with this lack of an arc might seem to some to be easy, but on

the contrary I feel this type of role actually requires a lot more commitment than "traditional"

roles in order to maintain a level of interest for the audience. The President's unyielding greed

never wanes and eventually leads to his own destruction. I will relate my physical and mental

process of developing this character to be as greedy and sinister as possible. I believe that this

clarity of purpose will ensure that the eventual pay off when the eccentrics are able to "stick it to

the man" (an action that unfortunately is rarely seen in reality) is as rewarding as possible.









RESEARCH

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:

"No dramatic work is valid if it does not find an audience to listen to it and make it live"

(Reilly p. 128). This quote was spoken from Giraudoux's star actor from the original production,

Louis Jouvet describing Giraudoux's theatrical work. Jean Giraudoux served in the French

military during World War I and was able to prophetically see the build up to World War II.

Giraudoux became an expert on Franco-German relations and his play, which many consider his

masterpiece, The Madwoman of Chaillot, was written in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of his

homeland. Giraudoux was disgusted with the behavior of many of his fellow countrymen in the

years leading up to 1940 and especially during the occupation years. Many Frenchmen were

"traitors" that benefited from the Nazi occupation, and Giraudoux openly looked to attack those

that he felt were responsible for the German occupation. "Their collaboration with the Nazis was

often accompanied by illegal financial activities and shameful and fraudulent business practices"

(Reilly p. 125). Giraudoux wished to condemn these Nazi collaborators but understood, as did

Louis Jouvet and many others like Bertolt Brecht, that one cannot just simply denounce others

and remain interesting in a dramatic context. It is better to entertain in the process and express

the message more subtly, which may result in a more effective way of communicating the

intended lesson.

Giraudoux was writing under a hostile occupational force. His use of subtle metaphors

were not only effective but in many ways necessary. It is useful to note that after the war was

over and the play was finally staged for the first time, the metaphors remained subtle at a time

when they could have been much more blatant and accusatory. One very direct reference

however, involves the name of the Madwoman's long lost lover who is only referred to as









"Adolphe Bertaut". This obvious choice to use Hitler's first name has been open to

interpretation over the years and no definite conclusion has been solidified. Giraudoux was a

prolific writer having penned 16 plays and 17 books, but there is a very limited amount of self-

criticism that might have explained such choices as using the name "Adolphe" in The

Madwoman of Chaillot. Throughout his career Giraudoux wrote many political plays but

according to one biographer, "he never lost sight of the fact that theatregoers demanded

entertainment, not sermons or diatribes" (Raymond 153).

Just as the Second World War divided the major players into two distinct groups (the

Allies and the Axis), so did Giraudoux clearly delineate the characters of his play into the basic

terms of good and bad. This was evident in much of his work but was paramount in Madwoman.

"The dualistic structure so often found in Giraudoux's works, but usually veiled by subtle and

delicate shadings, is reduced here to an almost aggressive schematism with sharp, almost brutal

opposition of black and white" (Lemaitre 142). Giraudoux understood that this simplistic

representation of good versus evil would resonate with the French people especially in the post

war period. Frenchmen during the period of the occupation were members of two distinct

groups. There were those that remained in direct opposition to the "invaders" and organized a

resistance to the seemingly indomitable, Nazi military might, and others who had a more

opportunistic nature and found ways to benefit from the occupation. After the war ended and

France was returned to the French, many were angry with the Nazi collaborators. These

emotions established a perfect foundation for the mounting of Giraudoux's play as many non-

collaborators demanded justice. "The question of right and wrong was viewed in somewhat

basic terms in the interest of ridding the country of the corruption that had existed" (Reilly 125).

The fact that Giraudoux chose to write the play as more of a fairy tale helped the piece to more









easily find its audience in postwar France, for reasons mentioned earlier. Many Frenchmen felt

that The Madwoman of Chaillot was, "the crowning triumph of the liberation" and once again

demonstrated the seeming clairvoyance of Giraudoux; unfortunately he would not live to see his

prophecy fulfilled (Raymond 128).

THE PLAYWRIGHT AND HIS PROPHETIC VISION:

"Rather than using theatricality as the vehicle to transmit a philosophy, he used

philosophy to produce theatricality, Giraudoux's theatre is the forerunner of theatre of the absurd

and the theatre of cruelty" (Cohen 2). This sentiment by one of Giraudoux's biographer, Robert

Cohen, resonates the prophet like sensibility that many associate with his writings. Giraudoux

died during the occupation of his country and understood that not until the liberation would his

play be performed, no matter how subtle the metaphors. In the early manuscript of The

Madwoman ofChaillot, Giraudoux suggests that the play would be performed in Paris on

October 17, 1945. He correctly predicted that the Germans would surrender in the summer of

1945 and he was just two months off of his calculation on the date of the premiere, which

debuted on December 19, 1945 (Raymond 128). This final intuitive forecast of Giraudoux

mirrors a lifelong knowledge of "things to come" that seems to be more than just educated

guesses. Education did however play a large role in the clairvoyance that Giraudoux projected.

As a child in Bellac, rural France, Giraudoux lived close to the famous writer Charles-

Louis Phillipe. The young Giraudoux had contact with this famous persona and liked to brag

about this fact for which he received ridicule from friends. This experience taught the young

man a valuable lesson, "to hide his idealism behind a mask of indifference" (Raymond 4). This

lesson remained with the writer throughout his career. After graduation from Lycee Lakanal, he

joined the Army and became an honored veteran of the First World War. With the horrors of the









war embedded in his mind forever, he went on to study at the University of Munich and in the

United States at Harvard, he then accepted a post with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France.

This post allowed him to travel throughout Europe. He saw the approaching Second World War

and blamed greed for the eventual conflict. "The decadence of his country began to frighten

him" (Raymond 12). Perhaps the best example of his prophetic ideas is from a play he wrote in

1931 called Judith. In the first act of this play a Jewish heroine expresses outrage toward anti-

Semitism "when she discovers that the Jews are a vanquished people, whereas she had believed

them to be victors" (Raymond 12). This early play was part of a trend of Giraudoux to use

females as his main characters. Just a few of his female heroine characters include: Suzanne,

Bella; Juliette; Tessa; Electra; and of course Aurelia, the Madwoman.

Giraudoux used heroines in his plays and novels because he appreciated the unique and

powerful political implications of the voice of women. Giraudoux went further as to feel that

women were actually much better suited to deal with politics and the problems of the world.

"Women are able to bring a fresh viewpoint and to find solutions that have escaped the men, and

in fact, their extravagance is one of their important qualities" (Reilly 131). The qualities that are

often associated with "weaknesses" of women, Giraudoux contradictorily felt were actually

strengths. Chief among these qualities were passion, love of beauty and oft times eccentricity.

Giraudoux recognized that women "saw" the world differently. In a play finished just before

Madwoman, entitled Sodom and Gomorrah, he describes this exceptional viewpoint of women

whose, "eyes are blinded with mascara, stuck with false eyelashes, and yet they see what the

angel sees" (Body 12). Giraudoux openly championed what he would refer to as "the feminine

approach to politics" in a series of lectures he wrote about the Frenchwoman. These lectures

proved to be the blueprint for the character of Aurelia the Madwoman. If one was to compare









the lectures to the character in the play the resemblance would immediately be evident as

illustrated with lines from the lectures such as: "Woman lives in the present; she has a taste for

quick solutions and immediate retribution and injustice leads her to meet daily problems with

quick solutions rather than put her trust in political action" (Raymond 132). The Madwoman

herself is a woman of action and in "the course of an afternoon" learns of the plans of the "bad

guys" and disposes of them. Politics often has a feminine face in Giraudoux's theatre. The

Madwoman is an eccentric character in Paris but is able to easily overcome the seemingly

indomitable power of the bureaucrats that are presented at the top of the play. This might seem

preposterous, but Giraudoux's gift was his ability to, "use a preposterous image to evoke a most

profound general idea" (Raymond 22). The "little people" in Giraudoux's idealistic world were

able to overcome the evil corporate powers. To us this seems like a fairy tale but to the

Madwoman it is rather simple as she states in the last scene of the play; "One women of sound

sense is enough to frustrate all the madness of the world". It is no accident that here we see the

"mad" woman talking about defeating the madness of the world. "In this paradoxical formula is

enclosed the moral lesson of this moving and poetic play, in which only the mad are sane"

(Inskip 142).

APPROACHING THE ROLE:

Whenever I am presented the task of performing a role in a play, I always take the

obvious first step of reading the play. For this particular production that task turned out to be not

as simple as it usually can be. I knew from my first knowledge that this play would include my

thesis role. The play was originally written in French and we would be dealing with a

translation. I soon discovered that there is basically one definitive English version ofLa Folle de

Chaillot, translated by Maurice Valency in 1947. This translation was completed just two years









after the original French debut of the play. Other than the language the English version very

much honors the original. The time period is basically the same and all of the topical references

would have been understood by the audience of the time. The play is very much a period piece

and makes many references to the events just before 1945. Knowing this, I approached the

director and learned that there would likely be some revisions and cuts. I had no idea just how

far these revisions would end up going. We all received a working script to review but about a

month later we learned that the director would no longer be involved with the play and a new

director was to be brought in. There was a brief period where we did not know who this new

director would be but his identity was soon revealed. I communicated with the new director via

email, as I was over a thousand miles away on internship, and I was told that an entirely new

adaptation of an earlier adaptation was going to be used. I like to learn my lines well ahead of

the first day of rehearsal, but found this impossible because the version that we eventually

worked with was not ready until just days before our first rehearsal. I corresponded with the

director about my willingness to learn my lines but was told to hold off as the new version,

which was not yet complete, would have major revisions and cuts. This greatly limited my

ability to conduct complete and in-depth script analysis. I was assured that there would be

enough time and that any delays in getting completely off-book would be understood. This was

a little frustrating but also exciting. I was intrigued by the fact that the version that we would be

working on was going to be a world premiere, and we would be the first actors ever to present

this specific piece of theatre art. The major changes in the script, as I was told, were to involve

updating the references in order to make the play more accessible to today's audience. I was

interested by this but really had no idea just how far these changes would go. There are hints of

the original translation and indeed some of the lines were transferred verbatim. The majority of









the play however was rewritten to the point that it is almost unrecognizable to the original. At

first I was apprehensive about this, but I also came to appreciate the new version and even

speculated that Giraudoux himself would not have been displeased. It is clear to me that had the

original director stayed on board the finished product would have looked completely different.

The original director would have likely stayed more true to the playwright's original vision, but I

do now believe that the original director's version would have been less entertaining and crowd

pleasing than the new director's version. As one critic reflected on the original production,

Giraudoux's play, "was not purely a matter of escapism, but one of poetic transformation"

(Inskip 144).

The President is a greedy capitalist who wants to find the oil to feed his war machine.

Again this demonstrates the clairvoyance of Giraudoux. Now more than ever the strategic

importance of the world's oil reserves is evident. Indeed as the Rag Picker (a lead voice of the

bohemian society) states when asked what The President will do with the oil when he gets it, "he

will wage war with it." It is not entirely clear whether The President is the president of the

country or just the head of multi-national corporations. It is clear that he represents a

commingling of politics and business. The combining of these two aspects of society is an

important prerequisite for fascism. We see this in today's society referred to in phrases like the

one coined by President Dwight Eisenhower, "the military industrial complex." President

Eisenhower saw how the economy and militarism were becoming symbiotic. So too did

Giraudoux see this phenomenon in the rise of the world's most famous fascist regime, the Nazi

party. This thought process provided ample room for personal research of my character even

though I did not yet have the script.









From the beginning of my knowledge of what The President represents, I was eager to

portray his flaws adequately. If he was not greedy and sinister enough the payoff would be

lessened when he was finally defeated and his plans thwarted. The stronger my action and point

of view would be, the stronger it would feed into the victory of the eccentrics lead by the

Madwoman. I began to research the neo-conservatives of our current age. I truly believe that

the corporate greed that is prevalent today far outweighs that of the opportunists of German

occupied France in the early 1940s. Today the greed mongers have gone global and are much

more powerful. I just had to look as far as the White House in Washington D.C. to find the likes

of Ben Bernanke and see how these men used greed to bankrupt our country. I began to watch

videos and clips of the shady dealings that go on in our world governments that are overrun with

uncontrollable greed. I listened to the way these politicians talked. The intonations and their use

of ambiguous language became source material for my development of the role of The President

in this production. I noticed how the politicians on TV never really directly answered a question

and how they would often have shifty eye movements when directly challenged with a straight

question that might shed some ill light on their practices. I have to admit that this was all rather

new for me. I was so used to doing traditional research for more classical characters from

Sophocles' Oedipus and Shakespearean roles, and characters in American classics like A

Streetcar Named Desire. Just as the play was going to be a brand new approach, so too was my

personal approach going to be brand new as well.

During this pre-rehearsal/ pre-adapted script period of research, I really did not focus on

the type of techniques that I have employed in my career in the past. I began a new methodology

in which I focused on real people of our present day. I watched films such as, The Inside Job, in

which many of these dubious practices such as insider trading were explained. These practices









were the same underhanded customs of my character, The President. Again this was a new

approach for me, which for the most part lacked the theatrical conventions of past research such

as 'psychological gesture' and chakra work. These concepts would come later once rehearsals

started. When approaching a specific role I usually begin with an in-depth character analysis that

includes a detailed backstory. In this case I chose to focus on real people and learn as much as I

could about the mindset of modern day gluttonous and greedy exploiters of the world's natural

resources. I hoped that my depiction of The President would offer a warning to the audience of

the dangers of this blatant greed that I was researching. I believe Giraudoux felt the same way.

According to Robert Cohen in his biography entitled Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny, "The

Madwoman is Giraudoux's warning against the evils of a mechanized, technological society"

(Cohen 126). I was fully prepared to bring this into the rehearsal room. The first day of actual

rehearsal filled me both with hope and apprehension.



REHEARSAL PROCESS

EARLY STAGE (EARLY FEBRUARY):

I have clearly shared how my pre-rehearsal research consisted of examining the neo-cons

of today's world governments. I also read much of the available criticism and biographical

information on Giraudoux and more specifically on The Madwoman of Chaillot. Books such as

Robert Cohen's Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny, Jacques Body's Jean Giraudoux: The

Legend and the Secret, and others by: John Reilly, Georges Lemaitre, Agnes Raymond and

Donald Inskip, all focused on Giraudoux's life and work. Each had a specific section dedicated

to The Madwoman of Chaillot. These resources were helpful in my initial sketches of what I

thought my character might become, but until I had the new adaptation and a clear idea of the









director's vision I was unable to solidify anything. When we finally met for the first official

rehearsal it was clear to me that the director had researched much of the same material that I had.

When the first rehearsal started the director unveiled his vision to us. As stated, I felt that

we had reviewed much of the same commentary and criticism on this play. Many of the

descriptions of the "corporation" (what The President's group of cronies was to be referred to)

were directly paraphrased from much of my readings. It is interesting to note that a lot of the

research I conducted about present day greed seemed to mirror Giraudoux's specific references.

Apparently the Madwoman was not as successful as the play suggests, it was also up to us the

viewing audience! I really felt strongly about portraying this character in a way in which he

would be hated enough that those who saw him might see some present day parallels and strive

to enact some political change here at home. I was relieved to see that the director, while having

upgraded many of the "antiquated" references, was still staying true to the stark contrast between

the Aurelia's eccentrics and The President and his pimps. One point that really resonated with

me was when the director stated on the first day that we would be, "sticking it to the man,

something which we do not get to do in reality." I loved this idea and wanted to do my very

important job in portraying the character in such a way to achieve the maximum payoff when his

greed eventually leads to his demise. Without an adequate bad guy the good guys could only be

somewhat heroic. I immediately began thinking of finding the proper voice and body to

satisfactorily represent the evil character. I made a note to refer back to the reference material to

find and clarify some of the descriptions of The President and his gang of pimps. This renewed

research was incorporated in subsequent rehearsals.

On that first day we had a very short session of "table work" and got on our feet, but not

before the updating of the references were explained. I only had the chance to read the script









twice before the first rehearsal, and I quickly noticed that a lot of what I thought was vital to my

character was cut. I did not focus on this too much and decided to give the director the benefit of

the doubt and see where he was going. Other than the cuts much of the script was very similar to

the original. Some of the topical references included the likes of "Donald Trump". The director

made it clear to us that the script was still a work in progress and more changes would be made.

One modernization of the script that the director chose was to use the music of an artist whom he

considered to be "one of the eccentric madwomen of our day," the pop singer known as Lady

Gaga. We were told that there would be three dance numbers to the music of three popular Lady

Gaga hits. I was immediately concerned and intrigued as this represented the most drastic

deviation from what I had envisioned as the concept of the original director. I did agree with the

view that this music would be entertaining to the audience, which would consist of a majority of

undergraduate college students. There is also the fact that this particular singer uses catchy pop

songs to express political opinions on issues such as gay rights. In this way the choice did seem

to fit with the ideas I had read about of how Giraudoux tried to get his messages across. The

dance numbers were to be choreographed later, so in the initial rehearsal process, I was just able

to focus on my characterization of The President. This is where I began to employ more

traditional theatrical practices that I had learned throughout my theatre education.

"Purpose is beside the point." This line by The President may ring true in reference to his

opinion on the shady business practices that he is involved in, but could be nothing further from

the truth in association with this actor's portrayal of the character. On that first day we did a

stumble through of the script on our feet. I was given certain notes that I would be given over

and over again for many subsequent rehearsals until almost a month later when I finally gave the

director what he wanted. I was repeatedly told to have a "stronger point of view." From this









first day it was clear that the main objective of The President was to "close the deal" that he was

working on with The Baron. I thought this was something I could achieve without too much

effort. I was wrong.

After that first day on our feet we continued to work in this way and never returned to

any table work on the script. I was used to doing more table work but was not opposed to this

more kinetic approach to the script. My character was really only featured at the top of the show

and briefly at the end. There were three dances planned. I learned that I would not be in the first

two dances and I would only be a part of the final curtain call dance. During blocking rehearsals

and dance rehearsals I found myself with a fair amount of downtime and even had numerous

days off. This extra time allowed me to examine concepts such as the "psychological gesture" of

my character. This idea comes from the great actor and coach Michael Chekhov. Chekhov

believed that before approaching a character his "psychological gesture" must be unraveled.

This gesture is basically an organically created movement that the actor devises for his character

and then repeats, "which reveals his secret, innermost motivation and personality trait" (Chekhov

xxxi). This is a gesture that the character would most likely never reveal to the audience or

fellow characters in any scene, but embodies the interior sentiment and super objective of the

character. During some down time in the first week of rehearsal I devised that The President's

psychological gesture was represented by a greedy, exaggerated hording motion that involved

extended arms, as in raking in the pot in a high stakes poker game, and included a gyration that

engaged movement of the entire spine. This became helpful whenever I was rehearsing and

thought about my character's wants and needs. In those moments of self-reflection I would go

back to my "psychological gesture" and hopefully my intentions would be easier to express and

organic. I also kept referring back to some of the commentary on The President in various books









on Giraudoux that I kept handy. One description that I actually wrote down in my script

explained The President and his cronies as a, "group of unscrupulous financiers who are

prepared to sacrifice the beauty and tradition of Paris if they can find in the subsoil the main

source of modern power and modern corruption, namely oil" (Inskip 142). I can now see that

perhaps I was too focused on the big picture too early and had not properly set the foundation of

the character. I was intellectualizing too much and as the second week of rehearsal waned, I was

still receiving the same notes to "have a stronger point of view" and "close the deal."

As the second week flowed into the third I began trying to make bigger choices and

apparently came across as an actor who was indicating his actions too much and not "living

through them." This was all becoming frustrating, because I felt I understood this character

completely and wanted to do what was being asked of me. It was at this time that I began to

develop the backstory for The President in hopes that this knowledge might assist me in

clarifying my actions.

Developing a backstory is something that I usually do much earlier in my process. But

since I was unclear so late in the process about the specific parameters of my character that once

we started rehearsing I did not take this step immediately. As far as developing a backstory was

concerned, I had very little to draw upon from our version of the script. The President does

reveal some of his personal backstory in the opening story to The Baron but it is all very vague.

He relates ambiguous anecdotes about his life and how he "came up from the bottom" and how

he saw "faces" that eventually led to his rise in power. Some of the more specific exposition that

would help me to develop an interesting and informed backstory was cut from our adaptation. In

the same section that was just referred to, some additional specifics that were cut include details

of how The President engaged in criminal activity such as counterfeiting and narcotics in order









to climb to the social standing that he now enjoys as the head of numerous corporations. Why

just this particular information was omitted is still unclear to me, but nevertheless this being my

thesis role all avenues were thoroughly explored to the best of my ability.

EXPLORATION STAGE:

Having developed a detailed backstory as part of my character development I began to

focus and explore more with the physicality of The President. This particular rehearsal process

was on the short side and the weeks flew by. In total we had just under six weeks of rehearsal.

This also included nine days off over spring break. Further limiting valuable rehearsal time were

the necessary dance rehearsals that filled the agenda for entire evenings. Because of this limited

time frame, I made extra effort to conduct exploration outside of rehearsal. This is where my

Alexander Technique studies were considered. Our resident certified Alexander Technique

teacher did visit two rehearsals, but I took it upon myself to acquire some one on one hands-on

time with this valuable asset. In fact, the Alexander Technique coach was willing to dedicate

class time for the endeavor of examining The President in accordance with the principles of these

body awareness and exploration techniques.

My main concern with the physicality of The President in relation to the Alexander

Technique involved maintaining a "released" tension free "primary control" whether The

President was expressing positive emotions or whether he was highly agitated by the vagabonds

in the opening cafe scene. "Primary control" refers to the head, neck and shoulder connection

that is the root of the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique, or AT, may have its

foundation with "primary control" but clearly includes the entire body from head to toe.

Focusing on the entire body and not just the "troubled" area was something that I have had to

remind myself continually throughout all my Alexander Technique studies. The President's









tension, in relation to primary control, was no exception and my limited focus was again a main

part of the reason behind the rigidity in this vital area. With help of the AT coach, I was able to

identify that I was holding some tension in my pelvic area, which was causing tightness that

travelled up my spine and found a home in my neck and shoulder area. As we have learned in

class, the spine does not end at the back of the neck around the hairline as most people who are

not educated on human anatomy might believe. The spine stretches from the coccyx, or tailbone,

and extends up and into the middle of the skull. Holding tension at the bottom of the spinal area

can easily transfer tension and stiffness into the primary control area. Once this was identified

and I was able to release in the pelvis area, I immediately noticed reduced tension at the upper

section of the spine. This was achieved with some direct hands on work provided by the AT

coach and again demonstrates the value of having such a highly qualified AT specialist, as I was

fortunate enough to have during my graduate training at the University of Florida.

When we began to move from the rehearsal room and into the actual performance space

in the Black Box Theatre that would be used for the run, it became quite clear just how close the

action would be to the audience. This close proximity was especially evident in my character's

major contribution to the show, which was to take place on a cafe table that inhabited a part of

the set that was just about as far down center as possible. I was going to be so close to the first

row that it became a legitimate concern for me that I might spit on audience members in some of

my more heated exchanges with other characters. The audience/stage configuration that we

would be working with included a floor level playing area that was closely adjacent to the

seating, which consisted of 5 or 6 rows of seats that rested on risers. This meant that the

audience would actually be higher in altitude than the "stage." The head of a person of average

height would be at least ten to fifteen feet above the floor. When the risers were put in place, it









was clear that some of us (myself included) were not playing to the entire audience and had a

level of eye focus that was much too low. I received the note a few times to "look up" more and

raise my focus or the top half of the audience would not be able to see my eyes. The fact that I

was sitting for a good portion of my time on stage exacerbated this issue. I fixed the problem by

making a concerted effort to always focus just above where I thought someone's head would be

if they sat in the back row. I was no longer given the note to "look higher" and in fact I was

commended for having good focus whenever I looked out over the audience. The fact that I was

so close to the audience and had to look up at an almost unnatural level, raised concern in me

that I would experience a strain in the back of my neck. I was worried that this would

compromise my freedom in relation to my newfound ease with primary control. This was

addressed in another one on one session with the AT coach. She helped me to understand that in

order to have the elevated focus and not have neck tension, I would have to use my body as a

whole unit and not just tilt my head upward and in turn cause the back of my neck to bunch

together. This not only fixed this issue of upward focus, but also set a strong foundation for all

of The President's movement, as I was constantly reminded to move as a whole rather than just a

sum of parts. This self-visualization and self-focus allowed for a good level of physical

exploration to find movement specifics (like The President's slinky walk and lengthened back of

the neck) without having to worry about slipping into counterproductive, tension creating

movements that the Alexander Technique refers to as "misuse."

As the fourth week of rehearsals began, it was clear that my physical exploration was

going just fine. I no longer received the note that I was "indicating" my actions and emotions.

My physical actions were connected to my character. However, I was still getting the note that I

needed a "stronger point of view" and I needed to make it a priority to "sell the deal" to The









Baron. During the third rehearsal week, I began getting the note that winning The Baron over

was so very important to The President and I needed "to make love" to The Baron with my lines.

I was on the right track and every day I seemed to give the director a little more of what he

wanted, but I was still not where he wanted me to be. I was so very determined to reach the

place he wanted me to be and please him, so that my performance would end on a good note

before we stopped for spring break. Halfway through that last week before break, I scheduled a

one on one meeting with the director in hopes of discovering just what I was missing. It was

during this meeting that the director came up with the idea that maybe if The President had an

accent it might help fill in what was missing. A few members of the cast had various accents. I

thought since we were doing a French play and no one was doing a French accent maybe this

would be the way to go.

Immediately something changed with my performance. I have to admit I immediately

felt the change as well. For whatever reason, that I still cannot identify, this particular accent

really brought this character alive. On the first day of rehearsal the director mentioned that he

wanted these characters to be larger than life and have a "realistic but cartoonish" quality. This

particular, stereotypical French accent that I began to develop in combination with The

President's lines about corporate greed really seemed to work. The accent fit The President like

a glove. We decided to go with it. This was a major drastic alteration of the literal and

figurative voice of the character, but this was very late in the process. I found myself having to

almost relearn my lines with this new accent that I was very concerned with getting correct. This

new exploration was just that, exploration, but it also pushed me back into some additional levels

of research. I thought that my research was basically complete, but this accent required some









examination. I just hoped that I was not opening a figurative "can of worms." It turns out that I

was not.

The French accent was something that I managed to pick up much easier than I thought I

would. The first "research" that I began was to listen to tapes by a dialect coach named David

Alan Stem. Stern uses a system by which actors imagine point of focus for each dialect. This

point of focus is also referred to by Stern as the point of maximum vibration. This is where the

"energy" of a particular dialect originates from. Actors must learn how to image (or will) this

energy into its proper place. For standard American English the point of focus (as Stern

understands it) is in the very middle of the oral cavity. There is no exact science to this, but

when I began to study Stern's techniques and theories on previous dialects, I was completely

amazed about how much it helped to solidify the dialect. For the French accent Stern envisions

the point of focus to be in the back of the oral cavity in very close proximity to the fleshy uvula

that hangs down in this area. Stern refers to the uvula as the "fork in the road" between the oral

and nasal cavities. Having the point of focus in this "fork in the road" helped me achieve the

nasal quality that is often evident in a French dialect. This was especially helpful for the type of

cartoonish character that the director wanted. Stern states that the focus point of vibration is an

absolutely necessary foundation to properly mimicking any dialect that is not native to the actor.

Once this foundation is strongly understood and solidified then the actor can begin to concentrate

on dialect work such as sound changes and vowel and consonant substitutions. One common

example of a substitution related to the French dialect is how the TH sound would sound more

like the Z sound. This would turn words like "this" and "that" into "zeehis" and "zhat." With

these changes in mind I went through my script and re-scored the entire thing in order to have a

visual aid for pronunciation. I did this scoring with all the lines in the script not just my









character's lines. Stern relates on his tapes that it is important to be able to work the dialect on

any lines and not just the lines of your character. The actor should be able to speak any

improvised lines in the dialect.

To help me achieve this ability to master the dialect more completely, I continued to

study the Stern tapes. In addition to listening to the tapes, I sought out films that featured

characters that spoke with authentic French accents. What I wanted was French actors speaking

in English with heavy French accents. I found exactly what I wanted in the actor Maurice

Chevalier. This specific actor was perfectly suited to what I wanted. I watched a few of his

films, but I found the movie Gigi to be simply perfect. Chevalier spoke in English the entire film

and was the main character with ample screen time. I watched the film repeatedly and repeated

everything he said. After a few times I began to repeat what the other characters in the film were

saying. I spoke their lines in the dialect even if they were not. With this mimetic work coupled

with the Stern use of substitutions and resonance focus, I was effectively able to maintain a

French dialect. Most importantly I was able to do it and remain intelligible and not sound

ridiculous. All this extra work was completely outweighed by the results that were achieved. As

I began to adopt more and more of the dialect work, I noticed that my character was eliciting

more and more laughs from my cast mates. As the fourth week of rehearsals came to an end and

we were about to go on break, I was finally no longer getting the note about "stronger point of

view." I now was being told that I was successful at giving the director what he wanted. This

was a relief and I have to admit that it felt good. In fact on that Friday, March 4th, I really

"nailed it" and was told that I basically had the best energy of that run. This was a great way to

go into the break. I resolved to further set my dialect and strengthen my lines over the break.









When we were scheduled to come back on Monday, March 14, we would be going right into

technical dress rehearsals, and I would be able to solidify and finalize all the work thus far.

SOLIDIFYING THE ROLE:

Within a few hours after our rehearsal on March 4th, I was over one thousand miles away

and would not return until the morning of Monday March the 14th, which was the day our

technical rehearsal was to begin. During this time away from the cast and the play, I remained as

productive as possible. Although on "break" I used this time to solidify my lines. The newly

added dialect was almost like having to relearn my lines. During the last run, I knew my lines

pretty well, but often found myself thinking ahead while other characters were speaking and not

listening as much as I should have. I was determined to drill my lines until the point that I knew

them backwards and forwards and they were simply "second nature." The break gave me ample

opportunity to work my lines and practice the dialect. An important lesson I learned a long time

ago was not just to sit around and review lines, but rather to find an open space and attempt to

recreate the playing area as much as possible. Doing this re-creation allows the actor to rehearse

lines on his feet. This "physicalization" of the lines is very helpful as it "embodies the lines."

What I mean by this is that the actor is able to recall where he is when a particular line is recited.

For example, I stand up when The President would say; "The trouble is we have tremendous

capital." Walking through these movements practicing the lines helps develop "muscle

memory" and makes the memorization process both mental and physical. I continued to work in

this way every day during break and it paid off when we returned.

I was not the only one to continue working during the break, made clearly evident when

our first technical rehearsal began. In general, technical rehearsals are laborious, seemingly

endless ordeals. The process usually spans a weekend and includes twelve hour plus days. With









our rehearsal schedule, time was not a luxury but the technical crew rose to the challenge. It was

obvious that the technical crew worked over the break. Many of the technical aspects of the

show were worked out before the actors reconvened on the set. All the sound and lighting cues

were prepared before the first official, technical rehearsal began during "paper techs" and "dry

techs." "Paper techs" refer to table work in which the cues are reviewed and "dry techs" are

technical rehearsals in which the actors are not present. This work paid off and the actual

technical rehearsals were extremely "painless" and efficient. The ease in this part of the process

that is usually long and stressful, was extremely appreciated and in fact was quite a morale

booster that allowed the cast to begin the two dress rehearsals on a very positive note.

Opening night was set for March 18th, and the cast and crew had two dress rehearsals to

prepare for our first real audience. Having the costumes, props and all the lighting and sound

cues in place creates an environment that is completely new in many ways from any previous

runs. The "world" of the play is created only after the technical elements are all in place, and it

is not until this time that the actors can completely embody their characters. At this point in the

process, with the new features in place, there is a time crunch that can cause some anxiety. This

anxiety is ironically fueled in some part by creativity. When the actors are in their costumes and

have the actual props for the first time, there is a lot of opportunity to explore and make character

discoveries that were not available before the technical components were finalized. While these

news ideas are usually interesting and helpful, the fact that they are new elements so late in the

process (just prior to opening night) can add to the workload that must be remembered and

recreated.









PERFORMANCE & PROCESS: SELF EVAULATION

OPENING NIGHT:

There is an aspect in university theatre, that while creating a great level of excitement in

the actor also manages to generate an anxiousness that can be nerve racking. I cannot speak for

all university theatre programs, but generally there are no previews in between dress rehearsals

and opening night. On opening night the majority of theatre majors and faculty generally try to

attend. So for a cast member, we go from having basically no audience to having a packed house

full of the people we are most concerned with impressing. There is no transitional phase. As

stated this particular type of event creates a high level of excitement, but to some the anticipation

can be almost overwhelming. When you are the actor whose character has the added

responsibility of starting the show, as I did with The President, this potential anxiety is only

multiplied.

One of the reasons that I was so excited about the role of The President was that I

embraced the challenge of having the responsibility of starting the show. The President not only

has the opening lines of the play, but he also has about 75% of the lines up until the

Madwoman's entrance, which coincides closely with his exit. The President does not enter again

until his brief appearance at the end of the play. The opening is all his! When a character has

this amount of involvement in the opening of a play, the actor has the chore of beginning the

production on a positive note and bringing to it a high level of energy. If the performance at the

start of the play is flat or even slightly lackluster, the audience can be "lost." I do not mean that

they will lose their way, but rather we the actors will lose the audience's attention. If the

audience is absent from the action at this early point, it is very difficult (if not impossible) for

actors to win back the audience's favor later in the play. This being understood, I was very much









aware of my personal responsibility as The President. Early on in this process I learned a

valuable lesson on how to prepare for such a role.

In my career I have had the opening lines of numerous plays, most notably as Mr.

Bennett in a theatrical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and as Orlando in As You Like It. With

this experience and more, I thought that I would be able to easily prepare for the matter in which

The President begins this play. I have never had the level of participation at the beginning of a

play as I did in The Madwoman of Chaillot. Earlier in this document I related how the director

was giving me the same notes repeatedly about my character's level of commitment. When we

had our rehearsals, we were expected to come in warmed up and prepared. There was no period

of time between the time that we were called for rehearsal and The President's entrance during a

run. I was not afforded the luxury that other cast mates enjoyed of having time to "decompress"

from their busy days and take time to relax. Whenever I arrived on time and we began on time

from the top of the show, I inevitably was not quite ready and would receive notes about my

character's action. I decided to remedy this by coming in at least thirty minutes before we were

called and use that time to prepare mentally and physically. This was immediately effective and

it was not until I incorporated this extra time that I received positive feedback from the director.

I took this lesson into the dress rehearsals, opening night and the rest of the run. We were called

an hour and fifteen minutes before show time, but I would come in at least thirty minutes prior to

that. Coming in this early gave me ample time to inhabit the stage and walk through my lines

and prepare for that necessary level needed to properly kick start the performance.

The added time was helpful, but all the preparation in the world could not stop the

nervousness I experienced when I was standing just off stage and the opening dance number was

ending and I was about to make my entrance. When this nervousness hits me I always think









back to something I learned in my first Alexander Technique class as an undergraduate. In the

manual, How to Learn the Alexander Technique, there is a short chapter entitled "Stage-Fright."

The basic premise is that there is an energy release with stage-fright that is manifested in a

physical form. This energy is emitted from the body in the form of shaking, sweating and rapid

heart beating. Frederick Matthias Alexander states that the performer must "embody the fear" to

deal with it and, "any attempt not to feel the fear splits the performer into two persons, the feeler

and the repressor" (Conable 115). It is amazing how this works to ease performance anxiety.

There is no physiological explanation of how this works or how to implement it, but just being

aware of the "negative" energy and willing it to transform into "positive" energy, is the first and

greatest step in contracting and making stage fright work for the actor. This simple process

works for me, but with all the added pressure I was experiencing with The President I needed a

little more. As I stood there and this method was not slowing down my racing heart, I closed my

eyes and said to myself, "this is what you do!" It was enough.

Through this first performance I had to muster extra concentration not to lose focus and

prevent my attention from being drawn to the faces of colleagues and mentors in the audience.

This was extra difficult due to the close proximity of the seating and how the lighting spilled out

into the audience. Under these circumstances it is "tempting" to check in with someone sitting in

front of you and see how they are reacting. The problem is that if the actor on stage makes

unintentional eye contact with someone, even for a split second, it is very noticeable. The fact

that this was our first audience created a hunger in the actor to gauge if the jokes that are

anticipated are landing and just what is getting an unpredicted response. With an almost

indomitable force tugging on my gaze and willing me to make inappropriate contact, I was able









to stay focused and not give in to the urge. This has not always been the case in previous

productions.

We got through that night with only minor hiccups and we were all very satisfied with

ourselves. I feel this was deserved after a lot of hard work. After getting that first performance,

"under our belts" we were able to move leaps and bounds forward, due mainly to the high level

of relaxation after that first stressful night.

DISCOVERIES DURING THE RUN AND CLOSING NIGHT:

Another aspect of university theatre as opposed to professional productions, is the

shortness of the run. A run of a professional theatre production will generally last at least a

month, and in the university setting the actors are lucky that a run might span as long as 8-10

performances, if not closer to 4 or 5. What is referred to in a professional theatre as "preview

weekss)" constitutes the entire run in the university. Production preview is a time for fine tuning

and honing. Not having this luxury of time, it is generally the case that in a university setting the

cast finally hits its "stride" and is very comfortable with the performance very close to (if not on)

closing night. Although it is the actor's responsibility to avoid making major changes once the

run begins, there is a good deal of room for growth during the first week of any run. Small

aspects of the character and his/her reactions can be tweaked to very useful effect.

I found this first week with The President to offer quite unlimited opportunity for growth.

In fact I found myself stifling my creative instincts in order not to seem to be delivering a

different performance each night. This consistency is important not only to maintain the vision

and integrity of the director, but also to avoid throwing off the performance of less experienced

cast mates. I got to the point where I was carefully picking and choosing where and when to

make adjustments and creative additions. In fact the cast as a whole received the note from the









stage manager that we were drifting too much. As the run progresses and these opportunities

present themselves, there is often the temptation to add additional lines to supplement the

creative impulses. This is where I personally draw the line. I will not add lines to the script

without permission from the director. The only exception I can think of is a subtle addition that I

made to one of The President's lines. When asked to "define the purpose" of his new company,

The President responds, "Purpose is beside the point!" I decided to add a repetition of the first

word with a more reflective tone: "Purpose? Purpose is beside the point!" This worked much

better. It is important to note that only in a play of this nature that was a brand new adaptation,

would I even consider this. If we were doing Shakespeare for instance the lines would never be

adjusted. The only changes that I even considered involved specific movement choices.

As I developed The President's personal physicality, with the help of psychological

gesture, I continued to notice movements that could be further explored. Even on closing night

this was still happening. At the end of the play just before The President makes his final exit, he

has a very short, two step cross downstage to the Madwoman. Up until this point I was taking

two rather neutral steps and staying focused on my intention with the lines. On the final

performance it dawned on me to incorporate two slinky gyrating steps that I felt personified The

President's greed in that moment. The audience reacted and I received a large laugh that was

never there before. If given the chance to have more runs I would continue this stylized

movement at that moment and might have taken it further. I must admit that by closing night,

with the exception of the example of the cross just mentioned, I had engaged in ample

exploration and was enjoying a comfort zone that felt polished. Unfortunately this was followed

by the final bow and the close of the show.









SELF- EVALUATION:

The lack of any preview time accompanied with the abrupt end to the run does not allow

for any real reflection until the whole process is complete. The last performance was a matinee,

and I found that later that evening I truly began my personal self-evaluation. This usually

involves me realizing what I could have done better and regretting not implementing these

realizations. This was, I am happy to say, not the case with this role. I was very proud of what

my cast mates and I had achieved. What I am most proud of personally is how I was able to

compel myself to always give 110%, even when I was not completely "feeling it." From the first

moment that I heard from the director's mouth that we would be doing dance numbers to the

songs of Lady Gaga, a certain level of dread washed over me. I did not want to participate. I

still felt this way during the first dance rehearsals. To my credit I never let my discomfort show.

Rather I "put on a happy face" and just gave it my all. Not only did this prevent any negative

vibes that might have been contagious to the rest of the cast, but this feigned gusto actually made

me enjoy the process and eventually turned to real enthusiasm. I ended up enjoying the dance

that I was in and understood the cultural significance and how the music and dancing was able to

bridge the disconnect that this potentially difficult piece had with a modern audience. This is

what I want to take away from the experience. I hope to learn that personal feelings should be

restrained and the director's vision should be given "the benefit of the doubt" until the process is

complete. In fact this "giving over" is the only way to make the vision work. This production

has strengthened my mental approach in creating a role and more importantly, it has improved

my ability to successfully be part of an ensemble.











BIBLIOGRAPHY



Body, Jacques. Jean Giraudoux: the Legend and the Secret. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson UP,

1991. Print.

Blumenfeld, Robert. Accents: A Manual for Actors. New York: Limelight Editions, 1998. Print.

Chekhov, Michael, Michael Chekhov, and Mel Gordon. On the Technique ofActing. New York,

NY: Harper Perennial, 1991. Print.

Chekhov, Michael, and Mala Powers. To the Actor. London: Routledge, 2002. Print.

Cohen, Robert. Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968.

Print.

Conable, Barbara, and William Conable. How to Learn the Alexander Technique: a Manual for

Students. Columbus, OH: Andover, 1995. Print.

Gelb, Michael. Body Learning: an Introduction to the Alexander Technique. New York: Holt,

1994. Print.

Giraudoux, Jean, and Maurice Valency. The Madwoman of Chaillot: Comedy in Two Acts. New

York: Dramatists Play Service, 1974. Print.

Inskip, Donald P. Jean Giraudoux, the Making of a Dramatist. London: Oxford University Press,

1958. Print.

Lemaitre, Georges E. Jean Giraudoux: The Writer and His Work. New York: Ungar, 1971. Print.

Raymond, Agnes G. Jean Giraudoux: The Theatre of Victory and Defeat. Amherst: University of

Massachusetts Press, 1966. Print.

Reilly, John H. Jean Giraudoux. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978. Print.











APPENDICIES

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH:

Wayne Willinger is a native of the great state of Maryland, where he graduated with
honors from Bel Air High School. Mr. Willinger attended college at the University of Maryland,
Baltimore County, where he received a B.A. in Theatre, graduating cum laude. While in
undergraduate college, Mr. Willinger performed in productions including: Macbeth, Picnic,
Slaughter City and Six Degrees of Separation.
After graduation Mr. Willinger acted in Children's Theatre productions and then became
a founding member of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC). With CSC he had the
privilege to hone his craft playing many great Shakespearean roles such as: Puck; Caliban;
Orlando; Tybalt; Lucio; Borrachio; Duke Orsino; and Nestor.
Mr. Willinger went on to pursue his Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre (Acting) at
the University of Florida where he appeared in Cloud 9, Electronic City, Pride and Prejudice,
Where Can We Run?, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Madwoman of Chaillot. He is also
involved with a Greek tour with a production of Romeo and Juliet (as Friar Laurence) and a
production of Oedipus the King (in which he will play the lead role). He plans to move to New
York City after the summer international tour in 2011.













SIGNATURE PAGE:





I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it confirms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a performance
in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Fine Arts.


Mikell Pinkney, Chair
Associate Professor of Theatre


I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it confirms to acceptable
standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a performance
in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Fine Arts.



Judith Williams
Professor of Theatre


This performance in lieu of thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College
of Fine Arts and was accepted as partial; fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master
of Fine Arts.

2011


Paul Favini
Interim Director, School of Theatre & Dance


Lucinda Lavelli
Dean, College of Fine Arts









36





















SHE WRNT5 LOVE
SHE WIRNT5 REVENGE.
IT'5 R BRO ROMRNCE.

written by
Iean giraudoux
adaptated by
maurice valency
directed by
tim altmeyer








P









e -N.. N e .* D.
.s I* *e

**~-e m* s.i .






















written by
jean giraudoux
adaptated by
maurice valency
directed by
tim altmeyer


Lighting Design

Ryan Bible


Set Design

Rnne Tully


Choreographer

Kristin O'Neil


Costume Oesign

Lee Rlexander
martin


Sound Designer

k Jordan Reuter


Stage manager
martina Harte


I111111 1111111 11111

The Kennedy Center



The Kennedy Center American College

Theater Festival-

XLIII
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is sponsored by the
U.S. Department of Education: Dr. Gerald and Paula McNichols Foundation; The
Honorable Stuart Bernstein and Wilma E. Bernstein: the Kennedy Center Corporate
Fund: and the National Committee for the Performing Arts.

This production is entered in the Kennedy Center American College Theater
Festival (KCACTF). The aims of this national theater education program are to iden-
tily and promote quality in college-level theater production. To this end, each produc-
tion entered is eligible for a response by a regional KCACTF representative, and se-
lected students and faculty are invited to participate in KCACTF programs involving
scholarships, internships, grants and awards for actors, directors, dramaturges,
playwrights, designers, stage managers and critics at both the regional and national
levels.

Productions entered on the Participating level are eligible for inclusion at the
KCACTF regional festival and can also be considered for invitation to the KCACTF
national festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washing-
ton, DC in the spring of 201 I.

Last year more than 1,300 productions were entered in the KCACTF involv-
ing more than 200,000 students nationwide. By entering this production, our theater
department is sharing in the KCACTF goals to recognize, reward, and celebrate the
exemplary work produced in college and university theaters across the nation.


The use of photography or video is strictly prohibited.
Cell phones and text messaging are not permitted.





























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NICHOLE HRmILTON

AmELIR HRRRIS

NATRLIE CHIN

CRNORNCE CLIFT

RUSSEL SHULTZ

EmiLYRNN OFFUTT

TROY mCCRRY

RNR PLRCIOO

RLEX JOHNSON

RHIRNNON TRSKER

STEFRNIE RNRRUmO

STEPHEN RUFFIN

CRRSON FIRTH

NICK ERKELENS

RYRN JOHNSON-TRRVIS

WURYNE WUILLINGER

COLIN HUOSON

JRZmlNE OINKINS

mRTT mERCURIO

TRYLIZ ROORIGUEZ

RmRNOA YOUNG


Countess

Constance

Gabrielle

Josephine

The Rag Picker

Irma

Pierre

The Waiter

Street Singer

The Flower Girl

The Deaf-mute

The Poet

The Street Juggler

Dr. Jadin

The Prospector

The President

The BaronSeuwer man

The Broker

The Policeman

The Press Rgent

mrs. President


Time: Then and Now

Place: Paris


dtiotfut Safp1a
























Jean Giraudoux wrote Tihe madwoman of Chaill/of in

France inSL92 during the French Occupation. It uJas

first produced in the months following the war to

great acclaim, and was hailed as "the rebirth of

French theater". In many ways, the play is a product

of the war; at its center, buried in his fable, is the

estrangement of France and Germany, and the

"inhuman invaders" who live among Frenchmen in

Paris. It is highly national and, in many ujays, about

France. But the questions that Giraudoux asks go

beyond French nationalism-questions about avarice;

politics: progress; moral, social and environmental

responsibility; and love. These questions, posed with

ridiculous humor and unapologetic righteousness to a

nation ravaged and humiliated by war, are still worth

pondering nearly 70 years later by a modern

Rmerican culture that is strangely, presciently

reflected in the imaginary world of Giraudoux's

invention. Louis Jouvet, the great French actor and

director who helmed the world premiere of The

madwoman of Chail/ot in 19-15, said of his good

friend's plays, "Each-anticipates what is happening

and is yet to happen, and warns us." The madwoman

of Chai//ot indeed remains a warning to us-and,

perhaps more importantly, a challenge.


Tim Rltmeyer


Friends of Theatre and Dance
Fiscal Yeor 2010


Director
Roman anos

Playwright
Barbara W, & Robert J. Blood
Tallulah W. & Robert B. Brown
Mary-Stuart & R. Layton Mank
The Orthopaedic Institute
Kalhi A, & Ubaldo D. Schlbuola
Shelley & Steve Waters

Choreographer
Deirdre D. & HR Russell Fogler
Stephanie Infante
Dr Steven Pliskow & Blanca Luaces

Stage Manager
Mary G. & James G Feber, Jr.
Lucinda S, Lavell & Kenneth D Webster

Soloist
John E. Moran & Mary M Bowie
Paul F Favini &John W Reger
Ellen R & Jm Gershow
Angela A. & Bill Hoppe
Eleanor Broome Humphries
Los Z & Robert R Langelier
Christine M & The Hon Stanley R Morrins
Mary A Mclntyre
Mrs Sereta K & David A Russell
Peggy 0 Waters
Evan J & Arene S. Yegeelw

Chorus
Priscilla P. & Bily R. Appleton
Karen T. Butts
Unda M & Roger L Blackburn
Riley M. & Peggy W Blitch
Robeft L & Mrs, Dell Bowman
Sairhna Bradbury & MItchell Jim
Jack G. Clarke & Oebra G, Fontana
Bruce H. & Consuelo B Edwards
Cherie H. & Jack J. Fine
Reid R & Stacey G. Fogler
Ira H & Gern E, Gessner
Joseph Glover
GadA. &Joel M, Hauptman
Paul A. & Leslie R. Klein
Shirley B. & Thomas H. Lane
Richard V Lechowich & Isabel D. Wolf
Meg Mahoney & Mike Connelly
Elizabeth 8. Mann
Kevin A & Mariene Marshall
Maria I Gutierrez Martin & Joseph G. Martin Ifl


Mrs LauranneC & JohnC McCraw JIt
Sarah G & Joseph Nave
Pamela P & James A, Neff
David P. Robinson
John D & Lori A. Rugglert
Vicki Sanello
Reverend Scott A, & Valerie A. Simmons
UsaA Wasshausen & Jame M. Grooms
Art & Tina Waters
Norma J. Wright
Davd M Young & Elizabeth Adams

Friend
John C Amott
Mrs Alyss L Amster
William H & Betty C. Boek
Russella Orandman
Anna M Callurot-Holcombe & Roy Nelson
Cynthia F & John H. Clements
Max A. & Mary j Duthie
Mary Lou & Donald V Eitzman
Professor loan D, Froch
Toza Garland
Rosie O'Bourke & Rusty Garner
Harvey L Goldstein
Richard L & Mary A. Green
Ann Mr & Gary A Grooms
Karelisa V Hartagan & Kevin M. McCarthy
Thomas & Mary Lou Hawkins
Prot Roy Hunt
Linda Y Jackson
Madelyn M Lockhart
Francme J. & Randy Maris
Marilyn J. Maple
Sara L. McCrea
Rebecca M. & Paul D, Nagy
Mrs. M Bridget & Larry Wetzel
Margaret P Nattress
George A. & Donna J, O'Connor
Susannah H. & Brian E Peddle
Neta Pulvenmacher
Mrs. Galatia & Reuben Ramphal
Susan P. & Paul A. Robell
Michael A. & Karan A. Schwart
Paula Sassano-Flynn & Brian J. Flynn
Aase B. & Rick Thompson
Tara L & Gary L Thornock
Samuel S Welker & Gail E Fitzsimmons
Ronald G. & Patrcia D Zollars

















College of Fine Arts
Lucida Lavehi
Ede ard Schaeffer
l'.nothy Brophy
School of Theatre and Dance- Faculty
Paul Farni
Kevin Austin
I )i Altmever
Dr. R st Brandmanu
Yanci Bukovec
Mdlha Cupec
Mohaned DaCosta
[isa l)art
Kell, IDrunmond Cawthon
Meredith Farnum
Joan Frosche
Stacme (Ialloway
I hza Carland
Zak fdemring
Pamela Kavyc
Knsien O'Neal
Stan Kave
Tonv Mata
Kenm Marshall
Dr. Charge Mitchell
Dr. Mikell Pmkner
Nta Pulvermacher
Dr. Ralf Remshard,
INa (earcaa Rose
Ric Rose
Kathr Sarra
Dr. Dand Shelton
ill Sonke
Dr. Albert F.C, Whlburg
Dr. Judith WVdlhams
Dr. Dawid Young
Staff
Todd Bedell
Tony Berry
Marn Brrd
Kate Glennon
Sarah White


University of Flornda


Dean
Assocare Dean
Assistant Dean


Interim Director
Undergraduate Advisor
Performance
Profes-sor I`mcrius
Performance
Scenic Design
African Dance
Costume I technology
Dance
Dance
Dance
Costume Design
Moement/Stage Cinmbat
echiical Director
Rendering
Dance
Lighting Design/Design Coordiator
Musical Theatre
Center for Arts and Public Policy
Perforntance
I TheorvPerformance Coordminator
Dance
Hl.to lr/Dramaturgy
Dance
Dance Coordinator
Performance
Professor iEeritus
Dance
Prfesisor Eneritus
"Performance
Graduate Rsearch Professor


Master Flectrietan
Master Carpenter
Secretary
Costume Studio Assitant Manager
Director of Operatonrs


meet the -W==t

Stefanie Rnarumo (Oeaf mute), a first year BFR Rcting candi-
date. is thrilled and honored to be in her first show here at UF!
She would like to thank Tim, Kristin, and Kim for this amazing op-
portunity, her wonderful cast members for their friendship, and
her family for their endless love!

Natalie Chin (Gabrielle) Is a Brd year BFR candidate who is in
love with the madness of "madwaoman!" Gainesville credits in-
clude For Colored Girls. Chronophoabi and Circle M/irror Trans-
formation--"Thank you. Tim for helping me groam, the Cast/Creuw
for being RmFRZING, and my Family and Love for their never end-
ing support.

Candace Clift (Josephine) is a third-year mFR candidate last
seen as Granma in The Grapes of LUrath. Other UF credits:
Blanche in R Streetcar Named Desire (here and on tour in
Europe), Chorus in Oedipus Rex, mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prefu-
dice and martha Washington in George WJashington's Bay.

Jazmlne Lynette Oinkins (The Broker) is a proud first year TIFR
at UF, While pursuing a professional career in dance, Jazmine fell
in love with the wonderful world of RCTING! She has been fea-
tured in regional and educational productions, including The Blu-
est Eye and / Dream. with actor and director Jasmine Guy.

Nick Erkelens (Or. Jadin) is a third year BFR acting candidate
who was last seen as Connie in Grapes of 1W/rath. He would like
to thank Tim, the cast, and crew for making this such an
"eeexcelennnt" experience. Thanks Viejo. mamita. Japes, and Ita
for all the love. TRIPOD.

Carson Firth (Street Juggler) is a first year Classics student
that is happy to represent UF's juggling club, Objects in motion
by juggling in this great production. madwoman of Chaillot is his
acting premier and he'd like to thank his friends and family.

Nichole Hamilton (The Countess) UF: The UWomen (Sylvia), How I
Learned to Drive (Female Greek Chorus), Cloud Nine (Ellen/
Betty), Pride and Prejudice (Lady Catherine). Hippodrome: Orac-
u1a (Lucy). Boeing Boeing (Gabriella), Dead man's Cellphone
(Jean). R Christmas Carol (mrs. Cratchit). Selected Regional:
















Weathervane Playhouse Hairspray! (Velma von Tussle). Rice in
Wonderland (The Red Oueen); Calaveras Rep One Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest (Nurse Reatched); City Lights Theatre Company -
R Few Good men (JoRnne Galloway); Nichole is a 3'd year MFR
Rcting candidate and a proud member of Rctor's Equity RAssocia-
tion. Special thanks to UF faculty for assisting me in this jour-
ney.

Rmelia Harris (Constance) is a second year ITIFR candidate. Re-
cent credits: Grapes of Wrath (Elisabeth Sandry), P Christmas
Carol (mrs. Dilber). Noises Off! (Dotty Otley/mrs. Clackett), In
The Blood (Rmiga Gringa). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Rro
Dead (Player). She would like to thank Tim for reminding her
that acting should be fun.

Colin Hudson (Baron/Semuer man) is ever so excited to be per-
forming in this production. Past credits include Dark Play and The
Grapes of Wrath. He mould, once again, like to thank Tim for this
chance, his mother for being a mom, and all of his friends for their
next-level friendship maneuvers.

Rlexander Johnson (Street Singer), a Ist-year BR Theatre major.
is flabbergasted at the opportunity to be apart of such an amaz-
ing production. Family, Friends, and Weezie, all I can say is
thank you. [Seeking Inspiration. Seeking Falsetto. Seeking
Beauty's meadow. We Be Kings.]

Ryan Johnson-Travis (The Prospector) is a 2"d year MFR candi-
date and a proud graduate of Syracuse University and Fort Valley
State University. The madwoman of Chaillot marks his ID0' pro-
duction at UF. "With supreme love and gratitude to my RAncestors
and Chelsea. Fnd many thanks to Tim, Kimberly, and The Crew!"

Troy mcCray (Pierre), a BFR candidate, is proud to participate in
this great production. He enjoyed every moment spent with this
amazing cast, learning something from each individual. Some cred-
its include most recent. Sam of the Ocean. To Kill a mockingbird.
and Streamers. He thanks his family/ friends for love and support!

matt mercurio (The Policeman) thanks Tim for his guidance and
mentorship, his family for their sacrifices B support. Christina for
filling his life with love B laughter, and God for an infinite amount
of things. Matt hopes you continue supporting theatre B all types


Director
RAssistant Director
Stage manager

Assistant Stage manager

Assistant Stage manager

Scenic Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Props mistress
Costume Rdvisor
Costume Studio manager
RAsst. Costume Studio manager
Costume Studio Rssistants





Light Shop Rssistants





Technical Director
master Carpenter
Scenic Studio Rssistants





Director of Operations
Stage Crew
Wardrobe Crew
Poster B Program Design
House management


Tim RAltmeyer
Robert martinez
martina Harte

Cassie Perez

Tiffany mcKenzie

Rnne Tully
Lee martin
Ryan Bible
Jordan Reuter
Caitlin Callahan
Stacey Galloway
Lisa Davis
Kate Glennon
Susan Bucciero
Lee martin
Erica Bascom
Jaime Samson
Ryan Bible
B. Lussier
mike mcShane
Tim Reed
Zak Herring
Tony Berry
Jovon Eberhart
molly Ilten
Rnne Tully
Tim Watson
Sarah White



Joseph Urick
Students of THE LU9SD


Prodisutob team
















technician and designer professionally. Recent design
credits: Ice Glen, R// in the Timing, as tuell as props design
for NCSF's R Christmas Carol. Thanks to everyone involved
in mRDIWOmRN for making this a great piece of theatre.


Rnne Tully (Scenic Design) Is a first-year FAR Scenic
Design student. Previous credits include Rgbedidi (UF
D010) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Rre Dead (Florida
Players 2009). She also enjoys working with community
and volunteer oriented theatre, and with her theatre group,
the Con Rrtists.

Jordan Reuter (Sound Design) is a freshman microbiology
major making his design debut at UF. R big thanks to 2 for
the opportunity to work this show, and of course a giant
thanks for the godsend that is Tim Rltmeyer! This is a
great beginning to a wonderful four years in the Theater
here!

Kristin O'Neal (Choreographer) is a Visiting Rssistant
Professor in the SOTOance area is delighted to shake a leg
with such freed up human beings! many thanks to Tim for
your trust, support, collaboration and mostly your
generosity in the sharing of your creative process. It's
been a great ride!


of art everywhere. -wa actormatimrcurc cam
Emilyann Offutt (Irma) is a recent addition to the BFR acting
program and is excited to appear in her second UF produc-
tion. She sends her love to her family, Chris, and friends for
their love and support in her endeavors.

Cassia Perez (Rsst. Stage manager) is a junior BR Theatre ma-
jor. She is a recent transfer, and she would like to thank Tim,
Kimberly. and the rest of the cast and crew for making her first
UF production such a wonderful experience.

Rnastasia Placido (The Waiter) is a second year BFR and feels
so blessed to be part of this extravaganza! Credits include True
Genius, Twelfth Night, and Bakkhai. Saving the world each night
with this cast is an honor. "So much thanks to Tim, Kimberly. and
my wonderful family." Just dance, it's gonna be OK.
Tayliz Rodriguez (The Press Rgent) is a 2nd year BFR Rctar
last seen in In the Blood and City of Rngels. She thanks Tim for
his wisdom and guidance, the cast for their humility and inspira-
tion, and God for an infinite amount of things. To Ricky, mom.,
and Dad: "Los quiero mucho!"
Stephen Ruffin (The Poet) is a first year BAR candidate.
FRESHmRN, CLRSS OF 201I. SoooDo happy to be a part of
this amazing show with this incredible cast.

'Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things
that matter.* -mLK
Russell Shultz (Ragpicker) is a third-year mFR candidate at UF
and is performing his thesis role in The MI7adwoman of Chafflot.
Previous credits at UF include: Oedipus The King (Chorus
Leader), R Streetcar Named Desire (mitch), Pride and Preludice
(Collins), Electronic City (Director) and George Washington in
George WLashington's Boy. Russ was also the RAssistant Director
on Fool For Love and the Rssistant to the Director in Oedipus
the King. Russ has appeared in such television shows as WUalker,
Texas Ranger. WLishbone and Dallas- The Reunion, as well as the
film Lackluster.
Rhiannon Tasker (The Flower Girl) is a third year BFR acting
student and is excited to be making her mainstage debut. She















was previously seen in Note to Self and the Florida Players pro-
duction of Pippin. She would like to thank her friends and family
as well as the cast and the lovely, Kimberly.
Wayne Wilinger (The President). This role as The President
represents the thesis project for Wayne's UFmFR program.
Wayne has had an incredible journey here at UF and would like to
thank everyoneH Some of favorite roles here at UF include:
Oedipus the King (Cathy/Harry), Bagely in Cloud 9, mr. Bennet
in Jane Rusten's Pride and Preludice, Steve Hubbell in R Street-
car Named Desire (which toured Germany and the Czech Repub-
lic). Wayne is thrilled to reprise the role of Oedipus here at UF
and then on a tour of Greece. Wayne will be moving on but will be
a Gator for life. Spasibo!!
Rmanda Young (mrs. President), a first year BFR Rcting major,
is thrilled to be making her OUF debut in this production. She
would like to thank her family and friends for their endless sup-
port. "This is the true joy in life, being used for a purpose recog-
nized by yourself as a mighty one."


mee-t the ,rew

Robin C. Martnez (RAsst. Director) is a third year theatre major
focusing on stage direction. He last directed Rrt for Florida
Players 2010 fall season. He mould like to thank Tim for the op-
portunity to work on such a wonderful project, his mother, sis-
ters, friends and the cast. Pecca bene, pecca seepe.
Kimberly Ulstedt (Stage manager) is so thrilled to be stage-
managing her first UF production! She's a third year Theatre
B.R. major who dreams of one day pursuing a career in casting!
many thanks to Tim and the precious cast who made her job such
a joy. Love to mom, dad, and sis.
Tiffany mcKenzie (Rsst. Stage manager) is a third year Theater
and Linguistics dual major. She thanks everyone in the cast and
crew for being awesome and allowing her to be a part of their
awesomeness, her parents for practically raising her to do this
job, her friends for being her friends. God for everything, and
Cariffany!

Ryan Bible (Lighting Design) is thrilled to be designing
madwoman. Ryan holds a BFR in Lighting Design and
Technology from the College-Conservatory of music at UC.
Design credits: Postcard from morocco, On the
Verge, CC/77 Drma's 2S'h Rnniversary Gale, Regional
Premier of Tan Dun's LWater Passion after St. matthew.
Rssoclate Design credits: R/tar Boyz, Drood. Spelling Bee,
Smokey Joe's Cafe, and On the Town.

Caltlin Callahan (Properties mistress) is ecstatic to make
her properties debut with the amazing madwoman cast and
production team! She is a third year Production B.F.R.
Previous credits include Robots vs. Fake Robots (Florida
Players-Scenic Design), Carousel (RmRT-Scenic Rrtist),
and Susannah (UF-Rsst. Scenic).

Lee RAlexander martin (Costume Design) is a first year mFR
Costume Design student, who completed his BFF in
costume Design at Die miss. He has worked as both







44




Full Text

PAGE 1

CREATIVE PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PERFORMING THE ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT By Wayne Rudolph Willinger SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE Dr Mikell Pinkney, Chair Dr Judith Williams, Member A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA May 2011

PAGE 2

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTIO RESEARCH I. II. THE PLAYWRIGHT AND HIS VISION III. REHEARSAL PROCESS I. EARLY STAGES (EARLY FEBRUARY) II. EXPLORATION STAGE (LATE FEBRUARY) III. SOLIDIFYING THE ROLE (EARLY TO MID MARCH) PERFORMANCE & PROCESS: SELF EVAULATION I. OPENING NIGHT ..27 II. DISCOVERIES DURING THE RUN AND CLOSING NIGHT III. SELF-EVALUATION BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDICIES A. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH B. SIGNATURE PAGE C. PRODUCTION PROGRAM/ PHOTOGRAPHS ..36

PAGE 3

3 Abstract of Performance in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts in Theatre PERFORMING THE ROLE OF THE PRESIDENT IN THE PLAY, THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT BY JEAN GIRAUDOUX By Wayne Willinger May 2011 Chair: Mikell Pinkney Major Department: Theatre and Dance This document describes the process of developing the character of The President in Jean The Madwoman of Chiallot (La Folle de Chiallot). This paper will explore the creative exploration and the technical preparation involved in crafting the role. This play was performed in the Nadine McGuire Theatre and Dance Pavilion Black Box at the University of Florida and ran from March 18 th through March 27 th This document begins with a section dedicated to the preliminary research of the development of the charact self-evaluation of the performance as a whole and of the final presentation of the character. The entire voyage is explained and the various acting, voice and movement techniques are examined that were employed as the actor explored creatively to develop the voice, body and psychology of the character of The President.

PAGE 4

4 INTRODUCTION Theatre by nature is a collaborative art form that often evolves from its original vision into a finished product that may represent a drastic alteration from this initial conception. The The Madwoman of Chaillot is no exception. When my graduate class was first being considered for our th original director about interest in the piece. Having just completed performing the title character in Oedipus the King with this professor, and having cherished the experience, I was very excited to work with him again on my thesis role. I was even asked about which role I thought I would be interested. Immediately the role of The President stood out to me. I thought it would be fun but I also thought that the representation of the antagonist in conflict with the protagonist of the Madwoman would also involve a great deal of responsibility. There is quite a lot of humor in The President, as well as many other characters, but if The President was not properly characterized the important message of the play might be lo st in the humorous tone. I communicated my interest in this character to the original director and he agreed that it could work. All was set in motion. Plans were drawn up and established, but before rehearsals began the original director backed out of the commitment to direct the play. A new director took over the responsibility. The new director and the original director have very different sensibilities, and this production of the play was transferred While the final product might have clearly been different, there is one thing that remained constant, the steadfastness of the characters. The characters of The Madwoman of Chaillot, in its original form (adapted by Maurice Valency) have the characteristics of absurdist theatre.

PAGE 5

5 from two distinct classes of society. There are the bohemian eccentrics led by Aurelia the simply called The President. This document is an account of the journey I personally took in developin g my portrayal of The President in this production. This journey began with the first time I read the adap ta tion of the script before our revisions, through our rehearsals with the new ly updated version and continued to the final performance of the play. I will explain and explore the challenges of developing The President, a character who does not change in his single-mindedness and greed. The President has clear wants and needs and there are no variations. Portraying a character with this lack of an arc might seem to some to be easy, but on the contrary I feel this type of role actually requi never wanes and eventually leads to his own destruction. I will relate my physical and mental process of developing this character to be as greedy and sinister as possible. I believe that this clarity of purpose will ensure that the eventual pay off when the eccentrics are it to unfortunately is rarely seen in reality) is as rewarding as possible.

PAGE 6

6 RESEARCH HISTORICAL BACKROUND: an audience to listen to it and make it live from the original production, French military during World War I and was able to prophetically see the build up to World War II. Giraudoux became an expert on Franco-German relations and his play, which many consider his masterpiece, The Madwoman of Chaillot, was written in 1943 during the Nazi occupation of his homeland. Giraudoux was disgusted with the behavior of many of his fellow countrymen in the years leading up to 1940 and especially during the occupation years. Many Frenchmen were benefited from the Nazi occupation, and Giraudoux openly looked to attack those that he felt were responsible for the German occupation. often accompanied by illegal financial activities and shameful and fraudulent business practices (Reilly p. 125). Giraudoux wished to condemn these Nazi collaborators but understood, as did Louis Jouvet and many others like Bertolt Brecht, that one cannot just simply denounce others and remain interesting in a dramatic context. It is better to entertain in the process and express the messag e more subtly, which may result in a more effective way of communicating the intended lesson. Giraudoux was writing under a hostile occupational force. His use of subtle metaphors were not only effective but in many ways necessary. It is useful to note that after the war was over and the play was finally staged for the first time, the metaphors remained subtle at a time when they could have been much more blatant and accusatory. One very direct reference however, involves the name of the is only referred to as

PAGE 7

7 s has been open to interpretation over the years and no definite conclusion has been solidified. Giraudoux was a prolific writer having penned 16 plays and 17 books, but there is a very limited amount of selfcriticism that might have explain ed The Madwoman of Chaillot. Throughout his career Giraudoux wrote many political plays but according to one biographer entertainment, not sermons or diatribes Just as the Second World War divided the major players into two distinct groups (the Allies and the Axis), so did Giraudoux clearly delineate the characters of his play into the basic terms of good and bad. This was evident in much of his work but was paramount in Madwoman. nd delicate shadings, is reduced here to an almost aggressive schematism with sharp, almost brutal o (Lemaitre 142). Giraudoux understood that this simplistic representation of good versus evil would resonate with the French people especially in the post war period. Frenchmen during the period of the occupation were members of two distinct resistance to the seemingly indomitable, Nazi military might, and others who had a more opportunistic nature and found ways to benefit from the occupation. After the war ended and France was returned to the French, many were angry with the Nazi collaborators. These emotions established a perfec in somewhat The fact that Giraudoux chose to write the play as more of a fairy tale helped the piece to more

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8 easily find its audience in postwar France, for reasons mentioned earlier. Many Frenchmen felt that The Madwoman of Chaillot and once again demonstrated the seeming clairvoyance of Giraudoux; unfortunately he would not live to see his prophecy fulfilled (Raymond 128). THE PLAYWRIGHT AND HIS PROPHETIC VISION: ransmit a philosophy, he used of theatre of the absurd and the theatre of cruelty Cohen, resonates the prophet like sensibility that many associate with his writings. Giraudoux died during the occupation of his country and understood that not until the liberation would his play be performed, no matter how subtle the metaphors. In the early manuscript of The Madwoman of Chaillot, Giraudoux suggests that the play would be performed in Paris on October 17, 1945. He correctly predicted that the Germans would surrender in the summer of 1945 and he was just two months off of his calculation on the date of the premiere, which debuted on December 19, 1945 (Raymond 128). This final intuitive forecast of Giraudoux m that seems to be more than just educated guesses. Education did however play a large role in the clairvoyance that Giraudoux projected. As a child in Bellac, rural France, Giraudoux lived close to the famous writer CharlesLouis Phillipe. The young Giraudoux had contact with this famous persona and liked to brag about this fact for which he received ridicule from friends. This experience taught the young lesson remained with the writer throughout his career. After graduation from Lycee Lakanal, he joined the Army and became an honored veteran of the First World War. With the horrors of the

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9 war embedded in his mind forever, he went on to study at the University of Munich and in the United States at Harvard, he then accepted a post with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France. This post allowed him to travel throughout Europe. He saw the approaching Second World War ic ideas is from a play he wrote in 1931 called Judith. In the first act of this play a Jewish heroine expresses outrage toward anti). This early play was part of a trend of Giraudoux to use females as his main characters. Just a few of his female heroine characters include: Suzanne, Bella; Juliette; Tessa; Electra; and of course Aurelia, the Madwoman Giraudoux used heroines in his plays and novels because he appreciated the unique and powerful political implications of the voice of women. Giraudoux went further as to feel that women were actually much better suited to deal with politics and the problems of the world. able to bring a fresh viewpoint and to find solutions that have escaped the men, and ily felt were actually strengths. Chief among these qualities were passion, love of beauty and oft times eccentricity. Madwoman, entitled Sodom and Gomorrah, he describes this exceptional viewpoint of women (Body 1 the feminine a series of lectures he wrote about the Frenchwoman. These lectures proved to be the blueprint for the character of Aurelia the Madwoman If one was to compare

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10 the lectures to the character in the play the resemblance would immediately be evident as illu quick solutions and immediate retribution and injustice leads her to meet daily problems with mond 132). The Madwoman and disposes of them. s theatre. The Madwoman is an eccentric character in Paris but is able to easily overcome the seemingly indomitable power of the bureaucrats that are presented at the top of the play. This might seem preposterous, a most profound gener able to overcome the evil corporate powers. To us this seems like a fairy tale but to the Madwoman it is rather simple as she states in the last scene of the play; enclosed the moral lesson of this moving (Inskip 142). APPROACHING THE ROLE: Whenever I am presented the task of performing a role in a play, I always take the obvious first step of reading the play. For this particular production that task turned out to be not as simple as it usually can be. I knew from my first knowledge that this play would include my thesis role. The play was originally written in French and we would be dealing with a translation. I soon discovered that there is basically one definitive English version of La Folle de Chaillot translated by Maurice Valency in 1947. This translation was completed just two years

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11 after the original French debut of the play. Other than the language the English version very much honors the original. The time period is basically the same and all of the topical references would have been understood by the audience of the time. The play is very much a period piece and makes many references to the events just before 1945. Knowing this, I approached the director and learned that there would likely be some revisions and cuts. I had no idea just how far these revisions would end up going. We all received a working script to review but about a month later we learned that the director would no longer be involved with the play and a new director was to be brought in. There was a brief period where we did not know who this new director would be but his identity was soon revealed. I communicated with the new director via email, as I was over a thousand miles away on internship, and I was told that an entirely new adaptation of an earlier adaptation was going to be used. I like to learn my lines well ahead of the first day of rehearsal, but found this impossible because the version that we eventually worked with was not ready until just days before our first rehearsal. I corresponded with the director about my willingness to learn my lines but was told to hold off as the new version, which was not yet complete, would have major revisions and cuts. This greatly limited my ability to conduct complete and in-depth script analysis. I was assured that there would be enough time and that any delays in getting completely off-book would be understood. This was a little frustrating but also exciting. I was intrigued by the fact that the version that we would be working on was going to be a world premiere, and we would be the first actors ever to present this specific piece of theatre art. The major changes in the script, as I was told, were to involve upd interested by this but really had no idea just how far these changes would go. There are hints of the original translation and indeed some of the lines were transferred verbatim. The majority of

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12 the play however was rewritten to the point that it is almost unrecognizable to the original. At first I was apprehensive about this, but I also came to appreciate the new version and even speculated that Giraudoux himself would not have been displeased. It is clear to me that had the original director stayed on board the finished product would have looked completely different. The original director would have likely stayed more true to the playwrigh but I do now version would have been less entertaining and crowd pleasing tha As one critic reflected on the original production, ne of poetic transfo (Inskip 144). The President is a greedy capitalist who wants to find the oil to feed his war machine. Again this demonstrates the clairvoyance of Giraudoux. Now more than ever the strategic importance of serves is evident. Indeed as the Rag Picker (a lead voice of the bohemian society) states when asked what The President will do with the oil when he gets It is not entirely clear whether The President is the president of the country or just the head of multi-national corporations. It is clear that he represents a commingling of politics and business. The combining of these two aspects of society is an important erred to in phrases like the President Eisenhower saw how the economy and militarism were becoming symbiotic. So too did s most famous fascist regime, the Nazi party. This thought process provided ample room for personal research of my character even though I did not yet have the script.

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13 From the beginning of my knowledge of what The President represents, I was eager to portray his flaws adequately. If he was not greedy and sinister enough the payoff would be lessened when he was finally defeated and his plans thwarted. The stronger my action and point of view would be, the stronger it would feed into the victory of the eccentrics lead by the Madwoman. I began to research the neo-conservatives of our current age. I truly believe that the corporate greed that is prevalent today far outweighs that of the opportunists of German occupied France in the early 1940s. Today the greed mongers have gone global and are much more powerful. I just had to look as far as the White House in Washington D.C. to find the likes of Ben Bernanke and see how these men used greed to bankrupt our country. I began to watch videos and clips of the shady dealings that go on in our world governments that are overrun with uncontrollable greed. I listened to the way these politicians talked. The intonations and their use of ambiguous language became source material for my development of the role of The President in this production. I noticed how the politicians on TV never really directly answered a question and how they would often have shifty eye movements when directly challenged with a straight question that might shed some ill light on their practices. I have to admit that this was all rather new for me. I was so used to doing traditional research for more classical characters from Oedipus and Shakespearean roles, and characters in American classics like A Streetcar Named Desire. Just as the play was going to be a brand new approach, so too was my personal approach going to be brand new as well. During this pre-rehearsal/ pre-adapted script period of research, I really did not focus on the type of techniques tha t I have employed in my career in the past. I began a new methodology in which I focused on real people of our present day. I watched films such as, The Inside Job in which many of these dubious practices such as insider trading were explained. These practices

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14 were the same underhanded customs of my character, The President. Again this was a new approach for me, which for the most part lacked the theatrical conventions of past research such as psychological gesture and chakra work. These concepts would come later once rehearsals started. When approaching a specific role I usually begin with an in-depth character analysis that includes a detailed backstory. In this case I chose to focus on real people and learn as much as I resources. I hoped that my depiction of The President would offer a warning to the audience of the dangers of this blatant greed that I was researching. I believe Giraudoux felt the same way. According to Robert Cohen in his biography entitled Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny, The Madwoman (Cohen 126). I was fully prepared to bring this into the rehearsal room. The first day of actual rehearsal filled me both with hope and apprehension. REHEARSAL PROCESS EARLY STAGE (EARLY FEBRUARY): I have clearly shared how my pre-rehearsal research consisted of examining the neo-cons world governments. I also read much of the available criticism and biographical information on Giraudoux and more specifically on The Madwoman of Chaillot. Books such as Giraudoux:Three Faces of Destiny Jean Giraudoux: The Legend and the Secret and others by: John Reilly, Georges Lemaitre, Agnes Raymond and Donald Inskip, all focused on Giraudo ach had a specific section dedicated to The Madwoman of Chaillot. These resources were helpful in my initial sketches of what I thought my character might become, but until I had the new adaptation and a clear idea of the

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15 When we finally met for the first official rehearsal it was clear to me that the director had researched much of the same material that I had. When the first rehearsal started the director unveiled his vision to us. As stated, I felt that we had reviewed much of the same commentary and criticism on this play. Many of the descripti onies was to be referred to) were directly paraphrased from much of my readings. It is interesting to note that a lot of the research I conducted about present day greed seemed to mirror Giraudoux Apparently the Madwoman was not as successful as the play suggests, it was also up to us the viewing audience! I really felt strongly about portraying this character in a way in which he would be hated enough that those who saw him might see some present day parallels and strive to enact some political change here at home. I was relieved to see that the director, while having to the stark contrast between he President and his pimps. One point that really resonated with me was when the director stated on the first day something which we do not get to do i important job in portraying the character in such a way to achieve the maximum payoff when his greed eventually leads to his demise. Without an adequate bad guy the good guys could only be so mewhat heroic. I immediately began thinking of finding the proper voice and body to satisfactorily represent the evil character. I made a note to refer back to the reference material to find and clarify some of the descriptions of The President and his gang of pimps. This renewed research was incorporated in subsequent rehearsals. before the updating of the references were explained. I only had the chance to read the script

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16 twice before the first rehearsal, and I quickly noticed that a lot of what I thought was vital to my character was cut. I did not focus on this too much and decided to give the director the benefit of the doubt and see where he was going. Other than the cuts much of the script was very similar to the original. Some of the topical references made it clear to us that the script was still a work in progress and more changes would be made. One modernization of the script that the director chose was to use the music of an artist whom he Gaga. We were told that there would be three dance numbers to the music of three popular Lady Gaga hits. I was immediately concerned and intrigued as this represented the most drastic deviation from what I had envisioned as the concept of the original director. I did agree with the view that this music would be entertaining to the audience, which would consist of a majority of undergraduate college students. There is also the fact that this particular singer uses catchy pop songs to express political opinions on issues such as gay rights. In this way the choice did seem to fit with the ideas I had read about of how Giraudoux tried to get his messages across. The dance numbers were to be choreographed later, so in the initial rehearsal process, I was just able to focus on my characterization of The President. This is where I began to employ more traditional theatrical practices that I had learned throughout my theatre education. opinion on the shady business practices that he is involved in, but could be nothing further from the truth in stumble through of the script on our feet. I was given certain notes that I would be given over and over again for many subsequent rehearsals until almost a month later when I finally gave the director what he wanted. I was repeatedly told to From this

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17 first day it was clear that the main working on with The Baron. I thought this was something I could achieve without too much effort. I was wrong. After that first day on our feet we continued to work in this way and never returned to any table work on the script. I was used to doing more table work but was not opposed to this more kinetic approach to the script. My character was really only featured at the top of the show and briefly at the end. There were three dances planned. I learned that I would not be in the first two dances and I would only be a part of the final curtain call dance. During blocking rehearsals and dance rehearsals I found myself with a fair amount of downtime and even had numerous days off. This extra time allowed me t of my character. This idea comes from the great actor and coach Michael Chekhov. Chekhov believed that before approaching a c must be unraveled. This gesture is basically an organically created movement that the actor devises for his character xxxi). This is a gesture that the character would most likely never reveal to the audience or fellow characters in any scene, but embodies the interior sentiment and super objective of the s psychological gesture was represented by a greedy, exaggerated hording motion that involved extended arms, as in raking in the pot in a high stakes poker game, and included a gyration that engaged movement of the entire spine. This became helpful whenever I was rehearsing and thought about my character s wants and needs. In those moments of selfre flection I would go and hopefully my intentions would be easier to express and organic. I also kept referring back to some of the commentary on The President in various books

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18 on Giraudoux that I kept handy. One description that I actually wrote down in my script explained The President and his cronies prepared to sacrifice the beauty and tradition of Paris if they can find in the subsoil the main I can now see that perhaps I was too focused on the big picture too early and had not properly set the foundation of the character. I was intellectualizing too much and as the second week of rehearsal waned, I was As the second week flowed into the third I began trying to make bigger choices and apparently came across as an actor who was indicating his actions too much This was all becoming frustrating, because I felt I understood this character completely and wanted to do what was being asked of me. It was at this time that I began to develop the backstory for The President in hopes that this knowledge might assist me in clarifying my actions. Developing a backstory is something that I usually do much earlier in my pro cess. But since I was unclear so late in the process about the specific parameters of my character that once we started rehearsing I did not take this step immediately. As far as developing a backstory was concerned, I had very little to draw upon from our version of the script. The President does reveal some of his personal backstory in the opening story to The Baron but it is all very vague. at eventually led to his rise in power. Some of the more specific exposition that would help me to develop an interesting and informed backstory was cut from our adaptation. In the same section that was just referred to, some additional specifics that were cut include details of how The President engaged in criminal activity such as counterfeiting and narcotics in order

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19 to climb to the social standing that he now enjoys as the head of numerous corporations. Why just this particular information was omitted is still unclear to me, but nevertheless this being my thesis role all avenues were thoroughly explored to the best of my ability. EXPLORATION STAGE: Having developed a detailed backstory as part of my character development I began to focus and explore more with the physicality of The President. This particular rehearsal process was on the short side and the weeks flew by. In total we had just under six weeks of rehearsal. This also included nine days off over spring break. Further limiting valuable rehearsal time were the necessary dance rehearsals that filled the agenda for entire evenings. Because of this limited time frame, I made extra effort to conduct exploration outside of rehearsal. This is where my Alexander Technique studies were considered. Our resident certified Alexander Technique teacher did visit two rehearsals, but I took it upon myself to acquire some one on one hands-on time with this valuable asset. In fact, the Alexander Technique coach was willing to dedicate class time for the endeavor of examining The President in accordance with the principles of these body awareness and exploration techniques. My main concern with the physicality of The President in relation to the Alexander whether The President was expressing positive emotions or whether he was highly agitated by the vagabonds refers to the head, neck and shoulder connection that is the root of the Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique, or AT, may have its but clearly includes the entire body from head to toe. that I have had to remind myself continually

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20 tension, in relation to primary control, was no exception and my limited focus was again a main part of the reason behind the rigidity in this vital area. With help of the AT coach, I was able to identify that I was holding some tension in my pelvic area, which was causing tightness that travelled up my spine and found a home in my neck and shoulder area. As we have learned in class, the spine does not end at the back of the neck around the hairline as most people who are not educated on human anatomy might believe. The spine stretches from the coccyx, or tailbone, and extends up and into the middle of the skull. Holding tension at the bottom of the spinal area can easily transfer tension and stiffness into the primary control area. Once this was identified and I was able to release in the pelvis area, I immediately noticed reduced tension at the upper section of the spine. This was achieved with some direct hands on work provided by the AT coach and again demonstrates the value of having such a highly qualified AT specialist, as I was fortunate enough to have during my graduate training at the University of Florida. When we began to move from the rehearsal room and into the actual performance space in the Black Box Theatre that would be used for the run, it became quite clear just how close the action would be to the audience. This close proximity was esp major contribution to the show, which was to take place on a caf table that inhabited a part of the set that was just about as far down center as possible. I was going to be so close to the first row that it became a legitimate concern for me that I might spit on audience members in some of my more heated exchanges with other characters. The audience/stage configuration that we would be working with included a floor level playing area that was closely adjacent to the seating, which consist ed of 5 or 6 rows of seats that rest ed on risers. This meant that the audience would ac The head of a person of average height would be at least ten to fifteen feet above the floor. When the risers were put in place, it

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21 was clear that some of us (myself included) were not playing to the entire audience and had a raise my focus or the top half of the audience would not be able to see my eyes. The fact that I was sitting for a good portion of my time on stage exacerbated this issue. I fixed the problem by commended for having good focus whenever I looked out over the audience. The fact that I was so close to the audience and had to look up at an almost unnatural level, raised concern in me that I would experience a strain in the back of my neck. I was worried that this would compromise my freedom in relation to my newfound ease with primary control. This was addressed in another one on one session with the AT coach. She helped me to understand that in order to have the elevated focus and not have neck tension, I would have to use my body as a whole unit and not just tilt my head upward and in turn cause the back of my neck to bunch together. This not only fixed this issue of upward focus, but also set a strong foundation for all as I was constantly reminded to move as a whole rather than just a sum of parts. This self-visualization and self-focus allowed for a good level of physical and lengthened back of the neck) without having to worry about slipping into counterproductive, tension creating movements that the Alexander Technique As the fourth week of rehearsals began, it was clear that my physical exploration was My physical actions were connected to my character. However, I was still getting the note that I

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22 Baron. During the third rehearsal week, I began getting the note that winning The Baron over was I was on the right track and every day I seemed to give the director a little more of what he wanted, but I was still not where he wanted me to be. I was so very determined to reach the place he wanted me to be and please him, so that my performance would end on a good note before we stopped for spring break. Halfway through that last week before break, I scheduled a one on one meeting with the director in hopes of discovering just what I was missing. It was during this meeting that the director came up with the idea that maybe if The President had an accent it might help fill in what was missing. A few members of the cast had various accents. I thought since we were doing a French play and no one was doing a French accent maybe this would be the way to go. Immediately something changed with my performance. I have to admit I immediately felt the change as well. For whatever reason, that I still cannot identify, this particular accent really brought this character alive. On the first day of rehearsal the director mentioned that he particular, stereotypical French accent that I began to develop in combination with The ines about corporate greed really seemed to work. The accent fit The President like a glove. We decided to go with it. This was a major drastic alteration of the literal and figurative voice of the character, but this was very late in the process. I found myself having to almost relearn my lines with this new accent that I was very concerned with getting correct. This new exploration was just that, exploration, but it also pushed me back into some additional levels of research. I thought that my research was basically complete, but this accent required some

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23 examination. I just hoped that I was not open It turns out that I was not. The French accent was something that I managed to pick up much easier than I thought I would. The first to tapes by a dialect coach named David Alan Stern. Stern uses a system by which actors imagine point of focus for each dialect. This point of focus is also referred to by Stern as the point of maximum vibration. This is where the energy into its proper place. For standard American English the point of focus (as Stern understands it) is in the very middle of the oral cavity. There is no exact science to this, but when I began to study Stern s techniques and theories on previous dialects, I was completely am azed about how much it helped to solidify the dialect. For the French accent Stern envisions the point of focus to be in the back of the oral cavity in very close proximity to the fleshy uvula that hangs down in this area. Stern refers to the uvula as th nasal quality that is often evident in a French dialect. This was especially helpful for the type of cartoonish character that the director wanted. Stern states that the focus point of vibration is an absolutely necessary foundation to properly mimicking any dialect that is not native to the actor. Once this foundation is strongly understood and solidified then the actor can begin to concentrate on dialect work such as sound changes and vowel and consonant substitutions. One common example of a substitution related to the French dialect is how the TH sound would sound more zhat. With these changes in mind I went through my script and re-scored the entire thing in order to have a visual aid for pronunciation. I did this scoring with all the lines in the script not just my

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24 Stern relates on his tapes that it is important to be able to work the dialect on any lines and not just the lines of your character. The actor should be able to speak any improvised lines in the dialect. To help me achieve this ability to master the dialect more completely, I continued to study the Stern tapes. In addition to listening to the tapes, I sought out films that featured characters that spoke with authentic French accents. What I wanted was French actors speaking in English with heavy French accents. I found exactly what I wanted in the actor Maurice Chevalier. This specific actor was perfectly suited to what I wanted. I watched a few of his films, but I found the movie Gigi to be simply perfect. Chevalier spoke in English the entire film and was the main character with ample screen time. I watched the film repeatedly and repeated everything he said. After a few times I began to repeat what the other characters in the film were saying. I spoke their lines in the dialect even if they were not. With this mimetic work coupled with the Stern use of substitutions and resonance focus, I was effectively able to maintain a French dialect. Most importantly I was able to do it and remain intelligible and not sound ridiculous. All this extra work was completely outweighed by the results that were achieved. As I began to adopt more and more of the dialect work, I noticed that my character was eliciting more and more laughs from my cast mates. As the fourth week of rehearsals came to an end and we were about to go on break, I was finally no longer getting the note I now was being told that I was successful at giving the director what he wanted. This was a relief and I have to admit that it felt good. In fact on that Friday, March 4 th I really nailed it and was told that I basically had the best energy of that run. This was a great way to go into the break. I resolved to further set my dialect and strengthen my lines over the break.

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25 When we were scheduled to come back on Monday, March 14, we would be going right into technical dress rehearsals, and I would be able to solidify and finalize all the work thus far. SOLIDIFYING THE ROLE: Within a few hours after our rehearsal on March 4 th I was over one thousand miles away and would not return until the morning of Monday March the 14 th which was the day our technical rehearsal was to begin. During this time away from the cast and the play, I remained as productive as The newly added dialect was almost like having to relearn my lines. During the last run, I knew my lines pretty well, but often found myself thinking ahead while other characters were speaking and not listening as much as I should have. I was determined to drill my lines until the point that I knew opportunity to work my lines and practice the dialect. An important lesson I learned a long time ago was not just to sit around and review lines, but rather to find an open space and attempt to recreate the playing area as much as possible. Doing this re-creation allows the actor to rehearse lines on his feet. This ation What I mean by this is that the actor is able to recall where he is when a particular line is recited. For example, I stand up when The President would say; trouble is we have tremendous this way every day during break and it paid off when we returned. I was not the only one to continue working during the break, made clearly evident when our first technical rehearsal began. In general, technical rehearsals are laborious, seemingly endless ordeals. The process usually spans a weekend and includes twelve hour plus days. With

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26 our rehearsal schedule, time was not a luxury but the technical crew rose to the challenge. It was obvious that the technical crew worked over the break. Many of the technical aspects of the show were worked out before the actors reconvened on the set. All the sound and lighting cues were prepared before the first official, technical rehearsals in which the actors are not present. This work paid off and the actual technical rehearsals were extremely in this part of the process that is usually long and stressful, was extremely appreciated and in fact was quite a morale booster that allowed the cast to begin the two dress rehearsals on a very positive note. Opening night was set for March 18 th and the cast and crew had two dress rehearsals to prepare for our first real audience. Having the costumes, props and all the lighting and sound cues in place creates an environment that is completely new in many ways from any previous e all in place, and it is not until this time that the actors can completely embody their characters. At this point in the process, with the new features in place, there is a time crunch that can cause some anxiety. This anxiety is ironically fueled in some part by creativity. When the actors are in their costumes and have the actual props for the first time, there is a lot of opportunity to explore and make character discoveries that were not available before the technical components were finalized. While these news ideas are usually interesting and helpful, the fact that they are new elements so late in the process (just prior to opening night) can add to the workload that must be remembered and recreated.

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27 PERFORMANCE & PROCESS: SELF EVAULATION OPENING NIGHT: There is an aspect in university theatre, that while creating a great level of excitement in the actor also manages to generate an anxiousness that can be nerve racking. I cannot speak for all university theatre programs, but generally there are no previews in between dress rehearsals and opening night. On opening night the majority of theatre majors and faculty generally try to attend. So for a cast member, we go from having basically no audience to having a packed house full of the people we are most concerned with impressing. There is no transitional phase. As stated this particular type of event creates a high level of excitement, but to some the anticipation can be almost overwhelming. When you are the actor whose character has the added responsibility of starting the show, as I did with The President, this potential anxiety is only multiplied. One of the reasons that I was so excited about the role of The President was that I embraced the challenge of having the responsibility of starting the show. The President not only has the opening lines of the play, but he also has about 75% of the lines up until the until his brief appearance at the end of the play. The opening is all his! When a character has this amount of involvement in the opening of a play, the actor has the chore of beginning the production on a positive note and bringing to it a high level of energy. If the performance at the start of the play is flat or even slightly lacklus I do not mean that they wi audience is absent from the action at this early point, it is very difficult (if not impossible) for ing understood, I was very much

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28 aware of my personal responsibility as The President. Early on in this process I learned a valuable lesson on how to prepare for such a role. In my career I have had the opening lines of numerous plays, most notably as Mr. Bennett in a theatrical adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and as Orlando in As You Like It. With this experience and more, I thought that I would be able to easily prepare for the matter in which The President begins this play. I have never had the level of participation at the beginning of a play as I did in The Madwoman of Chaillot. Earlier in this document I related how the director had our rehearsals, we were expected to come in warmed up and prepared. There was no period of time between the time that run. I was not afforded the luxury that other cast mates enjoyed of from their busy days and take time to relax. Whenever I arrived on time and we began on time from the top of the show, I inevitably was not quite ready and would receive notes about my called and use that time to prepare mentally and physically. This was immediately effective and it was not until I incorporated this extra time that I received positive feedback from the director. I took this lesson into the dress rehearsals, opening night and the rest of the run. We were called an hour and fifteen minutes before show time, but I would come in at least thirty minutes prior to that. Coming in this early gave me ample time to inhabit the stage and walk through my lines and prepare for that necessary level needed to properly kick start the performance. The added time was helpful, but all the preparation in the world could not stop the nervousness I experienced when I was standing just off stage and the opening dance number was ending and I was about to make my entrance. When this nervousness hits me I always think

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29 back to something I learned in my first Alexander Technique class as an undergraduate. In the manual, How to Learn the Alexander Technique there is a short The basic premise is that there is an energy release with stage-fright that is manifested in a physical form. This energy is emitted from the body in the form of shaking, sweating and rapid heart beating. Frederick Matthias deal with it an There is no physiological explanation of how this works or how to implement it, but just being is the first and greatest step in contracting and making stage fright work for the actor. This simple process works for me, but with all the added pressure I was experiencing with The President I needed a little more. As I stood there and this method was not slowing down my racing heart, I closed my Through this first performance I had to muster extra concentration not to lose focus and prevent my attention from being drawn to the faces of colleagues and mentors in the audience. This was extra difficult due to the close proximity of the seating and how the lighting spilled out into the aud front of you and see how they are reacting. The problem is that if the actor on stage makes unintentional eye contact with someone, even for a split second, it is very noticeable. The fact that this was our first audience created a hunger in the actor to gauge if the jokes that are anticipated are landing and just what is getting an unpredicted response. With an almost indomitable force tugging on my gaze and willing me to make inappropriate contact, I was able

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30 to stay focused and not give in to the urge. This has not always been the case in previous productions. We got through that night with only minor hiccups and we were all very satisfied with ourselves. I feel this was deserved after a lot of hard work. After getting that first performance, due mainly to the high level of relaxation after that first stressful night. DISCOVERIES DURING THE RUN AND CLOSING NIGHT: Another aspect of university theatre as opposed to professional productions, is the shortness of the run. A run of a professional theatre production will generally last at least a month, and in the university setting the actors are lucky that a run might span as long as 8-10 performances, if not closer to 4 or 5 week constitutes the entire run in the university. Production preview is a time for fine tuning and honing. Not having this luxury of time, it is generally the case that in a university setting the king major changes once the run begins, there is a good deal of room for growth during the first week of any run. Small aspects of the character and his/her reactions can be tweaked to very useful effect. I found this first week with The President to offer quite unlimited opportunity for growth. In fact I found myself stifling my creative instincts in order not to seem to be delivering a different performance each night. This consistency is important not only to maintain the vision and integrity of the director, but also to avoid throwing off the performance of less experienced cast mates. I got to the point where I was carefully picking and choosing where and when to make adjustments and creative additions. In fact the cast as a whole received the note from the

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31 stage manager that we were drifting too much. As the run progresses and these opportunities present themselves, there is often the temptation to add additional lines to supplement the creative impulses. This is where I personally draw the line. I will not add lines to the script without permission from the director. The only exception I can think of is a subtle addition that I The President respond P d a repetition of the first wor better. It is important to note that only in a play of this nature that was a brand new adaptation, would I even consider this. If we were doing Shakespeare for instance the lines would never be adjusted. The only changes that I even considered involved specific movement choices. th the help of psychological gesture, I continued to notice movements that could be further explored. Even on closing night this was still happening. At the end of the play just before The President makes his final exit, he has a very short, two step cross downstage to the Madwoman. Up until this point I was taking two rather neutral steps and staying focused on my intention with the lines. On the final performance it dawned on me to incorporate two slinky gyrating steps that I felt personified The Pres never there before. If given the chance to have more runs I would continue this stylized movement at that moment and might have taken it further. I must admit that by closing night, with the exception of the example of the cross just mentioned, I had engaged in ample exploration and was enjoying a comfort zone that felt polished. Unfortunately this was followed by the final bow and the close of the show.

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32 SELFEVALUATION: The lack of any preview time accompanied with the abrupt end to the run does not allow for any real reflection until the whole process is complete. The last performance was a matinee, and I found that later that evening I truly began my personal self-evaluation. This usually involves me realizing what I could have done better and regretting not implementing these realizations. This was, I am happy to say, not the case with this role. I was very proud of what my cast mates and I had achieved. What I am most proud of personally is how I was able to compel myself to always give 110%, even when I From the first songs of Lady Gaga, a certain level of dread washed over me. I did not want to participate. I still felt this way during the first dance rehearsals. To my credit I never let my discomfort show. R this prevent any negative vibes that might have been contagious to the rest of the cast, but this feigned gusto actually made me enjoy the process and eventually turned to real enthusiasm. I ended up enjoying the dance that I was in and understood the cultural significance and how the music and dancing was able to bridge the disconnect that this potentially difficult piece had with a modern audience. This is wh at I want to take away from the experience. I hope to learn that personal feelings should be r complete. In fact this giving over is the only way to make the vision work. This production has strengthened my mental approach in creating a role and more importantly, it has improved my ability to successfully be part of an ensemble.

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33 BIBLIOGRAPHY Body, Jacques. Jean Giraudoux: the Legend and the Secret Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1991. Print. Blumenfeld, Robert. Accents: A Manual for Actors New York: Limelight Editions, 1998. Print. Chekhov, Michael, Michael Chekhov, and Mel Gordon. On the Technique of Acting New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1991. Print. Chekhov, Michael, and Mala Powers. To the Actor. London: Routledge, 2002. Print. Cohen, Robert. Giraudoux: Three Faces of Destiny Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. Print. Conable, Barbara, and William Conable. How to Learn the Alexander Technique: a Manual for Students Columbus, OH: Andover, 1995. Print. Gelb, Michael. Body Learning: an Introduction to the Alexander Technique New York: Holt, 1994. Print. Giraudoux, Jean, and Maurice Valency. The Madwoman of Chaillot: Comedy in Two Acts New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1974. Print. Inskip, Donald P. Jean Giraudoux, the Making of a Dramatist London: Oxford University Press, 1958. Print. Jean Giraudoux: The Writer and His Work New York: Ungar, 1971. Print. Jean Giraudoux: The Theatre of Victory and Defeat Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1966. Print. Reilly, John H. Jean Giraudoux Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1978. Print.

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34 APPENDICIES BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Wayne Willinger is a native of the great state of Maryland, where he graduated with honors from Bel Air High School. Mr. Willinger attended college at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where he received a B.A. in Theatre, graduating cum laude. While in undergraduate college, Mr Willinger performed in productions including: Macbeth, Picnic, Slaughter City and Six Degrees of Separation. a founding member of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC). With CSC he had the privilege to hone his craft playing many great Shakespearean roles such as: Puck; Caliban; Orlando; Tybalt; Lucio; Borrachio; Duke Orsino; and Nestor. Mr. Willinger went on to pursue his Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre (Acting) at the University of Florida where he appeared in Cloud 9, Electronic City, Pride and Prejudice, Where Can We Run?, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Madwoman of Chaillot. He is also involved with a Greek tour with a production of Romeo and Juliet (as Friar Laurence) and a production of Oedipus the King (in which he will play the lead role). He plans to move to New York City after the summer international tour in 2011.

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35 SIGNATURE PAGE: I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it confirms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a performance in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Fine Arts. _________________________________ Mikell Pinkney, Chair Associate Professor of Theatre I certify that I have read this document and that in my opinion it confirms to acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a performance in lieu of thesis for the degree of Master of Fine Arts. ________________________________ Judith Williams Professor of Theatre This performance in lieu of thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of Fine Arts and was accepted as partial; fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts. 2011 _______________________________ Paul Favini Interim Director, School of Theatre & Dance ______________________________ Lucinda Lavelli Dean, College of Fine Arts

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