“Macbeth Actor’s Diary” in the U-T San Diego!
The San Diego Union-Tribune invited our blog writer, Tiffany Tang, to continue writing her “Macbeth Actor’s Diary” installments in the Sunday Arts Section of the paper, starting January 26 and continuing through February 16. She will be documenting a behind-the-scenes perspective on Intrepid’s 13th production and Season Four finale. Check out her first installment!
Actor’s Diary: Summoning the ‘sisters’
Intrepid Shakespeare cast member Tiffany Tang talks ‘Macbeth’
By Tiffany Tang, Special to the U-T
January 26, 2014
I peer at page one of my “Macbeth” script and realize that the notes I have scrawled in the margin are utterly undecipherable.
Do we go on the light flash or the cracking noise?
Sigh. Computers have destroyed my ability to create legible penmanship.
I am seated in the fourth row of the Liggett Theater and, as usual, I am flanked by the two other members of my newly founded triumvirate, Savvy Scopelleti and Erin Petersen. Together, we are the Weird Sisters. Like “Heathers” without the color-blocking, we roam rehearsals cackling at private jokes and creating stories about other characters in the play.
Except today. Today, we are gearing up for our first full-cast run-through, and since the witches are charged with that teeny tiny task of opening the entire show, I want to make sure we get this part right.
“So, we go on the light flash?” I ask aloud.
Savvy nods and then whispers something in my ear about a bloody pilot’s thumb. I glance at Erin. Already in witchy telepathic sync, we all smile simultaneously. Christy’s gonna love that.
Although the three of us have been friends for a few years now, the depth of this particular camaraderie still surprises me. When I last met these two on stage, it was during Intrepid’s “Romeo and Juliet” in 2010. I played Lady Capulet, and Savvy was a fierce mama bear Nurse, uber-protective of Erin, who played Juliet.
During that show, our backstage conversations consisted mostly of strategically thrown dirty looks. Now, I have been invited to “rehearsal sleepovers” and find I am part of a creepy underworld posse.
Despite the fact that I am constantly conjuring demonic deeds, things seem friendlier for me in Scotland than they were in Italy.
Christy Yael-Cox, our director, begins the rehearsal, emphasizing that tonight will be a “stumble-through,” which basically means she would like for us all to let ourselves off of our proverbial perfectionistic hooks. The collective breath of relief that ripples through the theater is audible.
Savvy and Erin and I set ourselves onstage. Until this point, the cast has been rehearsing separately in tribes of thanes, Scottish royalty, and supernatural beings, respectively. So, in this moment, we don’t really know what to expect from one another. I have no idea how Sandy Campbell will summon her murdering ministers, nor what kind of king Danny Campbell will prove to be, and I can feel curious eyes upon the witches as we find our places.
This makes sense. Historically, the three witches have been interpreted as everything from giggling schoolgirls to herbalist hags to sexy apparitions. What will our witches turn out to be?
Please let us be scary, I think to myself as I nestle my head into Erin’s shoulder blades, cursing my tendency to end-gain under pressure.
This first scene goes quick as lightning. I relax a bit, confident in what we have brought to the table.
We reappear a few scenes later for our first Macbeth meet and greet. Let’s just say this scene is a more humbling experience. Some staging needs to be reset, and intentions need to be clarified. It will be back to the drawing board at our next rehearsal with Christy.
Act One ends and Monica Perfetto, our stage manager, calls for a break. Erin and Savvy and I lean into each other, conspiring, plotting, wondering if we should include militaristic combat rolls in our blocking.
Andrew Moore, a San Dieguito Academy intern who will be playing Young Siward, approaches our trio.
“You guys are terrifying!” he announces.
We resist the urge to do a group high five and instead smile graciously.