Today’s Date: Saturday, June 23rd
Show Title: Volpone, or The Fox
Director: Mary Finch
Assistant Directors: Miranda McPherson and Chase O’Neill
Production Intern: Abraham Joyner-Meyers
Rehearsal Room: Blackfriars Playhouse
What we did
To get accustomed to the ASC’s stage, the cast each repeated their character introductions, experimenting with the heavy doors and discovery space curtains. After some brief text work, we worked through the crowd scene where Volpone, disguised, sells medicine to the assembled mob of Venice. It was exciting to interact with the architecture of the Blackfriars as we used the musician’s gallery, pony doors, and the discovery space. I’m amazed at how visible the street in Venice became on the blank stage.
Quick and Quotable
From the play
VOLPONE (as SCOTO of MANTUA): This blessed unguento, this rare extraction, that hath only power to disperse all malignant humours.
From the director
FINCH: “The willing cuckold.” I think that would be a great name for this show.
From the cast
SPENCER: [in response to an embedded stage direction] Tornado Corvino, or Hurricane Corvino?
ELSA: [strutting into the court] It’s high noon.
LUCY: [responding] It’s 12 o’clock.
Any actor playing Volpone has a startling challenge, to act as a character who is pretending to be someone who themselves is acting. Volpone disguises himself as Scoto Mantuo, who as a Mountebank (a street performing quack doctor) puts on an enormous persona to market his fraudulent cures. The play is full of other examples of manipulation, acting, and disguise. While the cast will soon have help to inhabit these multiple identities from their costumes and props, it has been inspiring to see how much distinction is created by Ben Jonson’s text and by the physical and text work the actors hac been doing with our director Finch.