Lend Me a Tenor
Black Hills Playhouse
Playing the pompous Italian opera star Tito Morelli in this wonderful farce was exhilarating and illuminating from beginning to end. I began my process by researching and listening to famous tenors of the late 19th/early 20th century, particularly Enrico Caruso. Caruso’s dramatic flair on and off of the stage was a natural reference for playing this part. For dialect work, in addition to drawing on my years of experience singing Italian art songs and arias, I listened to native Italian speakers on the International Dialects of English Archive website, and utilized various dialect texts.
As a fast-paced farce, this play also demanded a great deal of physicality and precise comic timing. I experimented with various dialects of radiant & potent body NRGs in order to find the pompous, yet fragile, and quick to anger and lust physicality of Morelli. I was fortunate to be working with a director in Dan Workman and a stellar cast of actors at the BHP who understood the medium well and made rehearsing a joy of specific playfulness, seemingly random and chaotic to the audience but highly choreographed and timed out to the last second. Directing farce is fun, but acting in a farce is like going to an amusement park every night!
Photos by Black HIlls Playhouse. Used with permission.
Scenic Design by Stephen D. Landon; Lighting Design by John M. Ryan; Costume Design by Jennifer Shouse-Klassen