So we've just opened Fredrick Knott's Dial M for Murder at the Great Lakes Theater in Cleveland, Ohio! Directed by Charles Fee, lights by Rick Martin, set by Russell Metheny, sound by Joe Court, Costumes by Kim Sorenson, fight choreography by Ken Merckx, and innovative video production done by Lucy Mackinnon.
Last year, when leaving Boise after a truly magnificent time doing Deathtrap at Idaho Shakespeare Festival, I told the artistic director, Charles Fee that I couldn't be a part of this winter season in Cleveland. My thinking was that, should any offer come up for this season that I should stay in LA instead and focus on being available for pilot season. After filming Gearhead Garage, and then sitting back in my apartment alone for two weeks... I changed my mind! I quickly emailed Charlie in November asking to please be considered for anything and everything this season. The way I see it: if you have a company you enjoyed working with, with people you loved working with, on plays you enjoyed doing... GO. BACK. Go to where the work makes you happy. As actors, its hard to say no to any work that pays anything. But here, with this company I've found great people, great stories, and a happier work environment.
About the process:
I'll admit, initially, on the face of it I thought Dial M was a shallower, less interesting play than Ira Levin's Deathtrap and I simply couldn't have been more wrong. They're both interesting and they're both products of their time. I think that was on one of the biggest hurdles for me, was adapting to the same genre, but in a different period. Throughout this process, I couldn't help but compare Deathtrap to Dial M. As it turns out, Levin pulled a lot from Dial M for Murder in terms of structure. After digging deeper in to Dial M, I realize just how much Levin adored Knott's work. From Myra (Deathtrap) stating to Sidney "Why don't you collaborate with him." to Margot (Dial M) proclaiming to Max "Why don't you two collaborate." In both plays, the characters plan what seems to be the perfect murder, but riddled with intricate plot twists along the way. There's also a bit about people on the phone misspelling the main characters last name. "... Wendice." "D-I- Double S?" "No, D-I-C-E" to Deathtrap's bit about nobody on the phone knowing just how to spell Bruhl. Both follow the "1 set, 5 character money maker" structure and both need an immensely detailed mind to pull them off well. Cue the amazing Charles Fee, Producing Artistic Director of GLT and the director of both Deathtrap and Dial M. He's an honest, passionate, actor friendly director. He's not a director that operates separately from the actors. He doesn't act as though he knows everything about the play. He's not afraid to say "This part here doesn't make sense..." he rolls up his sleeves and gets down in the textual mud WITH the actors to bring about a better understanding for us all.
I'm very thankful to be back doing this wonderful play, and though there are no "log-man" surprises, it's still a magnificent production with a truly wonderful company.
IG: NickSteen2 — #YourMax