Rob Harrison on playing five different characters

5 Acts. 5 Characters
 
In my life as an actor, I’ve had the good fortune of playing roles both large and small. Some have been in musicals, others have included contemporary dramas and comedies, and even a number of Shakespeare’s plays. In fact, I’ve been in three previous productions of King Lear. I’ve played both brothers and I’ve played a servant or two. But this will be the first time I’ve ever done a production of any play where I’ve played five different characters. 
 
In the NWCTC’s production of King Lear I’ll be performing the roles of the Duke of Burgundy, Curan (a courtier), a servant, the Doctor, and a soldier. Some have dialog while others don’t utter a word. 
 
Among the responsibilities of every actor is to fill in the details for their character’s life. Some of the questions we ask ourselves include: “Who are they?”, “Where did they come from?”, “What brought them to this moment in time?”, “What do they want?” “What are they fighting for?”
 
So here, in my fourth production of King Lear I have the wonderful challenge of doing this five times over. Attempting to answer these questions for my five new friends has been, and continues to be a marvelous exploration in the craft. In some cases the choices are easier to make and clearer based on the words the playwright has given you. In other cases it’s more challenging because you might not say anything but you still have to justify your existence. To know what your purpose is and why your journey has led you to that specific moment in time.
 
My hope is that I will be true to each one of them as individuals. To identify and portray  a uniqueness and separate humanity each and every one of them. 
 
That’s the goal. You be the judge.
 
-Rob Harrison
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