Music has always been a passion of mine. For as long as I can remember, I was either singing or playing musical instruments. Every cherished memory of mine was always connected to a song. I could listen to the radio and be transported to a place of fond memories of family, friends, good times, and sometimes even sorrowful moments that have helped me grow as a person. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that music has become a way to get into character for different roles.
For the current Sweet Tea Shakespeare play, Antony and Cleopatra, I am playing Mardian the Eunuch. He is one of my favorite characters because, even though he does not speak much, what he says matters. Mardian is a key player in the events that ultimately lead to the finale of the show. Immersing myself completely in the role is much easier when I have the right music to listen to.
Mardian adores Cleopatra. She is his queen, his world, his everything. He loves her so much that he is willing to sacrifice a big part of himself just to be able to serve his queen. The first song that helps me understand this is “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police. Mardian does not love Cleopatra the way that the song dictates, but his adoration is mirrored in the lyrics. He believes that Cleopatra can do no wrong and that, even through the worst times, she will always be magic to him.
The next song I listen to is “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. The chorus speaks for itself. It talks about feeling complete around her and how all searches end with her. Mardian sees Cleopatra as the type of person he wants to be. There is a bit of discomfort when she is not around. However, once she returns, all becomes right with the world.
Mardian is not all love and adoration. He is often at the receiving end of the ladies’ jokes. Most people would be upset about this and leave. Mardian, in contrast, takes the jokes in stride and even throws the barbs back at them. His intelligence shows in his often sarcastic, yet loving responses. I would love to say the title of the song that helps me get into this part of his character, but unfortunately it is a bit on the inappropriate side. Just know that it is hysterical and can bring out the joking side in anybody.
Mardian proves to be quite the trickster. He will lie to somebody in an instant if his queen tells him to do it. Even if it goes against his principles, he will make somebody hurt with his lies in order to please his queen. “Don’t Lie” by the Black Eyed Peas and “You Lie” by The Band Perry help get me into the lying mood. Both songs are perfect for that lying schemer in Mardian.
Mardian is a complex character. He is a lover, passionate, sarcastic, and a bit of a schemer. Without my Mardian playlist, those attributes would be difficult to portray in a short amount of time. I encourage all actors to use music to help them get into these complex roles. I look forward to sharing the joy of Mardian with everybody starting Thursday, January 5.