Interview: Brooke McCarthy - "Peas, Patelin, and Purgation"
Brooke McCarthy is a first-year MFA Acting student from Swedesboro, NJ. She is currently playing Pierre Patelin in Peas, Patelin, and Purgation.
Have you done devised theatre before?
Yes. Last semester, I was in Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. This is my second time using a devised rehearsal approach. A little over a year ago, I did an intensive workshop in devised theatre with Pig Iron Theatre Company in Philly that I loved. We created the piece “Something from Nothing,” so it’s been really engaging approaching devised theatre with a script.
What is it like to work in a show with this kind of process?
It’s been really fun exploring a show like this through a devised approach. Not only do I love the collaborative environment in our rehearsal room, but I love the trust that we have built as a cast and team. This trust allows me to feel open to making bigger and bolder choices that I would not have normally considered. Especially due to the comedic nature of the show, the wackier we are, the more people will laugh.
Throughout the process our director, Marla Carlson, has led us through many ensemble building exercises that involved group improvisation such as making silly sounds inspired by each other while adding abnormal movements. This process allowed us to explore the planes and spaces of our bodies in dynamic, new ways while working off of and with one another. We’ve also had the pleasure of working with T. Anthony Marotta on the nuances of mime work to enhance our story. Since we don’t have a set, it is crucial that the stories become more integrated into our bodies as we play these larger than life comic beings.
What farces are you in? Who do you play in each farce?
I am in Patelin, and I play Pierre Patelin! He’s a old, greedy trickster who makes a living by fooling other people with his quick wit.
Are there any challenges to creating a character and acting in this type of show?
My two main challenges in creating Patelin have been gender and proximity. Not only am I am a female playing a male, I am also playing a character from medieval France, which is very far distance and time-wise. Through lots of research as well as trial-and-error in rehearsal, I’ve managed to put together a character that is unlike any role I’ve ever played before which is very exciting!
If you could describe this show in a few words, then what would you say?
Silly. Ridiculous. Karma-fueled. Full of folly.
These pieces were written centuries before our time, and one has not been performed in a few hundred years! Why do you think this play is important to today? What makes it relevant?
What is so great about these three plays is that even though they are practically ancient in contemporary terms, there are still relevant morals to be learned. We humans still manage to find ourselves dealing with greed, lust, and deceit despite our better senses. I hope that through all of the chaos that ensues, we will be reminded to honor our promises, respect our neighbors, and take care of each other.
Get your tickets at ugatheatre.com/threefarces - opening March 19!