As usual, I've been neglecting my blog for quite some time. But I am back online with some fantastic news to share. A few weeks ago, I made the long journey of flying across the Atlantic Ocean to start rehearsals with Sheffield Theatre in the UK.
I am now coming towards the end of week 2 of rehearsals for 'ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST'. Visit my website homepage for more information about the production. It's been approximately 4-5 years since I've been back to the UK to perform. Working with this new cast of British actors has been great. They're all a very generous and talented group of people. And I will be extremely proud to make my Sheffield Theatre debut on their wonderful Crucible thrust stage later this June and share the story of Chief Bromden in 'ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST' with British theatre audiences. It's going to be a thrilling production!
That being said, it's been a very interesting experience revisiting the character of Chief Bromden after 4 years. Not too many actors can say they've performed the same character in the same play with various different theatre companies/productions all over the world. But I have been thinking a lot about the character these past few weeks of rehearsals in the UK. At this point in time I am feeling very strongly that this will probably be the last and final time I perform this character onstage. It will be sad to finally let go and retire a character that I have grown to love so very much. I hold the role very dear to my heart as an Indigenous storyteller because it provides me a rich opportunity to reinterpret an iconic character from a classic story that a lot of people already know and hopefully change their views and perceptions about what it means to be an Indigenous Person from North America. But the role of Chief Bromden does ask a lot of me as a performer. I have to be willing and open to going to some very heavy and dark emotional places, night after night, with Bromden's journey in the play. It can also be painful to go through it as well because a lot of his story connects to my own First Nation Peoples history in North America/Turtle Island of genocide, assimilation and colonization. Not only do I struggle with interpreting a character that was written through a White/Eurocentric gaze, the role can also be emotionally demanding because I am working so hard not to fall into the trap of portraying a stereotypical and one-dimensional character. Depending on how this play is directed and the actor portraying Bromden, there is the danger of the play being shallow and Bromden becoming an awful stereotype and caricature. But I am trying my hardest to bring a new depth and understanding to the character with the help of my director. Truth be told, it never has been easy with this play in particular, no matter how many times I've done it in the past.
Having had the opportunity to perform the character of Chief Bromden in three very different stage productions all around the world (and be paid for it!) has been a great honor and privilege as an actor. But I think it is now finally time to put Chief Bromden to rest after this current stage production wraps on June 23rd, so to speak. Unless a NYC Broadway production opportunity arises then maybe (and that's a big maybe) I would reconsider doing the role again. Who knows what the future holds?!
Yesterday, we filmed some promotional materials for the show which will include photos and a short trailer. I can't wait to see the final trailer and will be sure to share it on this blog for all to see. Be sure to keep checking back to the website for future updates....
To give you a sneak peak of the upcoming promo trailer for Sheffield Theatre's production of 'ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST' take a look below!