By Matt Powers
There is nothing quite like live performance. Even for seasoned performers, there is still those nerves that occur before the show, the anticipation of performing lines well,the pressure of hit all your lines and marks on time, the worry that something will go wrong, but having confidence from rehearsal time. When you go out there and see the faces in the audience, it all melts away, and the story takes over. It was worth it. All of it. The hours of practice, the rehearsals, the preparation. Once you feel the audience be entertained, it is an immense rush.
It’s been quite some time for me since my first stage appearance, and I find the feelings of that moment difficult to recall. I remember nerves, but mostly joy. So I am slightly jealous that A.G. Devitt was able to have his theatrical debut well into adulthood. He will remember the subtleties of waiting backstage, going through warm-ups, taking the stage, performing for the first time, and the relief after a show goes well.
While all the actors performed well (and I will likely have future posts about them), for his first appearance in front of a packed house deserves some extra accolades. As the author and principal character, he’s said these lines an inordinate amount of time, but for the performance he did something that is the hallmark of all great actors – He made them sound fresh. Matthew Arnold wasn’t simply a scarred veteran of the war anymore, he displayed a subtle range that ran from sly humor, to awkward honesty, simmering romance, and, of course, murderous rage.
And the speed with which he transitions is to be commended. One of the hardest moments from the live show was just after Arnold kills Max Benson. As soon as the pistol is fired, we find Elaina Dare in the doorway, having seen the whole thing. To Devitt’s credit the emotional shift from rage, to stunned confusion, to romantic honesty was a feat. He displayed range, depth, and was able to carry the beat of the story forward to its conclusion.
I hope he has been bitten by the acting bug, but time will tell.