Thursday, October 13, 2005

Pirate Beard

posted by Doug Newell at 11:26 AM

Back in April I decided to start growing a beard. Why a beard? `Cause pirates have beards. Oh sure pirates have eye patches, peg legs and parrots, but I think of beards when I think of pirates (Sorry that last sentence is my new vocal warm-up).

Furious was already working on Fair Maid back in April and I decided I could grow a beard to look like a pirate for the show. Sounded simple at the time, just don’t shave and I’d look like a pirate come October. From April to present day October I’ve grown a beard and with opening night just around the corner I’m finally getting to see the full results.

Lucky for the beard and me I was cast as 3 pirates, one British, one Spanish, and one French. Now I’m only playing 3 pirates if you share my definition of pirate (which is someone that sails, is a bad-guy, and as has a beard). Each of these characters requires a different dialect to color my roles as these villains.

With Sara leading the help on dialect and Damaso heading up finding the characters I continued to grow the beard. Well all my hard work of not shaving finally paid off this past week when we went into Dress and Previews. Crista McCarthy, our make-up artist for every show I’ve been around for, took over the final duties of beard maintenance. She colored, sprayed and dyed her way to three distinct looks.

The British pirate “Captain Carrol” sports a sandy brown goatee that most closely resembles my civilian beard look. The Spanish pirate “Spanish Captain” has a black forked beard with handlebar mustache. The French pirate “Ravishing Bandit” has a red braided beard.

Once on stage with these various looks I’ve found it easier to speak these pirate’s lines. Sure text analysis classes with Art Manke have helped me as well as voice and speech workshops with Jennifer Parker. But nothing quite instructs an actor like his beard. So let me take the time to thank my beard. That’s 14 times now in this blog that I’ve typed beard (now 15). And since I’ve only typed pirate 11 times (now 12)…Pirate! Pirate! Pirate!


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