Meet Tate Green, La Fenice's new Arlecchino!
Tate Green is our sprightly young actor playing Arlecchino - the first since it was retired by Jason Fawcett back in 2002. Tate was last seen as Ottavio in Sloop of the Damned, and is the creator and host of the wildly popular YouTube Gong Show.
How has the process of stepping into the fabled shoes of Arlecchino been?
Well, all of the tales of past La Fenice Arlecchinos – shots lined up across the stage and all – I’m feeling it’s the perfect role for me. Although I don’t think I can handle a shot thrown in my eyes.
Don’t worry, that wasn’t Arlecchino’s eyes. Those were mine.
Yes, but you threw it in your own eyes, right?
Yes. But that’s neither here nor there. Tossing liquor into your eyeballs is not a requirement for the role, unless you’re into that kind of thing.
I enjoy the experience of playing Arlecchino a lot better than playing the Lover. I’ve been having more fun with it. I’m not sure if it’s the character or the process that’s just a little more comfortable for me, but I’m having a lot more fun this time.
Yes. You appeared to be pretty dour about playing Ottavio in the last show [Sloop of the Damned.]
Well, more than anything I was really nervous all through rehearsal for Sloop. I don’t know if I didn’t fully understand how the process was supposed to go when we started or if it was just trying to do some fancy new kind of theatre. I mean, Commedia’s weird.
It’s funny that I’m less nervous for this show, while I’ve got Gian Giacomo Colli breathing down my neck during rehearsals. I suppose he’ll get a lot more terrifying when we start to layer in the larger physicality. I’ve been practicing Arlecchino’s particular walks and my movement in my classroom just for that occasion, and my students have started calling me out on it.
So what is your most favorite thing about the way La Fenice puts its shows together? Ha. How’s that for a leading question?
Yes. “What do like best about my lovely face?”
I like that it’s all super relaxed until – see, I got half way through a sentence before I got negative – it’s all very relaxed until we get hung up on something, and then you see people get passionate about the construction of some bit of material or other. The way people debate the nuance of a fart joke or fight for the inclusion of one of your weird history references is really awesome. The collaborative nature of the story building process is great – the fact that rehearsal is totally interactive, and we all help each other in creating and structuring each others’ work. You don’t just build your own character and material, it’s all a result of everyone sharing ideas. I think the whole process has made a lot more sense this time around, and that’s made it much more fun.
It’s less onerous this time than during Sloop?
Well, I still feel like we don’t have near enough time, but I feel like when we rehearse this time around, everything has been tighter and our time has been more purposeful. We’ve had only four rehearsals, and it feels like we have 2/3 of the show hammered down. I mean, we just have to toss in a few extra jokes and we’re square.
Bah, who needs jokes?
Good point. Instead, let’s just take turns reciting facts about the Holocaust?
Oh. That sounds pretty experimental.
Yeah. We should maybe add puppets. No, wait, let’s not do that. It’s suddenly reminding me a terrible formative experience I had as a young theatre kid.
Well, I was trying to learn about puppetry, and somehow I wound up on a website called Puppetry of the Penis.
I could have grown up a totally different person if it weren't for that website.
True Facts about Tate Green.
I could have been [puppeteer and Company Member at Large] Dan Raynor. Hell, that might have been Dan Raynor. Oh, man. Now I have to check and see if it’s still there. [An iPhone is retrieved, and Googling takes place.] Sweet Jesus, it still exists. What? “Now in 3D?” Don’t put any of this in the interview. I do not endorse this scary website. Oh my god, it has mobile apps?
You are, at this very moment, earning yourself a file at the FBI. Children take classes in this building. Holy wow. They just do full on handstands and stuff all naked, don't they? Are you blushing?
Ahem. What sucks about making shows the way we do?
Can I say when Gian doesn’t understand American jokes? Or English?
Also, when Aaron doesn’t understand Kate English, and Kate doesn’t understand Aaron English. Adam always seems to understand everybody. I think he always understands everything.
Or it could be that Adam is not wildly interested in understanding anyone.
Actually, the hardest thing is splitting my time with my job and this. It makes show homework really hard, especially since I feel like I’m not as funny on my own.
Wait. Can we strike all the puppetry of the penis stuff?
No. We’ll be providing a link for our readers. That stuff is better than RuPaul videos.
Crap. So I guess my grandmother can’t come see this show, and now she can’t read this interview.