"Double Trouble," directed by Jim Giancarlo at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, features stellar performances by John Keating and Galen Schloming. These young actors play songwriters who are hired to compose music for a Hollywood movie and find themselves confined to a sound studio in a madcap situation. They are invaded by numerous iconic Hollywood characters, also portrayed by Keating and Schloming. One Sunday afternoon, we visited between shows in the balcony of the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.
EH: How many characters do you play?
JK: We both play five characters.
EH: How do you play a woman? How is it different from playing a man?
GS: There is a sensuality that informs the character. The pacing is a little slower and the gestures are a little more fluid. You spend enough time in heels, and it takes you a lot of the way there.
JK: You build the physicality and then you build the voice; and then if you can play the intention (to seduce the guys) and you believe it, the audience is going to believe it, too.
Once you have done the physical and the vocal homework, your act is to try to get "him" to think you're sexy.
GS: Every night is different, and you're learning something new and adding something new, and seeing what works and what doesn't work. It's an evolution.
It is such a team effort. Our stage manager, our sound designer, the costumers are working so hard. This is really the kind of show where it takes a village.
JK: Our dressers are just wonderful. It doesn't happen without them, because the costuming and the quick-changes are such a big part of the show. This is one of those where three seconds is all the time in the world.
For the first performance or two I actually didn't know who I was and what I was doing until they actually stuffed me in the costume and put some props in my hand. It's just a big ride, and you have to get on and not think.
EH: How is Jim Giancarlo as a director?
JK: He's just wonderful. There's no ego with Jim at all. That unfortunately can be rare in directors. You always feel that you can speak your mind and express your thoughts, and he's behind you. And if your idea is better than his, he just goes with it. And if he really likes his idea, he doesn't shoot you down, he just says, "Let's keep trying it." It's just been a joy. He's such a sweetheart.
GS: He's got an idea about where he wants the show to go, but he's very open to suggestions. It's very much a collaboration, which is a great environment to work in. As an actor, you want some boundaries. I liken it to connect the dots. The director is the one who puts all the dots out there, but it just looks like a random cluster of dots. And then we, as the actors, get to step in and make all of those lines and make the picture actually happen. It's been there all along, but we're the ones who get to step in and do the artistry and flush it out. And if there is a dot here or there that we want to move around, Jim is very flexible about that, which is nice.
JK: He sets the tone for how the rehearsal is going to go. It was such a respectful, calm feeling, I really enjoyed it.
"Double Trouble" plays through March 30. Performances are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays with brunch matinees at 1 p.m. Sundays. For tickets and information, call 541-488-2902 or visit www.oregoncabaret.com.
Evalyn Hansen is a writer and director living in Ashland. She trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theatre and is a founding member of San Francisco's Magic Theatre. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.