The ability to move is critically important to an actor, and therefore, critically important to the success of a play.
Some do it well and others, not so much. My short career as a professional actor was cut short, in part, because I could never keep still on stage and kept tottering around with no rhyme or reason.
For many years Iâ€™ve thought that Matt Daniels moves as well as anyone Iâ€™ve ever seen. He has poise and grace and never makes any kind of move without having a reason for it. I find it breathless to watch him onstage.
But he now faces what may well be the greatest movement challenge an actor could face.
Daniels will play Lord Farquaad in First Stageâ€™s production of "Shrek: The Musical," which opens Oct. 11 at the Todd Wehr Theater.
Lord Farquaad is not the nicest person in the world and he is also very short in stature.
Which brings us to Daniels and Paula Suozzi, who runs Starting Line Athletics, a personal training shop in Bay View.
Daniels is going to play the good Lord on his knees. The whole show. Singing. Dancing. Jumping around.
Just imagine going through life on your knees.
"I knew this was going to be difficult," Daniels said. "Thatâ€™s when I turned to
Suozzi has a long and very distinguished career in the theater. Sheâ€™s been an actor and director. Sheâ€™s an opera and theater director of some note.
"I think my theater background helps me in this thing with Matt," she said. "I have an idea of what a director may ask him to do and so we focus on enabling him to learn to do it while on his knees.
"Matt is very dedicated to this process, and that really helps."
Watching this workout is draining. Daniels kneels on the floor, throws his arms to the sky and actually jumps into the air.
He kneels under a weight wrack and does 10 reps, three times. Amazingly, he gets on a treadmill, walks and even semi-jogs along. On his knees.
This promises to be a very interesting performance to watch.
"Shrek" opens Oct. 11 and runs through Nov. 17.Â Information can be found at Firststage.org.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Dave Begel
Published Jan. 31, 2015
"Once On This Island" is a rollicking fairy tale that takes place on a fictional Caribbean island. The production at Skylight Music Theatre just doesn't capture the magic that you expect.
Published Jan. 30, 2015
It's the longest running musical in history, by far, and a troupe in Walker's Point is staging a production of "The Fantasticks" that is as good as the name implies. With great music, it's easy to see why this show has been around and stood the test of time.
Published Jan. 29, 2015
The group, Preserve Our Parks, engaged in a campaign to halt construction of the proposed Couture project, a 44-story building that will add to life at the lakefront. The group is using ancient constitutional provisions to try and stop the project.
Published Jan. 27, 2015
Gary Andersen, who, surprisingly, left the University of Wisconsin for Oregon State, complained that the high academic standards in Madison made it too hard for him to recruit the kind of players he wanted.
Published Jan. 25, 2015
Nothing entertains like a great love story with a murderous ending, and that's what you get in "The Kreutzer Sonata" at Renaissance Theaterworks. The one man play starring James Pickering is a story you won't soon forget.
Published Jan. 24, 2015
The Milwaukee Rep opened "Good People" Friday night and gives it a spectacular production, looking at where we come from, where we go and how we either get there or don't.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Sources have confirmed that Gov. Scott Walker has decided to include the "jock tax" revenues in his budget to help fund the new arena in downtown Milwaukee.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Cyndi Przybylski is a software engineer at Rockwell, but she has been bitten by the theater bug. She is taking a scientific approach to it all, realizing that she has a lot to learn and seems ready to learn it.
Published Jan. 23, 2015
Sam Shepard's "True West" is a tale of brothers, joined by blood and driven apart by everything else in their lives. Alchemist Theater gives it a daring and bold production until the end of the month.
Published Jan. 22, 2015
Capt. Dave Salazar of the Milwaukee Police Department supervises the intelligence gathering efforts to try and keep terrorist activities at bay. It's a job that requires lots of cooperation from various agencies, and from the general public.