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 I’ve thought that Matt Daniels moves as well as anyone I’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 Stage’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. "That’s when I turned to
Suozzi has a long and very distinguished career in the theater. She’s been an actor and director. She’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. 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. 19, 2017
Most of the actors had only a nodding acquaintance with the unique sound of Shakespeare's language, sight gags ranged from risque bumping and grinding to pratfalls, and the entire scenery budget was $65 but this production of "The Taming of the Shrew" was plenty funny,
Published Jan. 19, 2017
Dave Begel has long maintained a bromance with Brett Favre forever and long resisted all claims that Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in Packers history. Until now. After the display at the Palace in Dallas, it is now time to put the crown on Rodgers' head.
Published Jan. 17, 2017
It could hardly be more appropriate to our times that The Milwaukee Rep unveils a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about Muslims in America the very week that we are getting a new president who has made Muslims a target of his vitriolic political campaign.
Published Jan. 14, 2017
"Welcome to Bronzeville" is a world premiere at First Stage about the vibrant and exciting neighborhood that existed in Milwaukee. The play can't capture that vibrancy and delivers a performance that is without any excitement.
Published Jan. 13, 2017
When I was a young man in the U.S. Navy, stationed far from my home, I had to borrow $300 from my father in order to pay for an abortion. It's stayed with me since then and I now find myself thinking of it again as new abortion attacks are underway,.
Published Jan. 10, 2017
It's clear that the Milwaukee theater community faces challenges of young artists leaving town in order to find work. How to keep them here is a question that deserves attention and consideration of a variety of ideas that could step that tide.
Published Jan. 5, 2017
Republicans in the Senate and Assembly celebrated their increased stranglehold on Wisconsin politics by smiling with glee over the prospect of being able to do just about anything they want without any real regard for people who might think differently.
Published Jan. 4, 2017
"Sexual chemistry" is not a phrase normally associated with the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music," but the production at the Marcus Center creates a fully realized Maria, a woman perplexed by her feelings of love.
Published Jan. 3, 2017
There has been no formal announcement yet, but it appears as if another theater company that provides work for young actors and directors in Milwaukee, is about to fold its tent. Soulstice Theatre looks like it's shutting down after 15 years.
Published Dec. 29, 2016
The angle that most columnists take when it comes to their annual New Year's column is to write fanciful resolutions for a variety of celebrities. This year, however, I'm taking the whole thing seriously. My resolutions mean something - and I hope I can stick to them.