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 April 22, 2017
For 15 years, under the guidance of art therapist Lori Vance, ExYoMKE has gone one-on-one with some of the most disaffected children in Milwaukee, children of all races and genders, and tried to help them see the world through the eyes of an artist.
Published April 22, 2017
One of the most wonderful evenings at a theater is when the show starts on a high note and just keeps getting better and better until you get to an ending where your heart is lying on the floor and your eyes are clouded with tears. That's "Carnival."
Published April 21, 2017
"The Fantasticks" is a simple little musical, the longest running in history, about a boy and a girl and being in love. The problem in the Off the Wall Theatre production is that the boy can't hold up his end of the deal, and the whole production suffers.
Published April 20, 2017
When I'm moved, I write, and fortunately, with OnMilwaukee, I have a place for that writing. The series of Uber tales from the road have run intermittently, but this story, more than anything else, proved that words and social media have the power to spark action, to make a real difference.
Published April 18, 2017
There is nothing quite like the world of the carnies, who travel the country, state fair after state fair, luring spectators with claims of wonder and magic. And that world is coming to Milwaukee, believe it or not, in the tiny space at In Tandem Theatre.
Published April 15, 2017
What does it take to make a man great and what role do expectations, his and others, have on that quest? It's the issue before the house in "Great Expectations," the adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel that opened at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
Published April 13, 2017
In Wisconsin, you can't bake cookies or cakes or brownies at home and legally sell them at a farmer's market or your kids' lemonade stand. But three women are fighting the law with the help of the powerful Institute for Justice.
Published April 13, 2017
Downtown Milwaukee will be getting a strip club, which could open well before the Bucks' new arena in 2018, thanks to a measure that is expected to win Common Council approval next week.
Published April 11, 2017
The preparation for the 2017 Footlights Performing Arts Awards has been underway for a year, with public nominations being submitted. The results are in, and well, there are some odd competitions.
Published April 9, 2017
The second act roars to life and makes "The Violet Hour" at Renaissance Theaterworks a must see this season. The bifurcation of this Richard Greenberg piece is stunning in contrast and makes the effort of sitting through the first act a worthwhile endeavor.