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The Folger Spotlight

Ian Merrill Peakes: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Ian Merrill Peakes

Ian Merrill Peakes

Actor Ian Merrill Peakes (The Player) shares his final thoughts about the Folger Theatre production of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Learn more about Ian at the Folger and read his previous posts. 

We close Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead this Sunday. It has been a tremendous experience. The show is a hit, reviews have been fabulous, the cast has stayed a wonderful unit, and audiences love it due in no small part to the assembled team that I have raved about for the past ten weeks.

As I have mentioned before, this is my 110th professional production. I would be hard pressed to go back and find another cast of thirteen in that list that was so fully committed to a production, or even a cast of ten even or eight. To have such dedication and passion bubbling up from everyone involved is truly rare.

Directors sometimes return to watch the show after it has opened. Aaron came back this past Friday. He said he couldn’t remember the last time he watched one of his productions without being critical. He had a few notes, but mostly enjoyed the show as an audience member. Folks, that means he did his job really well.

A play changes in the playing. One of the most important things a director can do is create parameters to play within. Aaron Posner, the director of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, did such a good job of creating those parameters that the cast has played the entire run with a freedom that is refreshing and inspiring. And always, well mostly always, within those parameters.

Ian and Director Aaron Posner in rehearsal. Photo by Teresa Wood.

Ian and Director Aaron Posner in rehearsal. Photo by Teresa Wood.

It is hard to walk away from your creation. It is hard to come back and see that it has changed. It is amazing when you can appreciate it and not feel like it needs to be fixed. Aaron, and his fantastic wife Erin, both talked to us about how in their opinions the show had grown in the best ways, which adds one more remarkable aspect to this experience.

On Sunday night, we will all pack our bags and say goodbye. What the codpiece?!? Our business makes so little sense sometimes. We are asked to quickly form a union, embrace it to its full extent, and then throw it away in a matter of weeks and simply move on to the next gig.

The cast and crew of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead". Photo by Teresa Wood.

The cast and crew of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”. Photo by Teresa Wood.

That’s hard – each cast is a family. We share, we trust, we connect, we love, we respect and we cherish. Some of us will stay connected, some of us will work together again and some of us won’t. But for these 11 weeks we have been a united force, a family full of love and support and trust. I am lucky to have been a part of it and I have been honored to have been able to write about it.

Till next time.

Peace and love.