Friday, October 19, 2012

Actors React - H.G. Wells | The Ogre


Part herald and part pessimist, Herbert George Wells, or H.G. Wells, was a prolific author, teacher, historian and journalist.  Not only did he make a name for himself in the science fiction genre, penning such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds, he was also responsible for many other fiction and non-fiction titles, utopian and dystopian short stories, travel sketches, histories and socio-political commentary.  Although his major works featured a bleak future for humanity, Wells was not without his "sardonic and wry wit."

Big Idea company member and actor, Gregory Smith, shares his thoughts on Don Nigro's The Ogre and his portrayal of H.G. Wells.

Photo: Jessica Berkey

Big Idea: What draws you to a play as an actor?

Greg:  I enjoy witty dialogue.

Big Idea: What was your first reaction upon reading The Ogre?

Greg:  My initial reaction was "Wow," but it has since come alive in performance in ways I did not see when I first read it.   

Big Idea: How do you think of Wells?

Greg: Wells was a visionary writer who was extremely ahead of his time, writing classics like The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine.  He was also a complex man who once wrote, "I was never a great amorist," he wrote in Experiment in Autobiography, "though I have loved several people very deeply."

Big Idea: You described Wells as a visionary writer.  Which of those impressive works is your favorite?

Greg: Definitely The War of the Worlds, written in 1898, as it preceded any of the World Wars.  I marvel at his vision - he was truly ahead of his time.

First Edition Cover

Big Idea: What is the best advice that he gives to Stephen Crane? 

Greg: As Wells says in the play, "The great thing is to do your work and everything else be damned.  We each make our own twisted journey.  We are just damn lucky to be in the race at all." To him, the work is the most important thing.

Big Idea: Does Wells believe that Brede Place is haunted?

Greg: I would say yes, for everything was possible to Wells.

Big Idea: Can you share a memorable moment from the show?

Greg: My favorite scene is when Wells is seeing Stephen and Cora off to the Black Forrest at the ship. Saying goodbye with out saying goodbye.  Wells is actually saying the opposite to what he feels inside.

Big Idea: How does the role of H.G. Wells differ from previously roles that you have played?

Greg:  I love portraying historical characters.  Wells is more of a subdued role and most of my recent characters have been larger than life, such as King Henry IV (who turned into a Zombie!), Sheriff of 
Nottingham and the Mad Hatter.

Gregory Smith as zombified King Henry IV
in "The Life and Undead of King Henry V" by William Shakespeare,
Adapted by Brian Harrower from the 2012 Big Idea Theatre Season
Photo: Benjamin T. Ismail  

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