MERVYN AND CHARMICHAEL GO TO THE ZOO

Wed, 05/09/2012

One day on a break from tech rehearsals at the Christ Church Neighborhood House, Pearce approached me and said "Hey, you wanna go to the zoo?" I gave it a good laugh, but I could tell from his big grin, he was serious.

You see my character in A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE is fascinated by monkeys.  Gibbon monkeys in particular. So of course Pearce in his crazy was, thought it would be fun for "Carmichael and Mervyn to go the zoo".

Now, I purposefully tried not to over think the role of Mervyn. The character was so obscure and vague in his intentions, that it was important for me to trust the text and try and play the specific action moment to moment, and not get bogged down in too much analysis and research. But of course I had to talk about having very specific interactions with monkeys at a zoo. So I looked at some pictures and at least got a fundamental understanding of the difference between Gibbons and Chimps, etc.. But that was as far as I went.

But after we opened, Pearce wanted to make good on the promise of taking me to the zoo. So off we went. To my surprise, there weren't that many monkeys! I hadn't been to the Philadelphia Zoo since I was a kid. But in my minds eye, the Monkey House was teeming with monkeys! But in each section of the monkey house, there were only a handful. The gorillas were the most impressive, all two of them. Being that close to a creature of such power was pretty amazing. And of course the gibbons were a lot of fun. There was a momma gibbon and her little one swinging and running all over the cage, never loosing contact with each other. Also in with the gibbons was a large orangutan, who was clearly in charge, often forcing the gibbons into some, shall we say, compromising positions? Prison rules, monkey style.

But all in all, it was a great visit. And while Pearce and I are good friends, it was fun to imagine two lost strangers such as Mervyn and Carmichael  sharing a day at the zoo. Laughing. Eating soft pretzels. And taking a stroll through the monkey house.

Hope you can catch us before we close on Sunday!

-Matt Pfeiffer