The Acting Olympics II: More tales of going above and beyond for a role


There’s a little madness to their Method.

Last week, we posted a few anecdotes from San Diego actors about some of the more unusual measures they’ve taken to prepare for stage roles.

Those stories prompted a couple of more accounts that, if not evidence of full-on forays into “Method” acting (the kind where you disappear into a character, even offstage), at least demonstrate a serious commitment to the craft.

The latest dispatches from the Acting Olympics:

Lauren King Thompson:

I’ve had to learn a variety of random skills for shows, from accents to baton twirling, puppeteering, roller-skating, and even dancing “badly” on stage (it can be harder than you think).

Completely to my surprise, the latest skill I’ve been working on for a show: snorting cocaine (and making it look realistic). Not real cocaine, of course; we use a powder version of Vitamin B-8 as a substitute in the show.

My character in the upcoming production of “Bachelorette” at Backyard Renaissance Theatre is a party girl who indulges in a variety of narcotics, alcohol and general debauchery — on stage. This has me and my fellow cast members watching movies like “Blow” and researching less-than-kosher things online to try and get into the mindset of these characters.

It’s been interesting, to say the least!

Kathi Copeland:

To portray the ape in “Precious Little” (at InnerMission Productions in 2015), I watched every movie and video I could find on Youtube about apes daily. I spent hours and hours watching them at the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. I’d perch myself on an electrical box and just watch.

Eventually, zookeepers would share their stories about the apes and their history at the Safari Park. I had to learn ape sign language, which I mostly learned from Koko videos (of a famous gorilla), but I also found it in videos from various zoos around the country.

I have a profound respect for (the apes). Getting them into my body took hours and hours of practice. I’d find myself walking like them around the house even after the show closed.

Twitter: @jimhebert