updates connected to the book Idylls for a Bare Stage
& to performances of the Idylls
& other initiatives related to the Art of the Poetic Monologue

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Performer Profile: Stephen Mead

The Idylls project welcomes a new actor for April 28th, and beyond!

He is Stephen Mead, actor and entertainer trained in Britain, who brings to the work an expertise in monologue and one-man shows, plus an incredible talent for extensive and quick memorizing. 

Stephen will take on "A Street-Merchant Imagines his Riches to Come," my idyll from The Arabian Nights; also, I wouldn't be surprised if he masters "A Bandit Plots a Murder by the Road" and "A Reveler Walks Home to his Family by Moonlight" in time for the Baltimore show.  That's Saturday, April 28th, the final day of the CruMoPoPerFest (Cruellest Month Poetry and Performance Festival), with performances and readings outside, in front of the Waverly Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.  Starting at 11am.  400 East 33rd Street, Baltimore MD 21218.  More details to come.

Stephen Mead

Stephen (memorize first, ask questions later) Mead specializes in what he calls "dramatic recitations," mostly of Victorian-era writers, following his taste for Dickens and Poe. Recently he brought his one-man show celebrating the Dickens bicentennial to the Athenaeum here in Alexandria. In our work together, we have been exploring the commonality between what he has been doing for years and the approach I've developed for poetic monologues leading up to the publication of Idylls for a Bare Stage.  As outlined in the introduction to the book, my take on the form of the Idyll finds its roots in ancient Mime and street theater, while Stephen centers himself on English acting traditions as applied to the Victorian age, a time when audiences savored recitation (plus, he's made a special study of Sikes and Nancy, a book of Dickens' own adaptations of his prose for the very popular public readings he did in the latter half of his life). The two techniques converge - Stephen's dramatic recitations and the actors' approach developed for Idylls - in the way charged language gets treated in an almost tactile fashion, intent on immersion in the Word Alive, audience-performer mutual imagination, with virtuosity of utterance embraced as a uniquely fascinating element of live performance.

In short, I'm thrilled to be working with Stephen Mead, an actor who has been described as a "master" for his Dogberry in Much Ado...

More from his bio:
From the works of DICKENS, EDGAR ALLAN POE
And other authors
Victorian Music-hall and Ballads, Victorian Evenings

STEPHEN MEAD trained as an actor at London’s Royal Academy of
Dramatic Art. Besides appearing in many stage productions, he has worked
as a drama adviser to Goldcrest Films UK and written for Channel4 (TV).
Stephen has made a specialty of DRAMATIC RECITATIONS (from
memory) from the works of DICKENS, EDGAR ALLAN POE and other
19th-century authors. These bring poems and prose by these writers to vivid
life without costume, make-up, lights or scenery, Most 19th-century
literature was written to be heard as well as read, and Stephen Mead’s
enthralling renditions of these pieces have gripped audiences in the UK and
the US since 1987.

Stephen has worked for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the National
Arts Collection Fund, the National Trust (UK), Richmond Adult College,
Missenden Abbey Buckinghamshire, among many other venues. He has
appeared on the bill of the world-famous Player’s Theatre in London
singing Victorian music-hall. Stephen had the honour of being invited to
perform his one-man adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” at
the Dickens Festival in Dickens’ home town Rochester, Kent, in the historic
Guildhall three years in a row. He also performed a tour of Switzerland
under the auspices of the Anglo-Swiss society and appeared with singer
Stacey Earle in a coast-to-coast tour of the USA.

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