Take five with Mark H. Dold
Barrington Stage Company associate artist Mark H. Dold has appeared in 16 productions over the course of 14 seasons with BSC, among them "Cyrano de Bergerac," "Breaking the Code," "Gaslight," "Freud's Last Session," and "The Glass Menagerie." He was in the Broadway cast of Matthew Lopez' two-part epic, "The Inheritance," when it was shut down, along with the rest of Broadway, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The drama will not reopen when Broadway's lights come on again. He is next scheduled to appear at Barrington Stage in August in David Cale's one-man play, "Harry Clarke." A BSC associate artist since 2012, Dold has been co-hosting, along with Debra Jo Rupp, another BSC associate artist, BSC's "BSC@Home" Zoom series, available free through the Barrington Stage website — barringtonstageco.org.
1. How did you and (actress) Debra (Jo Rupp) become involved in the BSC @ Home series? How did it originate?
Julie actually reached out to the BSC Associate Artist family for any ideas to help lift the spirits of not only the BSC/Berkshire community but the greater artist community. Songs, poems, play readings, anything. Everything. This was very early on in mid-March. Before any of the "at home" programming started.
I ADORE DJR and we are constantly bouncing ideas off one another and landed on the silly one of interviewing relevant BSC family members at home. Not to blow our own horns, but I think we were one of the first to move with this idea.
At this point, my husband Edgar McIntosh, was already one week into working from home and by default became our built-in, at-home Zoom Master. The first episode was truly just trying to figure out how to work the damn platform. As we were recording, I think I said something silly like, "You know this is going to be the first episode of BSC@Home, right?!" And eureka, we were up and running.
Julie's amazing archivist, Allyson Sekerke, is really the genius behind the whole thing. We just let the camera record and she did all of the graphics, editing, etc. I had no idea it would look or sound like what it became. I was floored. Quite quickly the first episode had close to 4,000 YouTube views!
2. This series is a nice, breezy way of getting to know BSC-associated artists in such a different way. How do you and Debra decide who the subjects will be?
We didn't really have a master plan of how to expand the idea. However, people seemed to love the first episode and kept asking for more. The natural next step seemed to be DRJ and I interviewing each other. We were simply trying to get the hang of it as we went along. In fact, we forgot to record the first take of DJR @ Home in Episode No. 2 and had to do it all over again. We had some crazy ideas of potential interviewees but realized the best thing to do for both the theater and Berkshire communities was to stick with familiar faces. I think an episode starring yours truly (me) is coming soon. Everyone we asked enthusiastically said 'YES!'
3. What kind, if any, prep work do you do?
Zero! We decided who the next "victim" was. Got Julie's OK. Got the OK from that person; picked a day/time to meet and hit record. Again, whatever magic came out if really boils down the amazing work of Allyson Sekerke. Truly. Although, you really can't ever go wrong having Debra Jo Rupp as a co-star. The woman is magnetic. Even over WiFi.
4. Is "The Inheritance" coming back after Broadway reopens? How are you and Edgar adjusting to being home together virtually 24/7?
Ah, "The Inheritance." What a ride that was! From start to finish, a job I will never forget. Closed by COVID-19.
I'll never forget that last day. It was a two-show/Part One and Part Two day. Wednesday, March 11. I was out between shows getting my dinner. As I always did. As I was walking back up 8th Ave., I saw that West 45th Street was closed off by NYPD vehicles. My first thought was, "Oh. My. G-d. It's here!" Of course, meaning COVID. When I got back to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre others were returning from dinner. Rumors started flying about an usher that had tested positive at one (actually two) of the other Broadway houses. Our hearts sank and we instantly knew the clock was ticking. In fact, I had such an eerie feeling about it I actually that told my three dressing roommates that I was going to take as many personal items home that night as I could, thinking we might not be coming back. They followed my lead. We got most of our stuff together and three of the four of us went to a nearby apartment. One of my mates lived in the area. We had a toast and began wondering if we'd ever see each other or our show again.
The next day the phone rang about two hours before I'd normally leave for an evening show. Broadway closed.
The short answer is, no. "The Inheritance" ended that night. Sad. The other strange but brilliant twist in the story is that Lincoln Center Library was there that Wednesday filming both parts for their archives. If they weren't there that day, there would be no recording of the Broadway production.
Edgar and I have been managing 800 square feet better than I could ever imagine. In the beginning, I thought, well this is the end of 24 years together. Now, I feel like we could win "The Amazing Race." However, we do, at some point, need to stop eating like 8-year-old boys. The real tragedy in our household is that we both HATE cooking. Well, we hate it because we're both terrible at it.
5. Are you beginning prep for "Harry Clarke?"
Boy! Am I! It's a lot to learn. I'm trying to memorize one page a day. The script is 49 pages. About one hour 15 minutes in stage time. BUT JUST ME! It's a total of 19 different characters and at least half a dozen dialects. If I don't get a handle on all of that now (hoping I will) the rehearsal process will be all about waiting for me to learn words. I hate working this way. Hate it. I'm usually the actor who waits to respond to what ball is tossed at me before I have any idea was type of ball I'm throwing back. Through rehearsing and repetition of that experience, I end up knowing the words. It's been a great exercise for my brain, however. Some days I'm more successful than others. I currently have my youngest niece, Becca, drilling me. Once a week I have a "Becca Drill Day." The remainder of the week is regular memorization.
Grueling and terrible. Ugh.
Let's hope Actor's Equity Association allows this production to happen. Julie, once again, is leading the charge and has the most thoughtful, thorough plan in making this happen in a safe way. Someone has to be the first, so why not BSC? I told her we should call her Joan of The Berkshires.
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