Mark Bedard will return to HVSF for his fifth season to play RICHARD III. If you’re an HVSF regular, you’ve spotted Mark in recent years as the bullheaded Henry Bolingbroke in RICHARD II, the humorous Hortensio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, or pulling triple duty as Officer Wickham, Mr. Collins, and Caroline Bingley in 2017’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE.
See what Mark has to say about acting at HVSF, tackling one of Shakespeare’s most infamous characters, and his “true” feelings about working with HVSF fav Kurt Rhoads as a Director.
What was your reaction when you were first offered the part of Richard III at HVSF?
When Davis [HVSF’s Artistic Director Davis McCallum] called and told me that he wanted me to play Richard, I was so startled that I immediately got a cramp in my neck that cause my right shoulder to shoot up near my ear. This gave me huge misgivings, so I quickly declined the role, hung up with Davis, and in my haste proceeded to stub my toe on the coffee table. A few moments later my wife spotted me pacing our living room in a cold sweat and said “why are you walking around the room like Richard the Third?” Well, the rest is history.
You’ve acted under the tent with HVSF fan-favorite Kurt Rhoads (most recently in 2018’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW). This time, Kurt is in the director’s chair. Knowing him as an actor, what do you think he’ll bring to the table as a director?
I think no amount of working with Kurt Rhoads can ever prepare you for what he’s going to do or say or bring to the stage as an actor. That’s probably one of the reasons he’s a “fan-favorite” as you say. But now add the fact that he’s being given the power and artistic licence of a director? To be quite honest I’m frightened of what’s to come. In recent years, I’d made it my goal to try and avoid artistic ventures with him entirely, but fate as they say has a cruel sense of humor. What’s to come? Psychological games? After-work sessions? Absurdist props!?! My only comfort is that the tyranny I so fear experiencing in the rehearsal room may translate into the performance of tyranny that is necessary onstage.
This summer will be your fifth season with HVSF — what’s different about acting under the tent vs. in other venues?
Other theater buildings can leave you feeling as if you’re not actually outdoors – almost as if you’re walled off entirely from the beauty and splendor of nature – almost as if you were indoors. I don’t know why, but the tent manages to get around that somehow. Admittedly, the past four times I’ve worked out there, I’ve been distracted by the beauty of my surroundings and the immediacy of the audience connection at HVSF. But this year, I’m determined to solve the mystery. Is it really such a glorious setting? Are people actually having such a great time? Are there really no sides to this tent?? Have no fear. I’m on the case.
Do you have any memorable outdoor theater moments from your time at HVSF?
Pretty much anytime I’ve gotten to act with Nance Williamson. Whether it’s getting to play Snug the Joiner with her as twins conjoined at the head in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (2015), or having her as my hysterical love interest: Audrey in AS YOU LIKE IT (2016), or being so comfortable with her as a scene partner that a chair lazzi emerges between Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins in PRIDE & PREJUDICE (2017), or even if it’s just watching her be so brilliant as Tranio in THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (2018) that in the future I never want to see that role as anything but a “pants role” for women to play. She really is a wonderful woman and brilliant artist. It’s a shame about her husband…
Note from HVSF: Nance Williamson is married to our 2020 RICHARD III Director Kurt Rhoads.
Please pitch a sitcom populated by the characters you’ve played under the tent.
It’s a show about nothing, centered around 4 characters who are self-involved, obsessed with trivialities, and generally despicable. Touchstone is a neurotic New York City stand-up comedian. His best friend is Hortensio, a bald, whiny loser who craves the kind of success Touchstone has, but is never willing to do what it takes to get it. Touchstone’s neighbor Autolycus often barges into his apartment and imposes onto his life. And when his former girlfriend, Caroline Bingley, comes back into his life, the four of them are able to form a friendship together.
What’s the best special skill on your resume?
My ability to avoid answering questions seriously.
What’s your most memorable costume from the tent?
Touchstone’s Motley suit in AS YOU LIKE IT. That costume did all the acting for me.