When I first met Ryan, Frog & Peach was still in residence at the primitive little second floor Theatre at West-Park. We received thousands of pictures and resumes that year--even then, the word was out that Frog & Peach was a truly unique experience for actors and audiences alike.
Ryan's submission put him among the few people we wanted to see, but in the back of my mind, a voice said 'don't get your hopes up, Lynnea.' It seemed unlikely that such a fresh young person, new to the city, who had accomplished so much on his own, would be willing to undergo the rigorous rehearsals and performance schedule that our productions demand.
Seasoned artists recognize the opportunity Frog & Peach affords--who among us hasn't suffered in shows where the attitude is 'do your lines and get off the stage,' or where the direction goes no further than 'make it perkier.'? At Frog & Peach, we provide a home where an actor's input is highly valued, where no one is afraid to say 'I don't understand this,' or, 'Can I try something?' Great care is taken to find the truth behind the words, and thanks to our skillfully edited scripts, there is no such thing as a small role at Frog & Peach--each complex character shines with life, and has his own beautiful moments on stage.
But it is very difficult to find method trained actors who can handle the verse, convey their roles with aplomb, AND speak directly to the audience. For some method trained people, breaking the fourth wall is like asking a cat to swim, and our rehearsal process goes deeper than many actors wish to go.
In Ryan's case, I needn't have been concerned. His audition was a knock-out, and the adjustment I asked him to make was spot-on. I cast him immediately, and he has been a tremendous asset to the company ever since.
When we started thinking about Hamlet as a project for our February Players Club Benefit, Ryan had already graced our stage in the title role, to great critical acclaim. To our delight, he immediately agreed to play Laertes for this special, one-night-only event. That's the kind of actor he is.
Ryan understands that Laertes' story is a mirror of Hamlet's; his father slain, his sister's mind badly wounded, Laertes is torn by loyalties to blood, self, and country. On Tuesday night, Ryan's Laertes gave a new perspective on how difficult it is to find an honorable path in this life. It was a performance of tremendous heroism.
I can't express the pleasure I have in working with Ryan--we share a sensibility that is almost unspoken, a wordless groove you hear musicians or athletes talk about, but one that's rare in theatre, at least in my experience. I realize that Ryan has many fish to fry in his deservedly successful career in both theatre and film, and that his busy schedule may preclude participation in every Frog & Peach production. But I thank my lucky stars that Frog & Peach has the sensitive, fearless, and diabolically handsome Ryan Tramont as member.