"Tenor" Actors Hone Their Comedy Techniques

"The foundation of acting is the reality of doing. Good acting is not an accident."

According to actor Desi Arnaz, “An actor who is good at comedy can also be very good at drama, but not necessarily vice versa.” So what makes the unique breed of comic actors so successful at drawing laughs? For the upcoming Omaha Community Playhouse production of Lend Me A Tenor, the director and cast members weigh in on their comedic techniques.

"I think comedy comes from honesty," said Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek, who plays the character of Max. "If you're not listening it's not real. Often times anyone who thinks they're funny generally isn't."

Since Lend Me A Tenor requires a large amount of physical humor, Anthony believes that timing and honesty are the most important aspects of his character's development.

The entire play is set in a hotel suit in Cleveland, Ohio in 1934 where eight unique characters find themselves amidst a classic case of mistaken identity. The financially motivated Saunders is the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company who has hired Tito Merelli, a world-famous tenor, to perform the Italian opera Otello. Before Tito can even leave his hotel room a series of unfortunate events causes the star to miss the beginning of his critically acclaimed performance. Rather than cancel the sold-out show and refund the audience, Saunders instructs Max, his dutiful assistant, to take the tenor's place on stage.

"Good farces not only have incredibly sharp timing, but developed characters," said Director Carl Beck. "To me I think it's the last strong farce that's been written. Farce is a difficult thing to write and a difficult thing to perform correctly." The importance placed on the characters and their development is what Carl says makes Tenor a crowd pleaser. It isn't just about the obvious sex jokes and slamming doors, but rather how the audience cares about the characters and their desire to know what happens next.

Joe Dignoti, who plays the famous tenor Tito, claims that the show's irony plagues the characters and hinders their agendas all to the audience's benefit. "It's a very energetic comedy of errors." Pratfalls, mistaken identity, wardrobe malfunctions and a clever script makes Lend Me A Tenor a comedic classic.

Don’t miss Lend Me A Tenor in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre, April 13–May 6, 2012. Wednesday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19-35 for adults and $21 for students. For groups of 15 or more, adult tickets are $23 and student tickets are $15. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (402) 553-0800, visit the Box Office or click here.

Article by Chad Cunningham

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