As this journey has gone along, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “How can you play someone like Rush Limbaugh?” That’s usually followed by things like…you two are completely opposite in your thinking, etc.
There are tons of “actor things” I could say about preparations and such. But one story stuck in my mind. Several years ago, I directed the awesome comedy actor Pat Shay in a one man show. It was called “In Their Own Words” and told the stories of Sir John Gielgud, Richard Burton, and Laurence Olivier. Below is an excerpt from that show regarding Olivier.
Olivier was fresh off of his big Henry V film and really thought he was a badass - then he goes back onto the stage as a character named Sergius in Arms and the Man, and gets panned.
So his good friend Tony Guthrie comes up to the second performance: "I dawdled about the removal of my makeup to give Tony plenty of time to come round and cheer me up with some advice on my problem, but he never came. I see, I thought. I see.
"On my way downstairs, Tony and Ralph Richardson emerged from the star dressing room - Sybil Thorndike's - and we all went out together.
"Then Tony separated from the others and turned to me. 'Liked your Sergius', he said.
" ' Oh Thank You Very Much'.
" ' What? Don't you love him?'
" ' Love that stooge? That inconsiderable - God, Tony, if you weren't so tall I'd hit you.
"Then he said something to me that changed my actors thinking for the rest of my life.
"' Well, if you don't love him,' he said, 'Then you'll never be any good in him, will you."
It’s Opening Night…and I Love Rush Limbaugh