Stepping onto a brightly lit stage with no idea about the script incites panic for most performers. But each night from Oct. 8 to 25, one actor portrays White Rabbit Red Rabbit at Cleveland Public Theatre with no director, no rehearsals and no familiarity with the script. We talked to three about how they'll tackle the role.
Peter Lawson Jones, Oct. 15
How you know him -£ The former Cuyahoga County commissioner appeared in 2012's Alex Cross. Free speech -£ Jones' improv skills were honed in public office. "As an elected official, you have to be prepared to react to circumstances you aren't anticipating," he says. Liquid courage -£ Jones' typical showtime fear is forgetting his lines. This time, he doesn't have material to forget. "I'll just have a nice glass of riesling," he says.
Derdriu Ring, Oct. 19
How you know her -£ A Cleveland Critics Circle Best Actress award-winner, Ring recently starred in Mamai Theatre Co.'s Woman & Scarecrow. fly by -£ She's not sweating the lack of prep. "You can give a very tight performance with a script you just have gotten," she attests. Bird brain -£ One of the few instructions given to actors is to master an ostrich impersonation. "I'm going to the zoo sometime soon," Ring says.
Mike Polk Jr., Oct. 21
How you know him -£ The Last Call Cleveland comedian immortalized C-Town spirit in YouTube hit The Factory of Sadness. Mr. Brightside -£ Polk has performed stand-up to a one-person audience for $50 and two draft beers. "I can't imagine this one being any worse," he says. Punch line -£ Polk finds improv audiences to be more relaxed. "People know you're getting it off the top of your head," he says. "The bar is pretty low."