As we prepare to say farewell to The Clean House this weekend, we think it only fitting to hear from the smallest members of the cast whom we have lovingly named Pink and Floyd. The script necessitates having a “fighting fish” onstage and with the length of the run, it was determined that there should be two fish that would “tag-team” and role share performances. Rigorous auditions were held and the two aquatic thespians chosen have been top-notch all summer. And so, without further ado, a word from Pink and Floyd.
A Role-Share Like None Other
PINK—As the cast gets ready to close The Clean House, I was asked to talk a little bit about my time here and the process.
Last spring I had no idea what my summer and fall would look like. I assumed that I would be sitting in a shallow bowl of water for a few more weeks until some kid, freshly bored from being out of school, demanded a fish to keep them company. At that point anything goes; maybe I’d live to a ripe old age of 3, maybe things would turn south very quickly. Kids are fickle that way.
FLOYD—When I saw the audition posting saying the Commonweal was looking for ‘Talented Aquatic Acrobats & Strong Swimmers,” I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have a cousin who was in a circus once, and my late great-grandfather was part of a magic act, so I’ve got a little bit of that show-business blood coursing through my veins. I did my best to showcase what I could do, swimming to the left, then back to the right, then diving down while twirling slightly. To be perfectly honest I hadn’t warmed up completely and the twirl was a little more strained than I would’ve liked, but in the end, I booked the gig!
Rehearsals were grueling. I wasn’t used to six hours of rehearsal a day. Quite frankly my attention span is probably more suited to 10 to 12 seconds of rehearsal. Luckily the role is a role-share with another fish so we were able to help pick each other’s energy up when one of us would begin to lag a little. This also helped ensure that I was able to attend a friend’s wedding over the summer on the North Shore.
PINK—Preparing for a performance was like nothing I had ever done before. My typical performance routine before coming to the Commonweal consisted of swimming an inch to my left, running into the side of a bowl, and then repeating the process by swimming to the right. Something cool about the Commonweal was from day one of rehearsals I had the fishbowl that you see on stage. That might not seem like a big deal, but trust me, when you do community productions of Finding Nemo on a shoestring budget, you’re not always afforded such luxuries. With all that room to swim, I was able to make some performance discoveries that I think really enhance the storytelling.
FLOYD—Before the show I like to swim a few laps, just to get limbered up. I spend a good deal of time up on the platform closer to the hot stage lights, so, as with all actors, staying hydrated is a huge key to my success. Even though I don’t have any “lines”, per-se, I still do a full vocal warm up, partly out of superstition. But once the show starts I try to stay as “in-the-moment” as possible; mostly because, as a fish, I don’t have much in the way of short term memory—for me, it’s all about listening and responding!
One very exciting thing about this process was the stunt work involved! A lot of shows will set up a tank in a spot on stage and simply leave it there, but for those who have seen the show, I’m sure you noticed the moment in act two where the actress who plays Ana carries me down the stairs and sets me down on the center table. Usually, that kind of action sequence is done with CGI, but Megan, our director, was insistent that the audience see the move take place. Every night I get to feel like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible!
PINK & FLOYD—As we wind down I just want to thank the Commonweal for allowing us this opportunity to shine. Not many places would’ve cast a completely unknown in such a central role, but they saw something in us and we’ll be forever grateful.
What can I say about the Artists Floyd and Pink? Their commitment to the work inspired me to reach for new artistic heights every time we were on stage together. I always knew when I carried their fish bowl down the stairs and onto the stage for the end of the play that they would be there for me if I tripped and broke the bowl. They both told me that they were prepared to to deliver their best even if it meant they finished the play on top of an apple. They were prepared to DIE for their Art. We didn’t share a dressing room so I never had a chance to really know them personally but those moments on stage fed my soul. I felt as if I was in the Fish Bowl with them. I tried to thank them with freeze dried krill but they both wouldn’t accept my gift. They said they wanted me to keep the krill flakes for myself and when I sprinkled the flakes on my breakfast cereal in the morning, I was to savor the briney flavors of the sea and think of them. I heard that both Floyd and Pink’s next gig is working with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas. I will always treasure our time together.