Oct 18, 2010

Youngest Member of the Cast: What's a Bimetallist?

I’m sure that anyone reading this who has already seen An Ideal Husband was just dying to figure out what a bimetallist was in the 19th century.

Bimetallism n. "The use of a monetary standard consisting of two metals, especially gold and silver, in a fixed ratio of value."

Says dear old Wikipedia
In economics, bimetallism is a monetary standard in which the value of the monetary unit is defined as equivalent either to a certain quantity of gold or to a certain quantity of silver. Such a system establishes a fixed rate of exchange for the two metals. The merits of the system were the subject of debate in the late 19th century."
Well, there you have it. [Stifling a yawn.] A bimetallist is someone who supports bimetallism. It’s no wonder that young, flirtatious Mabel Chiltern doesn’t know or care about it! Although, there isn’t much that she cares about besides Lord Goring, of course.

Playing Mabel has been an interesting challenge for me in a variety of ways. I am not at all similar to her; in fact, I’m quite the opposite, which gave way to a few difficulties in the development of her character. Thankfully, I had wonderful guidance from Julian and the cast, especially Max (Lord Goring), who, strangely enough, was one of my instructors at Youth Rep this past summer. The cast has been incredibly supportive of me, despite the fact that I am the youngest member by almost half, and by far the least experienced.

I must admit, walking into the FAC those first few weeks of rehearsals was rather intimidating; I wasn’t sure how I would be received, or if I could even play my part well and do her justice. Largely thanks to a few encouraging words from a beloved mentor and a hilarious acting exercise Julian suggested, I picked up my head, dove into Mabel, and have been there ever since. She really is quite the delight now that I’ve gotten comfortable with her. She’s witty and funny, but completely happy-go-lucky, without a second thought to what people think of her, just as long as they do think of her.

And to Alan, if you’re reading this, thank you so much.

--Becca Rothstein, Mabel Chiltern in An Ideal Husband


Unknown said...

I'd just like to point out that neither I nor any other member of the cast had no illusions that Becca wouldn't become the archetypal Mabel. She is so good as the young Chiltern sister that when I next see a production of An Ideal Husband the poor actor playing Mabel will have to scale a wall of belief the size of Mount Everest before I could accept her portrayal.

And the "theatre exercise"? One rehearsal I asked Becca to do Mabel as a Valley Girl. It was quite simply the most divine bit of comedy I've seen in years. Becca is a very accomplished actor indeed.


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