David Reed speaks on his role in ‘A Man For All Seasons’

The Newman University Theatre Department presents Robert Bolt’s "A Man for All Seasons" for its spring theatrical production. The play is directed by Mark Mannette, Newman director of theatre. The show debuts on March 3 at 8 p.m.

"A Man for All Seasons" tells the story of Sir Thomas Moore who was friends with King Henry VIII in the 16th century. Henry, who wants to remarry a woman who will bear him children, breaks away from the Catholic Church because the Pope will not grant him a divorce from his current wife. Out of this schism the king forms the Anglican Church, or The Church of England. Instead of siding with the king, More stands up to him, willing to face whatever consequences may come since he does not agree that the king’s actions are right.

Newman Today sat down with one of the actors of the production to talk with him about his role.

David Reed is portraying Cardinal Wolsey. This is Reed’s second major production at Newman. Last spring, Reed played a priest, whereas this year he’s playing a Cardinal. He said jokingly that, “with any luck I’ll have secured the papacy next year.”

NT: I understand this is your second major production with the Newman Theatre Department. How is it being involved with this classic play?

REED: It has been a great but an incredibly fatiguing process. It's interesting, we were all discussing backstage how we complain about how much homework we aren't getting done and how we vow to skip next semester's production ... Yet we all know as soon as the final curtain falls on Sunday we are going to be talking about the next production. As a total amateur it's so nice to be working with such a professional and talented cast. I especially love playing opposite the lead Thomas More, who is played by senior Mark Carlson, because he is the actor at Newman I most admire; he's just really a great talent, but at the same time he also puts in so much work to perfect his performance. I have the advantage in that my character is only present in one scene and for anyone unfamiliar with the story I get to be the bad guy and disenchant the fairly innocent (though hardly naive) More.

NT: Were you previously acquainted with this story?

REED: Yes, I was aware of the general history involved, though not all the specifics and of course Bolt does take some liberties, but it is fairly accurate, though to be honest I hadn't realized More was the patron saint of lawyers before this production.

NT: What has the process been that you have gone through to prepare for your role?

REED: Lots and lots and lots of practice, running lines alone, running lines together, getting more notes and then running the whole play with light, sound, and props, and most recently dress rehearsal, to full costume and makeup. Lots of fun, but lots of late nights.

NT: Have you run into any obstacles with your role and the production in general and how have you overcome them?

REED: Aside from just learning the lines and such, the only issue I have had to deal with has been how to extinguish a candle, it took us a couple different ideas before getting that quite right.

NT: Are there any memorable moments from rehearsal you would like to share?

REED: Well we did have a run through where More was told [during his] trial for treason: "For which the penalty is not death." It should have been 'imprisonment' instead of death, so suddenly the death penalty was off the table for More. Kinda lowers the drama a bit.

The production is staged in the Performance Hall in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center. Contact 316-942-4291 ext. 2486 for questions and more information.

Showtimes:

  • March 3-5, 8 p.m.
  • March 6, 2 p.m.

Admission price at the door:

  • $12 - Adults
  • $10 - Seniors and Millitary
  • $5 - Newman University Faculty and Staff
  • $5 - Students
  • Free - Newman University Students

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