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The Early-Blooming Actor

November 21, 2013

Kirk and Michael Douglas. James and Josh Brolin. Henry and Peter Fonda. Donald and Kiefer Sutherland.

And now, me, and my son.

Less than two years after my stage debut, my nine-year-old son has joined me on the boards. From the time he was tiny, he watched me taking classes, then going to auditions, and became fascinated by it. About a year ago, we actively started looking for a show we could do together. And now, we are in rehearsals together for “A Christmas Carol” — suitably, with me as Bob Cratchit, and him as one of Cratchit’s children.

It’s an interesting experience from a parental perspective. He has appeared in three abridged Shakespeare productions with his homeschooling co-op — as Caliban, Oberon, and most recently Malcolm in the Scottish Play. All of these were directed by my wife, with my assistance. Now he is working for the first time with a director he is not related to, and with actors he did not already know. I find myself having to tell him to address questions to the director, not to me, and to listen for cues and instruction. I am trying to separate myself from his part of the process as much as possible, while still being his dad (and scene partner).

It is taking him some time to get used to the frequency of rehearsals, and how long they run, but he is enjoying it so far. He is amazed and a bit frightened by the prospect of a run of 10 shows — two of them on two-show days — before an audience that is not necessarily there just because they know someone in the show. He also has suitable trepidation about the prospect of tech.

It took me until the end of my first show or two to realize that I really love it. I hope the same will be true for him.

Peter Sig

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