Chicago-based sketch duo Rabbit Rabbit return to Stage773 after a well-received sketchfest showcase, and will once again hand the reins over to acting veterans Christian and Antoine, for an exclusive masterclass in acting. Rabbit Rabbit put me in touch with these two visionaries for an exclusive interview before tonight's premiere at 8pm at Stage 773.
The Steamroller: The show is called The Art of Craft: Crafting the Artist Within, do you believe that there's an artist within everyone?
Antoine: I do. That’s not to say though, that everyone has a good artist within them. For some people it’s just a street magician or an ironic rapper or Terrence Malick. But it’s like those little dinosaur eggs you get at the dentist; you’ve got to crack them open and soak them in water before you find out what you’re working with.
Christian: Right! Sometimes you think, “Oh I can’t wait to buy this Monster in My Pocket!” because you think it will dissolve out of that bag more than once. That is not the case… Art is something that only reveals itself once… and sometimes it can be a monster, pocket or no.
TS: Are you excited to return to Stage 773 after performing there at Sketch Fest?
Antoine: Yes and no? On one hand, when we can help an upstart theater like that, maybe throw them some publicity, that feels good, right?
Christian: We always had that charity bug, nipping at our heels.
Antoine: But on the other hand, doing a show somewhere you’ve already done it is safe you know? It doesn’t have that thrill of ‘oh what might go wrong’, it’s less intense. It’s like acting with a condom on. Can I say that?
TS: How did you select the groups Ray Bradgary and The Sweethearts as openers? Do they share your outlook on the performing arts?
Christian: Oh, well you can see the drive, the integrity, and the intensity in these boys. Just a bunch of Martin Luther King Juniors running around spreading their dream of acting to our audiences. Helping to separate the true artists- the actors- from the rest.
Antoine: Right, like asking them to perform with us is saying ‘the actors are over here, the people who are just doing make’em’ups are over there’.
Christian: And I mean, that’s fine. The two groups are equal, in their way.
Antoine: Right, just separated.
Christian: They have their school of thought, and we have ours.
Antoine: And as long as they stay over in their school, we won’t have any problems.
Christian: And these guys get that.
TS: As such experienced, well-trained performers, you must have a favorite role you've played. What are they? Are there any 'white whale' type roles that you'd love to play but have yet to?
Christian: Ooooh my. Antione and I try not to have favorite roles as it can limit our potential growth. Really it betrays a fundamental understanding of the craft itself. I treat any role like an old friend. We laugh, we catch up, have a drink, show some pictures of our families. We share a tender moment, and then part ways until we meet again.
Antoine: That said, I’d like to do something where I get my junk out. Maybe on HBO?
TS: Without giving too much away, could you tell me the one secret to unlocking one's potential as a performer?
Antoine: Guidance. Professional guidance. Don’t go trying to unlock your potential without the paid assistance of an experienced thespian, or you might not like what you discover. If you open up the hood and start banging around like a coked-out gibbon, pretty soon you’re staring into a broken mirror in a dark room asking ‘who am I’ and doing time-lapse photography of decaying dogs.
Christian: Exactly. Also, we don’t take Discover card.
TS: Is there anything in particular you hope attendees take with them after finishing this seminar?
Christian: I hope they take away a new part of themselves. The part that allows them to see their future self and what they aspire to be through the magic of theater.
Antoine: Truth and introspection. And also any cans or candy wrappers, because we have to clean up the theater before we’re allowed to leave.