“I don’t ever leave the stage,” actor Cody Nickell explains. “It’s an exhausting journey that this guy Charlie takes. I had to learn to pace myself, so I’m not exhausted at the end of the day.” Nickell landed in Portland with his wife Kate Eastwood Norris to start rehearsal on Dec 29th. The actors work with voice coach Stephanie Gaslin to get the London accent. “The union allows a certain amount of hours during the day,” Nickell clarifies. “So we opted for straight sixes with a twenty minute break.” They did four weeks of rehearsal.
Nickell plays an ad executive whose life crumbles around him. “The cast and director are people I really trust, so that makes it easier to go to the darker places I have to go.”
“Your wife Sophie’s in the play?” Julian Chadwick says.
“Yeah, she plays the pathologist.”
Norris and Nickell met playing the love interest in “As You Like It”. Being a pair of nomadic actors requires a lot of travel. Fortunately they got cast in another Shakespeare production after a year of dating. The Portland Center Stage brings the married couple to the stage this month in the U.S. premiere of Fin Kennedy’s “How To Disappear Completely and Never Be Found”.
All things visual conspire to hide in the walls of the forced perspective set design. The crew builds the stage set at a scene shop. It takes a few days to load it in and then it goes through rehearsals itself, and some changes. After all the rehearsals there’s a week of previews in front of an audience. “Most theaters do have previews,” Nickell says, “sometimes only two or three.” It’s a time for students and artists to buy tickets at a discount and see the work. Subscription sales are strong and the show was sold out last weekend.
Warning: You might see Nickell in his underwear on the stage at the Gerding Theater.