Francis Guinan from Ep. #14 talks text work in Jessica Dickey's The Rembrandt, which premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in 2017 with Francis in the cast, alongside John Mahoney, who many people know as the dad on Frasier (one of my personal favorites), but who was also a longtime Steppenwolf ensemble member.
You'll hear how Francis found his way through the text, and the deeper connections between art and the relationship his character has with John's. I was lucky enough to see this production at Steppenwolf and John passed away not long after The Rembrandt closed.
It's a great session and a wonderful insight into how an actor works. Click here for full show notes and links. Get your copy of "12 Top Acting Tips from Season O…
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Francis’ monologue from The Rembrandt HENRY
I touched it.
It was… surprisingly– spiky. The paint. Slashes of ochre and black and white and red. I suddenly thought– Art is such a slight thing. It’s a trick. The closer you get, it recedes, like a shadow. It lives, it glows, and then you touch it and it’s not really there. Or it’s ALL there—Rembrandt. Homer. I touched it all… Well, specifically three of us touched it—myself, this girl Madeline and Dodger. We counted to three, and we touched it.
[minor dialogue omitted]
I remember my Dad reading in the paper that this Rembrandt had been purchase for 2.3 million– and this was 1961 mind you!–and he turned to me, I was all of FIVE, and he said (ala gruff dad) “Come on Hank, we’re going to see what the hell is worth 2.3 million.” And he dragged me to the exhibit. We stood in front of it, his brow furrowed, the callouses on his hand… There was something about the way he stood there—staring—as if he felt separate—as if it was some Great Thing that would always be just beyond his reach…
I never asked him what the thought of it, the painting. If he liked it. If it pleased him. (I’d like to thing it did—that somehow he was—touched by it.) I regret that actually. Terribly.
It’s just a slight thing—canvas, paint—and yet it contains—what? Wordls. Truths.
I stood there today, and I thought, There is only one of this– in all of time. I touched that fragility and my heard just…
[to Simon, sleeping] My love? Are you there?
I want you to know. You’ve been a wonderful partner. You have. I have failed you so terribly. So terribly. But I am here now. I’m here.