Since far too often we only publicly say nice things about people when they are dead I’ve decided to randomly pick a Facebook friend every day and say something nice about them.
June 2, 2019
Today’s person: Robert Sicular!
In the dressing room at the Geary Theatre for ACT’s “Christmas Carol, sitting next to Sicular as he read the works of the Marquis de Sade, each of us in our frilly period costumes trying to verbally out de Sade each other.
As I recall (but I could be wrong) Sicular was preparing for his next show, I think it was “Quills,” and this was giving him an excuse to dive into the life and character of a famous libertine and hedonistic namesake of sadism. But as much as he was relishing the role I got the feeling that what attracted Sicular to de Sade wasn’t sexy torture but the never ending quest for unbridled fun, the constant possibility of an amazing adventure at any moment. I really appreciate that quest in Sicular whenever I see him - the look in his eyes that blazes with “Is there fun/candy/sex/balloons/radical insanity/a trip to the end of the galaxy inherent in the next moment?”
I can totally relate - so much so that sometimes I don’t know what to say to him when we meet. On some level it’s like one of us is a redundant, outrageous, filth-minded, always looking for a punchline twelve year old. Oh, he can be very serious, and is incisive, political, and a brilliant actor who brings a probing need to each line he says onstage. But he will also pull a knowing face and a sinister accent at the thought of having a “probing need” onstage, coupled with a comment about how he put himself through college with money from his “probing need” act at some seedy back alley club in Havana. If he’s reading this he probably already said something like that in the back of his mind, or maybe aloud.
But what I like most about Robert’s performances is the sense of characters trying desperately to figure out how anyone - himself included - is navigating the inhuman maze of life. His characters are always full of a love blunted by a world that doesn’t value love, brilliant in a world that values idiocy, sensitive and gentle in a world that insists upon a harsh version of reality. I’m not saying the characters are all written that way, but that he, in particular, teases a certain sense of fragile humanity clothed in recklessly applied, however thick armor to each one of them. They want the same answers we all want, and the wrong answer will kill a part of them.
I could be wrong about him playing de Sade. It was over a decade ago. Now that I think about that show might have been cancelled due to the whole de Sade thing.
Maybe Sicular was too into it.
Or did I dream all that?