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Coby Getzug: the distance between LACHSA and CTG is…

July 30, 2010

Coby Getzug

They’re about a mile apart, LA County’s High School for the Arts and the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum. But most graduating seniors, talented as they are, don’t make that leap. Coby Getzug did. “I’m having the best time,” he says, talking about his role as Davey in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Mark Taper Forum. He’s barely old enough to vote, but still says, “I’ve never been in a play where the audience reactions are so vocal, so strong. You’re really at one with this audience.”

Getzug graduated this year from LACHSA. “Last fall I was able to understudy in Brighton Beach Memoirs in New York, which was really amazing. Neil Simon was there and I got to work with [director] David Cromer who’sone of the nicest guys. It didn’t last very long but it was a very amazing experience. I spent my first semester of senior year there and came back here for second semester.”

In The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Getzug’s character finds a dead cat alongside the road and, being the nice guy he is, returns it to its rightful owner. Or so he thinks. Turns out the cat instead belongs to Irish terrorist Padraic, played by Chris Pine.  No matter what he says, Davey is blamed for the feline’s demise.

“Yeah, Padraic has a huge compassion for his cat. He’d even harm people to save an animal. Davey winds up in a really awful situation and cannot get a break,” Getzug explains.

The challenge for Getzug wasn’t the acting or comedic timing so much as the Irish dialect. “Our director, Wilson Milam, talked to us about how important the language was. We went through each line, dissecting them like you would Shakespeare, finding the beats. The way [playwright Martin] McDonagh wrote it, it’s so specific with the Irish syntax. When you hit all of these words and beats the right way, it helps in a tremendous way. Now that the whole cast has that in their muscle memories, we’ve been able to have fun with it.”

Some of the cast got help from dialect coach Carla Meyer. “It also helps having three Irishmen in the show. They’re kind of the police. If they hear anything funky, I was more than happy to listen to their advice.”

The audience, he says, is hard to ignore as well. While they do react to the violence in the play, “they also laugh a lot. They’re with you every step of the way.”

Brett Ryback, who’s suspended upside down for a portion of the play, told me, “The show is one of those experiences where you cringe, and you laugh, then you cringe that you laughed. As long as you can have a sense of humor of the awful, awful, gritty details, it can be a lot of fun. But I know some people have a hard time with that because of their principles.”

At 18, Getzug has moved from principals to principles. And loves it. “I’m in six of the nine scenes, I think. I get the first laugh and the last laugh, which is really awesome.”

The Lieutenant of Inishmore continues through August 8 at the Mark Taper Forum. Tickets here or at (213) 628-2772.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2010 11:30 am

    And a totally amazing professional LA debut it is for this kid!

  2. July 30, 2010 11:30 am

    Indeed it is… silly mistake. Thank you.

  3. Kristi C. permalink
    July 30, 2010 12:56 pm

    Amazing kid. Talented and good sense of timing.

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