Debbie Havusha’s Blog: 13: The Musical is Coming to Town……
13: The Musical is Coming to Town……
by Debbie Havusha
There are 14 talented youth ranging in ages 13-20 who made their respective auditions to merit their roles in the upcoming play ’13 the musical’. These energetic members of the cast are working hard attending rigorous rehearsals for choreography and vocals.
The play is about a young man’s coming of age and all the elements that affect teenage life. Evan Goldman has to move from New York City with his mom to a small town in Indiana just before his Bar Mitzvah. Evan befriends Archie, a comrade who welcomes him with his kind demeanor and his forearm crutches. Archie has Muscular Dystrophy and despite his challenges exudes positivity. Matthew Tucker is the actor who plays the character Archie.
I sat down with Matthew last week after rehearsal to ask him some questions about his character and about himself. Matthew is 18 years old and just graduated from Windsor Secondary in North Vancouver. He will be attending SFU in the fall and studying Health Sciences.
I asked Matthew what he likes about his character. He responded with a very wide smile acknowledging his character of a mere 12 years, who is optimistic, forgiving and friendly. Playing Archie’s character who has strong morals and who doesn’t hold a grudge resonates with Matthew’s ‘raison d’etre’.
Matthew has had limited exposure of being with someone who has a disability but said that he did participate in the Walk for Muscular Dystrophy and is aware of the different types of MD, Duchenne being the most severe.
I questioned Matthew about what is most challenging about playing the role of Archie. He stated that pacing himself knowing that he needs much more time than others to get ready helps prime him for taking on the role. He uses his forearm crutches internalizing how awkward they make his character feel.
Matthew’s favourite part of playing Archie is when he sings his solo ‘Getting Ready’. The lyrics are sweet, honest and naïve and have Archie all excited about getting ready for his date with Kendra that is actually a foiled set up.
I asked Matthew what makes him a good match for this role. Matthew proudly proclaimed that playing this character shows that “there is more than just yourself”. Archie, he says, portrays a self-less individual who Matthew identifies with. When Matthew was 12 years old he endured three life altering events that have shaped his adolescent years. He lost his beloved grandparents in a house fire, his dog got cancer and his best friend moved away. These life altering events help explain how Matthew has the capacity to empathize with hardships and to play the character of Archie who lives with a terminal illness. Matthew Tucker is a heartfelt guy who embraces his character with love and reverence.
This play ‘13: the musical’ written by Jason Robert Brown, is a production that appreciates the trials, tribulations and celebrations of the teenage years.
Mazel Tov to the Bar Mitzvah boy, Evan Goldman and to the fantastic cast of this talented group of youth from Eternal Theatre! (www.eternaltheatre.com)