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Jud Fry 
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Fresh Face
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:47 pm
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Post Jud Fry
I have been casted as Jud Fry in my High School's Oklahoma.

We are in "tech" week and the play is a few days away. Just lately, my director has been telling me to get proceedingly more evil. I feel like the character of Jud is meant to be thought of as evil but once i sing "Lonely Room" the the audience feels an eerie sense of sympathy for me. Don't get me wrong, I do my fare share of scaring and all of that jazz.

However, tonight after practice my director suggested grabbing Laurey's neck and grabbing her hair at random times on stage. This made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I understand that Jud loves Laurey pervertedly and doesn't really know what physical actions to take towards her...but I feel as though "molesting" her on stage isn't the right way.

Do you guys have any tips for what scene or what way i can portray myself as more evil?


Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:56 pm
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Post Re: Jud Fry
Dear reedoc3,

I have my own strong opinions about the other characters' unfair treatment of Jud Fry, but that's another story...

I don't personally think that Jud Fry is necessarily "evil," but I do think that he's a vengeful, miserable man, and that his misery, and his inability to control a society which won't acccept him, have driven him to vengence, and to desperation; Jud Fry's desperation will drive him to attempt to committ an unspeakable act, which won't be understood by the townsfolk, anyway, because they are determined to shut the entire ranch-hand class out of their circle anyway. In other words, Jud Fry is wasting his anger on people who will never understand him anyway.

It's up to you to decide the degree to which Jud Fry feels real love for Laurey. Does he just want Laurey because she could be his "arm bling" in public (Ie: That rich girl who will improve his social status, and his pleasure)? Does he only lust after Laurey because she's pretty, innocent, and inexperienced? Does he love Laurey for real? Are all of those elements melted together within Jud Fry's mind?

I agree with your director, with regards to the fact that Jud Fry's obsession must grow gradually. I know that Jud has probably been obsessed with Laurey for awhile before the musical opens, and yet, in order to build his obsession, you might want to play the role of Jud Fry as though he has a new reason to become "re-obsessed" with Laurey (?)

Jud is someone who is lusting after a girl, and possibly a society (?), whom (which) he will never be able to get close to. We don't know a thing about Jud's childhood, but we know that the adult Jud is stuck in a rut. He lives, from day to day, knowing that he's the dirty, scummy, belly-crawling little handyman whom nobody will either love, respect, or remember. If your entire society continually reinforced THAT stereotype about YOU, I can bet you that you'd be more than slightly loaded for bear, with regards to wanting revenge upon your oppressors.

Jud looks at his society from the outside. He sees lusty RICH men, who may or may not be perverse, with regards to their desires, getting the affections of girls with little, or no, effort, and he knows that he'd have to work ten times as hard as those men in order to get a girl. He has physical strength instead of money, but his brand of physical strength comes back to bite him in the rear, because it causes the facinated Laurey to also be afraid.

HOW TO PORTRAY JUD FRY'S "EVIL" SIDE: Okay, so I've gotten onto my soapbox, but I know that there is indeed a way by which you can make Jud Fry such a deliciously "evil" villain that your audience won't see Jud Fry as a one-dimentional villain; I really hope that a one-dimentional villain isn't what your director wants to see...

So, the root of Jud Fry's "evil side" (that is, the side of Jud Fry which allows him to become violent, sneaky, and criminally-inclined) stems from his frustrated desperation. He's so frustrated at being labelled, stereotyped, ignored, shut out, rejected, degraded, unloved, etc., and he's so desperate to be loved, wanted, accepted, admired, respected, etc., that he's willing to become a criminal in the face of a society which will hate him no matter WHAT he does.

As for his deviant desires, I don't personally think that Jud Fry is really any more deviant than any other man in the territory. He's just more willing to express blatent lust, because he's on the outside of a society which encourages a more coy expression of lust; in some ways, his more "animalistic" desires make fun of Curley's more "civilized" desires, and Laurey, having been raised to desire a "polite" man, doesn't know what to make of a more wild sort of lust.

You can make Jud Fry more "evil" by making him seem more dangerous. He's desperate, and he will do ANYTHING to realize the dreams in which he believes so passionately. Look at your script, and note lines, blocking, etc., during which you can make a frustrated fist, give a sneaky glance, raise your voice, growl, etc. Jud's dangerous side must build gradually, but there will probably be certain script points along the way which can be used to show the audience that Laurey and Curley are dealing with a man who can easily become dangerous.

I don't want to have to agree with your director about your having to grab "Laurey's" neck, but I have to agree with them, because that one physical move will show the audience how desperate Jud is. I think that tons of rehearsing will allow you, and the actress who plays "Laurey", plenty of time to decide upon the perfect chemistry for that scene. There must be chemistry, so that each of you is believable. "Laurey" should know the blocking exactly, but she should still be able to get into the scene so well that her reaction to you FEELS real. You should decide WHY Jud is grabbing Laurey's neck. Is he suddenly overcome with lust? Is he so desperate, and yet so verbally inarticulate, that he just reacts instinctively? Is he literally trying to make Laurey "feel" the love which he can't really express? Could he practically be crying, even while he's behaving animalistically? Perhaps your director WANTS Jud to seem as though he's attacking Laurey in an indecent way. After all, Jud is a villain.

As for the song "Lonely Room", I think that it provides Jud with a moment during which he can make the audience understand him. I don't think that the "Lonely Room" number's sympathy factor has to overpower Jud's cruelty. I think that the final result of Jud's desperation will show the audience that he was up to no good. Of course, Jud Fry is such a complex character that sympathy and hatred go hand in hand, with regards to the ways by which audiences receive Jud Fry. Some theatre-goers will leave the theatre feeling sorry for Jud Fry, while some will be speaking about him by using words which they wouldn't be allowed to say at work.

Thanks in advance for your reply, and I hope that your portrayal of Jud Fry is successful. Good luck, with regards to the play.
8)














reedoc3 wrote:
I have been casted as Jud Fry in my High School's Oklahoma.

We are in "tech" week and the play is a few days away. Just lately, my director has been telling me to get proceedingly more evil. I feel like the character of Jud is meant to be thought of as evil but once i sing "Lonely Room" the the audience feels an eerie sense of sympathy for me. Don't get me wrong, I do my fare share of scaring and all of that jazz.

However, tonight after practice my director suggested grabbing Laurey's neck and grabbing her hair at random times on stage. This made me feel slightly uncomfortable. I understand that Jud loves Laurey pervertedly and doesn't really know what physical actions to take towards her...but I feel as though "molesting" her on stage isn't the right way.

Do you guys have any tips for what scene or what way i can portray myself as more evil?

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Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:04 am
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Fresh Face
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Post Jud Fry
I played Jud Fry at one time, and we showed him as a desperate man in love with a girl that would never love him back. Secretly, Jud knows this and so that frustration that stems from his inability to ever have Laurey is what fuels his anger all the time. During the dream sequence, we brought Jud's ferocity and anger to it's pinacle, simply because in the dream it is how Laurey sees Jud. If she sees him as this horrible monster, then in the dream he must act that way. We blocked it where I dragged her across the floor by hair, which was done by me actually pulling her by the underside of her upstage arm. Also we did an out of the blue Jud grabbing Laurey reaction thing during their argument at the end when she fires him. Knowing all that I know now, I wish I could replay the role and do a better job with it.


Tue May 27, 2008 8:29 pm
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