by James Bovill (Guest Blogger)
Hi. I'm James Bovill. I and Chris Pallant will be portraying Doctor Dillamond in Wicked starting this July. I am over the moon to be playing Dillamond. Partly this is because of when I get to play the role. RMT's production of Wicked will be the first to be based in Queensland. The competition was fierce and the performers are intimidatingly good; I am watching my castmates achieve things in days that elsewhere might take months. The venue is the RCC Matthew Flinders Theatre, a space that many would kill for the opportunity to perform in. The staging and costuming for this show will create a legacy that will be informed in many ways by our performers' choices. I'm deeply honoured by the opportunity. However I'm also keen to play Dillamond because I think his role is central to the plot. This might seem a bold claim, you might think, seeing as he is neither green nor blonde. Well, I believe I can back this up.
Dillamond is a Goat who teaches history at Elphaba and Glinda's alma mater, Shiz University. Through Dillamond, we're introduced to the pretext for the show's underlying conflict: something bad is happening to the Animals of Oz. Dillamond talks about it to his class at length. In his second scene, he is arrested and removed, and the ball starts rolling.
Uniquely among the principals, Dillamond doesn't have more than a professional relationship with any of the other characters, except for a shared respect and moment of truth with Elphaba in his first scene. Because he is socially distant, his strong political views attract more criticism than anything, especially from Galinda, who accuses him of harping on about the past, and ultimately from Madame Morrible, who is implied to have turned him in.
Despite his lack of finesse and of closeness with the leads, however, Dillamond doggedly sets dominoes toppling even when he is not on stage. Galinda becomes Glinda because of him. At the end of Act I, his arrest, combined with the revelation of the Wizard's schemes, drives Elphaba to break with the Wizard even if she must become the Wicked Witch. His appearance in Act II as a caged animal gives an indecisive Elphaba the push she needs. Dillamond is important enough to her that she mourns him in her mad scene, “No Good Deed”, alongside her own sister and her lover.
People have told me Dillamond is a depressing, nihilistic character because of his ultimate fate. I believe quite the opposite. I believe the lesson that Dillamond teaches is this: if you're going through hell, keep going. Tell what you know to be the truth. Stand up for what you know to be right, no matter the cost. The moment in which your conviction and passion shines through might be the moment that someone else needs to recognise what they truly believe and what people are capable of. You don't owe it only to yourself – all that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Glory is reserved to those who try.
That's what Dillamond means to me, and that's why I am so proud to play him.