Meeting Lord Lovelace

by | Feb 27, 2019 | Acting | 0 comments

About

Gregory Crafts

Gregory Crafts

Creative Multi-Hyphenate

An award-winning multi-hyphenate creative artist, with more than twenty-five years of experience as an actor, playwright, director, designer, and theatrical producer under his belt, Greg graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a Bachelor’s in Theatre Studies in 2003. Soon after, Greg migrated to Los Angeles seeking adventure in the entertainment industry. He currently resides in North Hollywood, CA with his wife, Jenn, and their three cats.

Lord Lovelace laying it out for Mr. Babbage (Alex Knox). Photo Credit: Roger Fojas

Side note, props to Alex Knox; his sock game is always on point.

Now then…

Lord Lovelace, I Presume.

Once again, I find myself taking on the role of a historical figure, and once again, I find myself going down a bunch of clickholes scouring the internet for as much information about them as possible. [Here’s everything I learned for my last role.]

This time around, I’m brushing off my RP and portraying Lord William King-Noel, the first Earl of Lovelace in Ada and the Engine at Theatre Unleashed, opening March 21st.

Lord Lovelace, better known as Ada’s husband.

I’ll be honest – at first, I wasn’t interested in this role. When I first read the play, I initially felt drawn to the character of Lord Byron much more than Lord Lovelace (usually one actor plays both roles, but in our production we’ve chosen to expand the cast and not have two actors double up on the supporting roles). It wasn’t until Heidi Powers, our director, asked me to read for him at the audition that something clicked, and suddenly I “got” Lovelace’s arc, and fell in love with the idea of experiencing it. 

Thankfully, Heidi liked what I brought to the table and offered me the role. From there I’ve been scouring the Internet for whatever I can find on Lord Lovelace so I can better portray him. 

So, what have I learned? Well…

1) He wasn’t Lord Lovelace when he married Ada. 

William King and Augusta Ada Byron married in 1835. Lord King wasn’t named Earl of Lovelace until 1838 (Source 1: Wikipedia, Source 2: In Byron’s Wake by Miranda Seymour).

Why is this a big deal? Well, it’s not, really. It’s just that in the show, I’m introduced to Ada as Lord William Lovelace, not William King. I understand why this historical fact was fudged a bit, and it’s alteration doesn’t change the plot at all. It’s just a fun bit of trivia. 

2) He was a Byron fanboy. 

In the show, Lovelace says that he is “not smitten by (Ada’s) fame, nor her father.”

Except that he totally was. According to In Byron’s Wake by Miranda Seymour, apparently before he met Ada, he set out to follow in Ada’s father’s footsteps around Europe and the Mediterranean, seeking to find his own “inner-Byron.”

“It was not by chance that Lord King, after leaving Cambridge, took up an invitation to work as secretary to his cousin and fellow-Byronist, Lord Nugent, High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands that Byron had visited during his doomed visit to Greece. There, living on Corfu while he saturated himself in Byron’s poetry, William commissioned a portrait of himself in full Byronic mode…”

It also notes that on his return to England, he renamed all the fields on his newly inherited Surrey estate after Byron poems.

In this context, that makes him marrying Lord Byron’s only daughter akin to the world’s biggest Elvis fan courting and marrying Priscilla Presley. 

Score.

3) Their sex life was electric. 

In the play, Ada asks Lovelace to call her his “Bird” or “Birdie.” In return, she starts referring to him as “Lord Eagle.” Well, according to the history books, the bird symbols didn’t stop there. In letters, at some point Ada started referring to Lovelace as “cock.” And yes. It’s as salacious as you think. 

In Byron’s Wake by Miranda Seymour quotes some of Ada’s letters to Lord Lovelace: “I want my cock at night to keep me warm.” In other letters, she referred to herself as a “bad bird,” referred to William “eating her up” at their next reunion, and told an acquaintance that she and William always slept naked.

They had three kids. 

 

Only three kids?

4) He spent his days digging tunnels. 

While Ada and Charles worked on the Difference Engine, and later the Analytical Engine, Lovelace… dug tunnels all over his property. To where, and for what purpose? Who knows? But he needed something to occupy his time, so that’s what he did. 

No, seriously. 

He dug tunnels. 

Or rather, he probably had the servants dig them while he “supervised.”

“It didn’t take Ada too long to realise that William was a somewhat aimless man. He spent a great deal of time and money designing and ordering the construction of tunnels at their country houses. The precise purpose of all these tunnels was never clear and it is possible that there wasn’t any purpose of them other than to provide William with something to do with his time.” (Source: Ada’s Algorithm by James Essinger)

I’d like to thank our assistant director, Tom Moore, for his help in this research and sharing his findings with me in rehearsal. 

All of these fascinating little factoids add such lovely depth and color to a character that is already well-developed and ultimately tragic. I’m looking forward to incorporating them into my performance. 

Which reminds me, you may want to get your tickets to Ada and the Engine now, as they’re starting to move, and move quickly. 

 

Something Awesome

 

So, a couple weeks ago I was on Facebook messenger with my buddy Mikey Korich, talking about a project we want to shoot, and out of nowhere, he asked me “Hey, what are you doing this Saturday morning?” 

“Sleeping, probably.”

“You want to be on a podcast?”

“Sure. Wait, what’s it about?”

“It’s called One Star Cinema. We get drunk and watch a really terrible movie on Netflix and record ourselves making fun of it.”

“I’m in.”

So, that Saturday, I rolled up to his co-host Jason’s apartment promptly at 10 AM. After Skyping in their third co-host, Jamie (who was joining us virtually from the East Coast), it was time to select the subject for this week’s episode. They presented me with two options: two slasher horror flicks and a psychological thriller.

Well, I don’t drink and I don’t do blood and gore, so after savoring another sip from my Keto-friendly Venti Americano (with steamed heavy cream and 4 pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup – only 4 net carbs), I informed the hosts that we’d be watching the thriller, Black Butterfly, and ripping it to shreds.

And rip it we did. Holy crap.

But you don’t have to take my word for it, just fire up Netflix, hit “play” on the movie when the podcast cues you to do so, and give us a listen.

If you enjoyed that, I strongly recommend subscribing to One Star Cinema on your podcast platform of choice, like iTunes, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher.

Great guys executing a simple and fun concept incredibly well. You really can’t go wrong.

I’ll let you know if/when they invite me back for another terrible, terrible movie!

Onward and upward!

About

Gregory Crafts

Gregory Crafts

Creative Multi-Hyphenate

An award-winning multi-hyphenate creative artist, with more than twenty-five years of experience as an actor, playwright, director, designer, and theatrical producer under his belt, Greg graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a Bachelor’s in Theatre Studies in 2003. Soon after, Greg migrated to Los Angeles seeking adventure in the entertainment industry. He currently resides in North Hollywood, CA with his wife, Jenn, and their three cats.

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