This spring I graduate from the University of Washington Professional Actor Training Program (PATP) with an MFA in Acting. Here are some recent shows I did there, as well as in the surrounding region of the PNW!
The Twentieth-Century Way
My heart was pounding as I turned the last page of this script reading it for the first time. From Los Angeles-based playwright Tom Jacobson, it’s a 90-minute, no-intermission tour-de-force for two actors that tells the true story of two men hired to “impersonate degenerates” in Long Beach in 1914 in order to entrap, convict and then imprison homosexual men. I played Brown, who plays 13 characters, 10 of which have dialects—Italian, Turkish, and Scottish to name a few. It is a competition between the two actors (Brown and Warren) who meet in an audition room in Los Angeles just as World War I is starting and as attitudes toward sexual behavior, particularly the “vice” of oral sex between men, are being spotlighted in the papers. It comes as no surprise that many layers, masks and indeed clothes are shed as the two improvise many characters to get at the heart of the question: how far are we willing to go to expose the truth?
UW, December 6-9, 2013
Hutchinson Hall 218
Directed by Tina Polzin
Featuring Sam Read & Jonathan Shue
Photos by Mike Hipple
The Real Inspector Hound
We had a blast delving into the absurd world of one of Tom Stoppard’s early one act plays, The Real Inspector Hound. I had the privilege of being directed in the role of Major Magnus Muldoon by Seattle favorite and UW MFA Directing alum Desdemona Chiang. Along with MFA Costume Designer Melinda Hare, the two of them presented me with the idea of an elaborate disguise for Magnus. Spoiler alert: not only would he be in a wheelchair (for which the script calls), but he would have a wooden leg, hook for one of his hands, an eye patch and a fake beard, all of which he discards at the end. This was a match made in heaven, because I absolutely love working with props. And the challenge of operating a 1940’s wheelchair with a hook-hand was one I couldn’t pass up. Having recently watched Dr. Strangelove and working on dialect projects in our voice class, I decided to further disguise Magnus with an accent that couldn’t quite be placed: was it German? Russian? Latin American? The result garnered many laughs and we even received a standing ovation on opening night!
UW, October 16-27, 2013
Directed by Desdemona Chiang
Featuring the PATP ’14
The Taming of the Shrew
Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays and it was no different performing it. Our production was set in 1950’s Italy, and while most audiences laughed at the outmoded ways in which men treated women in that era, some were aghast. To me, that meant we were doing our job because we were asking the audience to do more than just enjoy Shakespeare under the stars (we provided that too—it is a comedy after all!). We were asking them to ask themselves: who tames who in this story? My favorite part was hearing both the gasps and the amen’s during Kate’s final speech: “I am ashamed that women are so simple / To offer war where they should kneel for peace; / Or seek for rule, supremacy and sway, / When they are bound to serve, love and obey.” As Lucentio, I had my own truth to confront—once I marry Bianca, I realize it may not be the fairy tale of which I dreamed.
Island Stage Left, July 5-August 18, 2013
Directed by Helen Machin-Smith
Friday Harbor, WA
I am sad that this show had to come to an end, but proud to say that we had standing ovations and sold-out houses for nearly every performance. To play Oliver Davenport in this show during my second year in the MFA Acting program here at UW was an unforgettable and humbling experience. Director Andy McGinn’s vision and guidance steered a massive ship toward the place where real, live theatre ought to live—on the edge, questioning you, challenging you, including you, changing you. I loved every minute of it.
It begins in an abandoned church in a fictional Eastern European country. A painting is revealed, one very similar to Giotto’s Lamentation in the Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy. Careful investigation shows that it might in fact pre-date the famous painting credited with starting the Renaissance. Could this new discovery change how history was written for the past 500 years, and in turn cast light on the age-old feuding between East and West?
UW, February 20th-March 3, 2013
Directed by Andrew McGinn
Featuring the PATP ’14, ’15 and BA’s