Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Interview with Elliott Bales (The Actor, no, really, that is the character) from The Woman in Black

Woman in Black, at its core, is about creating a tangible expression of our worst fears. Every one of us has something that terrifies us, whether spiders, drowning, small spaces, or heights. The play, like the ghost stories we tell around campfires and the creepy movies we watch, allows us to feel and face our terror without having to actually experience it. There are no blood spattering murders, no profanity-laced tirades, no zombies eating bodies, and no instruments of torture. Just the combination of light, sound, words, and movement weaving a true horror story that will make you much less…comfortable than you would like to be. Its most frightening elements are those that are most plausible, told in a way that brings each audience member, and even those of us on stage, far closer to the source of our personal terrors than we generally care to travel.
And then we all go out for a drink.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of “The Actor”?

The Actor actually portrays 8 different characters. I have learned that there are a whole lot of us here inside me, and keeping us all lined up to enter on the right cue is a bit of a challenge. As the saying goes, I am a little schizophrenic, and so am I.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this play?

I want them to be scared out of their wits. Then, when the house lights come up, laugh with their friends and neighbors about how many cool points they lost in the course of the show. And then, I would like them all to join Erik, Erin, Kristina, the Crew and me at Southside 815 for a little talk back after each performance. And perhaps a drink, to steady our nerves.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?

I started acting in my living room at about 3. I did not take to the stage in a play until my senior year in high school. I went on to get a degree in Drama at University, doing 68 plays in 7 years. I then took a 26 year hiatus to serve as an Army officer, husband and father, so there was not much time for theater. On my retirement from the Army, I wanted to come back and see if I could still stride the boards and remember my lines. The initial results have been encouraging. Then Erik Harrison pointed me towards this audition. What a fantastic facility, passionate group of volunteers and amazing talent is assembled here on Wolfe Street. I hope to have a relationship with LTA far into the future.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?


As Arthur Kipps character states, “…time and tears”. It does take a little ego to cross the threshold and say “I am good enough to be in your show”. It is a shot to that ego to be told “No, you are not”.  For this reason, ego’s should be hung up in the closet at home before departing for the theater and retrieved later. Each bit you get to do should receive your very best and dedicated effort, you’re A-game every night. Never mark it or phone it in.

Oh yes, and always bring a bag of Twizzlers to share. No one can resist that.

1 comment:

  1. Great interview, and we're proud, but I'm not into ghost stories