What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Stanley?
It's really not easy to play such a brute, and it's been much more difficult than I ever imagined. In real life, I consider myself to be a considerate and caring guy, and in the past, I've usually played the protagonist; for this role, I've really had to tap into the deepest and darkest parts of my soul to find that primal personality. But what makes it even more interesting—and challenging—is that, while on the surface Stanley may appear like an ape, deep down he truly is just as fragile as any of us. I suppose we all have two sides to us: the side we put on for the world to see, and the side that hides what we don't want them to see (for reasons good, bad, or otherwise). And then we pick and choose the moments (or sometimes it just happens) where we let our true self be exposed—if you find yourself among the lucky few who witness the veil coming off, be sure to cherish it.
One thing dramas do so well that comedies often can't is tune into the personality struggles in our own lives. I suppose one of my favorite comedic writers, Neil Simon, does this quite well and manages to still keep the laughter going; but Tennessee Williams finds a way to take some of the most impactful traits each of us have(even if it's to the slightest degree), and embody it and expand it tenfold into a character. While you watch the show, reflect upon each of the characters' weaknesses, how it eventually unravels them, and see if you can compare this cause-and-effect chain to your own struggles in life. I think you'll be just as surprised at what you find as I was!
How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
Until now, almost every production I have worked in has been a comedy; after all, I love to make people laugh. But my goal with this show is different: if you somberly walk out of the theater with that pit in your stomach and devoid of words, then we as a cast have done our job.
How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre? How did you get involved with LTA?
I've been acting since I was probably 4 or 5. I remember a home movie of me (that's hopefully still buried somewhere) where I was using some skillfully-crafted sock puppets to put on a show for my parents and some neighbors (I think now I know why the neighbors quickly moved thereafter). My parents were both Thespians and both worked in the television industry, which lead to a couple opportunities for me to play some TV background artist roles as a kid—but that was enough of a bite to keep me hooked. After freshmen year of college, I actually got away from acting for a while, being consumed by schoolwork and other hobbies. It wasn't until about a year and half ago I decided to pick it up again after seeing a friend in a show...I suddenly realized how much I missed it! And then, at the behest of a coworker, I took one of LTA's adult acting classes to shake off some of the dust, and...well, I guess you could say the rest is history!
What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
My advice? Don't let your fears stand in the way. On the weekends, I'm a skydiving instructor with over 2,200 jumps; I don't think twice about leaping from an aircraft from 14,000ft over the earth. Put me just off stage, moments from going on? I swear my thumping heart could be heard by the audience! I have friends who say to me, “I'll jump out of a plane any day, but I'll never go on a stage.” Skydiving and acting really are no different; it just takes a leap of faith: close your eyes, take a deep breath, and step out and over that ledge. You will honestly be surprised at just what you are capable of.