Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dirty Blonde - meet cast member Dan Calderon

What do you find appealing about your character and Dirty Blonde?
I like that my character seems simple but has a lot of complexity to him.  I think if people met this guy in real life, they would very likely overlook him.  In doing so, they would lose out on getting to know someone who can be very passionate and would love to both share his passion and allow them to build on their own.

I like that the show takes time to explore the life of Mae West without the use of rose-colored glasses.  The script gives Mae her just due as someone who was way ahead of her time but doesn't glass over her flaws.  It is an honest and loving look on an icon.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Charlie?
I've learned that all of my flaws and mistakes have led me right to where I am supposed to be right now.  Charlie isn't perfect but he goes through his life being himself, even though he knows he's not the coolest person around.  He is honest about who he is and he understands some of that person is now what others consider acceptable.  For the longest time he is ashamed of it, until he finds someone who can accept him and all of his foibles.

What do you think of Mae West and has anything surprised you about her?
Mae's insecurities surprised me.  I knew only a very little about her before I began the show.  I knew she was a superstar sex symbol in her day.  I didn't realize just how hard she tried to hold on to that status.  I didn't know anything about her Vegas shows or about "Sexette" in her later years.  I learned just how much someone will cling to something they devoted so many years to building even in the face of time's inexorable march forward.

Jo and Charlie are fans of Mae West.  What would you say you are a fan of?
I'm a fan of Captain America.  I've been reading comics about him since I was about three or so, at least that's what I have been told by my parents.  I don't think my obsession matches Jo's or Charlie's but I do have hundreds of comics and even wore a Captain America costume on the base when I was deployed overseas.

What do you want the audience to take away with this show?
I want the audience to see the fullness of love.  I want them to understand a little bit more about how it is more than not judging.  It is about seeing and accepting all there is about a person and letting all of that make them better.  It is also about accepting your own frailties, or what people would consider oddities, and facing the world unafraid of them.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
The majority of shows I've worked on have been shows based on something I've seen either on stage or on screen.  This show is something I'm totally unfamiliar with so I am relying on the director and my costars to help me through the process.  It's been a lot of fun learning about Charlie and how he views the world.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved in theatre?
I started acting when I was around five.  It was a church play about the Lady of Guadalupe.  I played Juan Diego, the Mexican peasant who was contacted by the Virgin Mary and I have loved the stage ever since.  There is just something about breathing life into a being whose only reality is on the page and convincing an audience, if only for an hour or two, that my character is real and has some kind of history that drove him to do whatever he is doing on stage, and that he has a future once the play is done.

How did you get involved with LTA?
I got involved with LTA pretty much by proximity.  I'm new to the area and this is the closest theatre to where we were staying.  I saw a production here and I was both excited and intimidated.  I was worried I wouldn't be good enough to be on this historic stage.  I'm very happy to be debuting in Dirty Blonde and I'm looking forward to performing in more productions in the future.

What advice would you give others who want to get involved in theatre?
Get out there and try.  It can be daunting to consider being up on stage with an audience staring at you and relying on you for their reality.  But, if you never try, you'll never know how good you can be at it.  At first, you might have a hard time but when you realize it's not all about remembering lines and movements, when you understand that it's about internalizing the fantasy world on the pages of your script, then it becomes magic.  Then it can become a passion.  Get out there and try.

Tickets and info: www.thelittletheatre.com

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