Wednesday, February 11, 2015

God of Carnage - meet cast member Jack Stein

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
I play Alan Raleigh, a bulldog of a corporate lawyer who likes to be in control of his situations.  As a social worker by profession, I'm pretty much the antithesis of Alan, particularly with respect to his ethics and attitudes.  It's been an interesting challenge to tap into what makes him tick and find some humanity in the man!  This play is incredibly written and is like being on a 90 minute roller coaster.

What do you want the audience to experience/take away from God of Carnage?
Humans are unique beings but there's only a fine line separating us as such.  We need to keep reminding ourselves of this uniqueness, especially when witnessing so many unfortunate savage atrocities going on in the world.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
This is a true ensemble experience, which means the play is only as powerful as we are as a functioning team.  It's been terrific growing together with my cast mates under the guidance of our great production team.

How long have you been acting? How did you get involved with LTA?

I've been performing since I can remember.  There's nothing like helping create an emotional experience for an audience.  My first LTA experience was directing a production of The Who's Tommy.  It was such a positive experience and I keep coming back!

 Info and tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com

Friday, February 6, 2015

God of Carnage - meet director Christopher Dykton


What were you trying to accomplish with the telling of this play, God of Carnage?
God of Carnage follows in the literary traditions of black comedy and satire. This biting, funny, and very disturbing piece sees two sets of parents, Alan and Annette Raleigh and Michael and Veronica Novak, meet to discuss and work out a resolution when their sons get into a fight.  What happens next is that we find out that the parents are worse than the kids in dealing with each other.  It looks at a classic theme of handling conflict with civility and explores how close we are to absolute, rude barbarism in our social interactions as manners and decency disappear when we aren't getting what we want or we are just plain having a bad day.

What were the challenges as a director?
There's a psychological darkness for each of the four characters that is partnered with humor and physical comedy.  Working with actors to go to these dark places and twist it with comedy is a big challenge for me as a director.  What's needed, of course, are four actors at the top of their craft.  I'm lucky to have them in this production with Allison, Chuck, Jack, and Karen.

What should the audience take away from this play?
I think this play gives a chance to look at how we behave at times in not the best way, while at the same time allowing us to laugh at ourselves.  We know that underneath our social self is that Neanderthal waiting to pop out.

Info and tickets: www.thelittletheatre.com

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

God of Carnage - meet cast member Allison Block

Tell us a little bit about your character, Annette Raleigh.
Annette is the reserved, tightly-wound wife of Alan and mother of eleven year old Benjamin (the assailant in the boys' quarrel).  She comes to the Novak's home to settle the issue between the boys and make peace.  In watching her husband express his indifference for being there and his growing combative attitude, she begins to unravel in very unexpected and physical ways.

What are some of the challenges for you in working on God of Carnage?
The subject matter is close to the heart (I am a mother of two school-aged children), but very dark, so it often takes me places I am reluctant to feel as a parent.  The premise of the play is also deceptively simple and the challenges of sometimes playing a darker moment filled with oddly comic elements are everywhere in the script.

What do yo hope audiences will take away from this play?
It's a moment in time.  An evening when four people are not at their best, but are meeting for a noble purpose -  for the sake of their children.  I would see this show and feel tremendous empathy for all of these characters and hope for their redemption.

Tickets and info: www.thelittletheatre.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

God of Carnage - meet cast member Chuck Dluhy

Meet Chuck Dluhy, playing Michael Novak in LTA's upcoming God of Carnage!

Tell us a little bit about your character.
Michael Novak is the father of Henry who was injured by another boy during a playground altercation.  He is very "blue collar", down to earth, laid back, somewhat of a bigot and tends to avoid confrontations.  He appears to be a "yes man" to his wife early in the play, but then becomes very vocal and opinionated when threatened.  After receiving several personal attacks on his character and masculinity from the other boy's parents, he's quick to anger and reveals other dark feelings that even his wife may be unaware of.

What have you learned about yourself in playing the role of Michael Novak?
That as an actor, you sometimes have to draw on those dark aspects of yourself that remain hidden and that you may not want to admit that you have them.  This helps me provide a more authentic character to the audience.

What do you find appealing about your character and this show?
Since this black comedy has a simple plot, the play is actually more of a character study of human condition.  This structure provides meaty roles for actors!  I like playing Michael because of his somewhat Jekyll and Hyde personality.  He can sometimes be as nice as can be, and then turn on you in an instant.

What were some of the challenges for you in working on God of Carnage?
In black comedy, it is challenging to walk that fine line between keeping it honest and real, but also going a little over the top to bring out the comedy when dealing with such serious subject matter.  Also, all of the characters in this play are not very likeable people at times, so it was important for me to find Michael's vulnerabilities and humaneness so the audience can relate to him.  And finally, this intense show is also mentally and physically exhausting to perform.

How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on?
I've done everything from musicals to dramas to all genres of comedy, so every show is different!  This one requires a very strong intimacy among all four characters/actors which I really enjoy.

What do you want the audience to take away from this show?
As in real life, appearances can be deceiving.  Everyone has a dark side that they tend to hide from others, but could surface at any moment when provoked.

How long have you been acting and what made you get involved with theatre?  How did you get involved with LTA?
I've been acting, singing and dancing for 36 years.  It all started when I was in my high school choir.  Everyone was auditioning for the spring musical, so I said "why not?"  I got "bit by the bug" and haven't stopped since.  I've only worked at LTA twice before but I love coming back to this very professional working atmosphere.

What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
For actors, just audition, audition, audition!  Go to as many as you possibly can.  Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.  We all get rejected, but many times you will also get the part.  For technical folks, volunteer!  Most theatre groups will train you and welcome you with open arms!

Tickets and info: www.thelittletheatre.com