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Polanski Polanski

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Grant Neale
August 11, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Actor/Artistic Director.

What is your show about?
A fast moving, hyper-physical, psycho-emotional imagining of three threshold moments in the life of the brilliant film maker Roman Polanski.

Where were you born? Where were you raised? Where did you go to school?
I was born and raised the youngest of 7 children in New Baltimore, Michigan which is on Lake St. Clair, and is just a wonderful place to grow up. I went to Anchor Bay High School where thankfully we had great guy for a Drama Teacher, Joe Abel. I studied theater at great small school in Adrian, Michigan called Siena Heights College from which I had an acting scholarship, it wasn't much money, but it inspired me to go there and I've always been glad that I did. Then I continued studies in NYC with James Price at The Acting Studio (Meisner Approach), and started my movement studies at Dance Space (Lynn Simonson Modern Jazz Technique).

What are some of your previous theater credits? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
I've had the great fortune to have a huge variety of theatrical experience. I was a member of The Jean Cocteau Rep for 3 years where we did 15 classical plays in rotating rep from Schiller's MARY STUART, to Wilder's THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH, to Shaw's MISALLIANCE. After the Cocteau I was blessed to be part of the legendary Ridiculous Theatrical Company for 5 years where I got to act in some of the funniest shows ever like Georg Osterman's BROTHER TRUCKERS, and Everett Quinton's LINDA. Since then I've acted in and directed shows all around NYC, the U.S. (30 states so far), and in 7 countries, like Arlecchino in Julia Pearlstien's RAT BASTARDS at Dixon Place, PURGE at La Mama directed by Zisan Ugurlu, or Ripe Times INNOCENCE at The Ohio Theater, to most recently play Sal Morella in NORTH SHORE FISH at Shaker Bridge Theater in New Hampshire, to touring A CHRISTMAS CAROL in Germany. I have a really fun niche playing comic speaking roles in Operettas like DIE FLEDERMAUS and have gotten to do that all around the country.

How did you meet your fellow artists/collaborators on this show?
I met Saviana Stanescu our playwright when I was cast to play Nicolae Ceausescu in her play WAXING WEST which played at La Mama and subsequently toured to Romania and Sweden. When I became interested in making a piece about Roman Polanski I knew I wanted Savaiana to write it. I met our director Tamilla Woodard when we were both participants in Lincoln Center Theater Director's Lab in 2007. We made a connection there and when this project began to take shape I knew Tamilla was the one to direct it.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SURPRISING. Based on our previous experience with this show the most usual response to our show is certainly surprise.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
I would create an ensemble theater company wherein the artistry of the actor is of primary importance.