Sunday, March 30, 2008

Talking with actor Galen Murphy-Hoffman by Assistant Director Vaun Monroe

What attracted you to The Ascension of Carlotta?

My interest in the project was piqued by the sense of humor of the play, the witticisms of the language that lead to that moment of reality, of clarity. The audience will get caught up in the rhythm of the speech, then have those “AHA!” moments that reveal something really human. Also the simplicity of Will’s writing, clean, not in as non-dramatic, but the brevity and clarity.

And Joey’s character is someone I always wanted to play because he is nothing like myself in that he’s a bitter, on the edges type of guy. I wanted to explore that part. But he’s also a guy that has his own kind of fierce sense of honor and he won’t go against that, won’t violate that part of himself.

What’s it like working with Ann Filmer?

Her priority is to have the language be extremely clear. She’s a taskmaster for language, but aware of the need for rhythm. Technical, but always looking to get to a place of truth. Earnest. She encourages us to bring ideas and she gives the “yea” or “nay” but she’s open to ideas and willing to work with us through confusion. Carlotta is an interesting choice for an inaugural production. It sets a gutsy tone for the 16th Street Theater. New work that is immediate so the audience can come away with a visceral experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
I hear you had a dramatic costume one Halloween...

In the eighth grade when I was thirteen years old I dressed up as Willie Loman from Death of a Salesman for Halloween. I got the old suit, put the pillows inside, grayed my hair, and even got the salesman’s case. None of the other kids at my junior high knew who the heck I was.

Then as I went trick or treating, no one else recognized who I was either. I went from house to house and I’m starting to feel kind of down, no one knowing.

Finally very, very late in the evening an older man, must have been in his fifties opened the door and looked at me hard. After a long pause he said “A man’s gotta sell what a man’s gotta sell! How are you, Willie?”

On the way home I was buzzing with excitement and my Dad kept chuckling “That guy knew”.

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