7 TRICKS TO AVOID IN THE TRADE

joker_playing_card___female_by_mybeautifulmonsters-d5d1eoaThere are hundreds of young, novice actors who move to New York City every year to chase after their dream, to create and tell stories, to develop characters that inspire and change lives. What ever your reason, it’s important to be realistic and aware of people that like to take advantage of the big dreamers. Know your dream, but more importantly, know the business of your dream. It is very important to read the trades and know the in’s and out’s of the industry you are in. Always do your research (IMDB is your friend-use it!). For every Agent, Casting Director, Director, Photographer, School/Studio, Audition, Everything! Unfortunately there are people out there looking to make a quick buck off of other people’s hopes. So be smart!n

1. Outside of web engines, you should never pay anything to a casting director, agent, or manager to be represented by them or submitted by them. Never! Agents and managers only make a percentage if you book a job.

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 2. If an agency wants you to take specific classes with them or use their headshot photographer…RUN! IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!

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3. Please! Do your research on everyone first! Especially before you sign on a dotted line!

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4. If a “casting company” or “agency” wants to add you to their website so you can have access to (insert popular new feature film here) casting now…it will most likely be extra work. Larger roles go through agencies.

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5. Avoid, like the plague, “packages”, i.e., “For only $3000 you get photos, classes, and you get signed with an agent!”

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6. Warning: Sometimes non-union work will not be cast through an agent. So you must know the industry standards on pay and usage. For example: Company A is doing a phone commercial and they are hiring you, but not through an agent. They offer you $1000 right now and the contract is a buyout with unlimited usage. You think…I’m hungry, and I need to pay rent. $1000…fantastic! But by thinking like this you are devaluing your years of training, your investment in your career, and your worth as an actor. Taking this job would create a lifetime conflict for you in all phone and communication commercials FOREVER! Meaning you would never be able to do another phone or communication commercial ever, plus it means this company A would have the right to use your image without paying you a single dollar in residuals. The industry standard for this job should have been close to $10,000. Don’t let yourself down. If you are not sure of the industry standard, check with your local SAG/AFTRA office or call your agent.

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7. Always do your research! Value yourself and your training! Don’t be fooled by the quick and easy scheme. Remember, success is what happens when hard work and preparation meets opportunity.

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Written By Helen Abell

10 Questions with 8 Apothecary Actors

10 Questions with 8 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

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CarrieActor #1: Carrie Watt

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnI was 5 years old watching a production of ‘Carousel’ at Northwestern University with my mother and when I got home I performed the entire show for my family and it was the best feeling in the whole world.nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker?nnThe first time I felt like a true New Yorker was when I gave seamless subway directions to multiple tourists groups in midtown. So I think knowing the city up and down, but more importantly knowing short cuts! Whenever someone asks me for directions I always secretly ecastic on the inside for passing as a real New Yorker.nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnI would be a detective. Or a psychologist. Or a pediatrician. The best thing about being an actor is the fact that I could potentially get to play all of those characters!nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?nnThe internet. I can’t imagine my life without it and it is absolutely amazing, but oh the time that can pass while researching some seemingly important fact…nn5. Movies or theatre?nnI’m going to say theatre… I love movies, but theatre is constantly changing and its different every night. Whether I am on stage or in an audience, I find the energy that pulses through a live performance space intoxicating.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?nnI’m obsessed with Jay-Z right now. He is an incredible talent both musically and in the business sense. He fosters new artists and always makes a point of recognizing and giving back to the community he came from . I think that giving back to the community is on of the most essential parts of being an artist, and a human for that matter. No one person can make it on their own, ensemble is where all the magic happens.nn7. What’s your favorite vice?nnGummy Bears.nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York?nnNot having a car. I love getting behind the wheel and rocking out to my car music, but zip cars are always thrilling!nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnHedda Gabler. I have been obsessed with Ibsen’s play since I first read it in sixth grade and one day I will play the incredible heroine.nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?nn‘Not everyone is going to love you, and that is okay.’ I still tell myself that on a regular basis.n

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ChrisActor (and Director) #2: Chris Klinger

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnAs far as actually having the desire to act, I think it was when I found out that the people I was watching on TV were real people just like me, so it was possible to have the same adventures they were having. My mother was the one who pushed me to take the risk and go to school for it, though. If she hadn’t come downstairs to breakfast one morning and told me she had a dream that I was supposed to follow my dream and become an actor, I would have become an english teacher.nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker? nnBeing impatient about all modes of transportation, walking with your head down, and the speed with which we talk.nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnI feel like I have three occupations at the moment: actor, director, and teacher, so I’ll choose one that’s not one of those. My other ideal occupation would be a logistics coordinator for the CIA. I have a creative mind that gets around obstacles quickly in order to get to solutions, so I would create resourceful tactics to aid service operatives on covert missions.nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?nnMy alarm clock. A true nemesis: I cannot stand life with it, nor without.nn5. Movies or theatre?nnTheatre for me. Movies are incredible, but there is something scary and magical about theatre. The collective energy that passes through the house when a moment moves everyone at the same time is exhilarating to me.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnMy wife, Lacy.nn7. What’s your favorite vice? nnMy wife also works here, but i’ll say gluttony – late night snacking in particular. Chinese food is utterly irresistible.nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? nnI’m going to sound so neurotic, but it’s when I have to take a subway south in order to catch a different train to go north. Something about that irks me so deeply.nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnThe biopic of Bjork. She is beyond fascinating.nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?nnYAHOO, GOOGLE, MICROSOFT. INVEST NOW.n

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RobActor #3: Rob Manning Jr.

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnI did a play and I got to kiss a cute girl and I didn’t throw up on her.nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker? nnPatience and good walking shoes.nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnCivil Rights Attorneynn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?nnRoaches. The flying ones.nn5. Movies or theatre?nnEqual merit for me.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnSubway rat. I see rodenticide signs everywhere and yet they persevere.nn7. What’s your favorite vice? nnA Guinnessnn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? nnThe winter months.nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnMy mom.nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?nnInvest your money.n

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GwynnethActor #4: Gwynneth Bensen

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor? nnMy mom makes costumes and my dad was a director, and after growing up in that world, with all of its magical transformations and funny, outgoing people, how could I resist? Also, I was painfully shy, but I found that when I got up to pretend I was someone else, I didn’t want to disappear. I wanted to shine.nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker? nnA fast pace (why waste time?) and a fierce sense of pride (if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.)nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation? nnI think I’d like to be a shrink, or someone else who gets into people’s heads and analyzes their thoughts and behavior in order to help them. What draws a lot of us to acting is a fascination with human behavior and motivations.nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? nnProcrastination. But I’m so good at it! And hoarders is on!nn5. Movies or theatre? nnGotta go with theater, even though it can be extremely expensive and insular. Movies reach millions of people all over the world, while sometimes it can feel like theater is only reaching other people who make theater. Can’t beat that magic, though. The electricity of events unfolding right in front of you. People channeling spirits and making the air thick with raw human emotion. You just can’t beat it.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnTony, founder of Tony’s pizza. What would I do without you?nn7. What’s your favorite vice? nnCheeseburgers. I mean, there’s protein, right? So it’s not all bad…nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? nnLack of leg room. And a scarcity of growing things. It sure would be nice to have a little more space, maybe with a patch of grass, dare I dream for a garden?nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be? Coalhouse Walker from Ragtime. Epic, epic role. He spans the entire spectrum of human emotion over 2 acts. And he sings amazing songs.nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be? nnStart growing a pair now. You’re gonna need ’em.n

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ChristinaActor #5: Christina Norris

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnWell, as much as my pragmatic mind tried to provide myself with other practical options, my true self knew that I couldn’t not be an actor. (Pardon the double negative)nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker?nn3 theories: 1) 7+ years; 2) the inability to go anywhere without comparing it to New York; or 3) the ability to balance between a strong territorial bubble and being open to shared experiences. But really, a combo platter between 2 and 3.nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnA nurse or a humanitarian (this is ideal self, right?).nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? nnSelf doubtnn5. Movies or theatre?nnMy heart is always in the theatre, but there is so much skill, artistry and creativity that film allows that makes it its own special beast.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnLiz Lemon nn7. What’s your favorite vice?nnMy sailor mouth (or whiskey).nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? nnLack of space–both in apartments and on subways, slow walking tourists, and the summertime smell of garbage day.nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnKing Lear, Bottom in Midsummer, or any of Martin McDonough’s men.nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be? nn“Get out of your own damn way!”n

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MaraActor #6: Mara Gannon

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor? nnApparently when I was little, I said I wanted to be an actor. I first REALIZED I wanted to be an actor when I was a junior in high school and someone mentioned going to school for theatre. I then realized that this was a career choice.nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker? nnWhen you, every so often, have that moment of, “Holy shit, I live here.” Also, when you feel that pang of guilt for every homeless person you walk past. Humanity and humility.nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation? nnBeer taste tester.nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? nnPeople who don’t let you off the subway car before they start to board it.nn5. Movies or theatre? nnTheatre. Anything done live feels so much more dangerous.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnCormac O’Connor from Pete Hamill’s “Forever”.nn7. What’s your favorite vice? nnChewy fruity candy.nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? nnThe fact that a beach is so far away. I know, I know, it’s only like an hour but that’s so far away to me! I grew up 4 blocks from an ocean. An hour?! GUH.nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be? nnIago. Friar Lawrence. Martha from “Woolf”. The Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods”. I have a long list of these…nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be? nnDon’t worry about being wrong. Being wrong is good. You learn from being wrong. You’ll do it 99 times before you get anything even close to right. Just keep trying.n

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CurranActor #7: Curran Connor

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnThe Year: 1995. The Film: Ace Ventura Pet Detective. The viewer: Me. And now I’m an actor. I’m not kidding.nn2. What makes someone a New Yorker? nnThe sense of superiority one feels over people who don’t live in New York.nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnAn illustrator. I drew comics as a kid, and nothing made me feel more creative.nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?nnDennis Flanagan. Next question.nn5. Movies or theatre?nnI don’t have a preference. I think the immediacy of theatre can make it more exciting, and more frightening, but the scope and scale of film is unmatched. I’m interested in whatever can thrill, surprise, and stimulate me. That’s why I’ll keep going to the theater and to the movies til the day I die.nnSeriously, tho, Dennis Flanagan is my mortal enemy. If I end up dead, he’s the one who did it.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnStefon.nn7. What’s your favorite vice? nnTotto Ramen on 52nd.nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? nnPeople who talk about how great New York used to be, making the rest of us feel like tourists.nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnThe Internet. nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?nnGet a job. Also, don’t beat yourself up over every little thing.n

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ZackActor #8: Zack Griffiths

n1. What made you realize you wanted be an actor?n Getting cast as David in my 8th grade play, David and Lisa. Oh, the ego strokes…nn 2. What makes someone a New Yorker? n An intimate knowledge of the NYC Subway System (including connections).nn3. If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?n Always wanted to be a freelance photographer/writer working for National Geographic. Maybe I can play one on TV.nn4. Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?n FEAR….and, strangely enough, Garret–who would have guessed it, Sean– (though Garret was this one’s first name, and unfortunately, I knew him on a personal basis) a redheaded fat kid who used to push me around in 6th grade until he moved (thank god) out of town. Does Pat Garret have red hair, Sean? Perhaps we’re on to something…nn5. Movies or theatre?n Tough one. I certainly see more movies but just because most theater is usually so damn expensive. So, movies for day to day practicality and theater for excitement and experience.nn6. Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? n New York City. It is a character in of itself. (didn’t have to delete that one Sean, thanks)nn7. What’s your favorite vice? n If I’m being safe, commercial free Episodic Television.nn8. What do you hate most about living in New York? n The Winters– no wait–the Summers.nn9. If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?n A film starring me as Margaret Thatcher playing Lincoln in a broadway play. (I didn’t watch the Oscars, did you?)nn10. If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?n Get that stick outta your a**n

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You can catch all of these actors in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

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For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

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Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

ZackActor #8: Zack Griffiths

1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor? Getting cast as David in my 8th grade play, David and Lisa. Oh, the ego strokes… 2.       What makes someone a New Yorker?  An intimate knowledge of the NYC Subway System (including connections). 3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation? Always wanted to be a freelance photographer/writer working for National Geographic. Maybe I can play one on TV. 4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? FEAR….and, strangely enough, Garret–who would have guessed it, Sean– (though Garret was this one’s first name, and unfortunately, I knew him on a personal basis) a redheaded fat kid who used to push me around in 6th grade until he moved (thank god) out of town. Does Pat Garret have red hair, Sean? Perhaps we’re on to something… 5.       Movies or theatre? Tough one. I certainly see more movies but just because most theater is usually so damn expensive. So, movies for day to day practicality and theater for excitement and experience. 6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?  New York City. It is a character in of itself. (didn’t have to delete that one Sean, thanks) 7.       What’s your favorite vice?  If I’m being safe, commercial free Episodic Television. 8.       What do you hate most about living in New York?  The Winters– no wait–the Summers. 9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be? A film starring me as Margaret Thatcher playing Lincoln in a broadway play. (I didn’t watch the Oscars, did you?) 10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?  Get that stick outta your a**

 

You can catch Zack in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

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10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

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GwynnethActor #4: Gwynneth Bensen

n1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor? nnMy mom makes costumes and my dad was a director, and after growing up in that world, with all of its magical transformations and funny, outgoing people, how could I resist?  Also, I was painfully shy, but I found that when I got up to pretend I was someone else, I didn’t want to disappear.  I wanted to shine.nn2.       What makes someone a New Yorker? nnA fast pace (why waste time?) and a fierce sense of pride (if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.)nn3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation? nnI think I’d like to be a shrink, or someone else who gets into people’s heads and analyzes their thoughts and behavior in order to help them.  What draws a lot of us to acting is a fascination with human behavior and motivations.nn4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? nnProcrastination.  But I’m so good at it!  And hoarders is on!nn5.       Movies or theatre? nnGotta go with theater, even though it can be extremely expensive and insular.  Movies reach millions of people all over the world, while sometimes it can feel like theater is only reaching other people who make theater.  Can’t beat that magic, though.  The electricity of events unfolding right in front of you.  People channeling spirits and making the air thick with raw human emotion.  You just can’t beat it.nn6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnTony, founder of Tony’s pizza.  What would I do without you?nn7.       What’s your favorite vice? nnCheeseburgers.  I mean, there’s protein, right?  So it’s not all bad…nn8.       What do you hate most about living in New York? nnLack of leg room.  And a scarcity of growing things.  It sure would be nice to have a little more space, maybe with a patch of grass, dare I dream for a garden?nn9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be? Coalhouse Walker from Ragtime.  Epic, epic role.  He spans the entire spectrum of human emotion over 2 acts.  And he sings amazing songs.nn10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be? nnStart growing a pair now.  You’re gonna need ’em.n

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You can catch Gwynneth in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

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For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

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Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

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10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

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MaraActor #6: Mara Gannon

n1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor? nnApparently when I was little, I said I wanted to be an actor. I first REALIZED I wanted to be an actor when I was a junior in high school and someone mentioned going to school for theatre. I then realized that this was a career choice.nn2.       What makes someone a New Yorker?  nnWhen you, every so often, have that moment of, “Holy shit, I live here.” Also, when you feel that pang of guilt for every homeless person you walk past. Humanity and humility.nn3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation? nnBeer taste tester.nn4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? nnPeople who don’t let you off the subway car before they start to board it.nn5.       Movies or theatre? nnTheatre. Anything done live feels so much more dangerous.nn6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnCormac O’Connor from Pete Hamill’s “Forever”.nn7.       What’s your favorite vice? nnChewy fruity candy.nn8.       What do you hate most about living in New York? nnThe fact that a beach is so far away. I know, I know, it’s only like an hour but that’s so far away to me! I grew up 4 blocks from an ocean. An hour?! GUH.nn9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be? nnIago. Friar Lawrence. Martha from “Woolf”. The Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods”. I have a long list of these…nn10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be? nnDon’t worry about being wrong. Being wrong is good. You learn from being wrong. You’ll do it 99 times before you get anything even close to right. Just keep trying.n

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You can catch Mara in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

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For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

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Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

RobActor #3: Rob Manning Jr.

1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor? I did a play and I got to kiss a cute girl and I didn’t throw up on her. 2.       What makes someone a New Yorker?  Patience and good walking shoes. 3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation? Civil Rights Attorney 4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy? Roaches. The flying ones. 5.       Movies or theatre? Equal merit for me. 6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?  Subway rat. I see rodenticide signs everywhere and yet they persevere. 7.       What’s your favorite vice? A Guinness 8.       What do you hate most about living in New York? The winter months.9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be? My mom. 10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be? Invest your money.

 

You can catch Rob in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

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10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofern

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ChrisActor (and Director) #2: Chris Klinger

n1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnAs far as actually having the desire to act, I think it was when I found out that the people I was watching on TV were real people just like me, so it was possible to have the same adventures they were having.  My mother was the one who pushed me to take the risk and go to school for it, though.  If she hadn’t come downstairs to breakfast one morning and told me she had a dream that I was supposed to follow my dream and become an actor, I would have become an english teacher.nn2.       What makes someone a New Yorker? nnBeing impatient about all modes of transportation, walking with your head down, and the speed with which we talk.nn3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnI feel like I have three occupations at the moment: actor, director, and teacher, so I’ll choose one that’s not one of those.  My other ideal occupation would be a logistics coordinator for the CIA.  I have a creative mind that gets around obstacles quickly in order to get to solutions, so I would create resourceful tactics to aid service operatives on covert missions.nn4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?nnMy alarm clock.  A true nemesis: I cannot stand life with it, nor without.nn5.       Movies or theatre?nnTheatre for me.  Movies are incredible, but there is something scary and magical about theatre.  The collective energy that passes through the house when a moment moves everyone at the same time is exhilarating to me.nn6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnMy wife, Lacy.nn7.       What’s your favorite vice? nnMy wife also works here, but i’ll say gluttony – late night snacking in particular.  Chinese food is utterly irresistible.nn8.       What do you hate most about living in New York? nnI’m going to sound so neurotic, but it’s when I have to take a subway south in order to catch a different train to go north. Something about that irks me so deeply.nn9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnThe biopic of Bjork.  She is beyond fascinating.nn10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?nnYAHOO, GOOGLE, MICROSOFT.  INVEST NOW.n

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You can catch Chris’ directing in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

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For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

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Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

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10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

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ChristinaActor #5: Christina Norris

n1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnWell, as much as my pragmatic mind tried to provide myself with other practical options, my true self knew that I couldn’t not be an actor.   (Pardon the double negative)nn2.       What makes someone a New Yorker?nn3 theories: 1) 7+ years; 2) the inability to go anywhere without comparing it to New York; or 3) the ability to balance between a strong territorial bubble and being open to shared experiences.  But really, a combo platter between 2 and 3.nn3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnA nurse or a humanitarian (this is ideal self, right?).nn4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?            nnSelf doubtnn5.       Movies or theatre?nnMy heart is always in the theatre, but there is so much skill, artistry and creativity that film allows that makes it its own special beast.nn6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?           nnLiz Lemon nn7.       What’s your favorite vice?nnMy sailor mouth (or whiskey).nn8.       What do you hate most about living in New York?           nnLack of space–both in apartments and on subways, slow walking tourists, and the summertime smell of garbage day.nn9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnKing Lear, Bottom in Midsummer, or any of Martin McDonough’s men.nn10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?         nn“Get out of your own damn way!”n

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You can catch Christina in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

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For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

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Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

10 Questions With 10 Actors

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10 Questions with 10 Actors by Barbara Janice Kielhofer

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CurranActor #7: Curran Connor

n1.       What made you realize you wanted be an actor?nnThe Year: 1995.  The Film: Ace Ventura Pet Detective.  The viewer: Me.  And now I’m an actor.  I’m not kidding.nn2.       What makes someone a New Yorker? nnThe sense of superiority one feels over people who don’t live in New York.nn3.       If you weren’t an actor what would be your ideal occupation?nnAn illustrator.  I drew comics as a kid, and nothing made me feel more creative.nn4.       Who (or what) is your mortal enemy?nnDennis Flanagan.  Next question.nn5.       Movies or theatre?nnI don’t have a preference.  I think the immediacy of theatre can make it more exciting, and more frightening, but the scope and scale of film is unmatched.  I’m interested in whatever can thrill, surprise, and stimulate me.  That’s why I’ll keep going to the theater and to the movies til the day I die.nnSeriously, tho, Dennis Flanagan is my mortal enemy.  If I end up dead, he’s the one who did it.nn6.       Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? nnStefon.nn7.       What’s your favorite vice? nnTotto Ramen on 52nd.nn8.       What do you hate most about living in New York? nnPeople who talk about how great New York used to be, making the rest of us feel like tourists.nn9.       If age, type, or gender were no issue what would your dream role be?nnThe Internet. nn10.   If you could give one piece of advice to yourself at the age of 12, what would it be?nnGet a job.  Also, don’t beat yourself up over every little thing.n

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You can catch Curran in Apothecary Theatre’s latest production How I Learned To Become A Superhero, playing April 4 – April 27 at T. Schreiber Studio’s Gloria Maddox Theatre.

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For more information go to www.apothecarytheatrecompany.org

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Microsoft Office Outlook - Memo Style

Can Art Change Your Life?

Can Art Change Your Life?nby Barbara Janice Kielhofer

nI will never forget the first time I saw the documentary Shakespeare Behind Bars. SBB shows the year-long journey of the Shakespeare Behind Bars theatre troupe at Luther Luckett prison in LaGrange, Kentucky. The Inmates are lead by Curt Tofteland, who has been working with Luther Luckett inmates since the mid-1990s. The inmate’s stories, including their life-change-aheadcrimes, are interwoven with the plot of Shakespeare’s The Tempest as the inmates delve deeply into the characters they portray while confronting their personal demons. According to the SBB website, “The result is an extraordinary story about the creative process and the power of art to heal and redeem–in a place where the very act of participation in theatre is a human triumph and a means of personal liberation.” I couldn’t agree with that statement. Art can heal. I have witnessed this fact time and time again. The arts are a place for us to share our stories and touch each others lives. I can’t think of any population that can use transformation or redemption more than incarcerated prisoners. I have always been incensed that there is little to no reform in the US prison system. The whole process, to me, seems so dehumanizing and counterproductive. It seems like we create more criminals this way than functioning members of society. It’s not that I don’t find their crimes horrifying or I feel the need to justify the “bad” things people do, it’s that I recognize that we are all humans and all of us that the power to do just as much good as bad. And given the chance I believe we are all capable of redemption. We can, and do, become better people when given support and dignity. No human should be left behind in this, regardless of how “monstrous” one may think they are. Deep down I believe in the power of grace and forgiveness. I can’t remember where but someone once said, “those who need grace the most often deserve it the least.” This has always touched me deeply. Tofteland also works from this place of understanding. He believes in seeing these men for who they are today, not for who they were, and not defining them solely by the crime they have committed. All in all the documentary really shook me to the core and sparked something in me.nnCut to two years later…my best friend and T. Schreiber Studio publicist Lanie Zipoy invites me to a reading of a project she has been working on. That project was Voices Inside/Out:n

“Voices Inside/Out was founded to support Voices Inside, the playwriting and theater arts program at Northpoint Training Center, a medium security prison in Burgin, Kentucky. The goal of Voices Inside/Out is artistic exchange between the prisoner-playwrights at Northpoint and professional playwrights.  We believe everyone can benefit and expand their worldviews from this program.  We accomplish our mission in two ways: presenting the inmates’ plays in New York City to a wide audience and supporting a playwriting residency for an accomplished playwright each summer at Northpoint.”

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2011 Playwright-in-Residence Mac Rogers (photo courtesy of Voices Inside/Out)
2011 Playwright-in-Residence Mac Rogers (photo courtesy of Voices Inside/Out)
nnThe reading was of some of the plays the Northpoint inmates had been developing with the first recipient of the voicesnnplaywright residency, Mac Rogers. I cried. The writing was beautiful and creative and inspired. It’s like for a moment these men were free. They were something more than their crimes, they were artists. They had all the same hopes and nndreams and fears that I do. We weren’t separated by bars or walls or circumstance anymore, we were in fact the same. Art can do that. Theatre can do that. Words can do that. It connects us all together in our humanity. Then Mac and Lanie and Artistic Director Synge Maher talked about their experiences and I cried more. I wish I could explain why their stories touched me so much but I can’t seem to put it into words. I guess it helped remind me why I do theatre. I was nnstunned by the transformative power of nntheatre. When you work in the industry day in and day out it can be difficult to nnretain the magic that brought you to it in the first place, it becomes a day job and not a transformative space that can change lives. But that is what theatre is. And at that moment I remembered how truly powerful what we do can be. Since then I have become personally involved with Voices Inside/Out joining their advisory council. My involvement has affected me in so many ways. In nn
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2012 Playwright-in-Residence Holly Hepp-Galván (photo courtesy of Voices Inside/Out)
nnDecember I was the victim of an attempted rape. The attack was violent and scary and has, understandable, shaken me deeply. But it is the humanity that this work has taught me that keeps me from falling into a dark place. Having grace keeps me from feeling like a victim. It keeps me from letting my anger consume me. It keeps me from turning bitter and inward. Any maybe, if I am lucky, I will be able to turn the experience into something nnthat can touch another young woman in my position and help see her through her dark place. And that, I suppose, is the takeaway I leave you with. Yes, its fun to go to flashy musicals and act in rom-com movies but what we do also serves a much higher purpose. It lets us connect with one another and to let our shared stories heal the wounds this life can give us. It lets us know we are not alone and that deep down, whether we are incarcerated in Kentucky or trying to battle the challenges of living in NYC, we are all the same.nnIt’s not just me that has experienced a profound change as a result of my affiliation with Voices. At the prison where Voices Inside/Out has its playwriting residency two female guards were attacked. One of the inmates who is involved with the program came to their aid fracturing his hand and breaking his middle finger in the process. Here is what he had to say about the event (this is a small section of a letter he wrote to the Voices team): n

“I wanted to tell you personally that even though I feel I would have gone to their aid eventually, the fact is because of the writing program that you guys brought to this facility, it enabled me to help these good people with a noble heart and a clear mind. You tell us constantly to ‘speak the truth.’ Many, many times our actions speak for us. Thank you again.”

nYou ask, “Can art change lives?” And to that I reply…It can. It does. It will.n

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nIf you want to experience Voices Inside/Out yourself please join us for our next reading on Monday, April 1st at the Soho Playhouse. Writer Jonathan Ames will host the stage reading of five inmate-authored plays created in the playwriting program at Northpoint Training Center. All net proceeds support the summer playwriting program at Northpoint, and seed the third annual residency for a professional playwright to teach master classes to the prisoner-playwrights there in June 2013.nnTickets can be purchased at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/921596 or by calling (866) 811-4111. Splurge and buy the VIP ticket…trust me, you will thank me for that 🙂

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