Friday, February 20, 2015

Behind the Scenes: David Mason

OHA is very excited to welcome visiting artist David Mason back to the Stonington Opera House! As you may have seen in the Island Advantage a couple weeks ago, Dave will be up on the Opera House stage next Tuesday and Wednesday. Here’s your chance to get to know him better beforehand – then when you bring all your friends to the Appropriate staged play reading, you can impress them with your insider knowledge.
1. Where did you grow up? 
I grew up in Western Massachusetts. I spent my early years in the tiny hilltown of Pelham, population 1,100. Lots of woods for hiking, a school, a fire department, a general store, and not much else. But it was a great place to live, grow up and learn. We moved a few miles down the road to Amherst, MA when I was a teenager. Compared to Pelham, Amherst was a relative metropolis; a beautiful, diverse college town with a lot going on.

2. How would your elementary school classmates remember you? 
Hmm. That was a long time ago. I think they’d probably remember me as a friendly, shy kid who liked sports and loved the Red Sox. After the Sox lost the world series in 1986, I sat in my classroom and penned a cheerful poem to the team with a rhyming verse for each starting player and mailed it to Fenway Park. I never heard back, but at the time I imagined they had posted it inside the dugout for all the players to see.

3. Name four fictional characters with whom you’d be okay being stuck in an elevator. Why them? 

Well, being stuck in an elevator narrows the field considerably. If I’m stuck in an elevator with someone, then ideally the person would be a great conversationalist, a beautiful singer, extremely funny, or able to fix a stalled elevator. So I’d go with:
Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding (from The Shawshank Redemption) – A fascinating character full of wisdom and compassion, and I think great conversation. But this is also just about Morgan Freeman’s voice from the film version, which I can’t separate from the fictional character. It’s a voice I could listen to all day.
Guy (from the movie musical Once) – A street busker played by Glen Hansard. I think a free elevator mini-concert would be great.
Any of the characters from Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor – Based on the writer’s room for Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, the characters are all laugh-out-loud, joke-a-minute funny. And being stuck in an elevator with funny people is a good thing I think.
Superman – I mean, if for no other reason, I don’t think Superman is one to stay stuck in an elevator for very long. I think he’d just open the doors (or use his laser beam eyeballs?) to get us out. Problem solved.
4. If you were a cartoon character, what cartoon character would you be? 
Charlie Brown. Or so I’ve been told by more than one person. It has something to do with being clumsy and injuring myself, apparently.

5. When did you first fall in love with theater? 
The first time I stepped on stage in front of an audience in high school. I played Harry the Horse in Guys & Dolls when I was 16 and it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was a shy, insecure kid and somehow my friends convinced me to audition and I ended up performing on that stage in front of all of those people. And it was as if I suddenly had found my voice. I think that’s a common story for a lot of actors, or artsists, or for folks of any profession. When you find something you are passionate about and into which you are able to channel your energy, it can be liberating. I’m count myself very lucky that I’m still able to work in the theater all these years later. And I still love it.
 Come out to see Dave and your fellow community members in the latest “Our Own” Production – Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriatedirected by Producing Artistic Director, Linda Nelson! We have two shows next week, Tuesday, February 24th and Wednesday, February 25th – both at 7pm.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday

DSC03338Bunzy Sherman, Ingrid Bengis, Amanda Larrabee, Larry Estey, and Cherie Mason in 2007 “Our Own” production of White Lilacs.
 In celebration of Black History Month, our latest “Our Own” staged play reading is Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriatea story that explores the family and racial tensions of the Lafayette siblings. Come out and join us Tuesday, February 24th, 7pm and Wednesday, February 25th, 7pm!