What excites you most about this show?
The discovery in creating a character that, hopefully, will be recognizable and accessible to the audience.
What is your greatest challenge for this show?
Playing five distinct characters with their own back stories: foibles, flaws and nobility that they bring with them to
their stage personas.
What kinds of research have you done to prepare for your roles?
My personal demons and fears needed to be examined in the back stories of a couple of the characters, which was both painful and liberating. (Not having particularly good role models of what it means to be a husband or father, some of the traits of my characters were more accessible and therefore more painful than others).
What are some of your favorite roles and past productions?
The quick answer, and not particularly original is: the last one. Several come to mind though. I had the privilege of working with David Dukes and James Doohan in: "Teddy and that Splendid Little War", which was produced at Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley back in the 70's. Just the sheer size of the production and number of seats kept me in awe. More recently I got
to participate in my first music video...no I don't sing well enough...but I did act well enough to be cast as "Sugar Daddy" in a video of
the song, Desdemona, by techno-pop band, Dangermaker. Also, back in the 70's, I got to sing and dance in a musical "Centralia, 1919",
at the Berkeley Stage Co. An amazing piece about the labor movement during the first world war.
What are some of your feelings about marriage?
I have been in two long term relationships. The first when I was in my 20's with a Hollywood "star" that lasted 7 years. They were exciting and dangerous years...partly because of the nature of the times, partly because of the supposed glamour and partly because we were a biracial couple. My family, scandalized at first, would eventually become incredibly supportive. He was my first great and true love. When it ended, I was devastated. The second relationship sailed along for quite a while then limped to its conclusion after 25 years. That 'divorce' was messy and extremely painful, not to mention expensive...taking two years of legal wrangling...and we weren't even "married". I don't think that it would have been any easier or less expensive had we been lawfully wedded. In 2004, when Gavin Newsome began allowing marriage in SF, I bought rings at Cartier and asked my partner to marry me. He said 'no'. We had been together for 20 years at that time and had a business together. It took another 4 to realize how destructively co-dependent we were before going to therapy....alone....and another year to grow the balls to leave. So my feelings about marriage????? I guess I am glad we
have the right to make the same mistakes anyone else might make. But I must admit when I see the images of these current marriages, I
cry with them and wish them all the joy held in the promise of a new beginning in a life shared.
What do you hope for the audience?
The recognition of a shared humanity...that we are all connected in many ways through love, pain and the challenges of life....and not to judge or throw stones. The love you save may be your own....thank you M.J.