Six Characters in Search of an Award

I had an incredible time working on Mariah MacCarthy‘s “Honors Students” at the Wild Project in the East Village over the last couple of months. I had the good fortune to work on several roles for a script that was equal parts brutal and beautiful.

All the members of the team on this project were a dream. Mariah and the director Leta Tremblay refer to one another as art wives and it was nice to be adopted by them! The rest of the cast (Thanh Ta, Olivia Levine, and Arielle Goldman) brought it every night. The design and production teams made this a top-notch and cohesive indie theater production. Special shout out to our stage manager Michelle Navis and house manager Cassy Lynch who made the show a home away from home each night.

Can you please vote for “Honors Students” for The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation Awards? Everyone working on this deserves high scores! And, I hate to ask, but it would mean a lot to me if you voted for me as Best Featured Actor. In all my dog years in NYC, I have never been a finalist–let alone a winner of an IT Award–for my work as an actor, solo performer, or playwright. 

honors students characters

Moments from the six characters I played in “Honors Students.”

I got to play six very different kinds of roles: an absent father, an arrested development waiter, a woke(ish) professor, a Buddhist nurse, a tough scary guy (possibly mob related), and an older blind woman. Through much of it, I felt like I had one foot in clown and the other in Pinter. I very much appreciated how Leta and others let me explore choices that brought the roles to life physically. When I first got the script for the audition, I was inspired to write monologues for the two roles coming up with a backstory for both of them. The dialogue and the scenes I had always had me peeling layers to the end of the run. 

One kind soul texted me, “You have a range like a MFer!” And to paraphrase our mighty playwright Mariah MacCarthy, “If you have a show that calls for one guy to play a bunch of parts in your show, get Chris Harcum.” 

The deadline to vote for us for the IT Awards at http://nyitawards.com/vote/ballota.asp is this Sunday, Nov. 18. Thank you!!

Photo by Kent Meister

From a session last summer for Kent Meister‘s We Are Stories: Faces of New York Indie Theater. Kent calls this an outtake. I call it one of the best pictures I’ve ever taken. I really don’t enjoy having my picture taken. But he is an incredible photographer who truly makes you feel like you are doing something easy and special at the same time. I love seeing all the pictures from this series and am very honored to have been part of it.

You can check out more of Kent’s work at www.kentmeisterphotography.com.

We Are Stories project by Kent Meister

photo by Kent Meister

Standards July 2001

Came across this image for a solo show I made back in the summer of 2001 called “Standards.” This was my third solo piece. I created and rehearsed it in under six weeks. I was intending to do one kind of show but everything changed when I witnessed my grandmother die from cancer.

I asked my brother Ben to draw an image for it. I said I’d like a remote control fighting another remote control and there should be something American about it. I love the little details he made in it. See if you can spot Waldo and Spidey. I retitled this in 2003 to “Gotham Standards” and performed it in Canada and FringeNYC.

As weaponized divisiveness seems to be the regular room temperature setting for the country these days, this image seems even more relevant. Happy 4th of July, everyone!

standards.jpg

Shaking the Room

 

I’m having a great time rehearsing excerpts from Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and Two Gentlemen of Verona for Boomerang Theater’s benefit on Monday night in the West Village. It’s called Shake the Room and goes up on Monday, July 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here. Audience members will call out the scenes from a list of titles like “My Best Friend’s Girlfriend” or “Just Get a Room Already,” and can give the actors style prompts like western, film noir, superhero movie, etc.

Brian Gillespie is directing my cohort of scenes and I am performing with Francesca Calo, Andy Ingalls and Katherine McLeod. The evening is hosted by Brian Silliman. Below is a picture with about half of the actors involved.

Boomerang Shake the Room

Top Row, left to right: David Arthur Bachrach, Francesca Calo, Devon Caraway
Center Row: Dottie Davis, Philip Emeott, Jack Halpin, Chris Harcum
Bottom Row: Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Andy Ingalls, Amanda Jones, Katherine McLeod

 

Shake the Room

Katharine McLeod and I brainstorming in a rehearsal for “Shake the Room.” Photo by Andy Ingalls.

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#OldHeadshotDay

An old contact sheet from my first headshot session in NYC in 2005. This was just before everyone started using color pics as a standard. Headshots are a funny thing. They never truly capture what someone is like. I didn’t like any of these pictures and now I see so many good ones. I miss the black & white days.

headshots 2005

Desperately Seeking the Exit All-Star Reading

I had the great pleasure to perform this weekend with a very talented line up of David Carl, Coco Cohn, Carl Andress, Kevin R. Free, and Frank Vlastnik in a reading of Peter Michael Marino‘s Desperately Seeking the Exit this weekend in the Unofficial Upper East Side EdFest.

This piece holds a special meaning to me. It was the first show Aimee and I saw at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2012. We got to meet Pete after the show and he has becomes one of my closest friends. He is a truly talented and caring artist and person.

I went on to see this show four more times back here in NYC. More than any show in which I was not directly working. Why? Because it is a tremendous story of almost making it on London’s West End with a musical adaptation of the film Desperately Seeking Susan and the music of Blondie. What happens is really heartbreaking but ultimately is the story of turning a big loss into something positive. It is a reminder to keep going.

Funnily enough, while I am a big fan of ’80s pop culture, I have never seen that movie. I didn’t think I needed to back in the day. The video for Madonna’s “Into the Groove” was on permanent rotation on MTV.

We had a packed crowd at Ryan’s Daughter. It felt like being in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where only maybe three of 300+ venues are actual theater spaces.  I like doing theater in non-traditional spaces. Peter performed the opening and closing bits of the piece. I was the last of the other actors to perform in the roster that night, which was a little nerve-wracking. Also, I had the more emotional section of the piece. It was sort of like when bands plays covers of bands being inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. You want to honor the music but bring your own style to it.

I got some solid laughs and I think I was successful at painting the images of what happened with Pete’s words. I did try to infuse a line reading I thought would get a laugh and it didn’t. Fortunately, Pete was there to make an ad lib. “Oh, that was the joke you added?” In the course of the night, that worked out even better.

Gotta say, it’s nice to be called a “star.” (I think I am least in terms of being a star in this list.) And it’s nice to do something that’s SOLD OUT! It takes the stress out of doing it because you know what you’ll have in terms of audience and prep for that.

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