Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spotlight on... Rory Alexander Farrell Madden!

Rory during rehearsals for the 24 Hour Theatre Festival at
Northampton Center for the Arts (2010).
Name: Rory Alexander Farrell Madden

Character: Officer Partridge

Why Acting: I enjoy getting into another person's head and thinking about what motivates them, what their mannerisms are, and how they react on a physical and emotional level in ways different than I do. And of course, this is all more fun since all the other actors are doing the same thing, and we get to play off each other onstage.

There are other perks as well. Acting is a great way to hang out with other creatively minded and interesting people, for example!

I also like that despite the work required an actor, there's a lot that flows naturally once you get cast. For example, unlike forcing myself to write a story or play, which requires a lot of willpower, I basically HAVE to show up for rehearsals and performance. I'd let way too many people down if I didn't. Furthermore, I have TONS of help with my character; the writer literally wrote down all the lines I am going to say, and there's a director there to help me interpret them! Someone chooses what I wear, and I even get an awesome set to play around with. So basically I got plopped down into this creative outlet where everyone, even the other actors, are trying to make my job as easy as enjoyable as possible. It's great!

How and why did you get involved with Some Mother's Son? Kendra emailed me and asked me to join after another actor had to drop out. She wrote a one act at Smith that I performed in, so I was excited to work with her. Plus some other people I'd worked with were involved in the production so I was looking forward to working with them again. Oh, and my character description was something like "A young, sexy policeman." HOT!

Surprises and Such: I'm only in a few scenes so I have found that to be an interesting challenge. It's fun because I can devote all my energy to just those scenes, but it's challenging because I have only a short period of time to establish a character and make an impression. In one of the scenes I play primarily a background role, so I enjoy finding opportunities to add to the scene without dominating it.

Favorite Word: Indignant. A friend of mine made me a shirt that reads "Morally Indignant" on the front and "And Okay with it!" on the back, and I wear it proudly because it's one of the qualities about myself that I admire!

Least Favorite Word: Oh, one of the many standard words that shouldn't have been created in the first place because they are demeaning to whole groups of people.

What Turns Me On: Gosh, I forget what other people said, but I assume this isn't supposed to be overtly sexual... Intelligence, wit, charm, atheists, logic, whimsy, forwardness, polite honesty, compassion.

What Turns Me Off: Cruelty, irrationality, passivity.

Sound that I love: Cool science fiction sounds like lasers firing, explosions, whooshes, that sort of thing.

Sound that I hate: I am not fond of the classic nails across a chalkboard thing.

Favorite Curse Word: Clowntarded. It's so ridiculous that I like to think that makes up for it being derogatory. Also, favorite curse phrase is "Go fuck a duck".

Life Goal: I think I'd like to design and publish a roleplaying game I'd really enjoy playing.

Earliest Memory of Theatre: Huh, I really don't remember. Maybe a "Punch in Judy" show when I was in England and four years old, though those all tend to mush together. My mother is a theatre professor so I've been watching her plays and plays in general since a very young age.

Why is Theatre Necessary? Not a super easy question, but I think it has some notable advantages over other mediums. For one, you have a direct connection with the audience; you are aware they are watching you, can react to their reactions, etc. Plus, theres the whole fetish angle; it arguably feels more "real" or important than watching a television show or a movie. That also has a perk that people are probably going to be in a different state of mind and more invested in what they are watching so you can push them a little harder than you might otherwise be able to. There's less of a forced focus; the audience is free to choose to some degree who and what they pay attention to which adds an extra dimension to things. You can also play around more with stripping away the pretense of reality you often find in film or television; you can tell a story and show how you are telling the story by exposing the set pieces, using simple or representational costumes, and creatively casting actors of different genders, ages, races, etc to make fun points!

Rory in a skintight suit for the opening scene of
Big Love at Smith College (2008).

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