Mary is divorced, estranged from her family and suffering with cancer. Her son Mike visits her during spring break. She asks him for concrete actions of moral support. Mike’s father and aunt caution him not to get involved. Old wounds re-open, and the bonds of family and love are rigorously tested. William Considine, pens this naturalistic, family drama — autobiographical in detail — and peppered it with elements of poetry and surrealism.
We spoke with the aforementioned “son,” played by Richard Keyser and his journey from economics class to the theater.
Tell us about yourself as an artist?
I know this probably puts me in the minority — but art was rather tangential to me, growing up. I was in choir for a few years, and then dropped it to go into business school. It wasn’t until I hit economics classes in college that I decided I needed something more fulfilling, and I started with technical theatre. Several semesters later, I had dropped out and started working. It was the right choice; I’ve loved every minute of it. As an artist, I’m a jack-of-all-trades. I’ve got around 100 credits, everything from lighting design to producing to performing, and thirteen years of experience.
How do you prepare as an actor … does it change when you have something of such powerful emotion?
As an actor, I’m not heavily into research or method. I learn quickly and like to be able to work within a space and without text as soon as possible. I think this approach allows me to explore “the moment” more thoroughly and find things that some others might not. As to powerful emotion? Sometimes it’s there and very real, and sometimes it’s not. But if you’ve felt it once, you can always get back to it and use it. Even if the only time you really felt a particular emotion on stage was “some play you did in 2010”, channel it. Experience counts, and method is there for times when inspiration isn’t.
OK, Shakespeare’s gone now. Considine is not. What’s it like having the author right there?
There are things about having the author there that both make it easier and harder. You can bounce things off him/her and get their take.. that’s a huge plus. That said, most of what a writer puts to paper is very personal to them, so there’s a fragility there. Even if you’re totally open about things, they might have a totally different take on what’s going on than you do.
What do you hope the audience will take away from this piece?
I hope that they’ll be able to get a sense that we’re up there painting a portrait of a very broken family, and that healing/reconciliation can be found even in the worst of situations.
What’s next for you?
Well… this is my last New York project, at least for the next six months. If you came looking, you’d find me backstage running lights for Amazing Grace: The Musical. In Washington, DC.
Magnetite LLC presents
Moral Support, A new play by William Considine
Medicine Show Theatre, 549 W. 52nd Street, 3rd floor, New York City
February 21, 22, 23 @ 8:00 p.m. / February 24 @ 4:00 p.m.
February 28, March 1, 2 @ 8:00 p.m. / March 3 @ 4:00 p.m.