Making History Human with Alex McCarthy

Alex McCarthy Interview by Jen Bush

You can catch Alex McCarthy in the exciting new work about to premiere called Impossible But True.  It’s the tale of Rip Van Winkle told from a compelling perspective.  Mr. McCarthy approaches acting from a psychological and humanistic viewpoint.  He crafts all of his characters with the highest level of respect regardless of the character’s morals. “As an actor, I enjoy the process of delving into the human psyche to further understand what it truly means to be human. The job of an actor, as most of us know, is not to judge a character, but to find the humanity in them. Every person holds a legitimate reason as to why they choose to act and behave the way they do. We, as people, do not have to agree with how someone behaves, but as actors, we have to understand and accurately portray any and every character’s point of view. It’s through this process that we start to find out how much of everyone is within everyone. We all have the capability to lie, cheat, steal, as well as many other undesirable primal humanistic traits, but also, we have the capability to love selflessly and care unabashedly for our fellow man. This is where my love for acting stems and how I choose to approach my work.”

Mr. McCarthy’s creative process entails several levels of character development involving building the character independently through exploring their personality and motivations.  After that, he test drives his character while working with the rest of the cast.  In the end it all works out and a character is born.  “When I begin to work on character development, I try to get a basic understanding of the character’s overarching personality. Are they shy or are they boisterous? Do they err on the side of caution or come into a situation guns ablazing? Are they good with people or a little awkward? etc. After this, I look to see what they want in a scene and make preliminary assumptions about how they may go about getting it. After this, I choose to let go of my conscious decisions and begin to play in the space with my fellow actors. From here, I start to build relationships with other characters and let my mind wander to where it needs to in order to further bring light to my character. Right before opening night, I go back to my original assumptions of my character and then see how much of it has stayed with me and how much of it I had to let go during the process. At this point, if I’ve undergone the rehearsal process properly, I’ll find myself with a truthful and meaningful portrayal of the character.”

This production delves into American History and is being performed in a historic venue.  This is a fictional re-telling of a famous tale as opposed to a historical reenactment so the cast doesn’t necessarily feel an added sense of responsibility to represent historical accuracy.   “Honestly, I do not this time around. The show does well to portray a timeless American folk story, but I believe that what will make this production interesting is how it allows itself to blur the lines between traditional and modern day. Some brief examples I can think of are 1.) the diversity in the cast vs the traditional ethnicity of most of the characters when Washington Irving wrote this story and 2.) the inclusion of women and the direct role they played in helping the country prosper during the Revolution. If I were to feel any semblance of responsibility in this production, it would be to aid my cast and creative team in bringing this historical story into the modern world as it attempts to eliminate preconceived notions of how life was in the colonial United States and focus more on the power of community and comradery.”

The American Revolution and the events of January 6th share some similarities.   Mr. McCarthy weighed in on the subject.  “Get political? Alright. I actually think that as a unit, we remember too much from the American Revolution and have a hard time letting go of our “glorious” past. The dream for a better, equal and more free America has stayed intact, but unfortunately has not adjusted to match the diversity we now have throughout the country. January 6th, in my opinion, occurred because of how narrow focused we, as a country, have become in the past when instead of allowing our vision to widen and grow as we look to the future.” 

After this production Mr. McCarthy will be going from the stage to the screen with some TV productions.  By all means, check him out on his social media accounts to see what fun and exciting things he’s up to.  “I have a few television projects coming up after this production of Impossible But True concludes. I’m also working on growing my social media audience on TikTok (@acemccarthyofficial) as well as YouTube (EverEvolving). Subscribe if you’d like!” 

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