My wife, Jill, and I live in Clarks Summit, PA with our 2 children (and a third one on the way!). I am a teacher at Tunkhannock Area High School, where I teach 10th and 11th grade English and literature. I am a member of Ghostlight Productions, having had the privilege of working with Jonathan and Rachel Strayer since they began the company in 2009.
What can you tell us about your character/role in this production (without revealing spoilers)?
Edmund is the one area of Jane's life which seems to be grounded in reality, as far as the audience can see. While at times he reminds Jane of certain things in her past, his enthusiasm for the present, hopefully, helps her to understand more clearly where she wants to go with her life. Edmund is a likeable and, hopefully, endearing influence on Jane.
What do you find exciting and challenging about this project?
This is one of the first chances I've had to create a character from scratch, never having seen another actor in this role. It's intimidating, because I want so badly to do justice to Rachel's text and vision which she created. At the same time, it's extremely rewarding. There is a lot of unknown with the characters in Drowning Ophelia, so filling in the blanks and creating real characters has definitely been one of the biggest challenges.
Have you ever worked with Gaslight Theatre Company before? How has it been working with them on this show?
After seeing a production of Gaslight's Playroom series, I was hoping to audition for their production of God of Carnage last year. While I wasn't able to audition then, I knew I wanted to be a part of this production as soon as it was announced. I have been extremely proud of the talent and professionalism of Gaslight's production team, as well as that of my fellow cast members.
What is it like working with a living and local playwright?
This experience is special not only because we are doing the brilliant work of local playwright Rachel Luann Strayer, but because I have the unique privilege of calling her my friend. I think Alicia, Jess, and Tim would agree that hearing the playwright speak of what drew her to write these words gave an extra impetus to us to create something profound. Knowing that this is such a unique opportunity (at the beginning of what I'm convinced will be a play that will have many future productions) is an honor. I only hope Rachel will be as happy with the final result as I am to be a part of it!
What is your favorite part of the process so far?
I don't mean to be redundant, but I have loved learning from and being inspired by my fellow actors. Their dedication to this process and their professionalism have made this a joyful process--one that I know I will always hold dear.
What is your favorite line from the play (and who says it)?
Ophelia's first lines in the play are, of course, the words of Shakepeare's Ophelia--"'Tis in my memory lock'd, And you yourself shall keep the key of it." That's so significant. We have the power to both severely hurt or wholly love. None of us are isolated. Every time we interact with those we love, we must value and guard those moments so carefully.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you, reading this, are unsure as to whether you'll come see this production, please just do it! Drowning Ophelia, to me, is more than just a play or an evening at the theatre. It is a profound exploration of the significance of human relationships. They are fragile, yet strong as steel. They are absolutely necessary to our fulfillment as people, and we have such a responsibility to protect these relationships. You will not regret seeing this performance!
Drowning Ophelia opens January 28 at the Theater at Lackawanna College and runs through January 31. Head on over to our Up Next page to find out how you can see it!