I’ve been acting since I was a kid. In fact, my first production was in summer school (just before 1st grade). I’d never acted in my life before, but had always imagined being on TV and fantasized about being interviewed on Merv Griffin (and I’m sure some of you kids out there just went…Merv who???). They’d messed up the schedule at summer school and I ended up being shuffled between classes for a week. Finally, a week or so later, they found my original paperwork and I got into the acting class. They had me read something and then took the boy who was lead in their production of Hansel and Gretl and put me in the lead instead. (I always felt bad for that other kid.)
Well, I was hooked, but despite that drive, I acted only sporradically through my youth, but often landed roles in what I auditioned for. It wasn’t until later in my adult life that I decided to take what I’ve always loved and done well at, and make it into a vocation.
The path hasn’t been easy, and it has been along and convoltued route to get where I am today, but very few life journeys are completely straightforward. I am proud to say that I have no regrets about taking the plunge to pursue acting.
Stage is still one of my favorite forms of acting. There’s nothing like working on a solid piece, developing the subtext, working with your castmates and crew to fine hone your production. And especially, there’s nothing like that wonderful energetic exchange between a performer and their live audience. It always brings my performances up and allows me to give them back even more to enjoy…a feedback cycle that just grows beneficially for all of us to create a memorable show. I’m still involved in theatre, though my schedule often limits me to small productions with shorter rehearsal schedules.
I’ve had the fortune to work with many very talented actors, directors and crew over the years, and these small productions have been no exception. What some of these productions have lacked in budget, they’ve always made up for in talent and passion. Although I love a well-designed set as much as the next guy, I must admit I’m more of a minimalist and really enjoy sets that make the best use out of the least along with a creative lighting design. Those productions always seem to have a strong impact in my memory.
Although I was a Physics major in college (B.S. from UC Riverside, class of 1985), I spent quite a lot of time in the Creative Arts wing of the campus. I was more well-known in both the Theatre and the Dance departments than I was in my own department. My first role at UCR was the lead in the West Coast Premiere of a new play Putting On the Dog, an adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov’s humourous s/f tale A Dog’s Heart, followed up by dual supporting roles in another premiere, The Mad Kokoshka. There were a number of other plays I performed at the time, several Shakespeare productions, including Dromio of Ephesus in Comedy of Errors, Francis Flute/Thisby in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, roles Anouille’s Antigone, a number of diverse monologues and scenes in An Evening of Shakespeare (Launce from Two Gentlemen of Verona, Claudio in Measure for Measure, Brutus’ monologue from Julius Caesar, and William from As You Like It).You’ll note a lot of Shakespeare here, where I was very fortunate to study and be mentored by Rick Risso (a Fulbright Scholar in theatre, and a truly amazing director). I finished up playing total polar opposite characters of Young Scrooge and Old Joe (from Christmas Future) in A Christmas Carol; ironically, years later, I have played Scrooge himself!
After being involved in Voice Acting for a while, I desired to get back to the stage and did a lot of smaller productions, often with one of the lead roles. This was easier to fit into my production schedule. I also did some advanced training with Michael Shurtleff’s Guideposts and a lot of training in Subtext with DJ Sullivan – a veteran of film, television, and stage, and who was also on the National Board of SAG for 20 years. Shurtleff gave his Auditions and unpublished manuscripts to DJ to carry on the tradition; and we’re hoping that new book will come out anytime! I’ve grown a lot as an actor with DJ not just workshopping, but in various productions that she directed. ranging from playing leads as Father Daniel Berrigan in Trial of the Catonsville Nine, Richard in Love Negotiated, Lou in Terrence McNally’s Dedication: Or the Stuff of Dreams, and most recently, and another Lou (Lou Daniels) in Bernard Slade’s Tribute.
Like Joseph Campbell said “Follow your bliss,” I’m doing just that. I’m living my dream more and more each day. And isn’t that what it’s really all about?
– See more at: blog.marcbiagi.com