Last night I called my sister. We haven’t been speaking very much lately, for a number of reasons. I called her because I realized, I’m not good at relationships. I don’t know how to have a proper relationship with anyone, not even my siblings. I try. But, I don’t know what I’m doing. Sometimes I think back to the past and wonder, “have I ever had a friend?” Friends from college are getting married and everyone seems to be invited but me, I guess I ruined those relationships. Let’s be honest, I was a mess back then. I had much learning to do. During those college years, I made an unlikely friend. What made the friendship unlikely? I’m not really sure. I’m sure I knew at the time. But, I remember being in the scariest situation of my life and calling this person for help, because I didn’t have anyone else to call and they came through and I was fortunate enough to spend some of the greatest months of my life with them. I remember the moment everything changed for me, I was heading back to his place, where I was crashing, after a day at work and I thought to myself, “I can’t wait to get home and hang out with Theo.” Given the family trouble I was experiencing at the time, this thought nearly brought tears to my eyes. And, to this day, when I think of Theo, that is the memory that overwhelms the rest. Theo Langason is one of the best actors I’ve had the privilege to work with and one of the greatest human beings I have had the pleasure to know. I was curious about what Theo was up to after all these years, so I tracked him down, Inside The Green Room.
Anyone who has attended Rugters Camden has had this experience: What school do you go to? Rutgers? Oh, how is New Brunswick? No, I go to Rutgers Camden. Oh…. how’s the program there?
Rutgers Camden is a relatively small campus, but that has its advantages. How do you think you most benefited from the intimate theatre program at Rutgers-Camden?
TL: I have the “not New Brunswick” conversation a surprising amount, considering I live in Minnesota. I think the advantage of coming from a small program was number of opportunities to get on stage that were available to me. I came out of Camden with seven or eight full productions under my belt. I also got to direct, produce, design, build, and more. That experience has been incredibly helpful to me in my career.
In college, you struck me as someone who understood the value of creating your own opportunities; opportunities to learn, to expand, etc. How did you come to be this way and how do you think it has helped your career?
TL: I get bored really easily. Which mean I’m constantly seeking out new things to try or new ways to do old things. I like to shake the routine. I find it keeps me inspired. In my next show I’ll be directing, composing and performing music. I suppose a lot of those tendencies came from my parents. They kept me involved in lots of extracurricular activities. And if I wanted to quit one activity, I had to find another to find its place.
After college, what motivated you to return home to Minnesota, as opposed to moving to New York, Chicago, or LA, like so many other actors?
TL: Man, I get this question from everyone except Minnesotans. Minneapolis is a great place to be an artist. I know actors, directors, designers, and all sorts of artists who own a home, and have children and are feeding their families with their art. It’s a hustle of course, just like anything else, but you don’t have to win the proverbial lottery to live well as an artist. Sometimes it takes a bit of creativity, but we’re artists; that’s what we’re good at. Minneapolis is a culturally rich city with great foundations and organizations making and supporting the arts. The Guthrie, Walker Art Center, Playwrights’ Center, the Loft, Button Poetry and countless other nationally renowned are fantastic pillars in our community. Minneapolis is dope; you should come visit! We may be small, but we do a lot of thing better than a lot of places.
As someone who touches many areas of performance, I often ask myself, “Who am I in the world of performance?” As a way of seeking clarity when deciding projects to take on or produce. Who are you?
TL: I’m still figuring that out. But for sure when getting involve with productions I am always seeking collaborative situations where I have a lot of creative input.
How do you battle self doubt?
TL: I acknowledge it’s there, and then I acknowledge that it’s no help to me, or the people I’m working with. Then I tell it to shut up.
What inspires you to perform?
TL: My tribe. The amazing collection of makers and minds that are my friends and collaborators. I am constantly inspired by the artists of all disciplines who I spend time with.
What’s the greatest struggle you have overcome in your life?
TL: I can’t really pinpoint one. I guess I’ve (been) lucky!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
TL: Making art somewhere! I think I would like to have a leadership position at a prominent Minneapolis arts organization.
What do you most enjoy about this thing we call life?
TL: Making art with friends.
That is the sweetest answer yet. Hopefully one of these days, I’ll get the chance to see the art you make with friends. Maybe one day, I’ll be a friend you’re making art with. Here’s to you, my friend.
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