Sebastian
Sebastian Cummings

The internet allows us the opportunity to come across people we might otherwise have never known. Living in a little, big city like Philadelphia, it’s easy to cross paths with what feels like every artist in town, and then there’s the occasional person who seems to know everyone you know, frequent places you often go, and yet you never have the privilege to meet them in person. This has inspired me to use the internet, often a tool of mass distraction, as a tool for introduction. I’ve seen much of Nik Hampshire in the digital world, so I decided to get in touch with him and learn more about him as a person. I was curious to know what makes this incredibly attractive gentlemen tick… so I went inside the green room.

Photo Credit: Anton Martynov
Photo Credit: Anton Martynov

When you were a wee lad, looking bright eyed into the future, what did you imagine you would be doing for a living as an adult?

NH: Honestly I had no idea. I’ve always been a kid at heart and never really wanted to do something I didn’t want too. I wanted to be an actor but didn’t think it would ever happen. I went to school for business but hated all the courses so immediately changed to a communications degree in film. I didn’t even want to work in film like that, I just really love films and wanted to take classes on them. So I’ve just kind of followed whatever my heart said and what felt right at the time. Very much go where the wind blows me.

I understand you pride yourself in living life as close to your way as you can, what does that mean for you?

NH: It basically boils down to a philosophy I try to hold to in life that I’ve come up with: do more of what you love and less of what you don’t. I see so many people so entrenched in work and obligations waiting and waiting to get to do what they want without realizing there may be better ways to achieve what they want. I just think people should learn to prioritize their goals and passions better so they can lead happier more rewarding lives. It’s all about positivity and love.

I once read that in life, we spend much of our energy fighting what is, and we either eventually submit to the will of the universe or we experience what is usually a rude awakening, that leads us back on the right path. Have you experienced either?

NH: I feel like I’ve always kind of danced around that “which is”. I mean I’m not like totally off the grid or revolutionary or anything so I’m certainly part of that “what is” but I’ve been fortuitous and worked hard to live life by my own terms quite a bit. It definitely is a bit of a struggle at times where you feel that pressure but I prefer this struggle to resist and enjoy life outside that to the struggle of not drowning in the “way life is”. That cubicle, 9-5 corporate struggle is just the death of the soul for someone like me.

How did you start rapping?

NH: Well I’d been a fan of hip hop and rap since I was a kid but never even considered trying it myself until a friend of mine had started. Animatronic the Abolisher is my best friend from New Hampshire (where I’m from) and I foolishly thought “damn if this white boy from New Hampshire can do it I MUST be able to do it too! Little did I know this was nonsensical logic and he’s to Thai day a MUCH better MC than I am but I’ve have a passion for music and rapping that i love to give in to. Animatronic and I have a rap group together called ‘folklore’. Look for our debut album later this year. ( free mixtape at http://www.soundcloud.com/folklorelives)! You can find my solo stuff at http://www.soundcloud.com/lumberjackraps

Photo Credit: Dustin Genereux
Photo Credit: Dustin Genereux

What do you most love about modeling?

NH: My favorite part about modeling is the opportunities it’s given me! It’s allowed me to travel and work outside of that typical 9-5 world and I’ve met SO many great passionate people following their own creative paths and I love every second of it!

Where do you find your inspiration?

NH: Experience is really my biggest inspiration. Traveling and meeting people. Trying new things. I just really love life and channeling my love for it through my actions and art.

What do you want most out of life?

NH: I just want to be happy, man. I’d like financial stability. I’d love to buy my moms a house. I’d love to meet Kanye west! But at the end of the day I just want to experience as much of this life as I can. That will make me happy.

What is the biggest struggle you have overcome in your life?

NH: I moved around a lot as a kid and so I was often the new kid in school. Because of this (and because I was kind of annoying) I lost a lot of friends and felt a lone a lot up through college. It affected my self esteem to a degree and how I saw my self. Despite these issue I took that time alone to work on myself and figure out who I was what I really wanted to get out of this life and I’m strong snd as confident as ever!

What do you most enjoy about life?

NH: Pizza aside, I’d have to say love. I know that’s a really broad answer but the positive vibes I get from being with family or hanging with friends or even meeting other artists pursuing their passions is so beautiful. It’s so rewarding and enriching. I love trying new things and meeting new people and just receiving and sharing as much love as I can!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

NH: Hopefully the moon! What’s good with them commercial lunar flights NASA?! Nah but for real I really can’t say. As I said, I really am just going with the flow and floating wherever life blows me. In 10 years I hope to still be as free as I am now but maybe just a bit more established. Maybe I have ill have some kids. Maybe I’ll have a talk show! Who can say!

We’re excited for you and all that your future holds. If you want to keep up with Nik, follow him on Instagram!

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Sebastian Sebastian Cummings

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.

"Killer Inside" Sandbox Theatre
Theo Langason in Killer Inside at Sandbox Theatre

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.

Theo
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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SebastianI once heard life described as a series of circuits. I don’t recall the exact wording and won’t pretend to be an expert on circuits, so work with me here, I’m aiming for a general understanding. We are all individual lights on a circuit, shining brightly in the darkness, forming one giant light from a distance. When we work together in this life, to grow and love through communication and shared experience, our connections stay strong and our lights shine at their brightest. It’s as though each of us adds something to the power that comes in our direction and sends it off to the next person to benefit from. When we close ourselves off to others, we deny others the energy they need to shine their brightest and limit the energy we, ourselves, receive, thereby, dimming both our individual and collective lights. Yes?
As much as I enjoy my time alone to reflect and grow, I enjoy learning and sharing with others. Especially those I feel a sense of instant recognition with. Living in Philadelphia, I’ve had the privilege to meet many an artist, but occasionally, there’s a person you know of, share friends with, and see out in the world, but somehow have yet to manage to get to know. For me, this is Peter Andrew Danzig. Yes, I understand he is handsome and talented, but I wanted to know more, so I spent hours gazing a his shirtless pictures decided to sit down and speak with him… Inside The Green Room.

Peter
How did you first realize your interest in performance?

PAD: It’s funny, I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t an essence of performance in my life. It’s always existed for me; play is important to me and fantastical worlds were so much a part of my childhood, maybe I just never grew up. I think I just discovered the term ‘actor’ meant I could play/perform and be paid to do what I love. Jest aside, music, voice and singing were actually my introduction to performance, and in high school In learned the power of how music and theater could move people, around 16 I knew it would be the leading driver for the rest of my life. I had a moment during a state choir competition when the choir finished the song and whole audience was stark quiet, and it was one of those magic moments when you know you had them. you connected and you both cathartically shared something beautiful; that was it. I never looked back after that, I still relish in those moments we are one with an audience.

When you initially decided to study Theatre on a collegiate level, how did you see your future in your mind’s eye?

PAD: It’s funny you should ask that question; I am one who has always lived fairly in the present. I always had a hard time seeing myself in any future capacity. I was simply always happy with the ability to do what I loved and to keep learning. Constant education is really important to me. But in all seriousness, if you had told me at 18 or 20 what I’d be doing with my life now, I’d be flabbergasted. How’d I get here? Who knows, passion? I’m incredibly driven to challenge myself constantly, so I think I always knew I’d be moving towards something, but the strategic planning part of that was always a rather large void for me. I tend to think that the Universe puts us exactly where we are meant to be with just enough to handle, and I think that is where I’m at. I always did have a love for the body on stage and the ways in which people and characters became one in the same and lived the same body. The dramaturgy of the body always fascinated me, and I was always drawn to it, so I think subconsciously I knew there would be some way I’d engage with that. Much of my future was influenced by what I learned in undergrad from Donna Snow, Dan Kern and David Ingram. They really inspired me and I felt like I understood from them by the time I left that a life in the theatre, and my future is what you make of it. It’s no one’s job to take care of us and we are owed nothing, so hard work and patience are some of the things they taught me are most important.

By the time you started graduate school, had that vision changed? If so, how?

PAD: Yes, when I went to graduate school I was accepted as an Acting Scholar at Villanova, and my original intent was to solely focus becoming a more grounded actor, but the experience left me open to so much more. It was there that I really started to think about and link kinesiology and acting and found that there are methods, so many, so creating characters on stage. I was also able to do some movement coaching and directing in grad school that really opened me up to what I feel is my life purpose, to help actors condition, create and find strength in their own bodies on stage; to allow their natural gifts and quirks, physically, to blend with the text to create something, someone. The vision became more of a humbling realization. I adore being an actor, there is nothing like it, but I also come alive when I watch the actors I’ve worked with or choreographed moving on stage. I get so nervous! It’s a sign to me that I’m meant to do this and I can’t begin to tell you the rush I get from moving bodies in space and creating pictures; it’s my favorite part of my job.

As a theatrical trainer, what kind of work most excites you? (movement, fight choreography, tumbling)

PAD: I’d say movement coaching, and the blend of exercise science and creating worlds on stage with large casts. I like the challenge of moving part, the machine that is the production. I love, love, love helping actors work from obscure body centers and seeing how that informs their choices. There is nothing like it when an actor discovers their instrument in a whole new light. I also love the blending of genres and types of work, for example, in It Girl with Simpatico, we blended the world of dance and fight choreography for the Apache dance and it was invigorating for me every time we played with the notions of what was dance and what was fight combat, because in the end, the body is delivering movement, always, and sometimes there is no reason to strictly classify movement in rigid boxes. It’s beautiful when it’s free from that, when we can find movement as a means of creating lines and shapes, and through intensity and motion we can either dance or fight, or so both simultaneously.

What are some of your greatest challenges?

PAD: I’d say finding my little place in the world; sometimes I’m my hardest critic and don’t know when to let myself off the hook. I think it’s important to know when to rest and allow yourself to just be in life, but I have a hard time doing that. I feel like the challenge for me is to just allow myself to let go, surrender control. Also, the balance of making our art and living our own life so that we can create life on stage. A great mentor of mine once told me that the only way to survive a life in the theatre is to know when to step away for a time and live your own. I think about that often.

Yes, surrender control… so difficult to do sometimes.
How was the process of starting your own company? Any warnings or advice you would give to someone thinking of doing the same thing?

PAD: I think you need to love what you do off-stage as much as loving what you do on-stage. I think that balance and happiness is important and comes across in the work. As for starting a company, it’s a beast, and I’m still learning each and every day but one bit of advice I would share is to know when to allow yourself to ask for help, to not always have the answers and be okay with taking risks. In the end, you’re taking a risk by trying to create something, so you may as well make it worth while and allow yourself to be human enough to know when you need to rely on the education and experiences of your peers to help you shape your vision.

Are there any major obstacles you had to overcome in your career as a theatre artist?

PAD: Yes, and still working on it. Not measuring your success against the success of others. It took me a long time to understand that lesson, and maybe it comes with age and experience, but I measure my success now by small milestones. I measure it against myself and in the end. I discovered how much to appreciate the small victories. You live one life right, so it’s all those small moments that lead us to larger revelations and more experiences. One obstacle I still fight is judging my own work; I often have a hard time of knowing when to trust my intuition.

I don’t know why we compare our success with that of others. All of us. Maybe because we’ve grown up in a competition based society with winners and losers, only honoring “the best”. I hope we can all overcome that one.
How do you fight procrastination and fear? What keeps you motivated?

PAD: Every day I read a book of inspirational quotes; just one page and then I try to find a moment in my day to make that quote happen to further along my life in a positive way. It may sound quirky but it works for me. I don’t procrastinate, I’m a really direct person, I hate the feeling of leaving things undone. Call me a work-a-holic.

What would you most like to accomplish in your career?

PAD: My dream is to get my PHD in kinesiology and prove a new method for character creation and movement as my thesis based on the dramaturgy of the actor’s actual body. So much of the dreams I have for myself are influenced by people like Anne Bogart and Martha Graham. I want to accomplish creativity impacting and contributing to the theatre a pathway for actors and a method. I’ve already begun researching it and decided it would be a life practice. After all, Grahman once said “The body says what words cannot.”  I want to find a new way for the body to speak!

Peter

What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome in your life?

PAD: Such large questions! Wow, this one is hard. Loving myself, exactly as I am. I think that is one for many of us.

I agree, for so many years, I loved the idea of what i hoped to be as opposed to the growing person I was.
What is love?

PAD: I think that love is compassion and understanding. Whether it be familial or romantic, there is a sense of compassion, the ability to have that is what makes us human. For me, love is being able to put other’s needs before your own. Right now I’m discovering that love is something we know nothing about, because we can never know it till it hits us, in all it’s forms.

What do you most enjoy about this thing called life?

PAD: The unpredictability. After all, that is what stasis actually is. Stability is the rare occurrence in life, it’s the instability of life, the cracks and turns that I think are what makes it worth living.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

PAD: Funny, I still stand by what I said before, I can’t really find an answer to that. I’m just so happy and humbled by where I am now. In ten years though, I’d love to be able to come home and say “honey, I created movement today with my method and hey, it works”. That would be really something for me! Now to just  make that happen.

We hope you achieve all that and more!
Keep up with Mr. Danzig at PeterAndrewDanzig.com

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Sebastianinstatweet

 

 

 

Have you seen John Leguizamo’s one man show, Ghetto Klown? At one point in the show he describes a stage in the creative process he often goes through: he writes, gets depressed, hates himself, watches porn, and masturbates… over and over again. John Leguizamo and I are the same person. I’ve been doing a lot of work lately, which leads to an increased amount of time my pants and my ankles get to hang out. I kept stumbling across the same performer; Darius Ferdynand. He is wildly attractive. He is in amazing physical shape. But, what else? His face seemed to say, “I want you to get know me, but you’ll have to seek out the answers yourself.” So, I did. I found a few interviews and I learned a great deal; Darius is from Hungary, he attended drama school and worked for some time as a professional actor and model, but found it difficult to financially support himself with that work alone. His modeling work evolved into erotic shoots, which eventually led to his work in that Adult Film Industry. Amazing! Who knew he got his start in theatre? I have had friends in the entertainment business who have considered moving to the adult film business for the same reasons, so I felt a connection with him and I wanted to know more. I found myself uninspired with the questions others were asking him, so I decided to go directly to the source and ask Mr. Ferdynand my own questions. So, I headed to The Green Room.

How have you been these days?
I’ve been fine these days. I mean I definitely shoot less recently, but at least I got more time for other projects.
Although I live in Spain, I still love to get away from the cold winter, so I was traveling a bit lately.

I understand you went to drama school and have performed in musicals, films, and commercials. What was it about the world of performance that first seduced you? (Was there a play or film that greatly inspired you? What do you love about acting?)
Yes, that’s correct. I went to drama school, because as a kid I was spending all my time making up stories, pretending to be a cartoon character or just making smiling my parents when I was telling a poem or a piggy joke.
I got inspired by anything I watched and I found it interesting and fascinating.
What I love about acting is that you can be whoever you want, you can be someone else and doing things that you’d normally wouldn’t do without consequences. I generally like things with no limit and no rules.


 

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Agreed, there is a bit of satisfaction in being able to live out scenarios you might not in real life, without any of the consequences.
You must receive thousands of messages from fans across the world asking for advice on coming out and with stories about how they feel inspired by you, how does that make you feel?

When I receive a message like this it feels weird, because their stories are so personal, but I feel honoured too, because they trust on my opinion, but it’s also a lot of responsibility.
I never tell anyone that “You should do this, or that” because normally I don’t know the actual man personally, and what if what I say won’t work?
So I always trying get to know the details, without being too intrusive and give more options so they can really make their own decisions without blaming someone else.

Did you have someone who helped you through your early coming out days?
In my early coming out days I was counting on my family and my close friends. I mostly got lucky with both of them. Thanks, Mom. Love you ForEver!

We’ve never met in person, but there is an energy about you that would seem to indicate you are an attentive, accommodating person, is that so? And if so, how did you come to be so? (Are you a middle child?)
Thank you, very kind of you.
I don’t know about that, I used to be very attentive and still trying to be. Honestly I lose my attention very quickly if I find something or someone boring, but I give the same chance to everyone to being interesting or entertaining.
I was the youngest child, so I had lots of attention and love, I guess that’s what I’d like to give back to the universe to have cosmic balance

Let me know if you need any volunteers, I’d really like to help out by being on the receiving end of your attention and love… I just want help out as much as I can.
When I first moved to Philadelphia on my own, I finally felt free and wanted to see and bee seen. One of the first things I did with this new found freedom was attend a circle jerk party with about 50 or 60 other guys. It was one of the most liberating and frightening experiences in my early gayhood. You’ve described yourself as somewhat of an exhibitionist, do you have a particularly memorable experience of being sexually brave early on?

Reaimageslly? A circle jerk party??? Wow…I can only imagine what is that supposed to be. 🙂
Well…as a teenager though I started doing sex as the age of 14 I was having the same partners for quite a long time and was having a kind of early thoughtful, responsible and very loving
sex until the age of 22.
That was the
time when I started to having senseless one night stands and discovering new sexual experiences. Both times were liberating but in a different way.


 

Inside The Green Room


 

Was it difficult getting used to the idea that most of your friends have probably seen you have sex? Maybe even family?
No, it wasn’t really difficult to accept the fact that most of my friends have already seen me having sex on film.
I mean I know it will probably happen, I counted on that when I have decided to get involved to the adult industry. It’s part of it. Nothing I can do.

What keeps you motivated to work hard and seek new opportunities?
I got motivated by other people who are more successful than me. I want to get my things together so I can support my family or soon start my own family and have a normal, secure, happy life.

Same! I like learning as much as I can from people who are more successful than I am. Especially as an artist trying to be artistically and financially successful.
What do you feel is the greatest struggle in your life that you’ve overcome?

I had a few, maybe the biggest was when I realised that I have to stop professional acting and focus on other things that interest me.

I can only imagine what that was like. I’m happy you are doing well for yourself today and would hope that things only get better for you.
What is love?

Love is bird, flying high passionately, singing all day, not giving a shit for everything and then loosing the control and fallen down to the earth, in pain. Then climbing up a tree and trying again with broken wings and falling feathers but with tougher spirit.

That is beautiful! I wish that could fit on my license plate!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I see myself giving you another interview for the 10th anniversary of this interview.

I like your way of thinking! Yes, let’s do that. As a matter of fact, let’s be friends.
What do you most enjoy about this thing we call life?

What I enjoy the most about life is the surprises, the unpredictable future and the several choices and variety of opportunities. Dealing with decisions and connections we make. Being able to to change or make something better.

You seem to be growing and getting better everyday and I hope you get all that your heart desires… and that we become best friends.
You wanna keep up with Darius? Follow him on Instagram!

 

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the only picture that works
Sebastian Cummings

You learn you have been cast in a show. Fantastic! You don’t suck after all, someone wants you to act in their show! They didn’t think your choices in that audition were stupid. See, I tried to tell you that, but you were too busy repeatedly slamming your head into your bedroom wall to hear me. You did it… again. You do it quite often actually, now that I think about it. Why do you keep doubting yourself? That’s not rhetorical, I want to know… We’ll come back to that later. Anyway, now you get the full script (ooooh), you get a schedule (nice), and you get to meet the other actors. Yay!… yay? yeah?… If one of those actors happens to be Jennifer Summerfield, then yes, indeed!
I had been living in Philadelphia for a year or two when I first saw Jennifer Summerfield on stage, and, I’m not exaggerating when I say this, my first thought was, “How have I never heard of this woman? Why is she not famous? I want her to be cast in all the things! Everything!” Jennifer Summerfield is:
The Truth
A Real Life Professional
Someone I admire.
I really can’t say more about her. If you haven’t, you should see her for yourself. If you have, you should see her again. It doesn’t matter when you are reading this, I’m sure she’s in something right now, because she is always working. I have been lucky enough to work with her a few times over the years, so, I used this privilege to sit down and talk with her in the only place I knew I could find her… inside the green room.

Jennifer Summerfield

Jennifer Summerfield, you are special, I first saw you in Josh Mcllvain’s Carter’s Play, back when I was as green as a granny smith. You gave me goosebumps. As a matter of fact, I think I first saw you in one of the rehearsal’s leading up to the production and mistook one of your scenes for reality; I thought I was witness to a private conversation.
When you’re performing, how does it feel? Is Jennifer completely abandoned? Is there a unique feeling of energy radiating though your body?

Part of my training was to focus entirely on my acting partner so that every response would be a truthful reaction to what the other actor said, or more importantly, did. So often the most interesting things happen under the surface, behind the words. If you concentrate too much on what is being said, you miss the subtext, and your response is too often a canned, preconceived response based on what you think the words mean. One of the results of this is that I’m able to forget myself and connect as completely as possible with the other actors on stage, making stagefright easier to handle and making the scenes I’m in a true collaboration. I realized I wanted to pursue theatre professionally after doing a scene with a French actor and realizing how little the words mattered, that the connection we’d found on stage was akin to flying on a trapeze with someone you knew would catch you. It’s the most exciting feeling in the world! It makes you realize how rare it is to truly connect with someone in life, to really look them in the eye and know they’re looking at you right back. It only happens in moments of extreme passion, when people are falling in love or when they’re saying horrible things to each other.

Wow, yes.
I cannot imagine the number of plays you have taken on as a performer. When I was in college, one of my professors suggested to me, “If it’s not interesting to you, why do it? You’re performing a disservice to yourself and the world.” (referring to both choices as an actor and roles). As a seasoned actor, when considering plays and characters, what is interesting to you?

I love characters who do the inexplicable… who say the unforgivable thing or destroy the beautiful object for seemingly no reason. When I’m given the job of figuring out the motivations of a complicated character, it’s such a gift. I also love language; I love being allowed to say the circuitous, strange things people don’t seem to have time for in life.

I’m so grateful to have had the privilege to work with you, twice, at that! You are so very present, not just as an actor, but as a human being. When I was around you, I felt compelled to stop and pay you my undivided attention, because unlike most people, you were there. Do you ever feel the absent mindedness of others creates an obstacle for you, as an actor, considering both those you work with artistically and audiences?
There are certainly people who don’t take the job seriously, who view the rehearsal process as a sort of joke. We’ve all been late on occasion, or ill prepared, but when someone is consistently late and laughs about it, or makes a joke out of not knowing their lines, it’s a detriment to the rehearsal process. Sadly, it can bring the entire production down a level when there’s someone who is not fully committed to being there. When it’s a distracted audience, the energy of the room becomes chaotic, and, as an actor, I feel I have to work harder to maintain the integrity of the production.

_ARC0013

Okay, from now on, when I’m at the first read through for a play or film, when we all go around in a circle and say something about ourselves, I’m going to recite what you just said, because it’s TheTruth.com… okay maybe I won’t do that, but I’ll make it the quote in my email signature? I don’t know, but I will find a way to use that!
I have this habit of acting out fantasy scenarios with uninformed parties. For instance, last year I was at a party talking to a young man I didn’t know very well, maybe we had spoken 2 or 3 times before. While we were speaking, a woman walked over and said hello to him. Enter fantasy world. I then turned to him and said,, “Who is this? Is this who you’ve been spending your time with instead of coming home and playing with your children?” I turned to her and said, “Did he tell you he was happily married when is started?”
Anyway, these poor individuals usually end up confused and embarrassed, but surprisingly, they try to navigate the situation. Do you have any interesting life habits rooted in acting or improvising?

Nothing as exciting as that! I do, however, regularly go to museums by myself and pretend I live in them, making sure to catch sight of myself in the antique mirrors so I can imagine they’re reflecting back my life in the room 200 years ago.

Wow! That sounds like so much fun. I would have never thought to do something like that.
What excites you about life?

I’m always excited by the idea of travel and seeing different cultures. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone anywhere exciting, but I’m really excited about one day going to Russia and traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. I’m always excited about the idea of the next thing, the next project, the next collaborator.

My mom says I’m always excited about my next boyfriend….. and that’s why I can’t keep one. I should probably save this for my next group therapy session.
Can you talk about your cats?

Hennepin
Hennepin

Roswell
Roswell

When I moved into our house, Kyle had four cats and I had one. I always call Hennepin my “single lady cat,” because I got her when she was a kitten and I was living in Manhattan, in a one-bedroom apartment on a cliff overlooking Broadway. I named her Hennepin after an explorer who traveled with LaSalle. I read a book that said he died in “well-deserved obscurity,” so I thought it only right that the name live on (although I have since learned that all kinds of places are named after Hennepin in the West.) Now we have Roswell, who’s an internet celebrity and diabetic, and Lady Brack, who showed up on our doorstep with three kittens last year. They all hate each other passionately but love us.

What is the greatest struggle you have overcome in your life?
My shyness is an ongoing struggle that I have to constantly fight against and overcome. There’s not a single day when I don’t feel fear and anxiety, and I am constantly fighting the urge to give up and stay home. I hope one day to say I’ve completely overcome it, but I’ve a feeling it will be a life-long process.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself doing more of my own projects and creating one-person shows so that I’m not so dependent on other people’s ideas and schedules. It was a huge struggle producing “Hedda Gabler” in December, but I’m so glad we did it. It was a great learning experience, and I’d like to take what I learned from it and apply it to future projects. I see myself traveling more with my shows, doing arts exchanges in other cities. That would be hugely exciting for me.

What is love?
Love is respect; respecting your space, your words, your needs.

In that case, I respect you.
Catch Jennifer Summerfield in Sense and Sensibility at People’s Light Feb 10-March 20 2016!

inside the green room with icon
gemini rose inside the green room
Inside The Green Room
Sean Green
Inside The Green Room
Inside The Green Room With Erlina Ortiz

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