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The Abduction of Becky Morris

nytheatre.com q&a preview by William Franke
July 25, 2012

What is your job on this show?
Actor, playing State Trooper Hank Morris.

What type of theater do you like most to work on?
Dramas and comedies hold equal allure for me, and this show, while mostly a comedy, also has some moments in it that really ring true that I really relish playing. More than that, though, I’ve developed a special fondness over the years for new plays. It’s highly rewarding to be the first actor to play a character, to wrestle with the words and have the opportunity to help a playwright and director create a new play.

Have you been part of FringeNYC in the past? If so, how did you particpate? (Be specific! Name shows, etc.)
Twice before I’ve had the good fortune to be in funny shows with talented casts as a part of FringeNYC. In 2008 I played an NYC cop (vs. the Oklahoma State Trooper I play in this show…what can I say? I’ve got cop hair) who is called in to investigate a mysterious dookie on a couch in Gingham Theatre’s 'For Reasons Unknown' by Jeff Long & Andi Teran, directed by Nathan Halvorson. Before that I was in Courthouse Theater Company’s 'Peas & Carrots' by Stephen O’Rourke, directed by Jase Draper. That was in 2003; the blackout actually hit just as we were walking off stage after our matinee curtain call.

Why did you want to write/direct/produce/act in/work on this show?
Alison and I met a few years ago when we sipped martinis together at the end of the world in a short play by Ed Musto. She was a joy to work with, so when she approached me about workshopping the play last fall, I jumped at the chance. AJ Cermak proved to be a great director to work with so I was happy to reprise the role at the Fringe. Plus, Alison has an ear for dialogue that makes saying her lines a lot of fun.

Which famous New Jerseyite would like your show the best: Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison?
I’ve never met Snooki, and while I think she would laugh at parts, I think others would go over her head. The idea of The Boss sitting in the audience laughing at Alison’s play with that huge grin of his makes me really happy. Plus he wrote the song “State Trooper” on the 'Nebraska' album, and Nebraska is right next door to Oklahoma (if you don’t count Kansas).

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
Besides opening my very own theater in the Caribbean? No, truthfully I would love to see a return to (non-musical) shows with larger casts. Nothing against musicals, but we’ve really lost something, some of our theatrical heritage, with the shrinkage that economics have forced on the American theatre since the ’80s (if not earlier), with the average cast down to 3 or 4 at most. (As it is, I think our show has one of the largest casts in this year’s Fringe, so you get a lot more actor per dollar!)