Saturday, June 16, 2012

Spotlight On...Michael Manocchio

Name: Michael Manocchio

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Education: BA in Theatre and English, Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, Illinois)
Certificate in Thai and Southeast Asian Studies, Payap University (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Select Credits: The Seagull (Konstantin, Moscow Art Theatre School); My Night with Reg (Eric, Pride Films and Plays); A Chorus Line (Bobby, Aurora Summer Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck, Elmhurst College); The Glass Menagerie (Tom, Elmhurst College); Cloud 9 (Betty/Gerry, Elmhurst College)

Why theater?: People need to come together in one room and talk things out more often. I enjoy facilitating that discussion.

Tell us about Wild: In a very small nutshell: I play Bobby, a young man whose boyfriend of four years cheats on him with a woman. The play lives in the aftermath of that betrayal and explores the road to recovery. It’s an intense look at relationships in the 21st century. But don’t worry - there are some laughs along the way.

What is it like being a part of Wild?: To be perfectly honest, it’s intimidating. It’s a tough role, and I haven’t been on stage in almost two years. I’m rusty and I’m surrounded by a tremendously talented group of actors. But beating myself up aside, I’m enjoying every minute of it. It’s great to be back and I couldn’t ask for a better team.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: There is no particular genre or style of theatre that speaks to me more than any other. What I look for is pretty simple: a story that contains a truth that is absolutely screaming to be told...and if the form surprises me along the way, that’s icing on the cake. To name some writers and directors in no particular order: Anna D. Shapiro, Charles Newell, Thomas Bradshaw, Sarah Ruhl, Mary Zimmerman, A Rey Pamatmat, Tracy Letts

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Right now: Alan in Equus. A little later: Elyot in Private Lives. Much later: George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

What’s your favorite showtune?: Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” from Follies. I’m only beginning to learn what it means to live a life in the theatre, and this is the ultimate song of surviving that life. I hope that when all is said and done, I understand what every line of what that song means. So I guess that’s a goal...and I have a thing for brassy old broads, so there you go.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tracy Letts. He can write as well as he acts. I have a thing for multi-talented theatre artists. See also: Amy Morton, Martha Lavey... there’s a pattern here...

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
I think Meryl should do it. She can play anyone. And I want my movie to win an Oscar. The title would more than likely be profane.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The New Colony’s Rise of the Numberless and the Court’s Angels in America

What’s up next?: I’m not a full-time actor. I spend about half of my time working as a dramaturg, and my next project is a devised piece of documentary theatre that will be produced as part of Red Tape Theatre’s Fresh Eyes festival. I’m really excited about it. I get to work with Lizzie Lovelady again, who is a wonderful theatre artist in Chicago, and we get to explore autism, which is my latest fascination. As far as acting is concerned... If anyone would like to give me a job for the fall, I would love to hear from you.