Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spotlight On...Nathaniel Kent

Name: Nathaniel Kent

Hometown: Morgan Hill, CA

Education: BFA: NYU Tisch

Select Credits: Bea Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table (Arthur, Ars Nova); Three Seagulls or, MASHAMASHAMASHA! (Andrey - HERE Arts Center); The Sister (Bob, The Brick); The Land Whale Murders (Henry B. Lubbins III, Sergeant Fitz, Blow Hole Gang Member #2, Shelby Company)

Why theater?:
I've been in theatre since I was a kid. It makes sense. Couldn't imagine NOT doing it. For the past few years I've been involved in mainly original work, which has certainly become a passion. Working with playwrights and putting together productions that help keep theatre alive and meaningful is always rewarding, challenging, and fun.

Tell us about Trevor:
It's a great play. Nick has written a funny, tender, and sometimes scary portrait of a 200-pound chimpanzee you can't help but relate to. The story is pretty simple: Trevor was a show chimp, but now he's bigger and older and isn't getting hired. He can't really figure out why, but he has a resolve to make a big comeback. He has fantasies of being back on the air with Morgan Fairchild, doing things that humans do - like roller skating or smoking cigarettes - but ultimately Trevor is an animal living in a world in which he can't quite fit. Seeing Trevor 's struggle to feel part of the human world is at once beautiful and tragic, and it makes for a really great play.

What is it like being a part of Trevor?:
Thrilling. Working with the team Lesser America has assembled is really a dream. The rehearsal period has been short but sweet. Design looks beautiful. Being in the room with Nick, Moritz and the rest of the cast has been amazing. It's a really talented bunch of people, and everybody loves the play and really wants to make it a great thing.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love a lot of types of theatre. From Shakespeare to musicals and everything in between. But I think what's most exciting for me is a playwright's work. If you get me going on the best stuff I've ever seen, some of it is because of the spectacle or the design, some of it certainly is due to performances or direction, but more often than not it has a whole lot to do with the writing. Theatre has always been a writers' medium, and a lot of contemporary work is more interested in other aspects of the work. So I really get jazzed when the script is incredible.

Any roles you’re dying to play?:
Ron Swanson at 25. I was him for Halloween two years ago and I can't tell you how many strangers asked me to take pictures with them. Felt real famous. People say I look like Orson Welles sometimes, so it'd be pretty killer to play him in a play or a biopic or something like that. And then of course, there's some Shakespeare I'd love to play around with.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Specific songs are tough, but I love Sweeney Todd and Ragtime.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Tony Kushner.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?:
Daniel Day-Lewis, cause he can play anyone, I'm sure I wouldn't be a stretch. My life would certainly be in capable hands. It'd be called "Gift Of God" (that's what "Nathaniel" means...)

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Play: Tribes by Nina Raines. It played here at Barrow Street all last year, and now it's at the Mark Taper Forum. I've been telling all my friends in LA to check it out. TV Show: "Ben and Kate" (even though its off the air now, boo). It's real sweet. Very funny and original.Podcast: "Comedy Bang! Bang!" Every week something hilarious to listen to on the subway.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
Every summer I watch "So You Think You Can Dance", weekly. I don't vote, but I watch.

What’s up next?:
I do a monthly sketch show called Ephemerama at the Magnet Theatre, so that's always in the mix. Next show is March 18 at 7pm. We're working on making some web videos to complement the live show very soon as well. My theatre company, Shelby Company, got into the Minnesota Fringe Festival for the 5th straight year, so we'll be doing that over the summer. And we're narrowing down a project to produce this winter, most likely December, maybe first thing 2014. So keep an eye out for that!