Monday, August 5, 2013

Spotlight On...Adam Zivkovic

Name: Adam Zivkovic
          
Hometown: New York, NY

Education: Princeton University, Stella Adler Studio, American Globe Theater, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

Select Credits: 8 Million Protagonists (Off-Broadway, Dancer/Ensemble), Cosi (Lewis, Australian Made Entertainment), The Oresteian Trilogy (Orestes/Agamemnon, Love Creek Productions), Twelfth Night (Duke Orsino, Love Creek Productions), A Doll’s House (Torvald Helmer, Love Creek Productions), Inklings (Choreographer/Dancer, Dixon Place)

Why theater?: I like to think of theater as that ultra-deep dream space from Inception where you can build cities and beaches in your mind, or the “Dreamatorium” from Community where Troy and Abed have all their Doctor Spacetime adventures – it’s a place where you can make all the rules and create all the physics. If you need something in a scene that isn’t there, or is too expensive to buy, or too dangerous to handle in a crowded theater (like a dragon, or something) you can just create it – decide where it is and go. It’s like signing a contract with the audience that says “Okay, for the next 2 hours, these are the rules of the world we’re living in together and these are the stakes. Suspend your disbelief and come with us.” And they will. And that relationship is really special. The fact that theater happens live in real time for an audience creates such an amazing dynamic with the performers. It’s like having a conversation, except that the topic is agreed on before the actors take the stage and the audience takes its seats.

Tell us about Half: Half is completely unique, as far as I’m concerned. Half is a farcical look at a kingdom tearing at the seams as the King and Queen declare divorce. Their loyal Maid and Valet scramble to put things back together, as the Royal Therapist and Interior Decorator try to loot what they can before the lawyers get called in. Playwright Becca Foresman and I play three characters each – often all three at once – in this madcap, very physical comedy that will make you wonder if being King or Queen is all it’s cracked up to be. Becca has written a hilarious yet deeply touching story. The physical life and the masterful language creates a type of theatrical experience that is somewhere between Moliere, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare and "Rupaul’s Drag Race". It’s farce at its farciest, but there is also beautiful language, and very human story telling. Even though everything is heightened, there is a real sense of realness.

What is it like being a part of Half?: Half is by far the most challenging piece of theater I have ever worked on, and as such is the most fun I’ve ever had as an actor – hands down. Getting to play three characters in one show would be great fun for any actor I believe, and Becca has written such complexly human characters (who are all so different!) that the work cannot help but stretch you every which way. Rehearsals are very demanding mentally and physically. There are 6 characters and 2 actors, so you can imagine we’re on our feet the whole time, switching in and out of very different people. It’s like following incredibly detailed back-roads driving directions you get online – the road isn’t as easy as the freeway, but you get to see a lot more stuff along the way. The hard work is so beyond worth it and I can’t wait to share it with you at the Fringe.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I love all kinds of theater. I have a weakness for the classics, but I also have a sweet-tooth for anything weird or that I haven’t seen before. Most importantly, I love storytelling. I believe that is the primary purpose behind theater arts. I love exploring new worlds and characters and finding out what the stories behind them are. People are all so different, so their stories necessarily will be too. Theater allows you to see and hear all sorts of new things, and that’s really what I look for in theater is to see the world from a different perspective for a while. I am really inspired by my surroundings. I’ve been told that the most important thing as an artist is to listen and watch. “Write what you know” said Shakespeare, so I try my best to know people. My job is to play different types of people, so the more I can experience people, the better I can understand them. I’m also still trying to figure myself out somewhere in there.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I’m absolutely dying to play the Man in Christopher Durang’s Laughing Wild. I would also love to play Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. And I’m sure you’ve heard this one a million times, but who doesn’t want to play Hamlet?

What’s your favorite showtune?: Anything from West Side Story, Into the Woods or Chicago.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I would love to be in anything that Trey Parker and Matt Stone are even remotely involved in. I would just about sell my soul to work with Quentin Tarantino.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Well, I have never thought about this before, but I think the movie would be called "Wolverine II: The Wolvening", starring Hugh Jackman. (He’s my hero.)

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I saw the Sydney Theater Company’s Uncle Vanya last year at City Center, with Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett and it was amazing. I haven’t stopped annoying my friends about it since. 

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
I guess my biggest guilty pleasure is my 90’s playlist on Spotify. It’s filled with some absolute classics like “No Diggity,” “Losing My Religion” and “Intergalactic” but there’s also some stuff on there that’s a little embarrassing. But I wear my 90's nerd-dom with pride.

What’s up next?: I just shot a small part in the upcoming musical feature film "Life of An Actress" which is due out in the coming months. Up next on stage, I’ll be appearing with the Baited Bear Players in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo & Juliet and The Alchemist.

For more on Adam, visit www.adamzivkovic.com. For more on Half, visit www.HALFonstage.com

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