Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Spotlight On...Patrick Massey

Name: Patrick Massey

Hometown: Black Mountain, NC

Education: Undergrad UNC-Chapel Hill BA in Religious Studies and BM in Vocal Performance, MM from the Boston Conservatory for grad school

Favorite Credits: The title role in Candide. Not only does this show have beautiful music, but its content is something that I philosophically have dealt with my whole life. As humans we struggle with the events that happen in our lives, good or bad. The big question is why do these things happen and what does that say about us when we hear the answer? Stepping into Candide’s shoes was a fantastic journey of an extreme idealist and someone who is certain of the answer to why things unfold the way they do. He goes from extreme idealist to a pseudo-nihilist over the course of all these horrible things that happen to him. The show also ends with one of the most beautiful and moving pieces ever written with “Make Your Garden Grow.”  My other favorite credit was Mitya in Guerilla Opera’s Heart of a Dog. It’s a really bizarre telling of an even more bizarre story. The production had so much to offer on so many levels: content, music, great performances, and challenging staging.
Why theater?: For me, theater is life under a microscope blown up for all to see and analyze. What we find we discover in underneath is the beginning of a conversation that can serve to change anything from minds to the world. That’s the big picture for me. I am so excited when I go to the theater and I am moved to feel something I have never felt before and I think theater gives us that opportunity to really pay attention, to actually sit and observe life, to take a breather from doing and just sit and really be able to absorb this slice of life that’s being served to you. On a more practical level, I grew up having an amazingly talented brother who found great success in theater and made my decisions to follow that path much easier. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I discovered that I actually wanted to pursue an acting career because I really believed in it rather than something I fell into because my brother did it. I am more appreciative of him even more now that he made my path to this career a much smoother one than it might otherwise have been.

Tell us about Hounds of War?: The more we work on Hounds of War (HOW) the more I see the incredible amount of depth it has. HOW is about a family recently displaced from its former city neighborhoods to an isolated cabin of sorts out in the middle of nowhere. It very clearly lays out the dynamics of an abusive house hold and the struggle of a family trying to stay together but at what cost? There are some very jarring power shifts and self-betrayals that really make this a strong and relevant piece.

What inspires you perform in Hounds of War?: As an actor, I am really inspired by the dynamic range of the piece. Every character in HOW is forced to experience the full spectrum of their emotions for the most part. The challenge is least of what makes this worth doing. My cast members are so strong and committed to their choices that my own work is inspired to much that much more.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The kind of theater that really inspires me is theater that pushes me to experience feelings in a way that I’ve never felt before. For example, Sleep No More is an excellent example of this. Not only is the whole concept of audience submersion into the space of the story but also the feelings I felt were so much more visceral than anything else I had felt. Going in I knew that actors pulled individual people into closets for private theatrical experiences so I tried to place myself in convenient places for actors pulled me in, but they weren’t doing it! I found myself becoming incredibly jealous and envious; a feeling that no other theatrical performance has ever made me feel. I had to stop and live in that moment to really appreciate what had just happened. I want to be a part of theater that really allows people to experience things and not just observe. I am, of course, inspired as an artist by my brother. Despite the fact that he is incredibly talented, his humility in all of that talent is really astounding. It really becomes about the art and not the exposure. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be the artist I am today.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Well the ridiculous goal that I have set for myself is to one day play opposite of Emma Watson….and then marry her! That is really just a guilty pipe dream. I would really love to work with an Alan Cummings or someone like that who could really do the balls to the wall and possibly even absurd work.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Sleep No More- Hands down the best theater experience I’ve ever had. I’d also recommend Once. It’s harder to find honest musical theater shows these days. I’m not one for unwarranted song and dance and that is why Once is so good. Nothing comes from nowhere in that show and it’s not afraid of silence. All too often the ostentatiousness of 42nd street's flashing lights and constant bombardment manifests itself in Broadway’s theaters and Once manages to cut through all of that with its brutally honest music and authentic atmosphere.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Of course I’d want to say a young Brad Pitt or some ridiculous choice like Michael Kane but if I had to choose….I think Joseph Gordon Levitt would make a decent me, maybe post the ridiculous long hair stage of "Third Rock from the Sun". I think we might call this movie “Just Barely”

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I’m a sucker for blooper reels

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: If I had to guess I would say it would be “I Will Wait” by Mumford and Sons- I’m learning the banjo at the moment and that is one of the first ones I tried to learn. When I actually checked, it was “Helena” by Nickel Creek. Fantastic song!

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: A nutritionist or something food related in public policy. In the name of “progress” we have completely wrecked what goes in our food and into our bodies. The industrialization of food was one of the worst things we could have done for our bodies and the lack of nutrition education has resulted in sky rocketing medical bills, which in most cases are completely preventable with a healthy diet.

What’s up next?: Next I will be headed to Utah to perform Les Miserables as Marius and The Student Prince as Count von Asterburg with the Utah Festival Opera and then to Boston to perform a brand new opera with Guerilla Opera.