Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spotlight On...Eric Mann

Name: Eric Mann

Hometown: Born and raised in Little Rock, AR

Education: BFA Music Theatre from Elon University. Other: Upright Citizens Brigade - Improv, Michael Chekhov Acting Studio

Select Credits: National Tour: A Chorus Line (Mike), Regional: Hello Dolly! (Barnaby, North Shore Music Theatre & Cape Playhouse); Enter Laughing (Marvin, Bay Street Theatre); The Drowsy Chaperone (Gangster #2, North Carolina Theatre), West Side Story (A-Rab, North Carolina Theatre), Annie (Fred McCracken, North Carolin Theatre); Big River (Huck, Galveston Island Musicals); Tommy (Arkansas Reportory Theatre) Children of Eden (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), Gypsy (Arkansas Repertory Theatre). In addition to acting, I recently opened my own film production company last year - UNREEL FILMS, LLC.  I have done everything from SAG Short Films to promo videos to music/dance videos to wedding videos and to reels - all in such a short time!  Film (Director): "Alistair'sWednesday," "Finish Her," "Defunkt," "A Rather Splendid Day." 

Why theater?: Theatre is truly the best way to tell a story.  Obviously this seems counterintuitive to all the film work that I do, and don't get me wrong I absolutely love film because it is a beautiful way to paint a picture, but when we get to the true essence of storytelling - the most beautiful and poignant way to tell a story is through theatre.  The problem is that in today's world commercial theatre is trying to be film.  And it's not, nor ever should be.  When we do theatre it is the chemistry between actors on stage and the energy that sifts out over the audience that makes the magic of theatre breathtaking.  God is in the details, as they say.  Unfortunately, this subtle energy has been lost through a majority of the theatre.  This is why audience members and actors feel increasingly more underwhelmed by the work.  Michael Chekhov talked about this in the 50s and it continues evermore so today. It basically boils down to heart and true creation.  That is what I feel Cloned! has - and it has so much of that heart and creation!  I feel so fortunate to work on such a piece like this.  A piece that really honors the collaborative process and really cherishes the heart of the story.  That is what makes beautiful theatre, and that is why we all got into this in the first place.  Not for said "career," but to tell a darn good story.  I know that this magic will subtly permeate the audience while they watch - people love this show!

Who do you play in Cloned?: Clone Wally

Tell us about Cloned: Cloned! is a story about a scientist, Wally Waterman, who is on the verge of cracking the code of teleportation.  To his complete astonishment, he ends up cloning himself instead.  Hilarity, door slamming, and deep buried feelings of love ensue.  There also might be some yodeling! 

What is it like being a part of Cloned?: I am unbelievably honored to be a part of this journey.  This show and the creative team of Dan and Adam, Tom, Ryan, and Julianne is just beyond fun.  This show is a WORK OUT!  I leave exhausted everyday, but I am having the time of my life!  Also, I have to shout out to the cast too.  Alex Goley who is my clone (or I am his clone) is fantastic and the supporting cast is just unbelievable!  Everyone who is in this makes me laugh out loud every day.  They are such good storytellers!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Anything that really engenders the creative process.  We as the audience can see this - I guarantee it.  I recently saw Allegro at APAC in Queens and was just blown away.  It resonated with me deeply because it is where I am at with my art.  Choosing to take a step and create something that comes from your higher consciousness, and doing it because you love it and not for anyone or any future praise or acclaim is what I strive for.  There is a quote from the Bhagavad Gita that says something about not being attached to the fruit of your actions - just give attention to the action itself. Do the work in the present moment, not for a boost of the ego, but because you love it.  When I see theatre or any art that is this to the core, I am utterly inspired.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Haha, I feel really fortunate with all the roles I have gotten to play thus far.  I think if I saw Cloned! as an audience member I would be dying to play Clone Wally - I'm not even kidding.  Lucky for me, I get to play that role!!  And I get to create it, which is every actor's dream.

What’s your favorite showtune?:
Mmm...hard to say.  I really love Merrily We Roll Along - the whole show that is!

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Patrick Stewart - bar none, that man is a genius.  So much care is put into his work and I just admire everything that he does.  Luckily though, while I have not worked with Sir Patrick, I have worked with geniuses of the theatre, and I have learned from the best of them.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I don't know who would play me, but I do know Emma Watson should probably be in it.  It would be called: "My Life is a Diary: Where I Mean to Write One Thing and End Up Writing Something Else".  The title is too long - Hollywood might not go for it!

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Allegro at APAC.  Unfortunately, it is over though.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: James Taylor's "Fire and Rain."  No matter your mood, that song just speaks to you.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Fun film projects!!  I wouldn't even call it guilty tho! 

What’s up next?:
I am filming and "starring" (if you can call it that) in a documentary called "Just Go".  Three of my friends and I are going on a 3 week road trip across the US on a limited budget and camping out each night.  The premise is that you don't have to wait until your 401k kicks in or have a lot of money to go on an adventure.  The average American spends an average of $150 on food a week, each member of the "Just Go" team will spend $100 a week on food.  We will be staying at free camp sights, and we will get to see some of the best national parks and roads in the country.  I am unbelievably excited about this!

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photo courtesy of Andrew Barry Fritz