Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spotlight On...Tom Kelsey

Name: Tom Kelsey

Hometown: Reigate (England)

Education: Hurtwood House (high school), University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Favorite Credits: The Brink of Us (Elliot), An original play by NYC playwright Delaney Britt Brewer, Top Floor (Gary), written and directed by David Epstein, The Liar (Dorante), Suitors (Edward Prince of Scotland/Aglaya).

Why theater?: Oh man, the reasons are infinite! There really is just nothing else for me, it is escapism at its finest. I love storytelling, especially when emotion gets involved. Performing both terrifies and fulfils me to the fullest, it’s bizarre, it’s a thrill, and it’s something I simply can’t live without.

Tell us about Veracity: Veracity is a play I have been writing now for about six months, it is currently going through its fourth re-write (facepalm!) But I’m really happy with where it’s at and excited for what’s in store. I’m hoping to finish writing before the year is up and intend on putting it up for a couple of performances in early 2015.

What inspired you to write Veracity?: For years I have been itching to write a play but had never managed to put pen to paper. It was actually after reading John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt that inspiration struck. There was something fascinating about the depiction of truth and suspicion in Shanley’s writing. I was totally enthralled by how the introduction of new facts (perceived facts) could completely change the audience’s perspective on the characters in the show, I felt like I was constantly playing a game of catch whilst reading. Veracity mirrors these same themes with what (I hope) will evoke nail biting tension and mistrust from the audience, as each character’s authenticity, or veracity, is brought into question through the exposition of new information.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: The type of theater that speaks to me the most is theater that evokes my emotion. If words on a page can make me cry, laugh, feel fear, empathy, anger and ultimately trigger an emotional response in me, these are the words that I am most interested in reading, hearing and performing. I find my work as an artist gains its influence from a vast array of different sources, be it places, people or even experiences I’ve had in my life. However, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the support I have from my family really is the backbone of my inspiration. I’m sure many parents wouldn’t be too thrilled by the idea of their children pursuing a career in the arts for reasons of uncertainty and worries of failure in such an unforgiving industry. I also must mention my acting coach David Epstein. I have been taking classes with him in NYC ( for about three years now and can soundly say that without his direction, advice and vitally important criticism I would not be the patient, hard working, earnest actor that I feel I can call myself today.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: The person I have not yet worked with but would most love to perform alongside would have to be my best friend, Alex Large. He lives back in England and we’ve known each other forever. These day’s he is totally kicking ass too, having performed Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the West End shortly after graduating college, he now has another show Donkey Heart (Nina Raine) going up on the West End for a run in 2015 and I wish him all the best. I’m hoping one day soon we will get the chance to act alongside one another once again (haven’t since high school!)

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Hamlet. This is on my bucket list.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Book of Mormon. I know it’s not some hidden theatrical gem I’m sharing, but my God, this show is hilarious. If you haven’t had a chance to go yet, you should. I saw it for the first time this year on Broadway and was totally blown away.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Ha! Hmm, well, I suppose through type casting I would most likely play the role of myself. Some things would have to be embellished, however. For a start, let’s include a love interest, played by Natalie Portman perhaps? Haha, which I think would merit a name somewhere along the lines of "A Boy Can Dream"

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Peanut butter, by the spoonful, on the couch, wearing my panda onesie.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: Harry Belafonte – "Banana Boat Song (Day-O)"… I have no idea why…

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Working on a panda refuge. No joke. Actually once considered doing this.

What’s up next?: Up next… Well, hopefully I will produce a final draft of Veracity and begin planning/fundraising to put together a few small performances here in NYC. Also in the process of securing my O1 Artist Visa so that I can stay in America and continue to pursue a career in acting in NYC, fingers crossed!