Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spotlight On...Christopher Heard

Name: Christopher Heard

Hometown: Orange, California

Education: Hagen Core Training Program at HB Studio, BFA English and Creative Writing, Chapman University

Select Credits: Film: "The Curse of Duncan Carbunkle"; Theatre: Balm in Gilead, Happy New Year

Why theater?: I'll only ever have a limited number of experiences as the person I've grown up to be. But in the theater those limitations disappear and my possibilities for experience are endless. And they occur daily. I love the frustration and serenity that come about in realizing the work is never over and in the theater you're afforded that concept. You're allowed the opportunity to grow night after night. And the more time you spend with anything you love the sexier it gets.

Who do you play in Pretty Babies?: Jason

Tell us about Pretty Babies: Pretty Babies is like a really fun car ride through the ugliest part of town. In between all the drugs and sex it's about what we allow other people to do to us, what we think we need from them, and what we do in order to get what we want from them. I think it crosses some big boundaries we have about what acceptable urges are and acknowledges behavior that should be unacceptable, yet a lot of us allow it into our lives every day. It's about control. It's about expectations. I'll keep going if you give me an eightball...

What is it like being a part of Pretty Babies?: As an actor I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this play. Antony's words and directions are succinct and weighted and the rest of the cast is very giving and adventurous. This is a huge challenge for me, professionally, and I'm lucky to get the opportunity. But on a character level, it's like devolving every day into the smartest monkey in New Jersey.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: When something or someone really surprises me onstage, or I see someone onstage get genuinely surprised by what's happening to them, I connect to whatever I'm being offered. The kind of theater that seems to forget it's even theater speaks to me.  I'm constantly inspired by my friends and family, and people I know in extreme or unique circumstances. But music also really inspires me when I'm working on something. I can't get enough of Childish Gambino right now, or Father John Misty, and Every Time I Die is basically a part of everything I work on. If I have a "process" they're definitely a piece of it.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I'd love to work on Phil from Hurlyburly, Eddie from Fool For Love, or a role like Doug from Gruesome Playground Injuries. And if they ever do a remake of "Tombstone" I'll have a Doc Holliday self-tape ready to submit. I want to be in a Western real bad.

What’s your favorite showtune?: I never really listened to showtunes until I lived in Seattle, where my roommate introduced me to Funny Girl and everything Streisand ever made by singing all over our apartment at every waking moment. When I was teaching her how to drive she'd put onSpring Awakening to keep her calm so I guess my favorite showtune is "Whispering" because it kept her from crashing my car and killing us.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Christopher Nolan, Louis C.K., Paul Thomas Anderson. I just have to get around to returning their calls. Within my personal sphere of influence though, I'd love to work with Reed Birney, a brilliant actor and teacher of mine, and an actor/writer friend of mine named Zach Wegner, who's been a huge inspiration to me.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The role would be divided among all my actor friends like that movie about Bob Dylan. Everybody gets a shot. And the title would have to be some awful pun like, "Never Heard of Him" because my life is one long string of awful puns and dad jokes.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I'd love to see Uta Hagen do Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? because I've heard so much about it, and to see her mash on her own technique, where it all started for me. Also, I missed The Glass Menagerie last year which I know was a real mistake.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: I saw Michael Shannon and Paul Rudd in Grace a couple years back and couldn't shut up about it. At the moment I'm telling everyone I know to watch "Broad City", "Black Mirror", and ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I have a lot, and I don't feel that guilty about them. Philly cheesesteaks, geocaching, tequila, stray dogs, the show Parenthood. Yeah, so what.

What’s up next?: Premieres of a short film called "Forget-Me-Knot" directed by Jennifer Farrugia and three episodes of a web series called "Just My Luck" directed by Frank Delessio. And a possible reprisal of Beach Trip, a play by Perry Guzzi.