Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spotlight On...Shane Salk

Name: Shane Salk

Hometown: Seattle WA

Education: BFA From Chapman University

Select Credits: Oh, I have been all over the place. I was the Original Genie in Aladdin for Disney’s International Cruse Line, I was a creator and star of “We’re Alive” the most successful Modern Radio Drama Podcast in the world with over 25 million downloads, and most recently I worked with Obie award winning director Carl Hancock Rux on “String Theory” at Rites and Reasons Theater.

Why theater?: Theater is where it all started for me. I have done Film, Radio and Web shows, but live theater has a place all its own. It’s an art from that really is a collaboration with the audience. You can’t hide from them, and you would not want to. Everyone has a responsibility for at least part of there own experience. It’s almost a symbiotic relationship and its honest.

Who do you play in Plath?: I play Dr. Lindemann, who is Sylvia’s Psychiatrist. He pushes her to face her issues head on, and follows her on a trip inside her mind and her writing.

Tell us about Plath: Plath is an amazing show that goes inside the books and journals of one of the most talented poets of the past century. It’s a story that uses her own words and writing to explain how a brilliant and deep mind like Sylvia Plath can struggle so much with issues like depression, acceptance, and the world around her. Her writing is so unbelievably accessible and clear that when I read it, or you hear it spoken in the show, it’s scary how relatable it is when dealing with such a dark topic. With the combined talents of the book writer and composer we, as performers, have a unique opportunity to be able to take the audience through a very difficult and emotional story held together by a basic foundation - Sylvia's own words.

What is it like being a part of Plath?: Honestly? It can be a little difficult, in the most fantastic way. I, and the rest of this amazing cast and creative team, hear her words everyday. The more I listen, the more I understand and find more parts of my self in them. (Knowing how things ended for Sylvia, that idea is scary.) To be able to work on something that is so touching, and I truly believe very important for people to know, it's an honor for me. Depression is rampant in our society and people like Sylvia describe what it feels like so well, the personal symptoms and thoughts. It is not something we talk about as a culture as much as we should so shows like this bring it in to the light. It's amazing how many people come out and say that they struggle with depression once they hear that some one else is or has struggled as well. It's shows like this that let people know that they are not alone and they can and should ask for help.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Theater with a point, risky theater, people that strive to tell a story in a new way, reach a new audience and for unselfish reasons. That is the theater that blows me away. I don’t care if it fails miserably. The people that inspire me are the ones who try again and again and again. The people who don’t do something new just to do something new, it’s the ones who do something new because that’s they way they think, and it just makes sense to them.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Curious Incident of the Dog and Midnight. It was incredible. It was everything that I talked about wanting theater to be. New, inventive, and everything was for a story telling reason. Everyone needs to see it.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: I have many roles that I would love to play, but one that I have always wanted to play, and very different then mine in Plath is Garry from Noises Off. I have a vast history with comedy having grown up listening to Old Radio shows of Bob Hope, Jack Benny, and watching Jonny Carson. The comedy of that time is epic to me and Noises Off was one of the first things that I saw in which I remember laughing so hard that I could not breath and I missed about half of the jokes because of it.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Oh, what a question! Well I would have to say that my favorite things are usually things that have impacted me, so I will say that my favorite showtune is “The Good Old Days,” from Damn Yankees. When I was about 10 years old maybe, I saw Jerry Lewis play the Devil in that show. He was incredible. I remember just watching him effortlessly hold the audience in the palm of his hand. That song always reminds me of why I love theater, why I love comedy, why I love musicals, and to strive to be the best, hardest working, and effortless actor I can, and that it's always about the audience.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: One person? Just one?? Ugh!!! OK, well, I will say Nathan Lane then. I have always admired his comedy as a way to get to the feeling behind the laughs. Movies like the "Bird Cage", or 'Laughter on the 23rd Floor", have me laughing and crying in the same breath. Seeing the people he plays seeming so open and happy on the surface and so sad behind the doors is what comedy, great comedy, is all about. It's what Charlie Chaplin was known for. (See I snuck in another person… but he would be harder to work with at this point I think)

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Who would play me in a movie today? I mean I would hope that I would be up for that role, and I better be getting something above scale for it too. But someone else? I have no idea. I say give it to Meryl Streep, she can play anything. I think it would be called “It’s A Pun-derful Life: Oh No, Not You Again.”

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Wait a minute, I have a time machine? Then I want to go back and change my last answer, because Tom Hanks from the days of “BIG” is most definitely who would play me in a movie. But, to answer the question you asked, I think I would want to go back and watch Laurence Olivier play Richard the III for the first time at the Old Vic. I love Shakespeare and Richard III is one of my favorite shows. It was one of Mr. Olivier’s crowning achievements as a performer and to be in the audience the first time he walked out on stage and hear “Now is the winter of discontent…” I can only imagine what it would be like.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:With out any hesitation I say dollar pizza, and I have no shame about it at all.

What’s up next?: I'm guessing very next thing is going to be dollar pizza. BUT I am shooting a Pilot in LA hopefully in the next few months about people in the voice over world, and I am shooting a series/pilot in September called "So, Then Tell Me," and that should make the festival rounds next year. I’m looking for my next theater gig, but nothing has caught my eye and jumped out at me quite yet.

For more on Shane, visit www.ShaneSalk.com. For more on Plath, visit http://www.plathmusical.com

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