Sunday, February 24, 2013

Spotlight On...Lucas Brooks

Name: Lucas Brooks

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Education: Bachelor of Arts in The Arts with an Emphasis in Theatre from Eugene Lang College: The New School for Liberal Arts. Mhmm.

Favorite Credits: I'm very proud of my one-man shows VGL 5'4" Top and Fame Whore. I'm also having a great time with my burlesque career, which has been blossoming over the last year or so. I have some fond memories of playing Silvius in As You Like It and a mute jester dressed in purple lycra in The Glass Slipper back home in Michigan.

Why theater?: I love the give-and-take relationship that the stage offers with an audience. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings with various forms of media, but on stage you can actually feel the responses you're evoking and that makes the experience so much more valuable. If I tell a joke, I like to hear the laughter. If I share something very emotional, I like to see the reaction. It's fuel for me to keep doing what I do.

Tell us about VGL 5’4” Top:
VGL is the story of one young man's struggle with his own body image and how it's affected by online dating. When we try sell ourselves online as potential mates, we have to place ourselves into a bunch of different categories, and not all of us are so easily boxed in. Mine is just one voice out of thousands of people who would make perfectly handsome mates if people could just abandon their obsession with "type."

What inspired you to create VGL 5’4” Top?: When I moved to New York and began to experience life as an adult, I started using the internet to meet potential partners. Over the course of several years, I found myself being criticized and rejected on a regular basis because I didn't meet all the expectations that guys had of me based on my appearance. Because I'm small, I must be a power bottom. Because I'm young (and look even younger) I must be dumb or naive. I decided to create a one-man show about these experiences for my senior thesis and the resulting product was VGL.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I have high respect for all theatre, but I generally respond best to the kind of stuff that makes you feel good… comedies, musicals… If I'm going to get really immersed in a hardcore tearjerker, it usually has to be something I closely relate with, like The Normal Heart. Mainly, though, I am most intrigued by theatre that breaks the mold and shows me something I haven't seen before. Patterns are so easy to fall into, and I am just as guilty of that as most people, but I believe that the most interesting art is created because the artist wants to, not because they think it's what somebody else wants to see.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
Since most of my work is self-driven, this list is quite long. One of my longtime idols is John Tartaglia (Avenue Q) and I'd love to work with him on…well, anything. Alan Cumming is another one. He's an incredible actor…his range blows my mind. The list goes on, as they say.

What show have you recommended to your friends?:
I usually encourage people to look for theatre in unlikely places. New York's nightlife has some simply astounding entertainment available. I've had some wonderful theatrical experiences at the Broadway theaters, but I've also seen a drag show at a bar just a few blocks away that was even more entertaining, and FREE. I highly suggest investigating New York's burlesque scene as well. It includes some of the best performers I've ever met, that way too many people haven't even heard of!

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: The working title is "LOL: Lucas Out Loud". For the starring role it's a toss-up between Elijah Wood and Daniel Radcliffe. Elijah has the look down pretty well, but I think Daniel would have more fun with it. He's also already used to taking his clothes off on stage, so there's that.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
Old TV shows from my youth on Netflix and Hulu… Power Rangers, Young Hercules, Beast Wars, Reboot, etc.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: My day job is a sex educator in an adult toy shop. If I weren't performing, I'd probably get a bit more deeply involved in human sexuality. Teaching about it, I mean. I'm already pretty deeply involved in the usual way.

What’s up next?: I'll be taking VGL on the road a bit later this year… First for a campus gig in Illinois in April, then to the Toronto Fringe Festival in July. Once that's all over, I'll probably try to get my second show Fame Whore on stage again, and maybe even start working on a third show. I'd also like to work in film a bit, and try to get back involved with some bigger theatrical productions. My burlesque will fill in the gaps as I go along.