Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Spotlight On...Christopher Domig

Name: Christopher Domig

Hometown: Salzburg, Austria

Education: B.A. Wheaton College in Philosophy, Psychology & Theatre, M.F.A Southern Methodist University in Acting

Select Credits: Theatre: Love Song, The Dumb Waiter, Much Ado About Nothing, Elizabeth Rex, Uncle Vanya, Box Man TV: "Boardwalk Empire", "Blue Bloods", "Bocce Ballers" FILM: "Apartment 4E" (Netlfix) "Bastards of Young" (iTunes), "3 People I’ve Never Heard Of", "Tenants"

Why theater?: Because it is the most immediate art form that addresses the questions of our time. It is also one of the few places where people still come together to be present with each other.

Who do you play in Dirt?: I play a man named Sad, who is an illegal immigrant from Iraq living in our city.

Tell us about Dirt: Dirt is a powerful drama about racism and the havoc it wreaks upon the human soul. This haunting play tells the story of Sad, a desperately-alienated illegal immigrant from Iraq, living on the fringes of Western society. Charming and humorous, yet cynical and violent, he confronts xenophobia and latent racism as he peddles roses to eke out an existence. Issues of identity, anti-foreign sentiment and self-worth are brought to life through the character's disturbing psychological self-portrait.

What is it like being a part of Dirt?: I have lived with this play for more than a decade. I first performed it for my thesis work in undergrad in 2003, then again at the NY International Fringe Festival in 2007, for which I received the Outstanding Actor Award. Since then I was able to take the play to London, Berlin, Edinburgh, and Vancouver B.C. I have already performed the play over a 100 times, but this upcoming run at 4th Street Theater is a new adaptation and a newly envisioned production of the play, and one that I am incredibly proud of and excited about.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: There are many people that excite me. I draw a lot of inspiration from other disciplines. My brother, Daniel Domig, is a painter who lives with his family in Vienna. He and I have had countless conversations about process and practice and how theatre and painting are similar. Seeing his work makes me a better actor. I am convinced of this. I also love music and how songs are ‘sculpted’ into being. I believe there are many parallels between music and theatre. Over the last few years these particular classical pieces have been a huge inspiration. Fratres by Arvo Paert. Prelude for Viola Da Gamba, by Friedrich Abel, and Funeral Canticle by John Tavener. Within the theatre, I have long been a fan of Peter Brook and his writing. I met him not to long ago and handed him a letter and a book. I asked him to work with me on adapting the book for the theatre. I realize how foolish it might seem is to ask a legend like Brook to collaborate, but at the end of the day I think we are all collaborators, at least those of us who lead with our hearts and not our egos. Two days later, he wrote me back via email. He thanked me for the letter and the book, but told me that he had too many projects lined up to take this project under his wing. He ended his letter with “I wish you all the best, and your search for meaning”. The fact that a man like Mr. Brook took the time to write me back gave me incredible hope, and I still think of his email as a blessing for my artistic journey.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Yes, many.  But I see the great roles mostly in light of great plays. A great play makes for great roles, not vice versa. There are too many to list, but I hope I get the chance to be in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, and Amadeus in the next few years. I try not to hold on too closely to the great roles. The opportunities will present themselves at the right time.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Peter Brook, Peter Stein, Pam MacKinnon, Anna Shapiro, Paul Thomas Anderson, Terrence Malick, David Cromer, Michael Attenborough.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I would cast someone unknown. And the movie would be called “I believe, help my unbelief.”

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Steppenwolf’s August: Osage County, Awake and Sing, All plays by Stephen Adly Guirgis, David Cromer’s production of Our Town, anything Mark Rylance does.

What’s the most played song on your iTunes?: “Funeral Canticle” by John Tavener. It’s so much more uplifting than the title suggests, I promise.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Coffee and cake.

What’s up next?: Raising my 6 month old daughter Annie with my beautiful wife Janelle, who is producing Dirt, and without whom I would be a stranger to myself.

For more on Dirt, visit http://www.theplaydirt.com/