Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Spotlight On...Anthony Sneed

Name: Anthony Sneed

Hometown: Toms River, NJ

Education: Toms River East, SAE

Select Credits: "Chasing Banksy" (2015), "After The Fall" (2013), "Bad Biology" (2008)

Why theater?: The way the energy of the performer mixes with the room and affects the audience is not only magical, but is something I think about constantly. With film, you can fine tweak those elements till you get a desired result but with theater there are elements out of your control, it’s scary and I’m really drawn to that. I once had a confused family member walk across the front of the stage looking for the bathroom and fortunately it was improv so we dealt with it and it worked wonderfully.

Who do you play in The Buffalo?: I play my 14 year old self.

Tell us about The Buffalo: The Buffalo is based on real events from the time I was in 8th grade. I moved around a ton as a kid and had a hard time fitting in, so when I finally came back to a school district I was familiar with, I made these big strides for acceptance. It’s quite self deprecating, but that’s what brings out a good portion of the humor, from me wearing Fubu & sewing these huge JNCO’s with my Mom to ultimately bringing a gun to school to impress the guys. Mind you, this was one year before Columbine so I was lucky there, but I ultimately get sent to live with my uncle in Missouri who was a part of this born again Christian community called Heartland. Trying to fit in there was just overwhelming, I was working milking cows in their dairy next to these born again criminals, gangbangers and sex offenders, it was a trip! Then I’d go to school and the kids there were just white washed, had no opinions other than what they were told. It was years later I came across this article in People Magazine about how Heartland was a cult and the more research I did, I found New York Times articles and forums littered with stories of kids being abused and tortured in the pursuit of God. It scared me how when I was in it, I didn’t realize it. I’m telling you, Google “Heartland”, find some threads and you’ll come across the best non-fiction you’ve ever read.

What is it like being a part of The Buffalo?: Being a one man show, I was surprised how it’s brought people together. My cousin Chris has been a super big help with getting me off book. I did a workshop run at The Pit in November and was just overwhelmed with the turnout. Peter Michael Marino, who runs Solocom, came backstage before the show and was like “Dude, you sold out the main stage at the PIT, for a solo show!” My friend Liz had to sit in the aisle. My close friends and everybody from the UCB & Magnet communities have been super supportive and I’m very grateful for that. I worked briefly with my director Armando Merlo for the first run, but this time around has been extensive and exhaustive for both parties. Armando, for those that don’t know, won the 2012 Solo NYC Fringe for his show “Salamander Starts Over”, so I really trust him when he speaks. My acting teacher, JoAnna Beckson, pulled me aside during class and was like, “you should really consider working with Armando, you two would really hit it off”. She couldn’t have been more right. We both grew up in New Jersey, have similar sense of humors, and when I suggest a Wu-Tang reference as a joke, he not only gets it, but recognizes whether the audience will get it and that’s important. This is only the beginning for The Buffalo, I have plans to take this around the world.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I don’t care what kind, I just care if I have to take a few minutes to sit in my seat after the lights come up. I also enjoy leaving a theater being like, “What the fuck was that?!”. Then thinking about it for a few days and realizing it resonated with me more than I expected. I have subscriptions to Playwrights, Signature & Labyrinth, and try to catch shows at New Group and Wooster as much as I can. I love when I leave a Playwrights show and they give you that little Q&A that Tim Sanford does with the playwright. Those things are gold for someone like me. I work in a variety of mediums: performance, writing, conceptual & visual art, music, comedy and I find that I’m constantly getting turned on by the world around me. I’ve been told that I “notice the strangest things”. I tend to watch film in that way. Film has probably had the greatest cultural impact on my as an artist. My lifes goal is to have the entire Criterion Collection and right now I’m pretty close. Forget film school, spend a few grand and buy Criterions and just study the stories of the world and the works of the great auteurs. Everything else will fall into place.

Any roles you’re dying to play?: Stanley in Streetcar. Joe Bonaparte in Golden Boy. My dad was a golden gloves boxer and I’d love to bring my sense of strength and vulnerability to this. Josh in Cherokee. Lisa D’Amour wrote a brilliant, intriguing play and being that my family is Cherokee and lives on that very reservation she wrote about, it’s been a life goal to land that role. I got close the first go round if there’s another I’m all in.

What’s your favorite showtune?: Not going to lie, I’m not a big show tunes guy, but my collaborator & director Frank Henenlotter showed me the original Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury and pretty much everything in that was fantastic.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Anne Kaufman, Lisa D’Amour, Kirk Lynn, Annie Baker

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: The Streetcar where Alec Baldwin couldn’t get through the door, so instead of breaking the door like Stanley would, he apparently walked down off the stage and hopped around the set piece. Hilariously awkward to even think about right? That door being locked is like a Meisner wet dream.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: I have a lot of pleasures but nothing I feel guilty about.

What’s up next?: I’m planning on making The Buffalo as big as it can be. I have a 16mm feature film I did with Frank Henenlotter in New Orleans and Brooklyn called “Chasing Banksy” coming out this year. I’m producing a documentary on comic book artist Mike Diana, the only artist in the history of the USA to be tried and convicted of obscenity.