Tuesday, November 19, 2013

An interview with Ryan Schabach

Ryan Schabach makes his MCT debut as Bill in THINGS BEING WHAT THEY ARE. In Wisconsin he has performed with Next Act Theatre, In Tandem Theatre, Door Shakespeare, Third Avenue Playhouse, Forward Theater Company and Milwaukee Repertory Theater.  A graduate of UW-Madison, he has also worked with Stages Rep, Utah Shakespeare Festival and Unity Theatre.

Ryan Schabach
Tell us a little about your character Bill? What are some of his key characteristics and motivations? 
Bill is high up on the corporate ladder in the management sector of the Seagram’s Corporation.  When we first meet him he has recently transferred his office (most likely a lateral move within the company) from the world headquarters in White Plains, NY to a condo unit a few hours drive west.  Organization is a key feature of Bill's day-to-day lifestyle.  It may appear to the outside eye that he is a bit OCD, but this character trait is a tool in which Bill is able to, at the very least, appear to have some sort of control in his life.  His marriage is on the rocks and he is emotionally lost in a sea of confusion.  Bill is a sensitive soul and kind almost to a fault...he takes to heart what people think of him and he is always aiming to please those around him.

Talk about the benefits and challenges of being part of a two-person cast. How has your experience been in THINGS BEING WHAT THEY ARE?
The format of the 2-person show is such a joy to work under.  It affords the artistic team the time to have serious and often times, personal conversations about their motivations.  Those conversations transfer to the stage in ways that only a small cast collective can accomplish.  The moment-to-moment acting is allowed time to create nuance in very specific acting/reacting beats.  One challenge that appears obvious would be the line-load for the two actors...but there is something wonderful about the added lines that allow the actor to better comprehend the playwright's intent.  I seem to have a better understanding of my character's needs, wants and desires with the added time on stage.  Because you have more time on stage to interact with your scene partner you don't have to create as much of a back story for your character...it's happening in real-time on stage!  And that is exciting not only for the actors but also for the audience.  This play is such a joy to work on because I feel so close to my character...I have the opportunity to wear him on my vest because we are so close in philosophy and sensibility.  The amazing team that makes up this production and those in the office that have created such a welcoming and positive environment to work under at MCT, are the real heroes behind this project...and I thank them everyday for this opportunity.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
I have had the great fortune to create a character called Buttons in 4 BRITISH PANTOS at Stages Rep in Houston...during these four holiday productions I would bring children from the audience onto the stage to improve funny scenes with them....there is truth to the statement, "children say the darndest things." 

What is interesting to this story is that I am scared stiff when it comes to improv

If your character could spend a day in Milwaukee, where would they go and what would they do?
Coffee shop reading of some classic 18th century French romantic philosopher...at Colectivo (your choice of location...Bill loves them all); 6 hours at the Milwaukee Art Museum; wait in line for the opening of the HOBBIT at the iPic in the Bay Shore Mall (with buttered popcorn because Bill works out at the downtown YMCA every other day); and topped off with a local IPA at O’Lydia's.

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