I've been working professionally in the performing arts since 1995. Most of that work has been as a stage actor. I've written or developed a dozen one-man plays (RichDrama.com), and to my utter astonishment I've had opportunity to perform them and/or teach acting and public presentation skills in 36 states, five continents and 25 nations. I was cast in my first film in 2010, and since then I've performed in nine films, including two that were featured at SAICFF this year: Papa Lehman in Indescribable and the land speculator in Alone Yet Not Alone (IMDb.me/RichSwingle).
I'd love for all of you between the ages of 16 and 30 to audition for The MasterWorks Festival Theatre Program. It's a one-month intensive in acting. We'll develop a play in Winona Lake, Indiana, and you'll sit under Christians with more than a combined century of experience as professional actors. We'll perform our play near Pittsburgh, and in an Off-Broadway theatre just off of Times Square, NY.
We're taking Twelve Angry Men and (with the publisher's permission) casting it with men and women to make it Twelve Angry Jurors. We're also going to be approaching it as believers, mining the theme of being a lone voice of justice and mercy speaking into a world filled with hatred and vengeance.
Here's my report from last year: RichDrama.com/MWF. There's a link at the bottom of that page for this year's program with details on how to audition. If you're interested LET ME KNOW TODAY! As soon as we fill two roles we'll begin the casting process.
So here are my answers to the questions posted:
1. What is the purpose of acting?
I believe this goes back to the purpose of life. We were created to be in relationship with the Lord. Being created in the Creator's image means that we all have creativity within us, and when we invite the Lord into the process it glorifies God. When we tell God's stories, I've found it to be a foretaste of heaven. I respond below about other messaging.
2. How is it done?
My masters thesis at Hunter College in NYC was focused on sociodrama, so I lean toward the use of improv. When my wife, Joyce, and I were performing in Indescribable there's a very moving scene where she needed to cry. She's not a trained actor, but we used structured improv to keep ourselves in the moment before the cameras rolled, so when the director yelled, "Action!" Joyce was sobbing, as were all our film children, down to the five-year-old. I've been exposed to a number of other techniques, and I pick and choose what works best for each project, so our approach at MasterWorks is to bring in faculty trained in a variety of techniques.
Patricia Mauceri, who's been on our faculty since 2005 was in the second acting class at Juilliard and trained with Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, Robin Williams and others. She's gone on to perform on Broadway, in television and film with Johnny Depp, Christopher Plummer, Gene Hackman, James Earl Jones, and many others.
Susan Somerville Brown is from a musical theatre background, trained at Indiana Wesleyan. She's performed in over 40 productions in the Chicago market and on Broadway.
Roger Nelson has performed his one-man plays in all 50 states, and in 32 nations. He earned his masters at Fairleigh Dickenson University.
Muse Watson, who will be coaching via video conference, trained at Berea College and has performed in over 80 film and television projects.
Our stage manager, Rebekah Cook, will perform with me in our sixth film together just before MasterWorks: In His Steps. She's often called upon to cast films, so working with her could open up doors down the road.
3. What messages are we trying to send through what we do on the screen?
The actor is subservient to the scriptwriter and the director. That means that we have to be very careful, prayerful, and responsible about the messages we help the producers tell. Of course acting is so much more than the lines, but if you're telling a story that's different than what the director has in mind you probably won't work with him or her again.
AUDITION FOR MastorWorks TODAY!!!