How did you start in theater?
I grew up playing football in Texas, and I ended up hurting my back. A football buddy of mine was in a show and I saw it, and thought, ‘Oh, I can do that better than he can.’ So this competitive side is actually how I got into it in the first place. Then when I was an undergrad at SMU, I did Henry IV Part 1, and got to use a broadsword and shield. And I thought, ‘Oh, theater can be athletic?’ I had never seen that before. I was really blessed because there was an individual on faculty there, a mime and a boxer, and he taught me everything he knew.
Why do we stage violence?
Hopefully, it gets us to ask questions. What we put onstage should be a representation of our world, and our world can be violent. One argument could be: Look, we’re glorifying violence as entertainment. But what I’m saying is that if you’re going to put violence onstage, it has to be a learning experience. Students should see the show and then go back and talk about it. Why did that happen? What would you have done if you’d been in that same situation? Why are people violent? Why would they do that?
What do you think causes violence?
Violence happens when a person does not know how to speak anymore--when they don’t have the words to deal with their situation. Every play I work on, that’s what I try to get the director and actors to realize: if the playwright writes that there’s a fight at this point in the story, it must mean the characters don’t think they have any other options. We’ve all had those feelings. But then it’s that next beat. It’s what we do now with that feeling, right?
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