When I heard that the Racine Theatre Guild was doing WAIT UNTIL DARK for the 2018/19 season, I knew I had to audition. There are three great villains in the show, and how often do you get a chance to play a villain? Many of the shows I’ve done don’t have a classic “protagonist/antagonist” dynamic; most of the drama and story arc come from character developments. You hardly ever get to play Vader and Skywalker or Lecter and Starling. So when you do, it’s pretty thrilling. So I’ve had DARK in my sights for a year.
Lo and behold, the theater gods saw fit to bestow upon me the main villain in DARK: Harry Roat, Jr. I couldn’t be more excited. If you’ve seen the classic 1967 movie version, you know Alan Arkin did a startling and subtle portrayal of Roat, and you know that Audrey Hepburn was nominated for an Oscar for her role as the blind heroine Susy Hendrix. (A further bit of trivia: Robert Duvall played Roat on Broadway. Swoon!) Not only that, but RTG did it 22 years ago, and I saw that production… A local legend named Todd Johnson (uncle of my good friend Zachary Scot Johnson) played Roat back then. Todd had just played my father in LOST IN YONKERS, and was the inimitable Mr. Frank in my first RTG show DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. And we all know the best movies are the ones with really good villains: the aforementioned “Star Wars” and “Silence of the Lambs” stick out, but there’s also Heath Ledger in the “Dark Knight,” Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men,” Gary Oldman in “Leon: the Professional…” The list goes on and on. So heading in to this role, I felt the weight of those who had gone before me.
I won’t bore you with my process or the backstory I came up with (but take me out to coffee and I’ll answer anything). I will say that one of my main inspirations for Roat was a real-life killer named Richard Kuklinski. He’s got hours of interviews on YouTube, and I found him very chilling. And this production’s director Mike Clickner told me very early on that as a villain, you never shout, because that gives everything away. Keep some cards close to the vest. So that’s what I’ve attempted in this role: chilling and menacing without yelling and screaming. I’ll leave it to you to decide how well I’ve done.
I have one last note before I give you the ol’ ticket-buying link. I somehow talked one of my closest friends into fulfilling a lifelong dream of his and auditioning for a role in a play, and he got a part as Cop #1. I’ll say it here and now for the record: he is honestly great. He only has 4 lines, but he’s put more effort into those lines than I’ve seen other actors put into an entire show! And if you really want to fall in love with your craft again, watch a rookie. It’s like seeing the world through a kid’s eyes, and it is so much fun!
As of today, Feb 25th, we have two weekends of performances left. Tickets are honestly going fast, so get you some as quick as you can! Click here for ticket info or to purchase online.