"The minute you feel cozy and secure, you get complacent, you stop doing your work, and they'll start to see habits or mannerisms." — Michael Hume
EH: I saw you in “Clay Cart.” You look nothing like you looked then.
MH: I had a shaved head and I had a little thingy up there.
EH: That’s why I didn’t recognize you. Do you consider yourself a director or an actor?
MH: I’m an actor who directs every now and then. There was a period back in New York where directing gigs came along fast and furiously, so I didn’t act for about two years. I would like to say that all of those directing jobs made me rich, but they didn’t, not in this business. Nobody gets wealthy in the theater. And then, going back to acting: I could feel the scales of rust falling off. But ultimately it’s like getting back on a bicycle. A couple of weeks in the rehearsal hall and you’re fine again.
"When the actors do a good job, they put pressure on me to equal them, and I put pressure on them to equal my work. That's what makes it fun." — Mike Halderman
EH: How did you become a technical director? Isn’t your degree in music?
MH: I have a teaching credential in music from Sacramento State University. I taught for a while and then I got involved in community theater.
EH: So then you went to SOU to the undergraduate program?
MH: Yes, in 1990. My wife was a teacher and I had kids in high school. I went to Southern Oregon University (SOC at the time) to be an actor. I was doing some technical theater classes, and I said, “I’m really good at this.” I decided that I could graduate in two years because I already had a degree, and I didn’t have to do any of the undergraduate pre-requisites. I took lighting, sound, and scene design, theater business management, costuming, makeup — I did a painting internship at OSF one semester. I graduated with a BFA in scene design.
"Every actor wants to be as authentic as possible." — Ian Swift
EH: Acting can be dangerous?
IS: Physical things happen to you that can be quite painful. I’ve had two instances, and I hope they were my last. They were both Shakespeare plays.
I broke my nose (of course inadvertently) on stage. That was during a very volatile and vigorous, production of “Julius Caesar.” I was Julius Caesar. In my assassination scene all the actors came up, simulated daggers and very slowly thrust their fists into me. Then, “Et tu Brute? Then fall, Caesar!” And I would fall. It was tricky to die on stage. I always tried different ways in rehearsal, and I finally pretty much had it down. But the other thing I was consumed with was blood being authentic. Every actor wants to be as authentic as possible. I tried different things, a bloody rag, blood pellets, nothing really worked. I gave up.