"If you want to continue working, you've got to be flexible. And that's not even just with acting, it's with anything, I'm sure." — Sam King
EH: I saw you in “Death Trap,” and you’ll be playing in “The Nerd.” Where do you come from?
SK: I’m originally from Santa Rosa. I started acting when I was 12. When I was in high school, I got into a melodrama house called the Marquis Theater; it was cabaret seating, with saw dust on the floor, and a bar. It was like being in vaudeville. At Christmas time we would do three shows a day. We were constantly performing, sometimes for 12 hours a day. I had a lot of on-the-job training before I went to college for training. It was great. From there I went to North Carolina School of the Arts. Their curriculum was to make a well-rounded actor. From there I went to Hollywood for almost a decade, and then to New York City for another decade. And then one of my good friends said, “Get out of the New York rat race. You’re just up there trying to make rent. Come here and breathe some fresh air and see some stars and be around some people who are positive and are artists.” So I came here. I’ve done about nine plays here at Oregon Stage Works.
EH: So do you have a day job too?
SK: I’m one of those classic actor/waiter types. I’m now working up at Callahan’s bright and early at seven o’clock. This is a great home for me. There’s no other place I’d rather be. I’d rather not have to work a waiting job, but where I’m at, I do good work, I have to keep on my toes. I keep myself inspired, I seem to inspire other people here, my fellow actors. Directors come to me and they’ll ask me to do another play. It’s all real rewarding. And the work is the work, what ever the level of co-actors you’ve got whether they’re an 8-year-old kid or a 70-year-old that is just getting into theater it doesn’t really matter. You just work with people and collaborate with them and do your work. Treat everybody as a friend, keep pumping them full of positivity; it pays off in every way. You’ve got to get along with people; there are all kinds of different directors and all kinds of different styles of directors. If you want to continue working, you’ve got to be flexible. And that’s not even just with acting, it’s with anything, I’m sure.
EH: What’s your favorite area of theater?
SK: I like farce. I like high comedy. It’s hard and boring to rehearse; but it’s the most fun once it gets rolling. I’m pretty knowledgeable about Shakespeare. My idea was to come here and try to fit in as a Shakespearean funny man, a clown, a comic actor. But that hasn’t happened yet.
EH: When you were in Los Angeles, did you do any films?
SK: I did one “Murphy Brown” episode which got me my Screen Actors Guild card. I didn’t do very much industry work in L.A.; I did a lot of theater. I worked in at one little place that has now gone Equity, with a bunch of guys from San Francisco’s A.C.T., and they had started this theater called “The Noise Within”. They were going to do only classical theater; that way they wouldn’t have to pay royalties on anything. Now they are kind of big time. They were a great example of a small theater with no money getting by.
EH: You’d rather act than direct or write?
SK: I’ve accepted the fact that I’m an interpretive artist. You can be brilliant in that respect. I’m still constantly growing as an actor; it takes so many years to be able to relax and breathe and to have energy behind your eyes. For an audience to see someone that really has gusto to them, a joy of life; it’s a reason to go out and see theater, otherwise they can just read the play.