Ian Swift

Ian Swift
Ian Swift

IS:  It’s so true, with acting; it doesn’t matter whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.  Even if you are an introvert you can be a very good actor, because you can hide behind that character.  I was an introvert most of my high school and college life as I recall, very quiet and kept to myself, but when I was on the stage I felt that I came alive, and I think that is true for a lot of actors.

EH:  What is it that is unique about theater?

IS:  I think it’s something you don’t do by yourself; it’s something that you have to involve others in.  Even if you are doing a one man show, you still have a producer, a light crew, sound, whatever.  It’s a team effort.  It’s unique in that respect.  It is a team sport.  With painting, composing, writing, it’s a solo thing.

What goes into theater is extraordinary.  You come together to do a play, and it’s like a bunch of folks put on an elevator. And the elevator gets stuck. And you are with these human beings for a very intense period of time, for five or six weeks of rehearsal.   You see them almost on a daily basis. Theater also calls for putting yourself in a vulnerable position.  Otherwise I don’t think it makes for a good actor.  And so here you are out there beating your chest, screaming, writhing on the floor, trying to be funny, trying to be sad, and emoting with your other fellow actors all around you.   It’s a very insecure business.  I Think actors are very insecure people. Maybe it’s because we feel we need to have the roles to support our persona, I don’t know.  (Yes, Dr. Freud, I’ll be right with you.)   And then you spend some very intense time together.  And you make all these wonderful vows, “Let’s do lunch; let’s have dinner after the show is over.”  And then the show opens. And again like this teamwork, there is this terrific camaraderie.  And then there are the cast parties; there is a real uniqueness, and connection and camaraderie at cast parties, and the actors are intensely involved with one another.  And then after this incredible experience, good and bad, it’s over.  And many times you never see these actors again, in some cases you do.  So there is really this intense time, which I think is so unique to theater.  You all come together, the rehearsal process, you have the tension of the opening; you have the run, and then it all ends, and poof.  And then a lot of actors move on to the next thing.  You always wonder what happened to so-and-so.  So I think that’s unique to theater.  There really is this incredible intensity that you share, that you come together with, under, during, and then it’s all over.

I find that directors like to work with a lot of the same people.  I it’s very difficult for a director where he or she knows all these fellow actors and has to make these of difficult choices when they casting and have to make a lot of difficult choices.  It’s not personal; it’s just an artistic choice.  It happens everywhere.

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