June 3rd, 2012

It's official! I will be portraying the painter John Everett Millais in BLOOD RED ROSES by Don Nigro. 

The show is directed by Schnele Wilson, and will be Premiering June 27th as a part of Cityshow's, "Love, Sex & Art," festival. 

BLOOD RED ROSES marks my third collaboration with Cityshow. I've previously appeared in their production of Bertolt Brecht's BAAL and in their inaugural production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. 

What keeps me coming back to work with the talented folks at Cityshow (Creative Director Schnele Wilson, Artistic Director Christopher Romero-Wilson, Executive Director Brian Reilly) is the palpable sense of collaboration, community and support that they foster in their actors. 

In BAAL, Schnele as the director allowed me to take the time needed to craft five unique characters, while not being afraid to tell me when something wasn't working. It's easy to slip into caricature when wearing five different faces in a production, and thanks to Schnele's deft hand an authenticity always remained in all five personas. 

For BLOOD RED ROSES, I have been given the challenge of portraying a real person: John Everett Millais. It's always a daunting delight to play a character that, for a time, was flesh and blood.

How far do you go is the question? Do you pour over mountainous tombs of research material to find that truthful core? No one that knew John Everett Millais is still alive, do I track down his Great-Grandchildren and prod them for family stories? Should I review other actor's who have portrayed John Everett Millais, or will that taint my interpretation and make it less original? Can I have an original interpretation of a person who actually lived? These are the questions, folks, none of them with an easy answer. 

The basic facts: John Everett Millais was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of painters. His painting prowess was recognized at a young age (he was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools at age 11) and he was responsible for some of the most critically acclaimed and popular paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement. Among his most famous works: Christ In The House Of His Parents, A Huguenot, and Ophelia. 

From this spring-board of questions and information, I'll work with Schnele and the rest of the cast to bring John Everett Millais back to life, complete with an un-tamed mop of curly hair and spirit-gummed sideburns. 

It's going to be a fun summer! 

BLOOD RED ROSES CAST: (l to r) David Cohen, Jes Bedwinek, Jason Emanuel, Melissa Patterson, Scott Watson, Faith Aeryn, Neil Brown, Brittany White, Lino Del Core, Maia Saskia Henkin