Stupid Kid Interviews

Actor Michelle Gillette

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play officially opened Friday, September 22 and is running through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and /or creative team. This week we take pride in placing actress Michelle Gillette in the spotlight.

What character do you play in Stupid Kid?

Franny Hawker

How does that character contribute to the message of the play?

Franny is the modern day version of a Greek chorus. She watches & listens. Her comments further on the plot and helps set the time and place of what happens in this small town.

How are you preparing as an actor to portray your character?

First I had to set aside any preconceived ideas that I was carrying as Michelle. To create Franny, I used the playwright’s observations about Franny’s character and Cameron’s brilliant nudges & the interactions I have with the other characters. I found visuals that came into my life One morning I was throwing apples to some deer high up on a mountain. Watching from afar, I noticed how she kept chewing and slowly observing everything around her. This unexpected visual helped me step out of my own way and just ‘inhabit’ my character of Franny.

Tell us about working with your director and fellow cast members.

What a joy! Cameron Watson is an actors’ director. He gives you clues and freedom to go from one level to the next.

And, I adore my fellow cast members. There is such a strong, creative bond between us. Sharr’s beautiful play is so intense, it is lovely to be able to cry, laugh & make really bad jokes together.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the play?

Talk about family. Talk about country. Talk about love being the answer.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.

 

Actor Allison Blaize

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play officially opened Friday, September 22 and is running through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and /or creative team. This week we take pride in placing actress Allison Blaize in the spotlight.

What character do you play in Stupid Kid?

Hazel.

How does that character contribute to the message of the play?

No matter how far gone life may seem, a good heart and perseverance will be rewarded.

How are you preparing as an actor to portray your character?

I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries about women in the state system, and how difficult it is to get out of the system once you’re in it. As well, as dressing like Hazel, doing activities like her. I even took it as an opportunity to ride horses!

Tell us about working with your director and fellow cast members.

It has been a pleasure and joy to create with Cameron (Watson). He truly involves the actor in his direction. I always feel free to play in rehearsal, which is a wonderful feeling. And as for working with the cast, I am inspired by each actor as performer and as an individual. I will never forget these truly unique artists.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the play?

I hope they will laugh and resonate with these characters, and laugh about their own turmoil in their current life. Ultimately, I hope that audience won’t feel alone with any struggle in their day to day life, and just to remember in the darkest of times that something extraordinarily beautiful can come from something gruesome.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.

 

Actor Joe Hart

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play officially opened Friday, September 22 and is running through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and /or creative team. This week we take pride in placing veteran actor Joe Hart in the spotlight.

What character do you play in Stupid Kid?

I play the Role of Eddie Ford, the Father of Chickie Ford, who has just shown up at our door step after 14 years of imprisonment.

How does that character contribute to the message of the play?

Eddie, as well as the entire Ford family are victims of a catastrophic event, that derails their trajectory in life. They are manipulated by family members, community leaders and the justice system itself. Eddie’s total demise is avoided purely by his faith in humanity.

How are you preparing as an actor to portray your character?

In preparing for this work, I didn’t have to look too far, as there are many examples in recent history of these types of abuses. The dysfunction and at times overwhelming obstacles we all face at one time or another can be brought to bear, helping to create a realistic experience for the audience.

Tell us about working with your director and fellow cast members.

The creatives and cast are top notch. The cast has a wealth of experience; the talent in the room is palpable. Cameron Watson could be one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with, creating a comfortable, safe environment that encourages his troupe to explore and discover the truth of this piece, which will hopefully translate and enhance the audiences’ experience.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the play?

Upon viewing, I believe the audience will come away with a better understanding of how, at times, what appears to be a definite fact could possibly be a deception. That although we see something as a shut and dry case, there can be other forces at work.

And it’s a comedy, so there’s that.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.

 

Actor Taylor Gilbert

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play officially opened Friday, September 22 and is running through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and /or creative team. This week we take pride in placing actress/founder/co-Artistic Director Taylor Gilbert in the spotlight.

What character do you play in Stupid Kid?

I am playing the character of GiGi, Stupid Kid’s mother.

How does that character contribute to the message of the play?

GiGi is a complicated character, yet very simple to understand at a base level. Her entire world has been rocked by one horrible incident and her trust in people “All People” has been irrevocably altered. She takes a journey through doubt and despair and eventually gains a clarity she had not had the courage or strength to even entertain until almost too late. Love is very difficult to maintain, but life without it is unbearable.

How are you preparing as an actor to portray your character?

This is truly a character I have never worked on before. Her depth of isolation from society is so overwhelming that I personally had to remove myself from most social interaction, during the rehearsal process to try to understand her pain-filled loneliness.

Tell us about working with your director and fellow cast members.

The cast is truly special, very open, collaborative and uber talented. I had only worked with one member of this cast previously, yet it felt like we had all worked together for years. Working with Cameron has been terrific. As a director he generously allows you to explore and find your way. The kind of director that makes you feel safe even in the most difficult exploration of one’s character. As for Sharr White, well it’s really exciting to work with such an incredible talent. So very pleased that he agreed to have The Road produce this important piece. I am truly personally grateful.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the play?

Obviously I hope the audience is thoroughly engaged and entertained.  Most of all, I hope they find themselves captivated by this very unusual piece of work and that it will inspire further  conversation.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.

 

Actor Ben Theobald

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play officially opens Friday, September 22 at 8pm running through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and /or creative team. This week we take pride in placing actor Ben Theobald centerstage.

What character do you play in Stupid Kid?

Chick Ford

How does that character contribute to the message of the play?

I believe that Chick is a sign of hope throughout the entire play. During the rehearsal process we constantly talked about the trouble within this small town and how it affects its residents, mainly the Ford Family. While this trouble is always present in Chick, I believe he’s a small beacon of hope that smooths over what seems to be a never ending sand paper like surface of the troubling edges of the Ford family dynamic.

 How are you preparing as an actor to portray your character?

I have prepared in many different ways for ol’ Chickie Ford. With the help of director Cameron (Watson) and the cast I have been provided with pages of research in order for me to shape the town I both grew up in and left behind. I also did quite a bit of research (with the help of my team) on both the Colorado prison system, and its effect on young kids, how they are handled, and how they are tried. This research, coupled with rigorous dialect training, and creating an intense and detailed family history with my cast have allowed me to shape the character of Chick Ford.

 Tell us about working with your director and fellow cast members.

I owe everything to this cast and crew. While I respect all of them as artists and actors, they have become a support system that I can rely on at all parts of the day. They provide me with wisdom, creative fire, and confidence to fuel the work that surely wouldn’t exist without them. They’re an incredible group of talented cats, and thank god they took this wild ride with me. Their loving support and long drawn out stories that could have ended 10 minutes ago, are what have kept me going to create this colossal show. Thank you guys, all of ya’ll.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the play?

There are too many things happening in this play to ask the audience to take away one singular thought or emotion upon leaving. The only thing that I hope for is that Stupid Kid affects them. I’d like for them to leave the theatre feeling different. Not “miraculously changed by the work they saw” but rather directly affected in some way, shape, or form from the work Cameron, the cast and crew, and Sharr (White) put into this son of a gun. You don’t have to love it, you certainly don’t have to hate it, but I hope audiences will take a chance to get to know the Ford family and allow our family to introduce ourselves free of judgment to all of them.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.

 

Actor Rob Nagle

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play will begin previews on Saturday, September 16 at 8pm and officially opens on Friday, September 22 at 8pm running  through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and /or creative team. This week we take pride in placing actor Rob Nagle centerstage.

What character do you play in Stupid Kid?

I play Unclemike in Stupid Kid.

How does that character contribute to the message of the play?

I think Unclemike represents the possibilities of redemption and rehabilitation, helping his sister’s family get back on their feet after the lengthy incarceration of their son.

How are you preparing as an actor to portray your character?

I’m exploring the nooks & crannies of this story with my director and my fellow actors. There are lots of possibilities in the playing of the play, and so the rehearsal process lends itself to the excitement of discovery.

Tell us about working with your director and fellow cast members.

This is a terrific team! Wonderful actors and wonderful human beings all. And we have the steady, nurturing hand of Cameron Watson at the helm. I’ve worked with Cam as an artistic director several times at the Antaeus Theatre Company, but this actor-director relationship with him is thrilling for me. And with Sharr’s (White) strong & evocative writing, I’m happy as can be. I’m also excited to be back working at the Road, after performing with them in the world premiere of Ann Noble’s Sidhe back in 2010.

What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the play?

I hope audiences will walk away both entertained & moved by this play — and be reminded that being part of any family is hard. Families can be our strength, and they can also be our weakness. And they take work. A whole lot of work.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.

 

Director Cameron Watson

The Road Theatre on Magnolia is proud to present a world premiere play by Sharr White entitled Stupid Kid. After 14 years in prison for a crime he swears he didn’t commit, Chick returns home to find his flat-broke family under the thumb of his dangerous Unclemike. A rollicking Gothic Western tale of a family isolated by shame, Stupid Kid explores power, guilt and the limits of maternal love. The play begins previews on Saturday, September 16 at 8pm and has its official opening on Friday, September 22 at 8pmrunning through Sunday, December 3rd at the Road Theatre on Magnolia.

Each week we will spotlight members of the cast and/or creative team. This week we take pride in placing Stupid Kid’s director Cameron Watson centerstage.

Heralded by The Los Angeles Times as “one of our finest contemporary directors,” Watson began his professional career in New York City studying acting with the legendary Herbert Berghof at HB Studio. He soon landed the starring role in the original production of Horton Foote’s The Widow Claire at Circle in the Square, replacing Matthew Broderick, which led to a lifelong relationship and collaboration with Mr. Foote, as well as a successful and enduring acting career. Watson’s triumphant revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On a Hot Tin Roof recently closed a sell-out run at Antaeus Theatre Company.  He is a true Renaissance man: a director, a filmmaker, a teacher and an actor.

What is your perspective of the play? Tell us about the message and what it offers the audience.

Stupid Kid is a very unexpected play about unexpected people and an unusual situation that we very rarely see in the theatre. These folks are Gothic Western Colorado working class folks. They had a very loving lower-middle class existence as a family once, and now they have nothing. Literally.  Barely food. No money, no income. No family. A son imprisoned for fourteen years. And on this particular day, no phone, as it has been cut off. I was drawn to this play because of these people. When I first read it, I laughed out loud at them, I was in amazement of how they treated each other, I laughed even more, and then, all of the sudden, I wept for them. I saw their damaged hearts and I wept. They want what they had before. And the fact that they can’t have it truly broke my heart.

How does the playwright achieve his goal via his various characters? Does he involve them in an especially fascinating way?

Sharr’s execution of these characters in this play is extraordinary. It is rare to be able to laugh, then be offended, then be blindsided, then to care deeply about a character. In one scene alone he manages to give each of them such fully rounded dimension, it blows me away. They exist. They breathe and sweat and hurt and fall apart and pick themselves up.

Talk about your cast.

You hope above hope that your cast is perfect and that they bond and that they form the ensemble that is on the page and in the playwright’s mind and heart. And boy, these six actors that I am blessed to have certainly do all of that, and much more. Casting is everything. The cliche is true. But when you get it right? Oh, man – it makes my job so much easier. I have the expertise of brilliantly seasoned pros like Taylor Gilbert, Joe Hart, Rob Nagle and Michelle Gillette, and then these two new, young discoveries in Allison Blaize and Ben Theobald. They are the real thing. Their skill, to be as young as they are, is jaw dropping. I think, no, actually I know, I have two new shining stars on my hands here.

Anything you care to add?

This play will surprise you and catch you off guard. It will make you laugh hard. It will shock you. And it will make you clutch your heart.

Stupid Kid plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm through December 3rd. The Road on Magnolia is located. The Road on Magnolia is located in The NoHo Senior Arts Colony at 10747 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. There is street parking available.