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Interview: Mark C. Lloyd Speaks With The Cast of SOMETHING WICKED at ART Of WNY

Mark C. Lloyd spoke to David Wysocki, Charles McGregor, Justin Pope and Suzie Hibbard.

Interview: Mark C. Lloyd Speaks With The Cast of SOMETHING WICKED at ART Of WNY

Mark C. Lloyd recently gave the same three questions to four of the cast members of the upcoming "Something Wicked" by Playwright James Marzo ART of WNY.

Directed by Matthew LaChiusa. Music Direction by Len Mendez.

He spoke to David Wysocki, Charles McGregor, Justin Pope and Suzie Hibbard.


MCL: David Wysocki, tell us about your theater life?

DW: I grew up in the town of Hamburg, outside of Buffalo. I work at the Shea's Performing Arts Center Box Office, and work on the side as a Holistic Healer. I pursued acting and theatre storytelling from my high school days. Trying to find connection and collaboration in expressing story and themes. Theatre was the one connection I made with creating imagination with inventive storytelling. I stayed involved in various high school productions till I graduated in 2013, and decide that I want to be educated and trained in this field. Within the last 8 years, I graduated from GCC with a A.A. in Theatre Arts, and transferred to Niagara University and achieved a B.F.A in Theatre Performance. Since then I've been working in the Buffalo Theatre District, passionate to work with a number of theatre companies on various projects that incorporate the ideals of how we evolve from storytelling, and how we are able to express it to our audience.

MCL: Who is your character? How do you prepare for an original character?

DW: The character I play in Something Wicked is Deputy Willard. Having to create an original character, let alone a factious one and bring it to life involved the research element of this plays setting. It's set in Buffalo, but in a different time period, when laborer's struggled on plantations and farms before the height of the Civil War. The biggest task was looking into not only what was told about the Thayer brothers, but also about the city during that time. I also take preparation in creating a full backstory of this character. Reading the script various times, and identifying the clues needed for me to build this characters' history. So that in leading to rehearsal time, I can focus on reacting in the present moment with my scene partner(s), and incorporate new hints that influence my characters objective, and needs.

MCL: What do you want people to know about this Play?

DW:I would like people to know that this is an original play with themes that explores the question about deciding between the right and wrong choice. It reflects on decision making that could alter your life for better or for worse. And reflects how you are remembered by those who knew you, and those who didn't.

MCL: Tell us about your theater life?

CM: My name is Charles McGregor and I'm an actor from Buffalo, NY. I have a BFA in Theatre Performance from Niagara University. Before the pandemic I traveled the country with Missoula Children's Theatre for nine months. I'll be directing a short play for Unique Theatre that involves people with all abilities as writers and actors for the first two weekends in December at The American Repertory Theatre of Western New York. I'll also be in another world premiere with ART called the Paradigm Bomb, written by Matthew LaChiusa in May of 22'

MCL: Who is your character? How do you prepare for an original character?

CM: I'm playing Nelson Thayer, the oldest of the three brothers. He is lazy, rash and ornery. He tries to keep his brothers and the loan dilemma they face in check, but is not educated enough to do so and they muster up this plan to murder John Love. I love working with original works. I find it invigorating to be able to start from the ground up with a character. The best way to tell any story is to listen to the people around you and react. That's how you truly know the story makes sense. James Marzo has done an exceptional job at being able to tell this local Buffalonian story with grit, laughter, and integrity. I love being able to have the opportunity for someone to hear a story for the first time. It gives such rewarding pressure for the actors, director, playwright and designers to give back to an audience that deserves to watch great live theatre after so long.

MCL: What do you want people to know about this Play?

CM:I want people to know that this production is energetic, fun, and it gives a different perspective of Buffalo history that one may not have thought of before. We open on October 28th and with murder in this story what a production to see during the Halloween season!

MCL: Tell us about your theater life?

JP: My name is Justin Pope, and I'm an actor and a playwright. I started my life in theatre in

middle school, when I suddenly jumped into stage crew. I became really passionate

about backstage work, but when the end of high school hit, I decided to try out acting.

From there, I went to university for Theatre Performance and also ended up developing

a love for playwriting. Now, I've written many short plays and other pieces floating

around the sci-fi or fantasy genre (or the just plain weird), and I'm acting in plays around

Buffalo!

MCL: Who is your character? How do you prepare for an original character?

JP: My character in Something Wicked is Israel Thayer, the middle of the Thayer brothers.

He's a pretty straightforward guy who only wants what's good for him in the moment.

The challenge with Israel is finding the moments where he learns to treasure what the

future could be rather than ignoring the possible consequences of his actions. To really

get into Israel's mind, I try my best to act and make decisions on impulse. I shake myself

up, get to feeling loose, and recall what it's like to be drunk (because he's usually got a

bottle nearby). Acting alongside a cast of friends really helps me feel more comfortable,

which helps me get more in touch with Israel and how he might comfortably behave.

MCL: What do you want people to know about this Play?

JP: What people should know about this play is that it happened. This is based on the true

event of Buffalo's first and only public hanging. Going in to see this show, remember to

revel in the fact that this wild crime really happened in the city Buffalonians love so

much. People should know that these fools got what they deserved, and there's no harm

in watching it all unfold. It can be kind of cool to take a peek at the darker side of history

for one small city when you know you're safe - it's kind of like looking into a zoo. Think

about how what you allow yourself to be controlled by can ultimately seal your fate. If

you get cornered again and again and no longer feel like you're making decisions for

yourself, remember this story and do your best to remain your own free person.

MCL: Tell us about your theater life?

SH: Suzie Hibbard's theatre credits include Choreographer for Aurora Player's HAIR, She Loves Me and Little Shop Of Horrors (2016), Assistant Choreographer for Niagara University's Legally Blonde: The Musical, and on-stage in Barefoot In The Park (Lead Actress Award), Grease, Run For Your Wife (Aurora Players), Kindness Of Strangers (American Repertory Theatre of WNY), Emotional Baggage (Buffalo Infringement Festival), Moon Over Buffalo (LRP) and Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music (touring company). Suzie received her B.F.A. in Theater Studies from Niagara University.

MCL: Who is your character? How do you prepare for an original character?

SH: The character I play is Sadie, the tavern owner in downtown Buffalo as well as the narrator of the story who breaks the fourth wall. A woman bar-owner back in 1824 I can imagine was a job that required a strong will to survive and a tough exterior.

For this original role, I prepare by doing research from the time-period to see what life was like and create a solid back story for the character. I ask myself questions like, "How long has Sadie's family been in the US? How did she become the owner of the tavern? What life experiences has she had so far that would shape how she acts in this moment of the play?" I also talk with the playwright and director about their vision of the role and have been asked to watch some movies/series that depict the time period to observe the mannerisms of the 1800's, which were much more serious and rigid compared to how we typically act today.

MCL: What do you want people to know about this Play?

SH: I want people to know that this play has been worked on for years by James Marzo and numerous actors/directors before being produced into what they will see on stage I also want them to think about the settlers and pioneers of Buffalo and become immersed in the time period, hopefully walking away with a new appreciation of our city. As we rehearse, I often think about the ghosts of the Thayer brothers sitting in the audience watching, listening and hopefully, being honored.

https://www.artofwny.org/

"Something Wicked" by James Marzo

Show dates and Times:

Oct 28th-29th, 8 pm; Oct 30th, 5 pm

Nov 4th-5th, 8 pm; Nov 6th, 5 pm

Nov 11th-12th, 8 pm, Nov 13th, 5 pm

Nov 18th-19th, 8 pm, Nov 20th, 5 pm

Contact: artofwny@msn.com

Suzanne Hibbard portrays the narrator 'Sadie' as Justin Pope, Charles McGregor join Joshua Leary as the Thayer brothers. Additional cast members feature John F Kennedy, as 'Sheriff Torrey' and David Wysocki (portraying 'Deputy Willard') with Michael Breen as the unfortunate character of 'John Love'. Directed by Matthew LaChiusa. Music Direction by Len Mendez.

ART Box Office

https://www.artofwny.org/

716-697-0837

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Sat 8 am to 1 pm



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From This Author - Mark C. Lloyd