Monday, September 27, 2010

The Interviewer and the Pea (Day Two)

Well folks, a new season is upon us! A new season of adventure and comedy. A season a new faces. And to introduce some of those new faces (as well as say hello to some returning ones) we are once again sitting down with our latest cast for a series of interviews. I took a few moments to sit down and talk with Michael Riffle.

So, Mike, tell our audience a bit about yourself.
I live in Brighton, but I was born in Cleveland OH. I spent three years in Houston TX and four in Rochester, NY. I've done many shows in the area including "Three Days of Rain" with IDS, and "Music from a Sparkling Planet" with Happy Medium.

Is this your first time with Makeshift?
No, my first show with Makeshift was this spring. I played Jason/Little John/Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood. I'm playing Prince Archibald. I enjoy the "Prince Charming" style character, because it's so easy to play around with. I'm not sure I see any of myself in the character, but I do like to pretend to be dashing and romantic.

What was the hardest thing you ever had to do as an actor?
I was in a rehearsal for Killer Joe, by Tracy Letts, and I was asked to recount the worst breakup I'd ever had (which at the time was fairly recent) and then when I was thoroughly charged with my own emotion I was made to do the scene. It works really well, but it definitely doesn't feel very good.

Of all the shows you've been in, what was your favorite and why?
Killer Joe, easily, the director was crazy (in a good way) and demanded an epic amount of devotion from his actors. We were forced (often against our will) to delve deeper and deeper into the characters. I think I gave one of my best performances in that show, and I enjoyed it immensely, especially the parts I hated during the process.

What do you do before a performance to prepare to go on stage?
I usually do a series of stretches and vocal warmups before a performance, but before each time I step on stage I try to think of "the moment before". It's a pretty standard acting exercise. You think about the scene you're about to do, and then you think about what must have come before that scene, and you play that through your head just before you walk out onto the stage. If the performance starts before the audience can see or hear you then there's no chance that they're going to see you out of character.

What advice would you give to a young person in the audience who might be interested in theatre?
The number one thing is to just BE INVOLVED. Get involved in a show you're interested in, and even if you can't get a role, be involved backstage - learn the ins and outs of the theatre world. Another big tip, which I often fail to follow but is really important, be punctual and be present. Arriving early to a rehearsal gives you time to get settled so that when it's time to start you're already ready to go, and not just getting into the room.

What do you think families should take away from Princess and the Pea? What is it's moral/meaning so to speak?
I think the biggest thing in the show is the importance of love, whether it be familial ties or marriage, love, trust, and respect are invaluable. King Irving learns to respect Archie's wishes, Archie learns to trust Kate, and all the characters learn that love is the backbone of marriage whether you're rich or poor, famous or unknown.

The Princess and the Pea is performing throughout October. Visit for more information!

The Regent Theatre
Arlington, MASunday October 17th 1:00pm
Saturday October 23 10:30am

Riverside Theatre Works
Hyde Park, MA
Saturday October 2
11:00am & 1:00pm

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