We’re continuing our series of interviews with the amazing six-actor cast of Danny Casolaro Died For You before they depart the TimeLine stage on December 21. You can read the first post, “8 questions for Kyle Hatley,” here. Today, TimeLine Associate Artist Mark Richard, who portrays “Dangerman” himself, Michael Riconosciuto.
1 — When did you first know you wanted to become an actor? My grandmother took me to Mary Poppins. Dick Van Dyke jumped through pavement paintings to dance with animated penguins. That looked like a very appealing way to spend adulthood. It interests me in retrospect that while I was conscious that he was “acting,” and that this was a performance and not real, I still thought that he had access to dancing with animated penguins.
2 — What had you heard about Danny Casolaro or any of these conspiracy theories before working on this play? I distinctly remember the news items about Danny’s body being discovered and the sinister questions around various forces trying to insist it was a suicide. I remember the suggestive connections with a journalist who died in Latin America under similar circumstances. But then it all faded from view and I had forgotten it, until the play appeared in my life.
3 — What has been your favorite moment working on this show so far? I can’t pick one moment, but one aspect was the early realization that this group was going to get along really well together, on stage and off. And so it has proved. Jamie Vann is the only member of the cast I had worked with before, so there’s always a first-day-of-school feeling about it when you start. Am I the only one here who doesn’t know everybody else? Will anyone like me? Will they think I’m weird? (No, hard to say, and yes, as it turns out.)
4 — What’s it like backstage? Our stage manager Jinni’s refrain when she’s backstage for too long is, “boys are the worst.” That should give you some idea. Though, frankly, it’s neither as profane nor as odoriferous as coed ensembles I’ve been in. Lots of talk, lots of laughs. And usually a post-show tipple in the dressing room before we all head off into the night. There is a highly responsible but deep appreciation for good whiskey. The most distinctive element of the dressing room is Phil Johnson’s make-up table, which could drive a well-stocked general store out of business.
5 — What do you think happened to Danny Casolaro? I find it impossible to believe that he wasn’t killed, though exactly why or by exactly whom, I couldn’t say. Truth is so often either weirder or more banal than one expects based on the known facts.
6 — Do you trust the government? No, but I don’t distrust government in any special way. I distrust human nature in any situation that allows people to wield great power, often anonymously, and without much chance of accountability—whether they are a government, a corporation, or theater producers.
7 — What is your favorite part about playing Michael Riconosciuto? I love the very specific voice and rhythm that Dominic found for him in the writing. I love his combination of grandiosity, insecurity, smarts and emotional immaturity. He’s funny, and pitiable, and infuriating. (At least, to me.)
8 — Would you want to be friends with Michael in real life? Maybe just passing acquaintances.
9 — How does being in an intimate space like TimeLine’s 99-seat theatre affect your engagement with the audience? For me, the way that this show is staged and lit, I actually feel very isolated from the audience, despite how close they are. The lighting is very severe and I’m usually in a very small area of light, not able to see them. And I’m completely absorbed in my feverish personal concerns, not really communicating directly with the audience the way some of the other characters are.
10 — What’s your favorite conspiracy thriller movie or TV show? Here’s a list: North By Northwest, Klute, All the President’s Men, Manchurian Candidate, Seven Days in May, Silkwood, The Conversation and Three Days of the Condor.
To read Mark’s biography, visit our website …
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