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Meet Actor Matt Clarke

Matt is performing in The Mall, the next #newworkshop selection in Now & Then's 3rd season. Artistic Director John Perovich had a chance to speak with Matt about his process. The Mall by Jesse Saywell will be presented to audiences Friday, February 21 at 7:30PM and Saturday, February 22 at 11:00AM.

John Perovich (JP): Matt, thank you for joining us again at Now & Then! You've performed with us in Two Sleep | Two Dream, Rhinoceros, and in readings, including—most recently—The Macbethest Christmas Pageant Spectaculation...Ever! by yours truly. I'm thankful to have you on board with us. Can you share a bit about your character with us?

Matt Clarke (MC): Dean personifies the alienation I think each and every one of us felt at some point or another as teenagers. He's the outsider. Everything he does is to make folks laugh, but he never really feels included, and at the end of the day, he never really feels a part of anything...and one is left wondering if they are laughing with him or at him. However, as opposed to our own egotistical teen-hormone/angst-driven martyr fantasies, these feelings are true for Dean—which, to me, is a tragedy since his outsider status provides him unique insights into his friends' issues...insights he uses to provide "sage advice" (as my dear friend David so eloquently coined it). At the end of the day, he has the biggest heart, but is taken utterly for granted.

JP: There is a humor there to Dean...and, yes, a tragedy. Participating in a workshop is different from a traditional rehearsal process. Can you discuss your process with us for The Mall?

MC: My process as an actor always involves playing it cool, keeping it chill, and actively listening to my cast-mates, director, and playwright. I integrate their input and insights of the characters' relationships and world in order to influence my personal insights into the character that I've made based on the text. I do this while sharing said personal insights so my fellow actors can colour their own decisions as well. Once I have a clear vision of the character, I perform eldritch, blasphemous ritual to bring the character to life, and—oh. Oh no. Something has gone wrong with the ritual. Send help.

JP: Side bar: Matt and I both share a fascination and love for H. P. Lovecraft's writing, so he slipped into a...well, I don't know, but there's a color about him that's not of anything I've seen before. Growing grey. Growing brittle. Final question: There are so many options for entertainment in our lives. Why should audiences join us for The Mall?

MC: The Mall is a eulogy for an era, for the capitalist, shiny worship-centers themselves, and for a generation who came of age in those titular playgrounds. The characters are the ghosts of Christmas' past both still haunting the dead carcass of the mall and being haunted by the dazzling, golden memories of it. Memories that may not be as pristine as they remember.

JP: Appearances do deceive. Bring a friend a join us for a captivating and engaging story of The Mall by Jesse Saywell!

The Mall by Jesse Saywell will be presented to audiences this Friday, November 21 at 7:30PM and Saturday, February 22 at 11:00AM. For info and tickets, click here.