Mike Rudden (Peter Evans) is making his second appearance with Dominion Stage, having previously been seen as Alex in last spring’s The Little Dog Laughed. Other recent credits include Logan in Tell-Tale (Grain of Sand), Domin in R.U.R. (Naked Theatre Company), Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest (Castaways), Billy Bibbitt in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Prince William Little Theatre), and Geoffrey in The Lion in Winter (Vpstart Crow). He has received education degrees from Northern Michigan University and George Mason University, and currently teaches high school mathematics for Fairfax County Public Schools.
Come see Mike and the rest of the cast in Bug by Tracy Letts, Oct. 3-18, 8pm; Gunston Theatre One, 2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington. Buy Tickets Now!
What do you find most appealing about this show and your role in it?
I’m attracted to shows that will be an acting challenge, and provocative for the audience. BUG is effective because it builds tension and raises the stakes for the characters until the whole play, almost literally, explodes. My particular role has been challenging for two reasons. First, it has required a significant amount of research into recent American history, drug addiction, and mental illness that I wasn’t previously familiar with. Second, discovering a way to honestly portray and balance a desperate character in extreme circumstances while maintaining sincerity and authenticity.
How long have you been involved in theatre and what made you get into it?
I’ve been involved in theater almost 15 years, since high school, though I discovered by passion for it working on more “serious” material while working on my undergrad at Northern Michigan University. I enjoy discovering new characters, situations and environments so different from my own experiences. I appreciate the challenge of taking a character so different from myself, and exploring their motivations, beliefs, values, and obstacles.
How does this show differ from other shows you have worked on? or, What’s something you’ve done in this show that you’ve never done before in any other show?
It’s one of the darkest and most physically demanding shows I’ve worked on. Though I’ve had some experience with stage combat and special effects before, the intensity of the physical and technical elements in this show will be challenging.
What creeps you out the most?
I don’t think anything in the show particularly creeps me out, though I am nervous about being able to maintain the energy and intensity required for the show throughout the rehearsal process and performances. All three scenes in the second act, especially, end with Peter in a physically traumatic situation. But in general…mayonnaise.
What do you want the audience to experience/take away from this show?
Just like any show, I want the audience to be entertained, and to feel like they’ve experienced a world completely foreign to their own. Art about fear and anxiety can be cathartic for a lot people.
What advice would you give others who are interested in working in theatre?
Since I don’t work in theater, I might not have much practical advice to give. As an amateur community theater actor, I suggest only auditioning for shows you really want to do, and that you find interesting or challenging.
When a scene calls for you to display hatred, what do you think about?
I’m more of a technical actor than a method actor, so I don’t draw from my emotions/previous experiences as much as other actors might. I focus on my motivations and tactics, objective and obstacles, how I feel about the other characters on stage, and how I can express these things physically and vocally to the audience. This has been nice for this play, because it means I can “turn off” after an emotional scene easier than other actors might.