Another interview! This time with the always wonderful, Ed Swidey. Not only is he one of our Bright Invention ensemble members but he is also the creator of mEEp. Which you all should come see. (*cough cough* the inern writing this may or may not be in it.)
Now where were we…Oh! Interview! Here it is:
What about being a part of this ensemble inspires you the most?
Just being part of an ensemble that works together continuously is inspiring. To me, there’s nothing better than getting to really know a group of actors over time. You develop a common language, and learn to read each other’s impulses, energy, instincts, moods. And that leads to real trust and freedom in performance. A true team like that can be so formidable - like in basketball, when a true team and an all-star team play a game, the true team almost always wins. That’s because the all-star team is mainly a bunch of individuals who have great individual game, but who haven’t had time to develop the team communication that the true team already has. That said, I think Bright Invention started with a killer, all-star-worthy lineup, and now that we’re playing team ball, thanks to our director Jenn MacMillan, we gonna kill it.
Has working with Bright Invention changed how you view improv?
Absolutely. I had done improv in the past, though it had been a while. Back then, the improv I was involved with was almost exclusively focused on getting quick, cheap laughs. I’m thrilled to realize that an audience will go with us no matter where our performances may lead - funny, serious, anywhere we go honestly and fully, the audience is open to it. It’s made me realize that truly great improv can be an actor’s game, not just a comedian’s game.
What are you most excited for in the future with this group?
When we play overseas. I imagine we’ll be received there much like the Beatles were received here.
Truly, though, I’m most looking forward to the Bright Invention shows we have coming up in our new performing arts studio, The White Pines Place in Elkins Park. Sharing our performances and creating theatre and improv classes and workshops as a resource for that community is going to be a particular thrill. I can’t fully express how much joy I get out of performing the kind of improv theatre we do, and I am really hopeful that the community in Elkins Park will embrace us and join us on the ride.
Other than BI what other art endeavors/projects are coming up in your life? Actually, how’s life in general?
Life is good (thanks for asking). I have a great relationship with my love, Cindy Spitko, and we have two adorable kitties, Alfie and Winky, who drive us crazy and fill us with love. We’re a little multi-species family. As everyone knows, I’ve always got a “my cats are insane story”. I’ve become that crazy cat person. And I miss my extended family in Massachusetts, but plan to get up there soon, so really looking forward to that.
On the theatre front, I just finished the play THE LADY FROM THE SEA with Egopo Classic Theatre. It was my first time being directed by the amazing Brenna Geffers, and we had an incredibly close, fun, and dedicated cast, which made the experience of putting on Ibsen’s difficult play a wonderful experience. Next up theatre-wise is more Ibsen with Egopo - I’ll be part of the cast of GINT, Romulus Linney’s Appalachian adaptation of Ibsen’s masterpiece. GINT will be directed by Lane Savadove, Egopo’s Artistic Director, and one of my risk-taking theatre heroes. That opens in early May and I can’t wait. I adore Egopo, not only because they gave me my first real break in Philly when few people knew who I was, but also because they consistently tackle challenging classic plays in themed, season-long explorations of a given playwright or theatrical genre. It’s always surprising and exciting work, and very gratifying as an actor. If you’re interested, go to www.egopo.org for info. Shameless plug. Seriously, I feel no shame.
Thanks for reading!