Saturday, July 2, 2011

Meet the Cast of UNNATURAL ACTS

Max Jenkins talks about his character in UNNATURAL ACTS and his experience as co-author.

Who do you play in UNNATURAL ACTS? Can you describe your character's role in the play?

I play Stanley Gilkey, resident theatre maven and president of the Harvard Dramatic Club.  Stanley also has a big thing for Philosophy, in large part because of a fascination with his teacher, Donald Clark. Stanley is brave. He's ready for a sexual awakening.  And he always gets what he wants.

How do you relate or connect with him?

On a certain level, Stanley sees each person in his life as an obstacle in his path to success.  Creepy to admit, but I have experienced that feeling.  As Stanley, I tap into my most hysterical New York-bred neuroses. Each of Stanley's successes is a rung on a ladder, but he isn't really sure where that ladder leads. I relate to that.

Please tell us about your role as one of the co-authors of the play. What has the process been like for you as both a writer and an actor?

More than anything, it has been incredibly rewarding as an artist to stay with a character for two years; to be able to come back to a guy as complex and dark as Stanley Gilkey every few weeks and wake him up again. I'm still learning something new about him every night. Usually what I learn is a new, deeper way in which I can bring myself to Stanley.

Why do you think this play is important?

This week brought the iconic, triumphant embrace of gay rights in New York. This play would sober anybody right up on Gay Pride weekend, but it's so important that, in the midst of our triumph, we reflect on a moment in time when this joy was unimaginable, whether it be Larry Kramer's '80's or 1920 where homosexuality was viewed as a contagious disease.

If you wanted the audience to take away one thing from UNNATURAL ACTS, what would that be?

A sense of rage.

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