Good day, Theatre People!
This week I'm so excited to introduce you to acting powerhouse, photographer and gentleman, Geoffrey Wade. I had the pleasure of meeting Geoffrey through Elaine Bromka, and I'm thrilled to share his interview.
Geoffrey is as storied as professional actors come, with a career that spans decades—Broadway, television and movies. More recently, he was in Spielberg's BFG, Man and the Machine and The Divide, and on stage, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Curious Incident.
What’s a show that still inspires you? (explain away!)
After all these years, it is still the HAMLET I did in my early 20’s. The play is so complex, so humane, insightful, and universal that it continues to resonate with me. That might be in a situation particular to myself or something that seems to be affecting others, even large groups. Its examination of human nature in all its complexity and contradiction remains unrivalled, for me.
What’s one of your happiest moments in theatre?
There is an embarrassment of riches in that question! I’ve been blessed with more than I can count; those moments are what has kept me in the profession. Even when they were somewhat thin in on the ground, the prospect of another transcendent moment has kept me in the game, willing to come back for more. But to pick one: I was doing a show that was very successful and drawing packed houses at a small regional theater in South Florida. During one performance well into the run I was doing a scene with an older actor who was playing my father and after a certain line of mine he simply waited to pick up his cue. There was always a laugh there, but that night he just waited a bit. The laugh grew, and grew, and rolled, and ebbed and grew some more … and he simply waited. Neither of us was doing anything different. Finally he picked it up and we moved on, but the laugh had lasted so long, I found out later, that the house manager poked her head into the auditorium to see what was going on. When we came off stage I was as high, literally giddy at what had just happened. It was like flying. When I asked my partner, Don, why, how had he known to wait, he simply answered that it felt right. We/he never did it again. It was as thrilling as anything that has ever happened to me on stage. I learned more in those seconds than a year of acting classes, AND I was simultaneously in a zone of pure pleasure.
What’s the biggest ‘fail’ or goof you’ve seen on stage? (do tell the story)
My personal worst moment was during a production of ARTURO UI. My character stepped downstage into a pinspot to sing a solo, except the taped music didn’t come on. So after agonizing seconds I decide to sing it a capella. At which point the music comes on, except somewhere of the middle of the song, but NOT where I am. Never did get back on track...
Why do you love theatre?
I love its communal aspect, both among the cast and crew, and in relation to the audience. The familial feel of a company is usually (tho’ not by any means always) a wonderful thing. And the shared, high-stakes experience of live performance bonds performers in a unique way. And, of course, it simply doesn’t exist without a live audience. That feedback, the give and take, the development of a collective personality among a thousand (or twelve…) strangers within an hour, making people laugh or allowing them to weep, all that is incredibly rewarding and exciting.
Theatre is for...
I chose that word because theatre requires intense engagement from the creatives and craftspeople. There is always time pressure, there is commercial pressure, there is a performance requirement that must be met with full concentration at an exact time in every instance. And there is a call for engagement from the audience -it is a crucial determinant of the art form: a LIVE audience witnessing a live event together. We all meet because we have decided to engage -physically, mentally- as story-tellers and witnesses who together create a common understanding, if only for a moment.
More Incredible Theatre People!
Elaine Bromka, Professional Actress and Teaching Artist
Brittany Moss, Ballet Director and former Ballerina
Erin Carr, Physical Theatre Creator and Teaching Artist
More about Geoffrey
Geoffrey in currently on hiatus from appearing in the San Francisco production of HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD. He’s worked on and off- Broadway, and done National Tours, most recently THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME. His extensive regional theater work includes South Coast Rep (AMADEUS), Rep Theatre of St Louis, The Old Globe, Great Lakes Shakespeare, Center Stage, GeVa, the Guthrie, Denver Center, multiple seasons at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and a long association with Vermont’s Weston Playhouse (most recently THE FANTASTICKS and Quixote in MAN OF LA MANCHA). Los Angeles theatre includes La Jolla Playhouse, La Mirada, the Odyssey, and many shows at Antaeus. Films include Spielberg’s THE BFG, CITY HALL, THE DIVIDE… He works in episodic television (NCIS, Mad Men, Mentalist, Numb3rs, “ER,” four Law & Orders…,), in radio, and tours with LATW. He directed critically acclaimed productions of A WALK IN THE WOODS and THE CRUCIBLE. Geoffrey has taught at the Antaeus Academy since 2003; he trained at Central in London.
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