Spark Plug: Winston Shaw

Spark Plug: An interview series with playwright Angela Santillo and the artists of Spark.


Time: 
Sunday afternoon.

Setting:
Rehearsal room.  Actors are being fit for costume pieces.  Mr. Shaw wears his character’s jeans and leather jacket.  Ms. Santillo is wearing nothing as exciting.


Angela Santillo
So…this is your second time performing in a show I’ve written.

Winston Shaw
It’s true.

AS
How’s it going?

WS
It’s pretty great.  It’s a lot of fun.

AS
Yeah?

WS
Yeah. I’m wearing rhinestone jeans.  Come on.

AS
You’re a writer and a performer.  Knowing two different art forms, is it hard to be an actor when you’re also a writer?

WS
I don’t think so because it comes from the same place, so I think one informs the other.  That’s a really vague kind of answer but to me it’s all about storytelling, world-crafting.  It all comes from the same kind of place, like taking your pencil as a kid and being like, “This is a spaceship!” Which I did all the time, even during class.

AS
What is something you wish everyone knew about what it takes to make new work?

WS
How disciplined you have to be to create.  People think it’s one of those eureka things, that you sit in your laboratory and have big thoughts and then you’re famous.  You know?  But good writers are writers who revise, revise, revise.  They pay attention to detail and fret over individual moments like whether or not this makes sense in the world they made up. You know, that perspiration inspiration cliché, etc.

AS
You play Cash.

WS
Yeahhhh.

AS
He’s a pretty anxious, shot-thru-the-butt kind of guy.  Is there anything you’re mindful of when you have to play such a high-energy character?

WS
It’s the first time I’ve ever actually done any physical method stuff.  I always try to get my heart rate up before I come onstage.  I try to do some exercise, push-ups, run around, shout at stuff before I come on.  Other than that, I think one thing I have to keep mindful of is that he feels really deeply and doesn’t necessarily know how to express it.  There’s a real kind of hopeless frustration about him that is really poignant to me cause we all have times when we can’t express ourselves.  That keeps the character three-dimensional for me.

AS
Last question.  You have to finish this sentence:  I would do anything for love but…

WS
I won’t do that?

AS
You don’t have to copy Meatloaf.  It can be your own.

WS
….
I would do anything for love but….set someone on fire.
That sounds horrible.  That’s a terrible thing to do.  Yeah, I wouldn’t do that.

Advertisements

Comments Off on Spark Plug: Winston Shaw

Filed under Spark Plug

Comments are closed.