Spotlight on Dan Eddy, performing David in GillianBy Laura & Mike Clark • Oct 24th, 2007 • Category: Backstage, Interviews, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
Listen to Mike interview Dan Eddy, about his role of David in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday [MP3 8:31 3.9MB].
Mike: Hi, this is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio and I am backstage with Dan Eddy, who plays the role of David in Port City Playhouse’s production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Thanks for talking with me, Dan.
Dan: Sure. Happy to do it.
Mike: So how is David affiliated with the title character of Gillian?
Dan: They were married. In David’s mind they’re still married and will always be married even though she has passed on.
Mike: Has this been a good part for you? Is it similar to how you are in real life?
Dan: I think it is. I think it is a fairly easy fit. There’s a lot of simpatico I feel with David. I haven’t had the tragedies that he’s had, but we’ve all had certain things happen in our lives that we can fall on for that type of feeling. There is a lot of similarity, I think. It’s not a real stretch.
Mike: Do you think as an actor that it’s easier to portray someone who is very close to you or someone who is very different from you?
Dan: I think that’s an interesting question. It may seem easier when you get into it, but then when the character doesn’t say exactly what you might say and doesn’t behave as you might behave you can’t think of yourself as someone very very different I suppose. At least not at the outset. That’s what you do as you get into the characters. You realize this character is not as similar to you as you thought in the beginning. Then you try to get into more of his mindset rather than your own.
Mike: Are a lot of the scenes close to how you would be acting or is it lots of small subtle differences?
Dan: I think probably the latter. The way that he banters with Gillian is a little unusual. I certainly don’t do that with my own wife. We all play certain word games and that kind of thing. I think that’s what you need to do. You take how you would behave perhaps and then somehow try to understand how if the words were a little different the feeling were the same. So there are a lot of differences.
I certainly never was a professor. I’m trying to think a little bit more in those terms of how a professor would approach talking to someone a little bit. There is a little bit of that in David’s character as written.
But, you know, I spent a lot of time on Nantucket as it happens and I’ve run on those beaches. A lot of it is kind of fun for me because when the script says he runs in on the beach, I’ve done that there. I’ve seen beach houses there. I just have the advantage of being up in that area for some time. That’s kind of fun. When they talk about the lighthouse, I know the lighthouse. That kind of thing.
Mike: So what about your daughter Rachel in the show? Has that been a good ongoing relationship?
Dan: Oh, yeah. Morgaine who plays Rachel. She is just fabulous. One of the fun things. One of the very nice things is establishing that relationship, that father/daughter relationship on stage. She has been very helpful. I mean she knows what it’s like to have a dad and relate to him. She has shared little bits and pieces here. She would say that she would not say it quite like this or whatever. I listen very carefully to Morgaine because I think she’s really terrific.
Mike: What about your relationship with Gillian? How has that been?
Dan: That’s an interesting one of course. It’s not quite written in the play as you might think. I would tend to be perhaps wanting to be closer to someone than the stage directions may allow us at some points. I think that’s interesting. That my be one of the harder ones. I think they’re all interesting. David relates to everybody on the stage and everybody’s different. It’s a real cast of characters and he’s got to explain them in different ways. I think Amanda playing Gillian. She’s gorgeous, she’s talented. It’s going to be really interested working with her.
Mike: Let’s go back to how you got started in stage work.
Dan: Long ago it seemed like a really interesting thing to do. I saw movies and plays and I thought, “You know, that would be a neat thing to do.” There was a time quite some time ago where it was really my passion and it was really what I thought about doing as a career, but eventually determined that that really wasn’t going to be in the cards. But it’s always remained a passion. I enjoy going to the theater, seeing other performers. I think I’m a fairly critical viewer in terms of wanting to see something good. So I think my goal in this is to try to be as good as I can and make it a really good show for those who come.
Mike: How do you learn your lines? Everybody I’ve talked to so far has had slightly different ways of doing it. So what’s your secret to learning your lines?
Dan: I don’t know how anybody else does it, I know how I do it. It kind of changes over time. At first you try to learn little bits and pieces and you may pick a scene. I’m in eight of the nine scenes. So I picked one. It was the one with Gillian because I thought it might be a fairly easy learn. So I got that one done and felt like I knew it pretty well. You go over by yourself. My wife has been very helpful. We’ve been shooting lines. I’ve been driving her a little bit nuts because I’m starting to say these lines in random conversations unrelated to the times she’s helping me shoot the lines and learn them. But she’s been helpful.
I went to a nearby park. I went to Fort Hunt Park and found a very private place and shouted out my lines to myself and tried to learn them. It’s just a matter of going over and over them.
You’re wondering with every show if you can really get them all. Then you get them and it’s a matter of trying to put back the emotion that you lose as you’re focusing on what’s the next thing I’m supposed to say. Then you get back to looking at someone in their eyes and listening to to what they’re saying and trying to react. Then your line feels more natural when you say it. It’s not easy, but once you get past that little hump and that’s about where we are in the process about three or four weeks away. Then we are really starting to build a good show I think.
Mike: Last night Laura saw I guess the first time you ran all of Act one straight through.
Dan: Yes, that’s right. I guess we’re all amazed that we got it through all the way. We really didn’t have that many breaks in lines. So we ran it through one time and we kind of got through it and then the next time we sort of ramped it up and did a much better job. So I’m glad your wife saw both.
Mike: She said it was really good. Now that she’s seeing it in order, the emotions are starting to appear.
Dan: It’s helpful for us, too. I think you do have to break the scenes down. Sara’s done a really good job of focusing us on scene by scene pulling us together. She has been really good and easy to work with. She’s given us a certain amount of freedom to feel our way to these characters and given us guidance along the way. I think she really has a good sense of when and how to do that. If you do a certain amount at the beginning and then as you get better at interpreting the character she can do more refinement and I think that’s what we’re seeing so I really enjoy working with her.
Mike: Great. So is there anything else we need to chat about or mention?
Dan: No. I guess I would just like to encourage people to come. I think it’s been really fabulous working with his group. Seeing it all last night when we really did run through it for the first time and seeing how each of these folks is really inhabiting that character. Each person is very different. I think Sara did a great job in casting this show. It hard to imagine anyone else in these roles. I think they’re all going to do great. I’m just hoping I can hold up my end of it. That’s all I’m hoping for.
Mike: Well, I think you’re doing fine so far from what I’ve seen.
Dan: Well thank you, Mike.
Mike: Sure. Thanks for talking with me today. I appreciate it.
Dan: Sure. Happy to do it.
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Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.