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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Spotlight on Carl Nubile, Paul in Gillian

By • Nov 7th, 2007 • Category: Backstage, Interviews, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday

Listen to Mike interview Carl Nubile, who will be playing Paul in To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday [MP3 9:51 4.5MB].

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBizRadio and I am backstage with Carl Nubile, who plays Paul in Port City Playhouse’s production of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Thanks for talking with me, Carl.

Carl: Thank you for having me.

Mike: So, tell us a little bit about the character you’re playing in this show.

Carl: I play Paul. I’m the friend of the main character. The main character is the husband of Gillian, who has died two years before the play begins. I’m his best friend of many many years and his brother-in-law as well. I’m more or less the comic relief in this and I also am participating in fixing him up with someone new.

Mike: So how like Paul are you? Is it a stretch or is it just part of you?

Carl: No, it’s not a stretch. I mean I’ve been known to be amusing so that’s helpful. The trick with finding a character even if it’s close to you is in finding the parts that are maybe not so close to you, so you can bring those out as well. I don’t want to go up on stage and just be myself. I guess he’s a fairly intelligent character. He’s schooled. But he has this penchant for wanting to tell really bad jokes and I have that penchant sometimes, too. It’s hard to resist.

Mike: This show, is it more a comedy or is it a drama?

Carl: I would say it’s about 60/40, 65/35 drama. I guess the new category these days it probably “dramadey.” It’s got a good dose of both. The strongest element of the show is that it’s character driven. You really get to know all of the characters really well. Everybody down to the smallest part has a scene that really kind of exposes what they are all about and I think everybody in the audience will find somebody to identify with.

Mike: Who do you most identify with?

Carl: It’s hard to say. I like the main character, David a lot because he goes through the process of losing somebody and then going through a rebirth. I guess he’s in the process of it and we get to see that. That’s something you don’t always get to see in real life with your friends or family or whatever. You don’t always get to see the progression of how somebody goes from a very very low point to to a point where they are back to normal. Sometimes you do if you have really close friends, but I’d like to say that his character is not the most human, but he exhibits the most human elements.

Again the only reason I identify with my character is because he is kind of a sidekick. He is married to Esther, who is the main character David’s sister-in-law. He was married to his dead wife. They have a good marriage. It is childless. But you can tell he is very very good with kids. I can identify with that as well. I don’t have any kids and I’m very good with kids too. There are portions of characters you can find, but overall I think I’m a combination of David and Paul.

Mike: Is this the character you tried out for?

Carl: I tried out for both actually. There are only two male parts in the show and usually when I audition I like to go for the material. If it’s a good show, if it’s well written, if it gives you the basics of the potential of a good play, then I like to try out for it. Having done theater all my life, I’ll be 50 this year, you do a lot of the standard stock stuff over the years and you need to do that in order to get your feet wet. Now I think it’s time to pick and choose a little bit more based on the material, who you’re working with. Where you’re doing it. I’ve been fortunate to find parts that are actually a little bit closer to my personality so I get to exhibit 70% 80% of myself on stage and then I color in the rest.

Mike: How did you get started doing theater?

Carl: Well, I got started in high school. I was very, I know you wouldn’t realize this now, but I was very shy up until about 13 years old. I heard about an acting program in school and I checked it out. It was a Saturday morning class that did everything from regular acting classes to musical comedy and all that stuff. I guess I was always a bit of a ham at home, but not necessarily in public. So I joined the class and it was fantastic and I just never really stopped.

I take breaks every now and then, but I’ve been doing it for what, 35 years? It’s been a long time. Also through that you do other things. It’s not just theatre. I’ve done film work. I grew up with people who wrote films and directed films, went to film school. I’ve done radio because that’s a natural for my voice and I did a bit of training in that and a little television. I like to be anywhere around the arts I can be.

Theater to me is purest only because, unlike film or TV, they don’t edit it on you. Those are director’s pure mediums and in theater the actor does contribute quite a bit. I like to work on the character. I like to work on the stuff you don’t see on stage. All the behind the scenes work that we’ve done, the character development, I like working on that stuff. It’s interesting to me to really get into the nitty gritty of what these people are all about.

Mike: What would your ideal role be or your dream role be?

Carl: I don’t think I have a dream role. I’m a bit of an acting snob when it comes to being a fan because I’ve always loved movies and loved theater. I always distinguish between actors and movie stars. Movie stars are beautiful people you can put up on a screen and everybody loves them, but if you put them on the stage they can’t act their way out of a per bag. Actors, whether they’re in movies or stage have had a bit of theater training and they really bring a character there. It doesn’t matter to me the role that I do as long as I can bring something to it. I’m not one of these people who has to do Hamlet. That doesn’t appeal to me. If I do a two line part, I do a soliloquy, as long as I bring something to it and contribute to the rest of the production then I’m very satisfied.

Mike: How about a preference for a pure dramadey show versus a pure comedy show?

Carl: Well, like life, I like my drama with a little bit of comedy. I can do straight comedy that’s not a problem. Somebody once said that drama is tough, but comedy is really hard. I don’t find it that hard. It’s just a matter of timing and the people you work with. Drama, I think anybody who’s somewhat comic can do drama because I think there are tears behind every clown, but again that’s just an element of life. It’s just a matter of how much you want to bring to that out. Whether it’s a drama or a comedy as long as it’s good material, if it’s a good collaborative effort. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s fine by me. Like I say, I just want to contribute my part and I want the production over all to be really really successful.

Mike: So how is it working with Sara Joy since you’ve been in a show with her in the past. Is it any different with her now that she’s behind the director’s chair?

Carl: Yes, absolutely. The director’s job is a very difficult job, but I like her process. She’s one of the better directors I’ve worked with in the area because doing a straight play; she’s not a musical fan. She definitely an actor’s director. Her style is to let you play with the part first. We’ve been rehearsing a little over a month now I guess with about a month to go. It’s almost like the whole philosophy of give someone enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.

It also works in a positive way because she lets us play with the characters and in doing that you find the touchstone of the character and also the chemistry between the other characters. I like that freedom. I’m from New York originally and that’s a theater actors mecca basically. The way I was trained is exactly the way she is directing. It’s free style, but eventually the closer you get to performance it starts getting more honed and narrowed down to what you want to bring on stage night after night.

I don’t know if you can tell, I’m not generally that disciplined a person, but when I’m acting I like more of the options to fall away so that I can get to more of what the director’s vision is and what they want to see. And I’ll fight for certain points. If I see certain points in a character that I absolutely have to have to hold on to to bring that character alive then I’ll fight for that. Sara Joy is good in that respect that she entertains any wacky idea that I might come up with.

Mike: Is there anything we need to ask you that we’ve missed? Or anything you just want to share or talk about?

Carl: I like wearing colorful underwear and and if anyone invites me, I’m willing to hang out on the street corner from time to time. Other than that I like cream soda and ham sandwiches (laughs). I’m pretty normal in that way. But it is a great cast. They are a lot of fun to work with and they are all willing to do the work, which is the key I’m sure. Anybody who is listening to this has probably been in some productions and there has always been the weakest link. There is no weak link in this show. Everybody is very dedicated and that makes it a pleasure to do as well.

Mike: Well, thank you very much for talking with us. We appreciate your time.

Carl: Thank you for having me.

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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.

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