Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Spotlight on Carl Nubile

By • Mar 30th, 2009 • Category: Interviews
Rehearsal for Murder
Providence Players
James Lee Community Center, Falls Church, VA
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Playing through April 4th

Listen to the interview with Carl Nubile. [MP3 11:47 10.8MB]

Mike: This is Mike Clark with ShowBiz Radio. Today I am talking with Carl Nubile, who is the lead actor in Providence Players production of Rehearsal For Murder. He is playing the role of Alex Dennison. Thanks for talking with me today, Carl.

Carl: Thank you, Mike.

Mike: So, who is Alex Dennison?

Carl: Alex Dennison is a playwright. Actually a fairly successful playwright on Broadway. He has had a bit of a set back. I guess he had a second chance in life and has met the woman of his dreams who unfortunately passes away under mysterious circumstances and he is pretty despondent after a year of moping around about it.

Mike: So have you enjoyed becoming Alex Dennison? It seems like a huge part and ther are a lot of different ways I can see the character going.

Carl Nubile as Alex DennisonCarl: Yes, there are many different ways. The idea with any role, whether it’s small or large, as I’ve probably mentioned before, I’m more of a director’s actor. So whatever the director’s vision is for the role I’m doing I like to become that version of the character. Like you said there are many many different ways to interpret a character and you come in with certain preset notions, but the bottom line is just like film, it’s a director’s medium and it’s consistent with the actor to try to do the best by the director that they can.

You always bring a bit of yourself to the role, but ultimately the director sees the overall vision of the play and the actors responsibility is to see that character that he’s playing primarily and that’s where it begins and ends. The good thing about theater is that it is a collaborative effort so you can always work with the director and the other actors to develop the character so whether it’s a large part or a small part it doesn’t matter. I’ve done both. Again the director has the overall vision and we want to make sure that complete vision comes to the stage and it entertaining for everybody.

Mike: Has it been hard hitting the emotions that Alex hits throughout the show?

Carl: No, not necessarily. There is not a wide range of emotion. This is not Shakespeare, it’s not heavy duty drama. It’s a murder mystery so the idea is you want to, they even say in the play, the purpose is to lead the audience in a particular direction and it is sort of slight of hand where you are duping them and then you want to kind of build things up for a surprise later on in the show.

Given the nature of what the show is, it’s kind of a play within a play. It’s almost like Alex Dennison the writer is playing the character of Alex Dennison the writer trying to find out who the killer of his fiance is. And so it’s really acting upon acting basically. He runs a fairly full range, but he doesn’t go from laughter to tears. He is sort of in the middle kind of character emotionally. There is some certainly anger there and there is frustration.

But playing a writer, the way I envision a writer is that they are constantly editing and creating in their head and on the page so he’s a rather controlling character. He does not have the ability to lose it necessarily. He does play it losing it, but he does not really lose it because he is in control. He has written this whole scenario for the purpose of finding his fiance’s killer. So he really knows what’s going to happen. That’s his experience in the theater is that you write it on the page, it gets realized on the stage, and then it’s either a success or it’s not, but he pretty much knows what’s going to happen.

Mike: Did you have to come up with a lot of back story like how many successes or failures he’s had in past shows, things like that?

Carl: Yeah, I did a little bit of that. Primarily I like to determine where he’s from. this particular character because he’s a writer and because he’s working on Broadway seemed to me that he would have gone to school at NYU. He is a New York character. Not necessarily from New York, perhaps from New Jersey or the surrounding areas, but New York is not foreign to him at all. Broadway has become a way of life to him. He was acclimated to it, probably at a very young age. But he likes the sophistication and the excitement of the city, but he is also impervious to it. He is pretty much the king of Broadway at this particular moment in his life before this tragic thing happens.

Mike: I like some of the scenes you have. You have an interesting scene with Mario Font at Lloyd the director of the show and it made me wonder what was the story between the two of them?

Carl: For that particular situation because he is a director and because as a playwright. And you know playwrights and even actors and certainly have some sort of ego involved. Alex also sees the theater as a cooperative effort. So he knows he needs to work with directors and producers and he does as long as they hold true to his vision and he has found in the case of Lloyd the director he is a director that does want Alex’s vision to come to the forefront. This character of Alex Dennison has been in the theater longer than Lloyd has been a far as big Broadway shows.

There is a scene or a small line or two where I’m encouraging to him, but he’s more of a fledgling Broadway director. He’s probably done regional work around the country, but this was his big shot at Broadway and he is particularly nervous, but Alex is a nurturer so he definitely supports the director, he supports even the smallest actors in the show.

His longest relationship in the show is probably with the producer, Bella Lamb. She has made money off of his successes and vice versa and she has always backed him as far as any project that he has wanted to do and he has always come though for her.

Mike: I know this is a loaded question, but have you enjoyed working with everybody in the show?

Carl: Absolutely, absolutely. It is a very capable cast. It’s a range of experience from Katherine who plays Bella has not been on a stage in years and years and years. She is the character. She absolutely personifies the producer. Mario I have actually worked with before in other shows and I’ve seen him in other things. He’s quite experienced in the area. There are many people who I have never worked with before who have done other things. They are all very very capable and make it easy. Particularly with a show like this where I’m on the stage 98% of the time there are no weak links as far as thinking that that the timing is not going to be right or they are not going to say their line at the proper moment. It all flows very nicely.

Mike: Yes, I’ve been very happy watching from backstage how it is coming together and the people, I came into the rehearsal process late. I was not quite sure who everybody was and I did not see them as their character, but now I can’t really picture them any other way.

Carl: Yes, you can’t separate them. Once you are totally immersed in a show. That is what I like about theater. I’m not an instant actor where I can all of a sudden drum up an emotion and it’s there instantaneously. I have a lot of respect for people who can do that. Maybe that happens in film, I don’t know, but the theater process is good for me because I can immerse myself in it for such a long time and eventually the character kind of surfaces through the morass of talking about plot lines and actual specific lines that we say and motivation and turning points in the play. And then when you finally get to actual production week and opening night, that character is jelled and solidified as has everybody’s character so you can depend on everything happening in a timely way and the whole presentation to come across very credible.

Mike: Were there any surprises at any points during the discovery process?

Carl: As far as the character or the show itself?

Mike: Both, I guess.

Carl: Well, you have little epiphanies. Unfortunately you’re so close to a project when you are in it and doing it. The first exercise in this because I do have a large share of the lines and I carry the plot and I do narrate it. You are so close to it you do not always see the overall plot turns when you should. You are just kind of saying your lines for the first couple of weeks. Then as you get into the character and kind of inhabit the character you realize how either the character guides things in a certain direction or is guided by the action that happens on stage.

That does not really become evident until a week to two weeks before opening. Particularly with this kind of role because it’s so large. The main thing is to kind of get it under your belt so that you are where you need to be and the plot carries through and the dialogue is there, but then the meaning. The more you do it, the momentum and the repetition becomes so ingrained that it becomes like life at that point and you really start living it.

Mike: Well it’s definitely coming together. It’s hard to believe

Carl: Yeah, it’s hard to believe . Technically the show is very interesting. It is very stark. Robbie who came up with the costume design is putting things in black and white and shades of gray which makes the murder scene even more poignant because that is kind of how you think of reminiscing. I don’t know, maybe some people can dream in colors. I don’t know that I can, but many times we think of the past as old photographs and sometimes thy are in black and white. That is what this reminds me of.

And a lot of the effects, there are not a lot of effects, but the idea is the lighting itself really carries the show. I think that is particularly because Chip and his son Jimmy are doing the lighting. That is their expertise. They are very very good at that. So they almost approached it in a backwards way in rehearsal where the tech part was handle first and in the past week or so we’ve been able to get more into the characters and the actual machination of the plot.

Mike: Yes, I have definitely enjoyed watching it come together with the tech. It seemed like a lot of it was happening simultaneously. As the tech got more focused the characters got more focused.

Carl: Yes, it’s a little bit backwards way to do it. Generally hell week, or the last week before you open, is really when you conquer the tech. It’s a little distracting for the actor, but this way is kind of refreshing because we can shoot right into opening and previews with that momentum that we are just running the show. The tech part has been handled and now it is all character, character, character so let’s entertain some people and you kind of go in riding that wave.

Mike: So wht is your next project? Do you have anything planned?

Carl: Oh, generally this is the time of year I get to do something is in the Spring. I am a wedding DJ on the weekends. My real job is doing captions on TV and doing voice overs. Most of the rest of the year from about April on, I get to do weddings on the weekend so this is really the only time when people are not getting married that much so I am able to do a show or two.

Mike: Gotcha.

Carl: So I probably won’t wind up doing anything on stage for about another year.

Mike: Ok.

Carl: Unfortunately, but that’s the way it works.

Mike: That’s the way it works sometimes.

Carl: Hmhmm.

Mike: Well, thank you very much for talking with me. I do appreciate it.

Carl: Not at all. I hope everybody enjoys the show.

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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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