You have three more chances this weekend to see the play Catch and Release, which is being presented at the Alban Theatre in St. Albans.
To wrap up our series of interviews with the cast, here’s one of the stars of the show: James Holley.
Q: What’s the premise of Catch and Release?
James: Honestly, this answer is a bit subjective. On the surface, it’s the story of four friends and how their relationships change over about 20 years. Moreover, to me, it’s about recognizing and being mindful of the people we are with and have in our lives right now. How we affecting one another’s future, be it short term or long term, every time we interact?
Q: Tell us about the part you play.
James: I play Ben. Ben is a bit of a neurotic all the way from the age of 11 to 30. His nervous disposition is catalyst for a lot of overreaction. Sometimes his knee jerk reactions make for funny situations and sometimes he comes off as selfish and self centered.
Q: What's your background in theatre?
James: I’m actually sort of new to acting. When a couple of the male actors backed out a production of Titanic the Musical in Huntington a few years ago, I took on a role. Six months later I was cast as one of the leads in the comedy Noises Off. In 2012, I was played George Bailey in the holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life for the Paramount Arts in Ashland, KY. Last year I was back with 5th Ave Theater Troop cast as The Leading Player in the musical Pippin. Additionally, I have performed more than 25 shows with the improvisational theater troop Murder and Merriment.
Q: How challenging is it for the actors to play the same character at such different ages?
James: I’m 45 years old so playing Ben at any of these ages is a bit of a stretch. It’s a blast though. I have a two kids, 12 and 17… so I’ve been watching their faces when they talk to friends, listening to their tone of voice and most important, noticing the body language. Generally, an 11-year-old boy has no fear and that’s how he presents himself. A teen is a little more reserved and a tad awkward. At 30, you are more comfortable in your skin. Biggest challenge has been flipping those switches so many times in just over an hour.
Q: The play is written by a local playwright - how has that affected the show?
James: I like the fact Jeremy is tied to us locally. More than that I like that he is a solid writer. I wanted to do this role because I wanted a change from the big musicals and huge sets and just have a chance to act. Jeremy is an actor/writer whose project offered exactly what I wanted. I auditioned because I wanted a chance to work with Tara Pauley, our director. I had heard great things and knew I could trust her to create a fun show and teach me things. I didn’t find out that Jeremy was homegrown until our first rehearsal. That was icing on the cake.
Q: Why would you recommend this show to our readers?
James: I recommend Catch and Release because it’s a fun show that has a message but isn’t preachy. You get to watch four adults play like children, fight like teens and recall as adults. I guarantee you’re going to laugh and enjoy the show. My hope is that after you see it you go home, pull out an old yearbook, and contact someone you haven’t thought about in years just to say hello.
Catch and Release, a play by Jeremy Richter, will be presented at the Alban Arts Center on April 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and April 26 at 2 p.m. The Alban Arts Center is located at 65 Olde Main Street in St. Albans, W.Va. Tickets are $15 for Adults and $10 for Seniors and Students with valid ID.