Tri-State Theater

Let's discuss upcoming shows, secrets behind the scenes, things you never knew about the theater and why live theater is so darn entertaining.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Interview with Robert Hutchens: "Glengarry Glen Ross"

   As we roll up on the final weekend in Huntington for Glengarry Glen Ross (make those reservations now - the first weekend’s shows were sold out), we have one more interview with the cast to share.

   Let’s hear from the talented stage veteran Robert Hutchens:

Q: Tell us about Glengarry Glen Ross.  

Robert: Although Glengarry Glen Ross presents characters in dire circumstances, their strategies for dealing with them - self-delusion and denial, for example - result in darkly comic moments.

Q: Why did you want to tackle this show?

Robert: I wanted to be in this play because: 1) I always want to be in a play; 2) it's an exceptionally good part; 3) I know and like a lot of people who tried out, so I was confident I'd be in good company; 4) I really enjoy being directed by Mike Murdock. At the time of the auditions, I had no idea he would be leaving Huntington, so I'm particularly glad I didn't miss this opportunity to work with him again.

Q: Tell us about the character you play.

Robert: I play Shelly Levene, the role with which Jack Lemmon won an Oscar, so obviously its a good part. Shelly used to be a successful salesman, in fact, if he is to be believed, "top man" for a number of years. His luck has changed, and though he struggles to delude himself, he is only intermittently successful. The satisfaction of playing him is the opportunity to play two things simultaneously: the facade he wants the world to see and the reality that's behind it - so bravado (occasionally almost heroic) and desperation (occasionally pathetic). 

Q: What's your background in theatre?  

Robert: I have acted in or directed over 150 plays, some in regional professional theatre, a lot in college and community theatre.  I spent a lot of years in undergrad and grad studies in theatre at the University of Tennessee Theatre Department, and later worked there as an adjunct teacher and public relations director for the Clarence Brown Company. Later I was executive director of the Clayton Center for the Arts during its opening and first years of operation. 

Q: This is an adult show - what's the most challenging thing about it - the language or the subject matter?  

Robert: Mamet's language is not only profane, it is poetic, particularly rhythmic. Anytime you have strong language, whether obscene or lyrical, it's a wrestling match to control it and to put it in the mouth of the character. I mean, you have to make the language an expression of the character and the story, not just the language itself.   

Q: Tell us about the cast and director.

Robert: It's a joy and a privilege to work with this theatre group. I can't believe how lucky I am to have found them, almost literally, on my doorstep.

Q: Why would you recommend this show? 

Robert: Glengarry Glen Ross is a powerful, suspenseful, gut-wrenching play. Like good plays are supposed to do, it entertains and engages and makes you feel more alive than you did when the curtain went up.

Q: Thanks, Robert!

Glengarry Glen Ross will be presented in the Renaissance Theatre Ballrooom at 900 8th Street in Huntington on Feb. 9, 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the Dinner and Show are $30 each (reservations required - call 304-733-2787. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Show only tickets are $15 each. Also, the Feb. 9 (Thursday) show offers 2 tickets for $20. Visit www.artstristate.org for online tickets.

No comments: