With the opening of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike approaching,
the PBTS bloggers wanted to touch base with some of our talented actors who will be gracing the stage next week. One of those actors is Rob Banks, a familiar face on the PBTS stage who has stunned with his powerful voice and left audiences in stitches with his comedic timing. Sadie La Manna sat down with Rob to chat about his experience in his latest production. Take a look below!
1. Tell us about Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike?
What am I supposed to say here? It’s funny. It’s emotional. It’s a comedy about family and relationships with a hint of farce and a strong undercurrent of ennui. I think there’s someone for everyone in this cast whether it’s the dour angst of Sonia or the brash vibrancy of Masha. Between them sits Vanya; uncertain if he’s a participant in their drama or just the peacekeeper.
2. We last saw you on the stage as Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, so what attracted you to performing in a straight play?
Well, there were 2 things that really attracted. The first was getting to work with Jason Collins again. He directed me in last year’s “The Fox on the Fairway” and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the Players stage. He has a great feel for comedy and general stagecraft. The second was the script itself. Christopher Durang provides us with characters that we feel we could know and then gives them completely believable dialogue.
3. Do you find musicals more challenging then straight plays, or vice versa?
Each presents different challenges and hurdles. I find it much easier to memorize a song but you can add more innuendo to a speech since you choose the rhythm and pitch. It really comes down to the character. And the cast and the crew and the story and everything else. If I must choose, I would say musicals only because they have a longer time commitment.
4. What surprised you during this particular process as an actor?
I can see a lot of this character in myself. I didn’t expect that. And how much different comedy feels when you’re the straight man. It’s not easier or harder; just different. Also, that my brain can still hold so many words in, hopefully, the right order.
5. Describe Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike in three words.
Honest, funny, Durang
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