Mondo Extra
The James Marsters Interview

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"I Almost Punched The Preacher, Man."

JM: Yeah. [laughs] I broke my hand once, man.

CB: What happened?

JM: Oh, I almost punched the preacher, man. This guy interrupted...we were doing a Sam Shepard and a Joseph Chaikin play -- Joseph Chaikin's a great playwright who suffered from aphasia, and Sam went to him as he wrote these plays to try to be a kind of therapy for Joseph. It's about an angel who falls to earth and is disoriented ["I believe it's called The War In Heaven: Angel's Monologue" -- CB] , and it's very emotional -- the angel gets caught by a cop and everything, and the good old pastor comes in and sits in the front row right next to me! I'm playing the angel and there's the other actor, and we're playing a scene where we're about to kill each other, and we stop and we're like, "Ed, what is it, is there a fire, an earthquake, what?" "No, I'm just watchin'." "Well, Ed, you can't interrupt rehearsal. We're going to have to go back forty-five minutes to get this." [George W. Bush voice] "Well, you know, just carry on. I ain't leavin'. I'm the pastor here. You act, now." And, you know, I finally got him out, but as soon as he left, I punched the floor and I totally broke my hand and I had no medical insurance. So I talked the hospital into treating me because I was a service to the community! [both laugh] But the doctor just kept re-breaking the bone -- they wouldn't pin it because that was like, too much money, so they just kept re-breaking it every couple weeks.

CB: Oh my God. You don't have any lingering problems with it, do you?

JM: Uh, not yet. They say I'm gonna have pretty bad arthritis later.

CB: That sucks.

JM: Yeah. It sucks ass.

CB: Well, you started your own theater company in Chicago and then moved it to Seattle. Did it have a particular focus, or was there a niche of theater you were trying to explore?

JM: Nope, not at all. We were doing...my then-wife, Lianne Davidson, and I were doing this production of a Brian Friel play, Lovers. Great script -- sad and happy and fabulous. And it was, despite not the best production...well, it was the direction, I guess, it still was a success, my then-wife and I kind of looked at each other and said, well, you know, "We can fuck it up this good." [both laugh] Let's try this out ourselves, you know? And we did a pairing of Lanford Wilson's Home Free! and Leonard Melfi's The Bird Bath, and it was not a critical success -- the critics, like, took after us, but we were told...my friends told me that they do that to every actor that dares to start doing something like that. But luckily we were right across the street from Steppenwolf and they noticed us, and they kinda took us under their wing and kinda helped us a little bit. We had a better success with A Phoenix Too Frequent, the first play from Christopher Fry, and...that was a great story that almost ended in violence as well, as a matter of fact!

CB: [both laugh] I'm sensing a theme here!

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Mondo Extra

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Mondo Extra
The James Marsters Interview

Episode Report Card
Grade It Now!
YOU GRADE IT
"I Almost Punched The Preacher, Man."

JM: Yeah. [laughs] I broke my hand once, man.

CB: What happened?

JM: Oh, I almost punched the preacher, man. This guy interrupted...we were doing a Sam Shepard and a Joseph Chaikin play -- Joseph Chaikin's a great playwright who suffered from aphasia, and Sam went to him as he wrote these plays to try to be a kind of therapy for Joseph. It's about an angel who falls to earth and is disoriented ["I believe it's called The War In Heaven: Angel's Monologue" -- CB] , and it's very emotional -- the angel gets caught by a cop and everything, and the good old pastor comes in and sits in the front row right next to me! I'm playing the angel and there's the other actor, and we're playing a scene where we're about to kill each other, and we stop and we're like, "Ed, what is it, is there a fire, an earthquake, what?" "No, I'm just watchin'." "Well, Ed, you can't interrupt rehearsal. We're going to have to go back forty-five minutes to get this." [George W. Bush voice] "Well, you know, just carry on. I ain't leavin'. I'm the pastor here. You act, now." And, you know, I finally got him out, but as soon as he left, I punched the floor and I totally broke my hand and I had no medical insurance. So I talked the hospital into treating me because I was a service to the community! [both laugh] But the doctor just kept re-breaking the bone -- they wouldn't pin it because that was like, too much money, so they just kept re-breaking it every couple weeks.

CB: Oh my God. You don't have any lingering problems with it, do you?

JM: Uh, not yet. They say I'm gonna have pretty bad arthritis later.

CB: That sucks.

JM: Yeah. It sucks ass.

CB: Well, you started your own theater company in Chicago and then moved it to Seattle. Did it have a particular focus, or was there a niche of theater you were trying to explore?

JM: Nope, not at all. We were doing...my then-wife, Lianne Davidson, and I were doing this production of a Brian Friel play, Lovers. Great script -- sad and happy and fabulous. And it was, despite not the best production...well, it was the direction, I guess, it still was a success, my then-wife and I kind of looked at each other and said, well, you know, "We can fuck it up this good." [both laugh] Let's try this out ourselves, you know? And we did a pairing of Lanford Wilson's Home Free! and Leonard Melfi's The Bird Bath, and it was not a critical success -- the critics, like, took after us, but we were told...my friends told me that they do that to every actor that dares to start doing something like that. But luckily we were right across the street from Steppenwolf and they noticed us, and they kinda took us under their wing and kinda helped us a little bit. We had a better success with A Phoenix Too Frequent, the first play from Christopher Fry, and...that was a great story that almost ended in violence as well, as a matter of fact!

CB: [both laugh] I'm sensing a theme here!

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14Next

Mondo Extra

Comments

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