Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ON THE SPOT with Parallel Exit...Continued

The New Victory caught up with more of the TIME STEP cast, Joel Jeske and Mike Dobson, as well as Parallel Exit's artistic director, Mark Lonergan, for our ON THE SPOT interviews. Read on to learn more about these vaudevillians and who has inspired them.

(PHOTO pictured left to right: Danny Gardner, Derek Roland, Brent McBeth)

New Victory: Where did you grow up?
Joel: I grew up in Glen Ellyn, Illinois - a small town about an hour outside of Chicago.
Mike: Satellite Beach, FL.
Mark: In Milton, Ontario, Canada – a small town outside Toronto.

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a spectator?Joel: My most memorable experience was at Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was the moment that made me want to be a clown. I saw a clown, all alone in the ring, balance his hat and vest on a top of a broom. He lifted up his arms, kicked his head back, and the hat and the vest dropped straight down and dressed him perfectly while he held the broom in a stylish position. Such a simple trick, so perfectly done, floored me. Later, while I was working as a physical comedian on a cruise ship, I met that very clown. His name is Charlie Frye. I have thanked him for his inspiration and we are friends today.
Mike: Celebrating with the union stage hands when a conductor took the orchestra into overtime at Carnegie Hall.
Mark: Shockheaded Peter, right here at The New Victory Theater! The combination of music, design, puppets, and humor was just astounding. One of the most brilliant shows I’ve ever seen.

NV: Most memorable theatrical experience as a performer?
Joel: Parallel Exit went to Innsbruck to perform in the Festival der Traume. We were doing our vaudeville show "Exit! Stage Left!". Our first performance went fine. It was well received, but something was missing. We weren't connecting with the audience. I really listened to what they were laughing at and watched HOW they were watching our show. The following night I played to the audience like they were a member of the cast. The show blew the roof off the theater. The audience loved it. It is wonderful to be able to connect with a non English speaking audience in a different culture and make them laugh.

NV: Favorite local tradition?Joel: New York at Christmas time. There is nothing in the world like it.
Mark: Dressing up to go to the theater.

NV: Favorite local food?
Mike: The Spotted Pig
Mark: New York has some of the greatest restaurants – but my favorite is Basilica, where I proposed to my wife.

NV: When you travel, what do you miss most about home?
Joel: Sounds strange, but…my gym!
Mike: The traffic
Mark: My wife and our cats.

NV: Favorite local haunt?Mike: Everyman Coffee on E. 13th Street
Mark: Parallel Exit has a couple of “official” meeting places – the Westway Diner on 9th Avenue and O’Lunney’s in Times Square.

NV: Favorite saying or slang term?Joel: "Why you I oughta...!" - Moe Howard or
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
Mike: Get it!

NV: Favorite family activity?Joel: Game night!
Mike: Discovering new music.

NV: If you weren't a performer or director, what would you want to do with your life?Mike: Race car driver!
Mark: I would work behind-the-scenes on political campaigns.

NV: Who is your tap hero/favorite tap performer?
Joel: Vaudeville Hoofer: Joe Frisco.
Mike: Gene Kelly
Mark: My favorite tap performer from the Golden Age of Hollywood is Fred Astaire, but my current tap hero is Jason Samuels Smith – what he does with his feet has to be seen to be believed.

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