Spotlight on Ben Chase

In our continuing series of interviews with the actors for One Flea Spare, Melissa Barker sat down with Ben Chase. This is Ben’s first production with Whistler.

What drew you to acting?
What drew me to acting? Well I didn’t do it growing up, I didn’t start acting until I was in college, and there’s sort of a blank spot in my memory between being in my first acting class and the decision making process…so I don’t really know. But I’ve been enjoying it. I get a lot of satisfaction. Which probably sounds corny but…

No, not at all. Is theatre what you studied in school?
No, I majored in Political Science at Tufts University.

But you took acting classes at Tufts?
Oh yeah. I was very in to the theatre. I went to the Royal Academy of the Dramatic Arts for 5 months with the NYU School of the Arts. I drove up to NYU to audition with all those kids and got in, and then I started working professionally the summer before my senior year of college. I had my first professional role with Shakespeare on the Sound which is an Equity summer theatre in Connecticut.

What intrigues you about One Flea Spare?
My path to One Flea Spare…I got handed this play a year and a half ago. I was working on a film in Philadelphia and I was hanging out with this guy and he asked me “Have you ever read One Flea Spare?” and I said no and he handed it to me. And I read it. Then I read it again. And I said wow…I wonder if I’ll ever get to do a play like One Flea Spare.

So this is sort of like your dream come true!
It sort of is! It’s a little bit of an acting dream. Sometimes you have projects like that. One Flea Spare was on my list of projects. I think what drew me to it is that it’s about all the things that I really like…it’s about class, it’s about the way people hold themselves in social situations. And at the end of the day all these people have a lot of things in common…which they probably don’t want.

What’s been the most challenging about playing Kabe?
Kabe is such a forward personality and I tend to be a bit more withdrawn, a bit quiet. He is a huge personality and I’m very much not. And then his manic path in the play; one second he aggressive and forceful and the in the next he lost and mellowed to his own disappointments. So I’d say the hugeness and his mercurial nature. And the loneliness have all been really challenging.

When you go see theatre, what makes it a good experience for you as an audience member?
Seeing a play where I see real human behavior. That’s really important to me as an audience member. Things that are believable, that make me say, wow, I recognize that. And then if I get a sense that I’m experiencing something with the entire audience, that’s huge to me. That’s really what I like about theatre so much more than film or TV, is that we’re all hopefully having this experience together. It’s like one big conversation.

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