Actor Eric Sheffer Stevens (who played the homosexual neurosurgeon, Reid Oliver, on the cleaning soap opera, As the Globe Turns, talks about his acting training in university. That training continued with non-public coaching, Off-Off Broadway roles, grad school, and even with his recurring role in the cleaning soap – in which he exercised different performing muscular tissues.
Susan Dansby: Were you fascinated in performing when you ended up a kid?
Eric Sheffer Stevens: Yeah. I’m not absolutely sure if it was extra than most people’s interest, but I was pretty intrigued. And in significant school, they did musicals and that was not some thing they would at any time inquire me to do. Or anybody would inquire me to do. So, I under no circumstances pursued it until eventually I was in university, and I auditioned for the theater software at Wheaton and got in.
But I maintained a literature significant. That is what my diploma was in. And later on, I moved to New York to go after it. To type of see where it went. So, I did a bunch of tiny stuff below — just via the trade papers [i.e., Backstage and Show Business Weekly] that I would audition for, on the decrease East facet, and down in the Village, and in church basements.
Susan Dansby: The Off-Off- Broadway route?
Eric Sheffer Stevens: Oh yeah. And there’s a lot of price in that things.
Susan Dansby: I definitely agree.
Eric Sheffer Stevens: But it can push you mad, also. And I researched right here [in New York City], with Michael Howard, which also kind of changed the way I method every little thing, and altered the way I do the job. He really kicked my butt on a lot of unique issues.
Then I went to grad university in ’98 in Alabama. It is largely classical but they do new get the job done, and up to date performs. It’s not all Shakespeare, inspite of the title.
Susan Dansby: So the Alabama Shakespeare Competition is not just a theater? It really is a college?
Eric Sheffer Stevens: Effectively, they’re affiliated with the College of Alabama, which is why I am this sort of a enormous Crimson Tide supporter. So you are accredited, and you do your actual course work through College of Alabama but you are a resident of the corporation as a non-Fairness member of the company.
And so you happen to be acquiring skilled encounter, and in rehearsal with individuals that you actually admire a great deal. By considerably the additional critical section of the education was in fact rehearsing, and getting around folks who realized how to do it.
Susan Dansby: That seems like heaven on earth for an actor.
Eric Sheffer Stevens: You are having voice, and you were being having motion, and also text, and a large amount of record. Specifically, theater historical past. But other than that, it was just staying immersed in rehearsal, and executing displays.
Susan Dansby: And you outlined Michael Howard. He is an performing trainer?
Eric Sheffer Stevens: Yeah, and has been for 50 many years, listed here in the Metropolis. He has a studio listed here, and is nonetheless teaching. He’s great, and has been mentor and just a wonderful instructor, to numerous people. So, I was lucky to get in on that for like a few of decades in the late 90s.
Susan Dansby: Properly, which is 1 of the factors that actually impresses me, because soaps are so fast. They move so swiftly. And the writers contact it a “very first draft” medium. Whatsoever the performing phrase would be for that, it can be likely variety of the similar thing. In which you are a lot more heading with your instincts than possessing a good deal of time to delve into the text.
So, the classical training, and certainly working with an acting trainer, genuinely serves you well — which a great deal of people really don’t definitely think about.
Eric Sheffer Stevens: Yeah, it really is humorous, also but it is its possess pretty one of a kind practical experience — which I imagined was amazing exercise. It trains a full diverse set of muscle groups. So, you cannot be in your head too a lot. You do as significantly preparation as you can memorization clever, then you form of make prompt alternatives.
And because we don’t genuinely rehearse in the soaps, a you really don’t have a ton of time with the script — you have only experienced it for a couple of days prior to you go in to in fact shoot it — then they just place you down there, on the flooring, in entrance of the digital camera, and you do it. And so it was — I appreciated carrying out that.
Are you kidding? In its place of expending a large amount of time thinking how to method it, you just variety of do it.
And that is also incredibly useful — to balance your pondering side or your “background analyze” facet.