In the run up to the first performance of our new production "If I Go" we sat down with some of our cast and crew and attempted to find out a little bit about them and what makes them tick! This interviews features Daniel Kewn, who plays Danny.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background? How did you come to be an actor?
A. Same way everyone became an actor. One day, I dropped everything, and said “I am an actor”. It escalated quite quickly from there really. I moved to London, applied for films and shows, made connections and I have enjoyed my life ever since then. The funny thing is while I was deciding what to do with my life, I took up acting to pass the time…
Q. What actors do you admire and how have they influenced how you perform?
A. I admire all actors. I know it sounds like a “get out of jail free card” but anyone who can take the steps to be an actor is admirable. To be able to stand up and bare your soul to a crowd of people, night after night, then re-enter reality as if nothing happened, that takes a certain kind of person.
Q. What are your thoughts on “If I Go” – What appealed to you about the story?
A. I got sucked into the story by the characters. Each one of them has their own personality, and their own reasons for being stuck in their ways. As the story goes on, you get to see how each react to stressful situations, and in some cases, it’s not always for the best.
Q. Tell us about your character in your own words
A. I actually auditioned for the role of Will originally, but the team wanted me to be Danny. So I took a look at his journey, and I just thought “I’ve changed my mind, I want Danny”. I love him. He’s the sweet guy that gets along with everyone, but seems to get hurt the most. Danny is a teacher, and I trained as a teacher several years ago, so I know how stressful it can be. For Danny to still have a smile on his face at the end of the day is something to marvel at! He wants to go see the world and live life, but he doesn’t want to do it without Matt. Of course, if Matt doesn’t want to go, who knows what could happen…
Q. Do you have any favourite scenes / lines in the play and how have they influenced how you’ve played the role?
A. There is a scene at 4am, where Danny has to care for a drunk Matt. They get into a bit of an argument, but Danny (who is the victim in the argument) ends up having to make Matt feel better. It made me realise that Danny can’t help but try to cheer people up, even when he’s the one who needs it. He’s the one with the shoulder to cry on, and when he can’t pick himself up, he needs Matt…but Matt may not realise that sometimes.
Q. How has the role changed since you started rehearsals?
A. Originally Danny’s arguments got him angry and annoyed, but as we went on with the rest of the play, it didn’t seem to make sense. Danny is more upset by arguments. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. When you look deeper, while Danny may seem happy and confident, inside he is insecure and afraid, just like everyone else. Matt doesn’t realise it, but he is Danny’s rock.
Q. Do you have any particular rituals or superstitions?
A. I’m a science nerd, born and bred. If a light falls off the rig and crushes me, that’s the laws of physics and shoddy engineering. It probably had nothing to do with me mentioning “the Scottish Play”. You know the one…McHamlet!
Q. Are there any particular challenges working in the theatre versus working on film?
A. In film, you can’t suddenly start throwing your head around if the camera can only see your eyes. A lot of the time, filming is very subtle acting. It may still be intense, but you are limited by the frame of the shot. On stage, your whole body is on view at all times. You can’t say “I’ll do this speech as a one legged man, but you can only see my head, so I won’t bother with the leg.” Also, stage has more spontaneity. You don’t have to wait 20 minutes after punching someone while they move the camera and feel angry again. On stage, you punch them, you’re angry, you storm off. Film is staged, but stage is raw.
Q. If you weren’t working as an actor – what would you be doing instead?
A. Well I’m never going back to an office! I’d probably go back to my gymnastics coaching. I’ve always loved working with kids. I might even go back to America again to coach, as I would once again know my plans in advance; I’d be free from producers telling me they may or may not need me either today or tomorrow, but they’ll let me know in three days time.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about acting?
A. I’ll never forget Clive Hilton, my first director, during rehearsals for Hay Fever, telling me I should always have a reason for an action. I played Simon:
Clive: “Why did you walk over there?”
Me: “I was blocking the audiences view of Sorel.”
Clive: “Why did Simon walk over there then?”
Clive: “Remember Daniel; Simon is at home, there is no audience.”
That was an epiphany for me. Clive was my Mr. Miyagi!
Q. Tell us something about you which you think people would find surprising!
A. I once scared away a bear by holding the crane position from The Karate Kid.
Our thanks to Daniel for answering out questions. Daniel appears as Danny in "If I Go" May 4th - 7th. Tickets on sale now at www.proforca.co.uk. When he's not reenacting The Karate Kid and scaring off bears you can find Daniel on Twitter @DanielKewn