Company Profiles: Philip Fletcher

Philip Fletcher has been working for Synetic since the fall of the Roman Empire…and/or since 2001 with the original production of Host and Guest. Philip is one of the masters of the style and has been in so many shows it kind of hurts my brain to list all of them. In the past three years he has played a witch in Macbeth, for which he received a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (of which he was part of the Helen Hayes Award-winning Outstanding Ensemble), Lucas in Carmen, a Demon in Dante, and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Despite a penchant for playing intimidating supernatural beings, he is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, in addition to some remarkable talent!

1. Where are you from? What is your training?

I’m from Arizona (all over the greater Phoenix area), moved to the DC area (Maryland) in 2001. I was a business major in college but on a whim I took an acting 101 class at Glendale Community College, probably the most difficult and time consuming 100 level class I have ever taken.  Then as an ASU junior I took another acting class to fulfill an arts requirement; however this class was geared toward business students and was really more of a glorified public speaking class.  Since working with Synetic, aside from Synetic’s own training, I’ve studied yoga, belly dancing, ballet, hip-hop and I have been a long time fan of kickboxing.

With Salma Qarnain in "Dante" (photo credit Raymond Gniewek)

With Salma Qarnain in "Dante" (photo credit Raymond Gniewek)

2. What was it like to start working with Synetic? How was it different from your other experiences?

The first day was very difficult because everyone else had already been working on a Georgian dance and knew it pretty well.  I didn’t have a clue and could not for the life of me keep up.  I also didn’t really know or have concern for how the whole actor thing really worked.  All I knew is that I was asked if I would like to do this and I agreed based on the idea that I would get to spend time with my then-boyfriend and now-husband Greg Marzullo, and the expectation that I would have fun.  So needless to say I had a difficult time with criticism, something I am still working on.  A benefit I did not foresee was the joy of the physicality of it and how good it made and continues to make me feel.

I really hadn’t done anything like this before so it was an entirely new experience, unless you count the high school musical and choir concerts, but I think everyone would agree that that environment and experience is quite different from that of a professional theater company specializing in movement based story telling.

3. Do you have a favorite role?

So far my favorite role was one of the weird sisters in Synetic’s Macbeth.  My favorite production was Synetic’s Dante.

With Irina Tsikurishvili in "Carmen" (photo credit Raymond Gniewek)

With Irina Tsikurishvili in "Carmen" (photo credit Raymond Gniewek)

4. What things do you enjoy about working with the company?

Working with Synetic you develop close friendships, sort of like an extended family.  People come and go and you miss people who leave, especially if you have worked with them for a while, but it is wonderful to hear about how they are doing, find out what they are up to, all their successes, and it’s really exciting when they come back to visit.  What I enjoy most about the productions is the movement.  I suppose it is one of those “if I knew then what I know now” situations.  I have a real passion for dance but this is something I didn’t realize or recognize until I was in my mid twenties.  So Synetic affords me the opportunity to act like a dancer even though it is far too late for me to actually be a dancer.

Author’s Note: Your humble blogger posits that, especially in Philips case, the definition of “actually being a dancer” is up for debate. As is the definition of when anything is “too late”!

5. Any crazy stories from rehearsal, performance, etc.?

Three instances come to mind.  In Synetic’s production of “The Dybbuk” the female attendants of the ill-fated wedding performed a traditional Georgian dance with hats that had cakes on them, well before the performance on my birthday we were going to run this particular scene and the girls came out, and danced, with real cakes and pies in their hats before everyone sang happy birthday to me, so sweet.  The second crazy memory is the night of Synetic’s “Macbeth” when the trap door fell in, it was the one I used for curtain call and had it happened later in the fight there was a good chance I could have been underneath when it fell in.  The other stand out moment is the night during Synetic’s “Romeo and Juliet” when I smacked heads with Ryan Sellers, the Tybalt to my Mercutio.  The cool thing about it was that it happened just as Tybalt delivered Mercutio’s fatal blow and I actually started bleeding from what looked like my mouth.  I doubt the audience could even see it in the sparse lighting but I thought it was cool.  There are other memories, numerous injuries all around, the night I spaced on choreography, the night I dropped a line, a missed entrance, forgotten props, etc., but these aren’t nearly as interesting and mostly embarrassing.

6. What’s next for you?

The remount of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in September/October 2009 and a remount of Dracula in October/November 2009 for Synetic, and Acrylic a two episode short film.

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~ by synetictheater on September 1, 2009.

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