Q&A: Mathiasen has already had a few good acting experiences

Movies were the thing that so fascinated Richard Mathiasen just a few short years ago, but a trip to
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Movies were the thing that so fascinated Richard Mathiasen just a few short years ago, but a trip to the Curtain Call Theatre in Latham changed all that.

Nowadays, it’s the stage that intrigues Mathiasen more than any other venue, and he’s not just watching the show — he’s performing in it.

A Long Island native and a 2004 graduate of Siena College, Mathiasen plays Daniel Kaffee in the Curtain Call production of Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men,” which runs through Feb. 9 at Curtain Call. According to Gazette critic Paul Lamar, Mathiasen is “terrific” in the role most people associate with Tom Cruise from the 1993 movie version.

FILM NERD IN HIGH SCHOOL

Mathiasen, who moved back to the Albany area two years ago, has a day job, but he’s hopeful his acting career will develop from a part-time passion into a professional career.

Q: When and why did you become an actor?

A: The first acting class I took was at Siena with [Curtain Call director] Steve Fletcher. I did a few little things when I was real young, but I never thought about acting seriously until college. I was Peter Van Daan in a Siena production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” and I just fell in love with acting after that. I was a film nerd in high school, and eventually I thought if this is all I’m going to talk about, I might as well try it myself.

I’m still gaining experience, but it’s what I want to do and I’m in it for the long haul. I’m never happier than when I’m deeply immersed in a role. I’d like to get more into TV and film, but I love the theater for its immediacy. I enjoy that adrenaline rush you feel when you’re out there in front of people.

Q: Where was your first acting experience outside of Siena College?

A: I did “And Then There Were None” at Albany Civic Theater in the fall. It was my first community theater production, and it was fantastic. It was intimidating at first because it seemed like everybody knew each other. It was like the first day of school for me. But once we got into it, everyone made me feel welcome, and it was a wonderful experience. There’s a really good group of people over there.

Q: Where did you have your first meaningful experience at the theater?

A: The first play I saw in this area was at Curtain Call when I was at Siena. I figured it’d be some second-rate production, like the show in “Waiting for Guffman,” but Curtain Call shattered that perception I had. I was really impressed. I loved it, and I really liked the small intimate theater where the audience is right on top of the actors.

For me to be able to be part of a production at Curtain Call now is pretty amazing. Five years ago, I was thinking that I could never do that. I’m really grateful for the opportunity.

Q: What attracted you to the role of Kaffee in “A Few Good Men?”

A: It’s a great script because Aaron Sorkin is so brilliant with dialogue, and what strikes me about the play is that it’s difficult to categorize it as an anti-Marine or anti-military play. There’s a horrible tragedy and then a cover-up, and I think the script is actually pro military but not blindly so. I think it praises the Marine Corps while at the same time focusing on a fanatical element of that group.

It walks a fine line, and Sorkin does this great balancing act that’s darn near impossible to attain. But that’s why he’s a brilliant writer.

Q: After you got the part, did you go back and watch the movie version?

A: I saw it a long time ago, and yes, I did go back and rent it and watch it again after I was cast. There’s always some danger when a play has been made into a film, but I think it helped me. It’s such an ensemble cast, and I got into it watching Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Pollak and Kevin Bacon. It’s still a very good movie, and it really helped me prepare for the play.

‘A Few Good Men’

WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday; 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday through Feb. 9

HOW MUCH: $20

MORE INFO: 877-7529

Categories: Life and Arts

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