For talented kids at small high schools, getting noticed by the faculty isn’t much of a problem.
“When you’re in a graduating class with just 23 students and you say, ‘Hi, I’m a boy who likes the theater,’ you get sucked into everything,” said Woodrow Proctor, a senior at Skidmore College with a double major in theater and computer science.
A native of Hoboken, New Jersey, he is now getting noticed in even bigger and busier places, such as Saratoga Springs in July. His summer gig working in Congress Park as part of Saratoga Shakespeare has helped land him a starring role in the Curtain Call Theatre production of “Sleuth,” which co-stars Steve Leifer and is being directed by Steve Fletcher.
Proctor’s performance was noticed by Jack Fallon, a regular performer at Curtain Call, and it was Fallon who strongly suggested that Proctor audition for a Curtain Call show.
WHERE: Curtain Call Theatre, 210 Old Loudon Road, Latham
WHEN: Opens Friday and runs through Feb. 6; show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. Sunday; a special 3 p.m. matinee performance will be held on Jan. 16
HOW MUCH: $24
MORE INFO: 877-7529, www.curtaincalltheatre.com
“He walked up to me after the show, and said he was going to give the people at Curtain Call my name, some information and a head shot,” remembered Proctor. “He told me, ‘You’ll get a phone call tomorrow.”
Fallon wasn’t right about the phone call — it came two days later — but he was right about Proctor’s stage presence. The young actor showed up for an open audition and won the role.
“He’s as smart as a whip, and he’s as gifted a young actor as I’ve ever seen,” said Fletcher. “He nailed his audition. He hits all the high notes that you need to hit. He’s quite a find.”
“Sleuth” was written by Anthony Shaffer and premiered in November of 1970. The story centers on a mystery writer, Andrew Wyke, and a younger man, Milo Tindle, who has stolen the affections of the older man’s wife. Leifer plays Andrew and Proctor is Milo.
“We have two phenomenal actors, and once we got more involved in the script I really found the whole theme of the play quite fascinating and fun,” said Fletcher. “It has many different layers and levels, and goes from heart-wrenching to farcical.”
Proctor wasn’t at all familiar with the play before rehearsals began, but it quickly grew on him.
“I start the play in a completely different place from how I end it,” he said. “The journey I go on isn’t simply linear. There’s a lot of variety in my arc and the difficult moments my character has are really fun to do. It’s been so much fun to create this character because the writing is so excellent.”
Acting has always been fun for Proctor since he decided to give it a shot back in the 10th grade at The Hudson School, a small private school in Hoboken.
“I didn’t have much to do over one summer and some friends of mine were involved in a summer theater program,” he remembered. “I thought to myself, ‘OK, I’ll join up and do some tech work.’ But then I was just sitting there watching other people get up and audition and the whole process looked like so much fun I asked the director if I could try it.”
Proctor says his two summers working with Saratoga Shakespeare have given him plenty of confidence.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he said. “To have the opportunity to do professional theater in the park has been a great experience. I’ve really learned a lot.”
“Sleuth” won the Tony Award for Best Play in 1971, and was turned into a movie with Michael Caine and Sir Laurence Olivier in 1972. Caine also changed roles when he played opposite Jude Law in a 2007 remake.
“I watched a trailer of it just to get the general feel, but I try not to watch other versions of things I’m working on,” said Proctor. “I want my interpretation to be entirely what comes out of my own head. I don’t want to be subconsciously influenced by outside things.”
Reach Gazette reporter Bill Buell at 395-3190 or firstname.lastname@example.org.