American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
The Quick Chat series is where we dive into the life and times of APT's finest. Each interview will supply insights ranging from the obviously relevant to the vaguely strange. This week features Actor Charles Pasternak.
Hi, my name is Charles Pasternak. This is my first season at APT. My big role is Napoleon in Shaw’s The Man of Destiny. I’m also playing the 2nd Murderer in Macbeth and Ed Knight in The Book of Will.
APT: Tell us about yourself: Where are you from, where you live now, and what path led you to APT?
CHARLES: I’m from Los Angeles, though I travel much of the year for work.
A very winding road got me here: I’ve admired APT from afar for a number of years. Three years ago I had the pleasure of working with Core Company Member Brian Mani at the Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, TN, on a lovely restoration play call The Busy Body. Through that process we became friends and he invited me to visit him up here. When I did so, I did a drop-in audition for Carey Cannon which went well enough to get me a callback in Chicago. Lucky for me, I was working at Indiana Repertory Theatre at the time, so Chicago was in range. I drove up twice for a pair of callbacks. I thought all went very well… but I didn’t book it. So it goes. This year I was invited again to audition, but I was in Los Angeles and couldn’t make it out. So I did a live video audition (it’s a whole new world) and booked it.
I’m honored to be here.
APT: This is your first season here at APT! What has been the best and most challenging parts of your experience thus far?
CHARLES: The best part is people. All of ‘em. But to be more specific:
I have loved working with James Bohnen (Destiny director) and Susan Sweeny (text coach). Getting to spend hours every day working with these brilliant, process-oriented artists has been incredible. And they really are a microcosm of APT. It seems to be a theatre filled with great craftsmen and women, working diligently to create the finest classical repertory in the country. This theatre continues to value vital aspects of the work that much of the rest of the theatres in this country have abandoned: a true company, a voice & text department, a commitment to great plays – not just the latest hits off-broadway, etc. Basically, the things I love best about the theatre.
The most challenging part has been the work itself: Shaw’s a beast. But a brilliant and rewarding one. Also, learning everyone’s names. Still working on that.
APT: You are starting off the season with playing Napoleon Bonaparte in Shaw’s Man of Destiny. What has it been like stepping into a role that is based on a historical character?
CHARLES: I love the research aspect of our work, and studying this wildly impressive man has been fascinating. The next step is how to translate that to the stage, and understudying where Shaw’s Napoleon overlaps or doesn’t with the historical man (as far as we know).
Destiny is looking at Napoleon at age 26, on the verge of making the military and political decisions that would set in motion the Napoleonic Era. And it’s important that as the play begins, he has not made those decisions yet… he is considering them, he is considering the man he wants to become. That’s what’s exciting for an audience: by the end of the play, Napoleon has decided to become Napoleon – thus the title.
APT: You’re coming to APT from L.A. how has the adjustment from big city life to rural life been for you? What has surprised you about Spring Green?
CHARLES: Not difficult at all. I love small towns. And I love that this small town somehow, miraculously, has this incredible theatre.
APT: When not on stage, what are your hobbies and how do you like spending your time?
CHARLES: Looking for work… just kidding. Kind of.
I love baseball – HUGE DODGERS FAN, to the chagrin of many Cubs/Brewers fans of the area. I run a theatre company in Los Angeles – The Porters of Hellsgate – which takes a lot of work, even from afar. I read a lot… run every day, try to write...
I’m a man of the theatre: I love what I do and spend most of my time either doing it or trying to.
APT: If you were to invent a holiday, what would the holiday be called and what would happen on that day?
CHARLES: I’d make Voting Day a national holiday.
APT: Anything else you'd like to add?