Quick Chat: Ted Deasy

Posted June 21, 2019

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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 Ted Deasy.

My name is Ted Deasy, and this is my third season with APT. My first was back in 2007, and then I had a chance to join APT again in 2015 for Game of Love and Chance, which was the last show in The Touchstone that season.

APT: Tell us about yourself: Where are you from, where you live now, and what path led you to APT?

TED: I am originally from Providence, RI and lived there all the way through college. I then started a ten year period where I moved every few years, with stops including Charlottesville, VA (Grad School), San Diego, Los Angeles, and Ashland OR, where I met my partner, Gina Daniels. In 1997 we moved to the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens, New York City, which has been our home ever since.

My tremendous fortune of being able to work at APT is because of the great Ken Albers. I had been directed by and acted with Ken when we were both company members at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He then cast me in several other productions he directed over the next few years, and in 2007 he called and asked if I was interested in joining him for the summer season at APT, including his production of Much Ado About Nothing. I jumped at the chance. It was my first time here, and I was thrilled and honored. I had heard about APT for years – it is so respected by so many. There is an unmatched alchemy of work, spirit, people and place. It is a theatre where it feels that both what we do and how we do it matter equally, both with our audiences and with each other. It’s a very special experience.

APT: In Twelfth Night, you are playing Sir Andrew Aguecheek, who is friends with Sir Toby. How would you define the relationship between the two characters?

TED: I love this question! Triney Sandoval, who is playing Sir Toby, and I have actually known each other for almost 30 years, but haven’t had a chance to be onstage together for 23 years. I was thrilled he was going to be here playing Sir Toby, and I have to say that the relationship between our characters just flowed out of us in rehearsal, both based on the script and our great joy of being able to work together again. We didn’t talk about it much early on, we just played. What has developed, again based on what Shakespeare gave us and guided by our brilliant director John Langs, is a mercurial, silly, sometimes alcohol driven but intense need for the other: for approval, for money, for help, for diversion, for playing tricks, for mockery…you name it. They need each other for very different reasons, and they use each other on their search to fulfill those needs.

APT: How have you prepared for the role of Aguecheek? (Especially those high kicks?!)

TED: There is such joy in playing a character that is full of contradictions – happy and sad, relaxed and tense, good-humored and angry, brave and fearful, manic and depressed…all of which can flip in an instant. The biggest prep is being open and ready for the roller coaster ride. And yes, Andrew Aguecheek declares that he is excellent at dancing. At least in his own mind. So yes, there is some stretching in preparation.

APT: What has surprised you about this season at APT that either you hadn’t noticed in the past, or that is new?

TED: Because my last visit was in the fall of 2015, the greatest surprise was the new stage and support facilities Up the Hill. They are remarkable. The stage feels like such a beautiful marriage of “what was” to “what is possible”. The rehearsal building and dressing rooms are a game changer, and the tech support facilities just make me wonder how on earth everyone did the amazing work they did before they were there!

I also have such joy in being a part of a company that has welcomed and continues to welcome an ever-increasing diversity of colleagues. As theatre collaborators, we are always striving to work with true respect, humility, curiosity and constantly expanding what stories get told and who gets to tell them allows for bigger, deeper and more profound stories of our humanity.

APT: When not on stage, what are your hobbies and how do you like spending your time?

TED: Being itinerant actors, Gina and I have had some wonderful opportunities to work in many places, but it also means that we have 2 full-time jobs – one when we are lucky enough to work, and the other looking for work, along with packing, unpacking and traveling to and from work.

But a constant joy for both of us is food and travel. We love exploring the food scene wherever we get to go and love cooking when we can. But our biggest food hobby is baking. We both have loved baking for years, and continue that passion. Although both self-taught, it has led down some very interesting paths, including starting a small business in NY for a few years, selling on Etsy, working at a Patisserie for a summer and selling at a Farm Cooperative for about 5 years. We have experimented with breads, fine pastries and confections, but we mostly focus on basic sweets and desserts, exploring flavor profiles and trying to make versions of classics we enjoy. I must also add that being a part of so many casts for so many years, we have had the added bonus of a built-in group of folks for whom we can try out new recipes!

APT: What do you think Aguecheek’s favorite dessert would be?

TED: Huh, if Andrew had a favorite dessert….

I imagine it would be bittersweet, both crunchy and fluffy, aspirational but not quite successful. It would be like wanting to make a very fancy European torte, with complex layers, chocolate, and sugar work, mousse and buttercream, but failing at all of them, so you end up crumbling it all up and putting it on ice cream.

APT: What is your most requested baked good… And can we have the recipe?

TED: I have to say our best-loved and most requested baked good are our scones, both sweet and savory. Although basic, finding a good scone is almost impossible – too hard, too soft, to chewy, too crumbly…so we started to create ones we love to eat.

We actually based our recipe on a really good buttermilk scone recipe from the Baking with Julia Child book. But of course, it’s a matter of personal taste. I would say find a recipe you like and work with it. Baking is chemistry; unlike cooking, it’s almost impossible to improve with baking. But even within the exacting structure, there are so many ways to explore and perfect.

APT: Anything else you’d like to add?

TED: I am just so grateful to have the chance to work with many brilliant minds, hearts and souls.

Also, preheat your oven early, check the temp, measure carefully, prep all your ingredients ahead and bring everything to the correct temperature before you mix.