Photo by Marc Cornelis/flickr
By Kaitlyn Martin
Disclosure: I hunted down Spencer Flash, the lead to Pocket Theater’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” forced my number upon him, and pestered him until he gave me an interview. Thanks to my charm, good looks and potentially pitiful requests, the job was done. #BehindtheScenes
Alright, Spencer Flash, describe yourself. All I have written down is ‘cheek bones could stab me.’ (Forced laugh) Yeah, that’s definitely something I would keep. And I guess indecisive. Not self-aware. Uh…
It’s okay if that’s all you’ve got. That’s all I’ve got.
So, according to the little playbill you’re a civil engineering major? How’d you get involved with theater? I did theater in high school. I was in “Shrek: The Musical.” I played Enjolras in “Les Mis.” All kinds of stuff like that.
You’re very talented. Did you consider a career in theater? Why not go to school for it? Thank you! But I’ve always done well in physics and architecture. That’s why I thought civil engineering would be good. Theater is really stressful, and I wasn’t planning on doing it at all here. Either way, I don’t think I need to major in it for it to be a part of my life.
What do you generally feel about the arts scene at Stony Brook? Do you feel like there’s not enough going on? Or is there enough? I focus most on the visual arts, so I’m really not sure. I know there are some art exhibits, but I never know where they are. I’m personal more interested in theater, so I’m most aware of it. Plus, there are always like 12 plays going on at once, so there’s that.
What’s it like to play a character like Dorian Gray? You know how Jared Leto keeps insisting he’s a maniac after filming “Suicide Squad”— it’s nothing like that, right? (Laughs) Yeah, no. You know in “Game of Thrones,” that character Ramsay? You don’t? Well, there’s a character from “Game of Thrones” named Ramsay, and in the show he’s horrible. But in real life he’s a folk singer. He’s actually probably the best singer I’ve ever heard. A folk singer. We have a thing; we would say ‘no method.’ When we first started the show a guy came and tried to say that when we were doing scenes— scenes like raping and murdering someone—we would have to ‘go there, be there in your mind!’ And no, I don’t think so. I think that’s a really selfish method of acting. There’s a lot of technical stuff involved, and you don’t need to feel it to do it at all.
Why won’t Jared Leto stop? I really can’t attest to why Jared Leto does anything at all.
What do you consider this play to be about? Do you find any deeper meaning in it? Wow, that’s hard. I think that a lot of the play is about disillusionment. There’s a huge disconnect between fantasy and reality here, and it’s hard for the characters to see it. I think every character struggles with that disillusionment and discontentment to a degree, but especially Dorian.
What was your favorite moment throughout this whole thing? From the very beginning to performing for an audience. The first read-through was great. Half the cast read the script, the other half didn’t. Some of the lines were very jarring if that was your first time hearing them, so that was fun. And then yesterday we decided to brush up with a full run, but we switched roles. Nobody knew each other’s lines— I played a girl who was speaking in Italian or something at one point, and I just started yelling out different kinds of pastas. No one noticed.
Do you ever experience stage fright? Oh yeah, definitely. Acting is going to be scary no matter what. It’s not something you really get over, you kind of just do it. Like, the moment before you go on stage (screams softly) the anticipation is scary.
What’s next? Will you be doing any more shows in the future? I don’t plan to, no. I’m really busy with everything else, and I really shouldn’t have done the play. That’s too late, though.
What else do you do? I do a sort of fake daily news show called “Skies Over Stony Brook Newsbreak.” We’ve got like 70 subscribers on YouTube. It kind of became a comedy and weather channel. I also spend time talking about the Stony Brook United Airlines Party. I make a bunch of airline puns every week until I run out. And then there are clubs. I have theater, rugby, soccer, and marching band.
Why does theater interest you? I never even thought about that. I have a lot of fun doing it…getting the chance to play the role, you sort of get to be the art. I think it’s one of the best ways to tell stories, especially if they never happened. I mean, I’m not one of those people who are like ‘theater is magic…God is magic,’ but…yeah!