In Part One of four interviews with the young cast members of Olney Theatre Center’s production of Over the Tavern, Noah Chiet talks about playing Rudy Pazinski – his first lead role in a local production, and how he prepared for the role.
Joel: Noah, introduce yourself to the DCMTA readers, and tell them where you have performed before appearing in Over the Tavern.
Noah: Hey Joel! Good to talk with you again. I am Noah Chiet, and I am 14 years- old. I have performed at Ford’s Theatre in the World Premiere musical, Liberty Smith, A Christmas Carol, and their 2011 Annual Gala. I was in The Hollow (another World Premiere) at Signature Theatre, The History of Invulnerability at Theatre J, The 2011 Helen Hayes Awards with TheatreWashington, and Falsettos with Ganymede Arts. When I was younger, I took classes, and performed in productions at Musical Theater Center, and for middle school, I attended A. Mario Loiederman Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts.
Joel: Why did you want to appear in Over the Tavern?
I wanted to appear in Over the Tavern at Olney because the show sounded very interesting and funny. While preparing for the audition, I looked up the show on the internet, and I immediately knew that this role would be perfect for me, and that it would be an amazing opportunity to play a character that is so much like myself!
Introduce us to your characters and how you relate to him.
I play Rudy Pazinski – a 12 year old Catholic boy who lives in Buffalo, New York in the early 1960’s. Rudy is a very goofy and comedic boy who is at the age where he really starts to think, and form his own opinions and philosophies. He goes to St. Casmir’s, a private catholic school, and is taught by (in his opinion) a mean old nun, Sister Clarissa. He refuses to be force-fed rules, and he thinks God put us on Earth “to have fun!”
I can really relate to Rudy because like him not wanting to be confirmed, I am kind of going through the same thing with having my Bar Mitzvah. I definitely want to have one, but I have been so busy, I haven’t had time. Also, the Pazinski house hold has lots of bickering, and so does the Chiet’s! Rudy has a very raw sense of humor, like me, so he is very fun to play on stage.
What is Over the Tavern about from the point of view of your character?
From Rudy’s point of view, Over the Tavern is a story about family, and coming of age. He is becoming more mature, and he is learning about all the things that are out in the “real world..
How has Director John Going helped you shape your performance?
Working with John Going has been such a great learning experience, and it has been a fun time. He has really helped me grow as an actor, and he always pushes me to do my best!
What did you perform at your audition and where were you when you found out you had the role? What was your first reaction?
For the audition, we were required to perform a given monologue from the show. I found out that I had gotten the part about a month later. When I found out the great news, I was actually performing at Strathmore doing a concert with child – prodigy, Ethan Bortnick! It was actually right when I stepped up to sing “You Raise Me Up,” that my mom got the email saying that I Had gotten the part! When I found out, I screamed a little, jumped around, and was ecstatic!
What have you learned about yourself as an actor working on Over the Tavern?
I have learned a lot about acting, and about myself during the rehearsal process. I learned to break myself of bad habits. For example – a common thing in young people these days is to turn every sentence into a question! I didn’t even know that I was doing that!
What is the most difficult scene to perform?
One of the harder scenes in the show is when I get home from school, and I perform my Ed Sullivan impersonation for my brother Georgie. Not only do I have this huge monologue and impersonation to do, but I have to hang up this curtain thing in my room and it is kind of difficult to do! Haha!
What scene that you are not in moves you the most when you watch it?
There are lots of moving scenes in this show, but one of them is the scene between my mother Ellen, and my sister Annie during the middle of the night. It is very touching, and I feel that a lot of people can relate to what is going on in the scene. I am not going to give away too much more… :)
How are you juggling working on Over the Tavern and school?
Since I have been performing in DC for almost 3 years now, it has become a lot easier to juggle the acting life, and the school life. My teachers are usually very understanding, and help me out with getting work ahead of time.
How are your parents helping you during this production?
I would not be able to do any of this without the love, and the continuous support of my parents. I am so grateful for all they do, and for allowing me to follow my dreams. I love you Mom, and Dad!
This is your first ‘lead’ role in a local professional theatre production. How do you feel?
I am so honored and happy to have a “lead role” at my age, and at such a great theatre! I am happy I am being given a shot to show what I can really do. Having a lead role, you have a lot of pressure on you. Also I have A TON of lines, so it took a little bit to get them down. Otherwise, it’s awesome!
What’s next for you after Over the Tavern?
I have a small part in the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller, and Kristen Wiig, which is coming out early 2013. Look out for that! Besides that I don’t have anything lined up. I am looking forward to taking a little break, spending more time with my friends, and being a ‘normal high schooler’ for a little bit. :)
What do you want audiences to take with them after see you in Over the Tavern at Olney Theatre Center?
After seeing Over the Tavern, I hope audiences will leave thinking about their families, and sore from laughing so hard. Even though this play takes place 50 years ago, it is still completely relevant today. I hope the audience loves it! :)
Over the Tavern plays through October 21, 2012 at Olney Theatre Center – 2001 Olney Sandy Spring Road, in Olney, MD. For tickets, call the box office (301) 924-3400.