In Part 5 in a series of interviews with the cast of Death By Design at Greenbelt Arts Center, meet James McDaniel.
Joel: Introduce yourself to our readers and tell them what other shows you have appeared in and some of the roles you have played?
My name is James McDaniel, I am an instructional designer at Defense Acquisition University. I’ve been doing 3-5 shows yearly in community theater since 1979. This year, I’ve played a Catholic priest impersonating a Gestapo police agent that rescues Jews out of Nazi-held Rome (Eugenio) and I’ve played a burned-out police detective who is also suspected of murder (Dark Passages).
Why did you want to be in Death By Design at Greenbelt Arts Center?
The show has clever dialogue reminiscent of Oscar Wilde, so I knew it would be fun to speak. All of us read from the script during auditions.
Who do you play in Death By Design and how do you relate to him?
I play Walter Pierce, a recently elected, Conservative Party representative to Britain’s Parliament. I enjoy the character because the role allows me to flirt outrageously and suggestively with actress Jill Vanderweit, who plays (Sorel) in the play. We’re both married to other people in real life, so the play gives us license to do things onstage we wouldn’t normally do. I like to make people laugh, and this role provides that outlet.
What do you admire about your character and what do you not admire?
I admire the character’s ability to openly flirt with women. I’ve been too shy in my past life as a single person, and guardedly so now as a married man. As far as “not admire,” my character professes a high moral standard, so his flitatious behavior is both hypocritical and humorously ironic.
What have been the challenges you have encountered while preparing for your role and how have you overcome these challenges? How did your director help you?
Using an English accent. Yes.
What have you learned about yourself during this whole process?
Nothing I haven’t already learned. I like the whole process of auditioning, rehearsing, performing, and socializing with cast and crew.
What do you want audiences to take with them after watching you perform in Death By Design?
A sense of having been thoroughly entertained.
Meet the Cast of ‘Death By Design’ at Greenbelt Arts Center:Part 1: Meet Jill Vanderweit.
Meet the Cast of ‘Death By Design’ at Greenbelt Arts Center:Part 2: Meet Sarah K. Scott.
Meet the Cast of ‘Death By Design’ at Greenbelt Arts Center:Part 3: Meet Shelley Rochester.
Meet the Cast of ‘Death By Design’ at Greenbelt Arts Center:Part 4: Meet Colin Davies.
Meet the Cast of ‘Death By Design’ at Greenbelt Arts Center: Part 5: Meet James McDaniel.
Meet the Cast of ‘Death By Design’ at Greenbelt Arts Center: Part 6: Meet Alie Kamara.