This is part 4 in a series of interviews with the cast and Assistant Director of 1st Stage’s One Man, Two Guvnors.‘ Meet Assistant Director John Dellaporta.
Alex: How did you get involved in theatre? When did you know that you want to be an actor [or assistant director]?
John: I started doing theatre in grade school, after seeing my older brother in a play and thinking, “That looks like fun.” Years later, he went on to other interests, and I stayed hooked, right on through college, and several years of professional work.
As for directing, my acting classes at The Studio Theatre led me to Joy Zinoman’s directing class eventually. I caught a bit of a directing bug there, and went on to grab a few gigs directing Districtland at the Capital Fringe Festival, and assisting Jason Loewith at Olney Theatre on Avenue Q. I had such a good time assisting there, that I reached out to 1st Stage to assist again, having developed a lot of respect for Matt’s work with Faction of Fools.
Tell me about One Man, Two Guvnors. How were the rehearsals? What do you love most about the show?
One Man, Two Guvnors is wild, man. It is one of the most relentlessly silly and well-crafted farces I’ve seen, and the cast Matt has assembled elevates that even higher. It’s cranked up to 11, this bunch. And rehearsals were a blast. I love that energy, be it in the experimentation, or the wild changes in tone, or the music.
Is this your first time at 1st Stage? If so what’s the experience like? If you’ve worked with us before, tell us what makes 1st Stage unique. What brought you back?
My first time, at long last! I’ve auditioned many times, but it seems that fate decreed that my first time should be on the other side of the table. Everyone is so friendly, and so game to play (in a focused, disciplined way, of course).
What kind of theatre inspires you as an artist?
All I can say to this is “good theatre.” I love all sorts of styles and genres, and I get excited whenever something is executed with a high level of skill. From farce to musical theatre to Harold Pinter to Shakespeare, seeing the goods gets me revved up.
Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work as an actor thus far?
Both as an actor and a director, my work with great artists is what guides me. If I admire something you do, I try to absorb it.
In this case, working with Matt has given me a new appreciation of how to both encourage play in a comic rehearsal process, and yet keep the level of focus so high that things get done at an incredible pace. Freedom and discipline. Matt’s mastered the dichotomy.
What is the one thing you are most excited about for the show?
To see if any of the jokes I influenced get laughs! As an AD I try to mostly keep my mouth shut and learn, but every now and then I’d pitch something to Matt, and sometimes he gives it to the cast (and he and they polish and tweak it beyond my wildest expectations). It’s so collaborative that no one solely owns anything, but I take a teeeeeeny bit of pride in those bits I seeded.
Meet the Cast of 1st Stage’s ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’: Part 1: Doug Wilder by Alex Levy.
Meet the Cast of 1st Stage’s ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’: Part 2: Megan Graves by Alex Levy.
Meet the Cast of 1st Stage’s ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’: Part 3: Noah Schaefer by Alex Levy.
Meet the Cast of 1st Stage’s ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’: Part 4: John Dellaporta by Alex Levy.