In Part Three of a series of interviews with the cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s Our Town, meet Tristan Poje.
Please introduce yourself and tell where local theatre goers have seen you before on the stage and who you played?
I’m Tristan Poje. Folks wouldn’t have seen me ‘round these here parts. Most of my work was in San Diego and Chicago, along with a smattering of east coast regional theaters.
Why did you want to be part of RLT’s production of Our Town?
It’s been quite some time since I’ve performed, either on stage or for TV/film, and I haven’t done anything since moving to the DC area in 2009. But I’d always been keeping an eye on RLT’s season for a show I could audition for now that my kids aren’t babies anymore. When I read through Our Town, Thornton Wilder’s words hit me on a deeper level than when I’d first read it in high school, and I knew I had to be a part of it.
Who do you play in the show?
I play Mr. Webb, Emily’s father and editor of the local newspaper.
How do you relate to your character? What traits do you share and not share and what do you admire most about him/her?
You know, this is the first father role I’ve played after having become a father myself, so I identify a great deal with the parenthood aspect of him and the related challenges he faces. The only difference is that Mr. Webb has a daughter and a son while I have two boys. Beyond that I think we share a similar energy and a certain dry sense of humor, as well as an appreciation of academia.
What have been some of the challenges you have had preparing for your role and how has your director Laurie Freed helped you with these challenges?
The latter part of my acting career I had been focused on TV/film work, which is far simpler and more technical than stage, so my biggest challenge was probably recapturing the energy needed to carry a role to an entire theatre audience. Fortunately, Laurie has been there to guide me into the research and awareness needed to make a stage character believable and rich.
Why is Our Town still so popular? What does Our Town have to say to today’s theater audiences?
This play is literally timeless. Even though some of the occupations in Grover’s Corners don’t even exist anymore, the questions asked and the struggles endured are the exact ones we face today and will face tomorrow.
Which scene or scenes move you the most in Our Town and why?
The Stage Manager’s words affect me a great deal more now than when I first read it years ago. His constant search for meaning on a universal scale through the eyes of everyday people is so genuine and so desperate, and the language is written so beautifully. But the two moments within the play itself that emphasize this juxtaposition are two short monologues: Rebecca Gibbs’ (George’s little sister) at the end of Act I, and Emily’s heartfelt monologue towards the end of Act III. Those get me every time.
What’s next for you on the stage?
Our Town plays through May 8, 2016 at Rockville Little Theatre performing at F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at the Rockville Civic Center – 603 Edmonston Drive, in Rockville, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (240) 314-8690, or purchase them online.
Meet the Cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s ‘Our Town’: Part 1: Zoe Bulitt.
Meet the Cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s ‘Our Town’: Part 2: Allison Howlett.
Meet the Cast of Rockville Little Theatre’s ‘Our Town’: Part 3: Tristan Poje.
Review of ‘Our Town’ at Rockville Little Theatre by William Powell on DCMetroTheaterArts.