Interview: Meet the Cast of ‘Loves and Hours’ at Laurel Mill Playhouse. Part 3: John Dignam

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In Part 3 of a series of interviews with the cast of Loves and Hours, meet John Dignam.

Joel: Please introduce yourself and tell our readers where they may have seen you perform on the stage before. What roles did you play in these shows?

John Dignam. Photo courtesy of Laurel Mill Playhouse.

John: I’m John Dignam and I’m from Catonsville, Maryland. My previous roles include: Tony Cavendish in The Royal Family at Salem Players; Willy Wonka in Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka at Salem Players; Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show at How Do You Like Me Now Productions; and Otto Rupf in Romulus at Memorial Players.

Why did you want to be part of the cast of Loves and Hours? I have never heard of this play before. Had you known about it before? And what intrigued you about the play?

I had never heard of the play previously. I heard Daniel (Director Daniel Douek) was looking for someone of my age/gender and I knew that Daniel is a great director and wanted to work with him.

Who do you play in the show? How do you relate to him or her? What traits do you share? Does this character remind you of a similar character that you have played before?

I play Tom Houghton (I also play the bit part of “Roger” in one scene). I hope I don’t share too many traits with Tom, who is an arrogant, self-absorbed, successful businessman who is emotionally abusive toward his wife, Sara. I have never played such a character but am enjoying getting in touch with my inner a**hole.

What is Loves and Hours about from the point of view of your character?

I think Tom would say it’s about getting through life as a “success” with as few emotional commitments as possible (but that’s not what it’s about).

What challenges have you had preparing for the role, and how did Director Daniel Douek help you through these challenges? What was the best advice he gave you on how to play your role?

I think (hope) that my family and friends would say that I’m a genuinely nice person with a good heart, so I really had to work hard to portray a somewhat miserable person who treats his wife so shabbily. Daniel really helped me, not with advice, but rather with an exercise. Early on in pre-production he had me and Terri (who plays Sara) sit on a sofa on stage and he interviewed us as Tom and Sara. That more than anything has helped me get a feel for the role.

What is your favorite line or lines that your character says, and what is your favorite line that someone else says in the show?

I rather like the end of a line Tom says directly to the audience, referring to his wife, Sara: “I don’t know what she’s doing. I haven’t for a long time now” because it’s a rare moment when the audience might feel a little sympathy for him. There are many lines of the other characters which I love, but if I had to pick one it would be something the lead character, Dan Tilney, says to his ex-wife, Linda, when recounting how during a past marriage therapy session she had said what she loved about him most is how he loves her. Dan says he was hurt by that, “Because it was as if you couldn’t come up with anything better.” And when Linda questions why, he says, “It felt as if you were trying to say you don’t love ME anymore.”

What does Loves and Hours have to say to today’s audiences?

That no matter how complex, frustrating, or downright unpleasant our relationships can sometimes be with those we love, it is all worth it for the moments of true happiness we also share with them.

If you could change what happens to your character – what would you like to see happening to your character at the end of the play?

I suppose it would be nice if something happened to Tom which brought him a bit more happiness, such as finding a more satisfying relationship. Tom is arguably the least happy person in the production, and I feel a bit bad for him.

Why should local theatergoers come and see Loves and Hours?

Because it has a little bit of everything: comedy, drama, tenderness, anger, hope, hopes dashed, absurdity, sex, love, minimalism….

What’s next for you on the stage?

Immediately following Loves and Hours I will be playing Milt Fields in the Laurel Mill Playhouse’s production of Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission.

Loves and Hours plays through February 5, 2017 at Laurel Mill Playhouse – 508 Main Street, in Laurel, MD. For tickets, call (301) 617-9906, or purchase them online.

LINKS:
Review: Loves and Hours at Laurel Mill Playhouse by Ilene Chalmers.

Interview: Meet the Cast of ‘Loves and Hours at Laurel Mill Playhouse Part 1: Alan Barnett.

Interview: Meet the Cast of ‘Loves and Hours’ at Laurel Mill Playhouse. Part 2: Terri Laurino.

Interview: Meet the Cast of ‘Loves and Hours’ at Laurel Mill Playhouse. Part 3: John Dignam.

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Joel Markowitz
Joel Markowitz is the Publisher and Editor of DCMetroTheaterArts. He founded the site with his brother Bruce to help promote the vast riches of theatre and the arts in the DC Metro area that includes Maryland, Virginia, and DC theater and music venues, universities, schools, Children's theaters, professional, and community theatres. Joel is an advocate for promoting the 'stars of the future' in his popular 'Scene Stealers' articles. He wrote a column for 5 years called ‘Theatre Schmooze’ and recorded podcast interviews for DC Theatre Scene. His work can also be seen and read on BroadwayStars. Joel also wrote a monthly preview of what was about to open in DC area theatres for BroadwayWorld. He is an avid film and theater goer, and a suffering Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Joel was a regular guest on 'The Lunch and Judy Show' radio program starring Judy Stadt in NYC. Joel founded The Ushers Theatre Going Group in the DC area in 1990, which had a 25-year run when it took its final curtain call last year. Joel is a proud member of The American Critics Association.