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Julian Wiles, Founder and Producing Artistic Director
Marybeth Clark, Associate Artistic Director

November 21, 2017

Meet Charleston Stage Acting Ensemble Member David Loar, Starring as Ebenezer Scrooge

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 4:32 pm

 

Q: Where did you grow up? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for the arts?

A: I grew up in Richmond, IN. My father was Art Supervisor of the Richmond schools for 30+ years and a terrific painter, so I was surrounded by art and artistic endeavors during my childhood. I have very fond memories of sitting behind my dad in his basement studio, watching him paint, and of hiking into the woods with him on weekends to find the dilapidated houses he loved to sketch. As a kid, I memorized great comedy routines like Bob Newhart’s “The Driving Instructor,” and I would recite them for anyone who would listen. I never tried acting onstage because I was extremely self-conscious about the bald spots on my head caused by alopecia areata. In high school, I decided that I wanted to be an English professor and a novelist. My greatest passion, though, was for sports—football, basketball, baseball, swimming, and later bicycling—and I think it was the passion I brought to sports that translated most directly into my passion for acting many years later.

 

Featured: Painting by David Loar’s father Ed Loar.


Q: Where did you receive training? How did this prepare you for your work in the theatre world?

A: I got my actor training in a 2-year conservatory program at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, starting at the “advanced” age of 33. In the 4 years of community-theatre acting I had done before winning a scholarship to AMDA, I was operating purely on instinct. At AMDA, I learned real, Stanislavski-based acting techniques for the first time. I also learned unarmed and armed stage combat, which have served me well in my Shakespeare career. The teachers at AMDA believed in the power of work ethic and preparation—as I always have, in every endeavor I’ve ever pursued—and those two attributes have led to almost every success I’ve had in my acting career. My AMDA training gave me the confidence to start pursuing acting as a professional career. In fact, I landed my first professional job—playing Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Banquo in Macbeth in a year-long tour with the National Shakespeare Company—only a few weeks after graduating from AMDA.


Q: This isn’t the first time you’ve played Ebenezer Scrooge. Please share.

A: The role of Ebenezer Scrooge and the story told in A Christmas Carol have had enormous significance in my life. The first time I played Scrooge—for the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA, in 2001—my parents died within a week of each other during the already-intense 3-week rehearsal period. My mother had had Parkinson’s Disease for 35 years, so her passing was actually a blessing. My dad’s death, however, was a stunning blow to me even though he had already suffered 3 strokes. I had based my version of the Scrooge character on my dad, who was a notorious curmudgeon.

I was able to go home to Indiana for my mom’s funeral, but because we were headed into the first weekend of performances when my dad died, I wasn’t able to go home for his funeral. Dad was in the stands for every football or baseball game I’d ever played, and I felt sure that he would have wanted me to honor my commitment to the rest of the cast, to the show, and to the audience. As a result, I was literally performing as Scrooge looking at his own tombstone, with the Ghost of Christmas Future looming over him, at the exact moment my father was being buried, 800 miles away in Indiana. That month of shows was an incredibly intense experience; I would often leave the stage after an emotional scene, sob for a few moments backstage, and come back onto the stage. Sometimes I was sobbing onstage, just hoping that the emotion I couldn’t control fit the moment within Scrooge’s transformation. I played the role the following 2 years for ASC, and although the emotions of that first experience abated somewhat, I’m still moved to tears 16 years later by memories from 2001 that I can see as clearly as if they’re happening right now.

The story of Scrooge’s redemption and reclamation, from tortured, hardened miser to caring, generous soul…it still gets to me every time, in every rehearsal, every performance, after all these years.


Q: Where have you worked previously?

A: My “claim to fame”—if it can be said that I have one—is the 8 years I spent as a member of the Blackfriars Resident Troupe of the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA. I played over 90 roles for ASC, including Shylock, Prospero, Richard II, Claudius, Lord Capulet, and Ebenezer Scrooge. Prior to ASC, I toured the country for 6 years with the National Shakespeare Company, Chamber Repertory Theatre of Boston, and Shenandoah Shakespeare Express. In Phoenix, I performed with Southwest Shakespeare Company and Class 6 Theatre. In Charleston, I’ve worked with Charleston Stage Company, PURE Theatre, Woolfe Street Playhouse, Midtown Productions, and Footlight Players.


Q: What are some of your favorite past roles you’ve performed throughout your career?

A: A few of my favorites have been Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Richard II in Richard II, Captain Bluntschli in Arms and the Man, and Ebenezer Scrooge. And most recently, The Poet in An Iliad, the one-man show by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare that I’ve been working on since 2015.


Q: What role will you be performing next with Charleston Stage?

A: I’ll be playing the role of Richard Burbage in Shakespeare in Love next April.


Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I spend as much time on Folly Beach as I possibly can: swimming, boogie-boarding, walking, and taking photos. I also love walking my dogs 5—6 times a day, reading, and watching great movies with my wife, Kristen Barner.

 

Performances of A Christmas Carol run Nov. 29th – Dec. 20th at the Historic Dock Street Theatre. Purchase online today by clicking here.

 

 

 

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