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

February 28, 2013

Meet New York Guest Actor Drew Hampton

Filed under: Back Stage Blog — julianw @ 1:25 pm

Drew Hampton, New York Guest Actor Starring as Bernard in Charleston Stage's "Boeing-Boeing"

Q: Where are you from? Were there any activities you did as a child that led to your passion for theatre and the arts?
A: I’m originally from Arlington, TX, near Dallas. I was a sports kid since I was about 5, so that taught me a lot about collaboration, and sports itself is a type of theatre. My dad was/is a musician, so we had a piano and guitar around the house all the time. I started taking Band class in junior high, and I transferred what I was learning there to teaching myself piano and guitar. I remember, too, having a Six Flags season pass, and my friend Albert and I would go three times a week, and we fell in love with a Wild West show that was there – we saw it at least twice a day whenever we went. Because we were there so often, we got to know the cast a little bit, too. My mom says that was when the acting bug started.


Q: Where did you study theatre?
A: I got my BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Texas at Arlington and my Master’s in Acting at Western Illinois University (Macomb, IL).


Q: Where have you worked previously? What are some of your favorite roles?
A: I’ve been lucky to travel a lot for theatre. Some of the companies I’ve worked with include Shakespeare Dallas (TX), Dallas Children’s Theatre (TX), the Virginia City Players (MN), Crossroads Repertory Theatre (IN), Festival 56 (IL), Good Luck Macbeth (NV) and Playhouse on the Square (TN). Right out of grad school, I also toured with the National Players (based near Washington, DC). Including that tour, I’ve performed in 27 states. My favorite roles (this list is always fluctuating, a bit) are Younger Brother in RAGTIME, Man #2 in I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE!!!, Richard Hannay in THE 39 STEPS, Harrison in TERRE HAUTE (where I got to play a character strongly based on the Oklahoma City Bomber – Timothy McVeigh) and Jamie Tyrone in both LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (my MFA thesis role) and  A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN.


Q: How did you prepare for playing the role of Bernard? Are there any challenges you faced or anything you’re most excited about portraying this character?
A: For me, preparation for a comedy is different than for a drama. Personally, I’m more comfortable with dramas because dramatic scripts feel more emotionally and mentally accessible to me. I guess comedies feel a bit more technical to me, and dramas feel more organic. In a broad comedy like BOEING-BOEING, the characters require heightened levels of energy and personality, and all the pieces of the puzzle need to fit in a tighter, more specific way, which makes things look and feel sharper and help the jokes land.

My process started with being attune to the play’s structure and the way it builds into chaos…to the moments where things shift (from calm to frantic, for example)… to the musicality of the script (where it wants to go faster, where it wants to slow down, how the phonetics of the lines aid in the jokes, etc.) and where the playwright intends for the jokes to be (and finding a balance between not trying to be more clever than the script, while still letting my own personality and impulses give life and specificity to the character).

It’s definitely a blast to play a character who thinks he’s got everything under control, then loses control, and then fights frantically to regain it.


Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I used to teach theatre at a college in Minnesota, and I miss teaching very much, so lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time filling out teaching applications. Plus, I still teach an online Intro to Film course, so that’s something I work on every day. Generally, I like to pass the time playing/writing music, taking naps, writing short plays, eating unhealthy food, and – here’s where it gets really nerdy: my biggest hobby in the world is fantasy sports. It’s an opportunity for me to put my otherwise worthless sports knowledge to use.






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