Saturday, October 29, 2011

Evan Chews Fat on Tats & Tips to Attract 20-Somethings

We're back again with Evan Nasteff, the young but seasoned pro (college level) who is new to Richmond theatre but knockin' 'em dead nonetheless at every performance of Becky's New Car. So far our actor interviews have run veteran (Frank Creasy), 20/30-something (Maggie Roop), veteran (Jill Bari Steinberg), and 20-something (Evan Nasteff). Evan brings a youthful perspective and a lot of energy to the production. We're glad he was discovered by the director of Becky's, Billy Christopher Maupin. Becky's must close on Sunday, Nov 6. Now would be a GREAT time to call 282-2620 to buy tickets, or order tickets online at!

Q - Thanks again, Evan, for putting up with all the questions. This one's a bit cliche, but ... do you have any favorite moments or scenes in Becky's?

A - See, this is really tough. I knew you'd ask me this, but I'm still finding it hard to answer. There are so many amazing moments, and this thing is hilarious. If I had to pick one, I would say that there's a part at the end of the play where the mood is incredibly tense and somber, and Steve, played by Daniel Moore, is just completely oblivious to it. He's in his own world, talking about Pomegranate Spritzer and hiking, and it's just completely perfectly ridiculous and hysterical. When you're playing a character like that, you can't shy away from that obliviousness, and Daniel goes all the way. He gives an amazing performance, and I'm laughing in my head right now thinking about the way he says the line "Trail-friendly gorp."

Q - Bruce Miller and Phil Whiteway have been making it pretty clear that they're all about attracting younger audience members into the theatre. Becky's New Car has a lot to say, I think, to audience members of all generations. For me, it's good to look up on stage and see someone like you who's approximately my same age. Are you personally having any success convincing 20-somethings to come see you at the theatre, or do you think Barksdale in general is having any success, based on who you're seeing at Becky's New Car? Do you have any ideas on how to attract our demographic?

A - Um, it's hard. It's extremely difficult, and I know because I've been struggling with it every day. The people I've been trying to bring in are young, and some of them would rather go pay fourteen bucks to see Michael Bay blow some shit up in 3-D than see a quality theatre experience that would stick with them for a lifetime, you know? What would I do, or what should Barksdale be doing? Well, I guess I would advertise on some medium that young people are going to look at every day. We don't read the paper, we watch TV and check Facebook. STYLE Weekly is good, though: it's free, and free is pretty affordable to young people, and STYLE takes time to talk about and review theatre, which is great. That, and doing shows that young people might recognize or at least be intrigued about, like Spring Awakening, which Barksdale will be doing next summer.

Q - Are your co-workers and friends from the bar coming to see you in the show?

A - It's been tough because I've been having some issues getting some of my co-workers to come. With the Hookah staff, though, it's not an issue of wanting to come. They have all been very excited for me, and very supportive. The problem is that most of the shows fall on nights when they have to bartend, so it's been tough getting some of them out to the Tavern. Those who have come to the shows we've had on Wednesdays and/or Sundays have raved about it to their friends and the staff, so we'll see what happens here in the home stretch.

Q - One of the benefits of that towel scene--see, I'm just like that girl who talked to you on Opening and fixated on your few scantily clad moments--anyway, one of the benefits is you get a chance to show off your tattoos, which are cool I think. What are they and do they have any special meanings to you?

A - Well, I have four. On my left wrist is a Triforce, from Zelda. Yeah, a video game. It stands for Power, Wisdom, and Courage, and if you can be the master of all three parts, well, you're pretty much set. On my chest is a symbol from Super Mario Brothers. I know, I know...

My right arm is a scene of a young me and my grandfather. We're sitting on a bench near the Chesapeake Bay and he's teaching me how to play the harmonica. It's a beautiful scene of a beautiful memory, and I wanted to remind myself that, although he's gone, the lessons he taught me are not.

My left arm is a quote from "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles: "Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see." What I take from that quote is that it's easy to get through life unaware of your full potential, but it's something else entirely to open your eyes and fully realize your true capabilities. That, or Lennon was on a lot of acid. But it serves as a constant reminder to me to pursue success in things that matter to me-- like theatre-- and to be the best me I can be.

(Part 3 coming this weekend!)

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