Lyric Arts had a chance to interview John Hage, who is performing as Bluebeard in The Further Adventures of Nick Tickle, Fairy Tale Detective. Read on to hear what he has to say about his experience thus far.
LA: Tell us a little bit about why this particular play interested you?
JH: I remembered hearing rave reviews about the original Nick Tickle when Lyric Arts performed it a couple of years ago so when I saw the Further Adventures auditions I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I enjoy performing in front of kids. They provide honest and enthusiastic feedback and it’s wonderful to perform with kids for the same reason.
LA: For those that are unfamiliar with The Further Adventures of Nick Tickle Fairy Tale Detective can you tell us about the show?
JH: Maybe I’m a little too old to be “hip” with the pop culture references, but the world of Nick Tickle reminds me of the “Fractured Fairy Tales” that I watched as a kid. (For anyone not familiar with those classic cartoons, you can find them on that new fangled YouTube thingy). Each story seems....familiar...but the details just aren’t quite righ. The characters in these stories are very self-aware of who they are and the storyline they are supposed to follow -- but they just don’t seem to want to behave the way they are supposed to.
As Nick stumbles through a series of fairy tale storylines in pursuit of a kidnapper, the humor is doled out in a way that I think will appeal to both kids and adults. I’ve had a good laugh during rehearsals watching these talented kids bring well-known characters to lift...with a Tickle twist...and I’m certain that others will find it equally entertaining.
LA: Talk about the character v(s) that you play in The Further Adventures of Nick Tickle Fairy Tale Detective. How have you developed this character?
JH: I play Bluebeard the pirate. From early on it’s been an exploration for me to discover who Bluebeard is. Is he just a mean and nasty pirate or is he someone with a sense of humor and real personality? The problem with playing a bad guy is that it’s often easy to start at “bad” and go nowhere with it. I’ve been trying to develop a playful and fun pirate that you might like to hang around with -- until he tries to slit your throat.
It’s a balancing act.
LA: Talk about your fellow cast members, how do you see their characters developing? Any that you are particularly amazed at?
JH: I am truly impressed with all of the talent in this cast. Everyone in this show has shown me brilliant moments of humor and charm.
What amazes me most, however, is how so many of the youngest members of our cast have been able to bring what are historically “adult” characters t to life in new and exciting ways. I can honestly say that Mrs. Stiltskin scares the beejeebers out of me - and I’m probably 5-6 times her size. :)
LA: What do you feel are the "wow" elements of The Further Adventures of Nick Tickle Fairy Tale Detective?
JH: Fairy Tale characters need to be larger than life and full of color. There’s no question that our costumes bring everything about this show to life. From Puss in Boots, to the Pirates, to Cinderella and Snow White – the world of Nick Tickle is so much more real thanks to the wonderful work of our costumer!
LA: What is your favorite aspect of the show?
JH: I love the humor. Don’t let the fact that this is a “mainly for kids” show lull you into thinking this is “kiddy humor” – it’s sharp, witty and very clever. It’s a show that isn’t afraid to make fun of itself or the world of fairy tales – but it does so in a genuine and endearing way.
LA: Tell us what is something that you are particular excited about this show coming to together? For example, a certain scene, costumes, set, lights, etc?
JH: I’m looking forward to wearing my pirate outfit. I’m having a coat specially made and I can’t wait to finally wear it while swashbuckling with a nemesis or two.
LA: What is your favorite fairy tale?
JH: I’ve always liked Hansel and Gretel. It’s got all the elements of a truly great fairy tell – from deep dark forests to evil witches. The only thing that has ever bothered me about the story is why they used BREADCRUMBS to make a trail. Hello? The forest is FULL of hungry animals!
LA: What is your favorite thing to do around the holidays?
JH: I enjoy peace and quiet at home with the family. I will do my shopping online and avoid the malls at all costs. I think shopping malls in December really bring out the inner Bluebeard in me.
LA: To date what is your favorite role that you have played and why?
JH: In 2008 I played Frank Church in Lyric Arts’ Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus. It is my all-time favorite role for numerous reasons.
The show was based on a famous newspaper editorial about the existence of Santa Claus and, as a kid, my mother used to read the editorial to us every year at Christmas time. My mom loved Christmas and that editorial inspired her unabashed love of Santa and the Christmas spirit.
My mom died from breast cancer in 2007 – leaving a huge hole in our family’s heart at Christmas that year. It was, frankly, sad and depressing to go through a Christmas without the spirit and joy she always brought to it.
So in the Fall of 2008, when my daughter came and asked me to audition for a Christmas show “about Virginia” at a local community theatre called “Lyric Arts”, I think it was providence (with a guiding hand from my mom) that lead me to audition for a show after nearly a 20 year absence from the stage and not only get “a” part in the show, but “the” part – the man wrote the editorial.
The best moments I’ve ever had on stage were being able to recite nearly the entire editorial for a theatre full of people – young and old – and spread the Christmas spirit to each and every one of them just as my mom had done for me.
An interesting side note about that production was that our opening night of “Yes, Virginia” happened to the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. She would have been 64 that day. She would have loved that play and I put every ounce of energy I had into “doing it right” for my mom. If audiences were able to enjoy that show even a fraction of the amount I enjoyed performing in it, I am certain they walked away with a renewed love of the holiday spirit.
LA: What is your dream character to play on stage?
JH: There are so many great roles that I couldn’t pick one as my “dream” role. If anything the role of Frank Church (see previous question) was my dream role.
LA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
JH: I’m the father of 3 kids – ages 12 through 16 and have 2 golden doodles named Scruffy and Fred. I’m an internet marketing “guy” – I create web pages, e-mail campaigns, web applications and ads. Between my iPad, smartphone and laptop I always seem to be “connected”. I dabble in theatre when I have the time.
LA: Any other area that you would like to comment on?
JH: I’d like to thank Lyric Arts for being part of our community. As an actor and as a father, I appreciate how much they do to help educate our kids and provide them with the opportunities to express themselves in such an open, caring and professional environment. This product is an excellent example of that commitment to our community and I am incredibly thankful to have an organization like this right in my back yard.