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INTERVIEW WITH ACTORS RYAN MCCARTAN AND TAYLOR IMAN JONES


Ryan McCartan


Ted Sod: Where were you born and educated? Did you have any teachers who had a profound influence on your decision to become performers? Ryan McCartan: I was born and raised in a suburb west of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Our high school theatre director Kent Knutson— who we fondly referred to as “Coach”—created an unbelievable program to which I owe an immense amount of thanks for propelling me into my adult life and this occupation. Taylor Jones: I was born and raised in California's Bay Area. I started doing theatre when I was 11 after my friend at school invited me to join the local youth musical. I haven't stopped performing since then. Before moving to New York, I tried to do as many shows and work at as many theatre companies as I possibly could in the Bay Area. I credit the majority of my training to those amazing actors I was able to meet and work with along the way. But some of my favorite teachers include Vivian McLaughlin and Stacy Arriaga, who taught me how to work like an adult when I was a kid. And later in life, Nick Gabriel, Stephen Buescher, and Robert Barry Fleming taught me how to be a professional actor.


TS: Why did you choose to do the musical Scotland, PA and the roles of Mac and Pat? What do you find most challenging/exciting about your role? RM: So far in my career, there is very little I’ve gotten to choose. The amazing opportunities that have come my way in life have been outside of my control/design. It’s in that way that I like to think this role


14 ROUNDABOUT THEATRE COMPANY


Taylor Iman Jones


and others before it have “chosen” me! Before dropping out of college, I was enrolled in rigorous Shakespeare coursework at the University of Minnesota. I love Macbeth (I hope you’re not reading this out loud in a theatre), and the chance to play this iconic and tragic role in such a unique adaptation is something that thrills me to no end. TJ: I have had the ultimate pleasure of being involved in Scotland, PA for a couple of years now, and I've enjoyed every second of it. Getting to do it at this stage is a dream come true. As for Pat, I can't even fully describe how excited I am to play this role. Lady Macbeth is one of the fiercest roles in theatre history, and now add Adam Gwon’s score and Michael Mitnick’s book and I've basically won the lottery. Pat loves hard, and she's not afraid to be strong, so I'm a little nervous about but thoroughly looking forward to the opportunity to play her.


TS: Please give us some insight into your process as an actor: What kind of preparation or research did you have to do in order to play these roles? RM: I have, of course, read Shakespeare’s Macbeth numerous times. If it is available, I familiarize myself with any source material before starting a project. That is something I find inherently valuable and important to the process. For me though, the real work and the deepest part of preparation happens in the rehearsal room, in the heat of the moment with my colleagues. Lonny Price, our director, is a hero of mine; and having had the opportunity to work with him developing the musical, I trust his leadership with 100% certainty. TJ: I found reading the play and watching the movie gave me a


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