Interviews with Sean Astin, John Corbett, Marcus Thomas, and Director Al Corley from Bigger than the Sky!
I have theatrophobia. An unexplainable fear of live theater. Sadly, I know exactly where this irrational malady steams from. When I was a kid, my mom used to drag me to these horrible Children's Plays. They were put on by a bunch of middle-aged thespians that had failed miserably at their chosen career. Their craft was kaput. This back hall monologue was all they had left. Watching a grown man roll around on the floor of the library, dressed like Piglet, gave me nightmares. Then there was the Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk. I couldn't pull myself off the carpet for days after seeing that sh*t. It was a worse nightmare than Herschell Gordon Lewis' stage production of Mother Goose. It gives me cramps just thinking about it.
I cried for months. I begged my mother never to take me to another live performance ever again. She didn't listen. Come Saturday afternoon, she was throwing me in the back of a car with all the MaGee children, and we were off to see Charlotte's Web as performed by a bunch of rapists on community service leave from Portland State Prison. As if that wasn't bad enough, after the show, I was given ice cream. All those MaGee kids stuck their fingers in it. And I had to eat it.
Goddamn it. Childhood. I would have rather been beaten on a daily basis.
The theater is a dead place to me. It is stilted and dusty. The place is a spiritless vacuum. To this day I hate stage plays with a passion. If you drag me to one, I'll hold my breath. I'll pass out. I'll die there, on the floor. I promise.
When I first went to College, I thought maybe I could act. I wanted to try it. I didn't realize that I had to do it on a stage. I wanted to go in front of a camera. Not in front of a bunch of stupid retards, unable to perfect the craft themselves. I remember actually stepping onto that stage floor. It creeped me out. I literally had an out of body experience. I ran screaming from the room, never to return again.
But live theater continued to haunt me…
That's what I get for going to college in Ashland, Oregon. Home of the Shakespeare festival. My neighbors were all actors. They walked around, pretending to be bigger than life. I wanted to punch them all. It's been seven years since I left that town. Yes, it's been a long time since I left that vibe behind. Well, Director Al Corely has perfectly captured the whole experience in a bottle. His "Bigger Than the Sky" is the most accurate depiction of the Community Theater lifestyle I have ever seen on screen. It brought back horrible memories. It made me want to run screaming from my chair. The fact that it takes place in Portland, Oregon, made the experience even more real for me.
While dabbling in film production in Portland, I got mixed up with these very same people that are being depicted on screen. A bunch of small town actors pretending to be something they're not. Pretending to be real thespians. Watching the film, I could literally taste the bitter dampness of the air. And the hatablity of the moment. I wanted to punch Sean Astin's character, because I've ran into that guy one too many times, in the same bar these characters frequent in the movie. In fact, the place where they perform Cerino De Bergerac, The Hollywood Theater, is the very last place I visited before I moved away from that burg. Only, it wasn't a Theater House then. It was a movie theater. I saw Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom there. And Raiders. God, how I remember that red velour lobby…
Maybe that's why I kind of like "Bigger Than the Sky." It perfectly captures a real place, and a real time. Some of the on-screen talent might seem like they're overacting, but that's the way actors in small community theaters like this act. Yeah, I know. It is truly scary. For me, "Bigger Than the Sky" is the first real horror film of the year.
To find out more about the production, I recently met up with three members of the cast, and the director. The movie is about a bored twenty-something, played by Marcus Thomas, who suddenly decides to quit his job and act (even though he's never done it before) in a small community theater production. John Corbett plays a failed actor who has to take a back seat to this new leading man, both on and off the stage. And Sean Astin plays the overzealous, pompous thespian that comes in at the last moment to replace Thomas when the task of Cerino De Bergerac becomes to overbearing for the newbie. Al Corley of Noel fame directs. Here are the audio files from those roundtable interviews just for you (all these questions come from contributing sources)...enjoy!
Dont't forget to also check out: Bigger Than the Sky