Stage and voice actor David Wald will be playing to a small audience when he takes the stage in the title role in Main Street Theater's production of Macbeth. (Wald shares the role with director/actor Guy Roberts.) The only person Wald wants to satisfy with his performance as Macbeth is Macbeth.
"I think my performance really is for the character," Wald tells us during a break in rehearsals. " My goal as an actor is to embody this character, to take some black and white scrawl on the page and make it breathe in the air. We as actors do that in service to the playwright, in service to the director and of course, in service to the audience. But for me as an actor, if there's any single pair of eyes that I need on me, it's those of the character."
One of Shakespeare's darkest and most conflicted characters, Macbeth is a loyal general in the beginning of the play. Ambition and greed prompt him to kill his king and take the throne for himself. Wald says the character's range of emotions and complex motivations make it a dream role for most actors. "Of course, most actors shoot for Hamlet first, because he's younger. Then they age into Macbeth. I've never played Hamlet; I'm just jumping right into Macbeth," he laughs.
Wald was invited to Prague to perform the role there in a previous production by the Prague Shakespeare Company, which Roberts also directed. The experience, he says, was profound. "Working with Guy is always so wonderful. He does these completely theatrical pieces that are a joy to be a part of. This is the third or fourth time I've worked with him and each time, I can see myself changing as an actor. During this last production of Macbeth in Prague, in the middle of one of the speeches, I felt myself level up as an actor. That's an amazing experience."
What He Does: "I'm an actor. That means I take words on a page and I breathe life into them."
He's a storyteller, says Wald, but it might not always be the expected story that he's telling. "You tell the story of the character, of course. You tell the story of the play, of that world. You, to a point, tell a story of yourself because on some level it's still you up there, even if you've changed your voice and you're wearing a costume and are completely unrecognizable as yourself. Theater, performing is about telling a story inside a story inside a story that's wrapped up in a story. It's a never-ending loop of stories."
Why He Likes It: "Being an actor keeps me out of very expensive therapy," Wald says laughing. "I get to explore sides of myself, to learn things about myself that I may have never known in my daily life. However extreme or mild that lesson is, it's always something worth knowing. Every role, every play is an opportunity to get a better understanding of what it is to be human."
What Inspires Him: "I find great enjoyment in playing incredibly challenging characters as well as characters that, at the beginning, might not seem to be very extraordinary. There's always a story to be told even if that's not immediately apparent."
Art and literature are often sources of inspiration for Wald. "Strong ideas, interesting ideas inspire me. It takes a more focused inspiration to work on a specific character or play, but great art, great literature and certainly great music inspire me to be creative."
If Not This, Then What: "I would have to be in a creative field, working as an actor as a musician, it would have to be creative. I couldn't not perform, I think. For about 10 years of my life, I was playing in bands and doing very little acting. I was still performing, it wasn't acting but I was performing."
"At no point did I ever think,' I'm going to go to college and major in accounting.' Doing something else never even entered my mind. From the first time I heard Mel Blanc doing a voice in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Being a voice actor in anime, is the answer to a lot of dreams."
If Not Here, Then Where: "There are a lot of places I would like to be. There are a number of cities, both in and out of the states, where I would love to live, but it's difficult to find cities where there's actually enough work to support an actor who doesn't want to work in a bookstore during the day or something like that to pay the bills.
"I think Los Angeles would make sense for my work, especially my anime work, but I don't think I'd like L.A. I've lived in New York before and while it was wonderful living there, it's deceptively difficult to make a living working in the arts in the city. That's especially true if you want to find gratification in your work. There are lots of exceptions to this, but in large part, most shows on Broadway are some old musical somebody dusted off as a vehicle for a television star.
"There's a musical about Rocky that's coming out. You can't tell me the creative team that's putting together a show where Rocky and Adrian sing a love duet, couldn't come up with their own, better story.
"Really I don't think I want to leave Houston. Because I'm in Houston and not in New York, I get to do so many more shows. I've had friends who have played in the same show for six or seven years. In those six years, I've done 30, 40 roles."
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What's Next: "After Macbeth, I'm doing Pump Boys and Dinettes. Well, actually I haven't signed the contract on that yet, but I've been offered the role so it's safe to say I'm doing Pump Boys and Dinettes. I've got some other auditions coming up, but I don't want to jinx them so I'll won't say what those are."
Wald performs as Macbeth in the Main Street Theater production at 5 p.m. March 1 and 7:30 p.m. March 5 and 9. Guy Roberts appears as Macbeth at 7:30 p.m. February 27, March 3 and 6, 8 p.m. February 28, March 1, 7 and 8, and 3 p.m. March 2 and 9. Main Street Theater, Rice Village, 2540 Times Boulevard. For information, call 713-524-6706 or visit mainstreettheater.com. $20 to $39.
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer