4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

My Acting Bucket List: Francis Gercke

The Craig Noel Award-winner puts a twist on his list and selects stories instead of roles

Francis Gercke
Francis Gercke

I’m asking veteran actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that seem outside the box.


Craig Noel Award-winning actor Francis Gercke, whose new company, Backyard Renaissance (formed with wife Jessica John Gercke), opens its inaugural doors this Saturday with Jez Butterworth’s Parlour Song at Ion Theatre.

“I’m more drawn to plays than roles. I encountered all these plays at an early age. I want to be a part of them. No one has to see me on stage. They need to see these stories!”

1.) Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee (1955). The Scopes “Monkey Trial” debate between creationism and evolution. “Such a classic American play. It also strikes me as continually relevant as the debates over climate change, stem cell research, abortion rights, etc., continue to be unresolved. The first time I saw it, I realized that one of the few places you can safely carry on a volatile debate is in the theater.”

2.) American Buffalo, by David Mamet. “I love the image in my head of Teach [SPOILER ALERT] literally reducing the world of the play to smithereens and what that must be like for an audience to experience. Also the classic Wild West confrontation in an urban setting: might equals right versus truth and justice. We grapple with it now: the 1% v. the rest of us. But once you start assigning labels, you can justify terrible consequences. Innocence lost.”

3.) The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson. “I always think of the phrase, “the blind leading the blind.” Gibson, for me, turns it on its head. Not only does it literally happen in the play, it happens metaphorically with Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller leading the sighted Keller family. Keller said: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

4.) Rocket to the Moon, by Clifford Odets. “If you told me I’d fall in love with a play about a dentist, I’d’ve told you to go do something unpleasant. But I really love this play. Odets is a street poet to me. Most of his plays are about characters who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Rocket is quieter. It’s like that bag in American Beauty that gets taken by the wind, has no control of its own, yet is quietly captivating.”

5.) The Elephant Man, by Bernard Pomerance. “The role of John Merrick’s so physically demanding it’s got a history of horror stories for the actors who played him. But how this human being endured such difficulty and degradation and somehow maintained a sense of dignity and respect for others, it’s incredibly hopeful. Backyard Renaissance will produce the play in April, 2016, in collaboration with the Oceanside Theatre Company.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Traffic circles safer, but maybe not for bikes

La Jolla Boulevard smaller, sidewalks wider
Next Article

Barbara Bry's husband hangs up on reporter

Bry and Jim Madaffer linked to rental-busting public data mining firm
Francis Gercke
Francis Gercke

I’m asking veteran actors to name five dream roles and say why. The answers not only reveal aspirations, they may put an idea in the minds of artistic directors and producers — even choices that seem outside the box.


Craig Noel Award-winning actor Francis Gercke, whose new company, Backyard Renaissance (formed with wife Jessica John Gercke), opens its inaugural doors this Saturday with Jez Butterworth’s Parlour Song at Ion Theatre.

“I’m more drawn to plays than roles. I encountered all these plays at an early age. I want to be a part of them. No one has to see me on stage. They need to see these stories!”

1.) Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee (1955). The Scopes “Monkey Trial” debate between creationism and evolution. “Such a classic American play. It also strikes me as continually relevant as the debates over climate change, stem cell research, abortion rights, etc., continue to be unresolved. The first time I saw it, I realized that one of the few places you can safely carry on a volatile debate is in the theater.”

2.) American Buffalo, by David Mamet. “I love the image in my head of Teach [SPOILER ALERT] literally reducing the world of the play to smithereens and what that must be like for an audience to experience. Also the classic Wild West confrontation in an urban setting: might equals right versus truth and justice. We grapple with it now: the 1% v. the rest of us. But once you start assigning labels, you can justify terrible consequences. Innocence lost.”

3.) The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson. “I always think of the phrase, “the blind leading the blind.” Gibson, for me, turns it on its head. Not only does it literally happen in the play, it happens metaphorically with Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller leading the sighted Keller family. Keller said: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

4.) Rocket to the Moon, by Clifford Odets. “If you told me I’d fall in love with a play about a dentist, I’d’ve told you to go do something unpleasant. But I really love this play. Odets is a street poet to me. Most of his plays are about characters who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Rocket is quieter. It’s like that bag in American Beauty that gets taken by the wind, has no control of its own, yet is quietly captivating.”

5.) The Elephant Man, by Bernard Pomerance. “The role of John Merrick’s so physically demanding it’s got a history of horror stories for the actors who played him. But how this human being endured such difficulty and degradation and somehow maintained a sense of dignity and respect for others, it’s incredibly hopeful. Backyard Renaissance will produce the play in April, 2016, in collaboration with the Oceanside Theatre Company.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego County cities hustle to digest green trash

Del Mar to switch to EDCO?
Next Article

George Sterling: calm hub of wild Bohemian Carmel community

Celebrated by Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser and Sinclair Lewis
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close