I’m asking veteran local 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 may seem outside the box.
Craig Noel Award-winner Manny Fernandes
1.) Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller. “In high school, we watched the Dustin Hoffman version. When the bell rang, I was upset we had to wait to watch the rest! An early sign of how important a part theater would play in my life. It’s just one of those classic roles.”
2.) Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. “One of my favorite stories. I have performed in it three times at the San Diego Rep, once at Cygnet. I’ve played most of the male roles, but I would love to take on Ebenezer someday. He has one of the greatest arcs.”
3.) Petruchio, The Taming of the Shrew, by William Shakespeare. “Not going to lie, when I was young, most Shakespeare went over my head. But there were two plays that, for whatever reason, I understood on first read: the Scottish play and Taming of the Shrew. Petruchio’s a tricky role, so’s the play, since it’s easy for the characters not to be likeable. But I’d love to give him a go. Also, I’ve had a concept for this show for years that I’d love to try.”
4.) Samuel Gentle, An Almost Holy Picture. In Heather McDonald’s solo piece, a former priest struggles with overwhelming woes (“If God is only giving us the burdens we can bear,” he says, “I have seen him miscalculate many times”). “I saw David Morse perform this at the La Jolla Playhouse years ago and it was devastating. I think a solo performance is one of the most difficult things an actor can take on, like a tightrope walker with no safety net. I’ve always wanted to attempt it, especially with a role like this one.”
5.) Ralph, Frozen, by Bryony Laverty. 10-year-old Rhona disappeared. A psychiatrist studying serial killers interviews Ralph, who may have murdered Rhona — out of anger or illness? “This is a play I would like to see done again in San Diego. I have played several dark characters over the years. They tend to act mainly on instinct and desires. And, in all honesty, it is rewarding to elicit strong reactions from the audience, as these characters typically do.”