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My acting bucket list: Ron Choularton

"Mix this in with race and professional ethics and the pot boils hot."

Ron Choularton as Tiger in Bengal Tiger in Baghdad
Ron Choularton as Tiger in Bengal Tiger in Baghdad

I’m asking actors and designers to name five dream roles/projects 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.

Says Ron Choularton: “Funny, I was on Facebook last week and my mate Phil Johnson mentioned a play I handed a few artistic directors maybe ten years ago but to no avail. But one can only try. Actors are sometimes products on a shelf, but with artistic voices that are sometimes heard."

Ron Choularton

Jeffrey, in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, by Keith Waterhouse. "Bernard was a British journalist who wrote the weekly column ‘Low Life’ in The Speculator magazine. Unfortunately, like many Fleet Street men of his day, he liked 'a pint or two' and was notorious for a feckless, chaotic career and a life of alcohol abuse. During his Spectator days, the magazine often had to post the notice, 'Jeffrey Bernard is unwell,' in place of his column. A ‘few nights’ over the years in the Manchester Press Club made it clear, and painfully obvious, to me that many journalists nurtured their beliefs from the lubrication of alcohol.[Peter] O’Toole played Bernard in the West End."

Robert, in Blue/Orange, by Joe Penhall. "In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient named Chris suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and claims to be the son of Idi Amin, the African dictator. The story becomes unnervingly plausible. I’m drawn to the role for his upward mobility to professorship and his battle, not unlike here in the U.S., over the poor attention (read: funding) allocated to a patient needing mental health care. Mix this in with race and professional ethics and the pot boils hot."

...as Ian in Blasted

Ralph, in Frozen, by Byrony Lavory. "The story’s set in present-day England and has three main characters: Ralph, a serial killer who kidnaps and murders a young girl; the girl’s mother, Nancy; and a New York psychiatrist, Agnetha, who travels to England to examine Ralph. The three lives slowly intersect. They gradually change and become ‘unfrozen’ as they come to terms with the idea of forgiveness. Not an easy subject for some, but still a marvelous piece. Missed my chance a few years back due to other commitments. Disturbing, but a wonderfully scripted play."

Gangster, in Gangster No. 1, a British crime drama by Louis Mellis and David Scinto. "A living document that can show Hollywood why every piece of violence doesn't have to be illustrated graphically and in full color to help us understand their mission. Although a relatively static play, the monologues are superb, deep, and telling of the seedy underworld of '60s London and the ‘honor among thieves’…and killers, too, when they are unhappy with one of their own. Back in ’99 we at the Fritz thought the play a little ahead of its time for kindly San Diego. But it did resonate, and I’d love to be part of it again."

Nameless theater critic in St. Nicholas, by Conor McPherson. "The critic, lost in his journey through life, becomes besotted by an actress he sees in a play in Dublin. He follows her to London, only to find himself entangled with a coven of vampires. He does learn ‘some’ lessons en route. I performed this monologue at Cygnet back in 2007, when the big fires hit San Diego. So it only ran on dark nights. I hardly got two weeks’ run on one of the most outstanding plays I’ve ever been a part of. Another crack at this show would be very satisfying."

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Ron Choularton as Tiger in Bengal Tiger in Baghdad
Ron Choularton as Tiger in Bengal Tiger in Baghdad

I’m asking actors and designers to name five dream roles/projects 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.

Says Ron Choularton: “Funny, I was on Facebook last week and my mate Phil Johnson mentioned a play I handed a few artistic directors maybe ten years ago but to no avail. But one can only try. Actors are sometimes products on a shelf, but with artistic voices that are sometimes heard."

Ron Choularton

Jeffrey, in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, by Keith Waterhouse. "Bernard was a British journalist who wrote the weekly column ‘Low Life’ in The Speculator magazine. Unfortunately, like many Fleet Street men of his day, he liked 'a pint or two' and was notorious for a feckless, chaotic career and a life of alcohol abuse. During his Spectator days, the magazine often had to post the notice, 'Jeffrey Bernard is unwell,' in place of his column. A ‘few nights’ over the years in the Manchester Press Club made it clear, and painfully obvious, to me that many journalists nurtured their beliefs from the lubrication of alcohol.[Peter] O’Toole played Bernard in the West End."

Robert, in Blue/Orange, by Joe Penhall. "In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient named Chris suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and claims to be the son of Idi Amin, the African dictator. The story becomes unnervingly plausible. I’m drawn to the role for his upward mobility to professorship and his battle, not unlike here in the U.S., over the poor attention (read: funding) allocated to a patient needing mental health care. Mix this in with race and professional ethics and the pot boils hot."

...as Ian in Blasted

Ralph, in Frozen, by Byrony Lavory. "The story’s set in present-day England and has three main characters: Ralph, a serial killer who kidnaps and murders a young girl; the girl’s mother, Nancy; and a New York psychiatrist, Agnetha, who travels to England to examine Ralph. The three lives slowly intersect. They gradually change and become ‘unfrozen’ as they come to terms with the idea of forgiveness. Not an easy subject for some, but still a marvelous piece. Missed my chance a few years back due to other commitments. Disturbing, but a wonderfully scripted play."

Gangster, in Gangster No. 1, a British crime drama by Louis Mellis and David Scinto. "A living document that can show Hollywood why every piece of violence doesn't have to be illustrated graphically and in full color to help us understand their mission. Although a relatively static play, the monologues are superb, deep, and telling of the seedy underworld of '60s London and the ‘honor among thieves’…and killers, too, when they are unhappy with one of their own. Back in ’99 we at the Fritz thought the play a little ahead of its time for kindly San Diego. But it did resonate, and I’d love to be part of it again."

Nameless theater critic in St. Nicholas, by Conor McPherson. "The critic, lost in his journey through life, becomes besotted by an actress he sees in a play in Dublin. He follows her to London, only to find himself entangled with a coven of vampires. He does learn ‘some’ lessons en route. I performed this monologue at Cygnet back in 2007, when the big fires hit San Diego. So it only ran on dark nights. I hardly got two weeks’ run on one of the most outstanding plays I’ve ever been a part of. Another crack at this show would be very satisfying."

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