5 Questions with Alexander Heck
“Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks is a towering play of intimate consequence. Two Black brothers, Lincoln and Booth, share a single hotel room and make time hustling each other, playing three card monte and rehearsing Lincoln’s “act” as the assassinated president. Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate NY, Inc is presenting this Pulitzer Prize winner on theREP stage, starring the estimable Capital Region stage veteran Michael Lake (“Othello,” “Fireflies,” “Sides”) as Lincoln and the newcomer Alexander Heck as Booth. I’ve seen Alex in a Shakespeare presentation by the Blue Horse Repertory Company led by Lora Lee Ecobelli at The Arts Center during the Victorian Stroll and a fantastic performance at UAlbany of “The Piano Lesson directed by BTTUNY’s artistic director Jean-Remy Monnay. I’m really excited to learn more about him.
PW: What’s your theater background?
AH: I have very little theater background. I started about six months ago, joined an acting class, and enjoyed it very much. My mentors told me to go all in and that they could see an obvious talent, so I decided to do just that. I’ve been in 3 productions since, and 2 of them have been leads, including this upcoming one, “Topdog/Underdog.”
PW: Who are you playing in “Topdog/Underdog,” and what does he do in the play?
AH: I play “Booth” in Topdog/Underdog.” He’s the Underdog who wants to learn very much how to play cards like his big brother does.
PW: What have you learned about yourself or the theater-making process with “Topdog/Underdog”?
AH: I’ve learned that I can get deep into character, more than I thought. It’s easy to learn when you have a great director (Remy) and experienced cast mate (Michael Lake).
PW: What’s a play that has changed your life?
AH: “The Piano Lesson” changed my life, it was the first production I was in. It was my first experience with theater, and it’s what sparked my passion for it.
PW: What are your future plans? What would you love to do?
AH: In the future, I would love to get into film acting; that was always the goal, but I’ve learned to love theater. Film or theater, I just want to keep acting.
“Topdog/Underdog” runs 3/2-3/12, tickets can be found at www.blacktheatretroupeupstateny.org.