How long have you been an actor?Where did you get started?
I've been an actor professionally since I was 17. But I always tell people I've been an actor from birth. My first time in front of an audience was at the age of 2. It was a small skit in church depicting the message that my uncle was preaching that morning. I still remember dressing up like a Roman soldier with a sword and everything because he was preaching about putting on "The Whole Armor Of God".
Why do you enjoy acting?
It's just an escape, and a release. We all have problems in our lives that we wish we could just forget or even run from; And for a few hours on set or on stage I get to be someone else. While it's true that whoever I'm portraying probably has issues even more dramatic than mine, it's not real and it's sometimes good to see that hey my life isn't as bad as his. Also I see it as an amazing vehicle for change. So many stories can be told through theater and film it's almost the most effective way to convey complex ideas in our society. So if anything I do can help inspire change or at least bring someone a litter joy and entertainment then I know I've done a good thing.
Tell me about a time where you had difficulty turning yourself into a character. What was the character and why was it challenging?
There was a play called He'll Work It Out, great story, great message. I played the lead character Reggie who was a top student destined for greatness. Unfortunately he gets caught up abusing drugs and getting to a place where his addiction was top priority. One scene he visits his grandmother who he was very close to and he attempts to steal some money from her while she's in another room clipping coupons. She hears him in hee purse, chases after him and eventually falls down her stairs holding the scissors. She dies. The challenge for me came during the funeral scene where I needed to cry over her grave. In real life I've dealt with a lit of loss and I've built up a strong tolerance to loved ones passing on. So even though the director wanted real tears in rehearsal, I just couldn't get to a place where I could produce them. If that show had happened a couple years later where I actually lossed my grandfather to an avoidable situation, I know I could have done it. But at 20 years old I was just too hardened to be that vulnerable on stage.
What is the best role you've ever played, and why?
There have been a lot and I'm kind of stuck between 2. But I'll say Reynaldo in Where Are All The Good Black Men a show from earlier this year. The message and writing was just so powerful. People would come to me after the show and thank me for the performance. It's also a role where I got to show the most range and skill.
Are you working on any current projects? If so, tell us about your character/s.
Right now there are 4. My youtube series Why Not Just Tell The Truth, Where Are All The Good Black Men, A Christmas Without Him, and Are You Or Aren't You. My show is Jason a young man with a lot of hell breaking loose around him. I won't say much more than that. You'll have to check it out at youtube.com/TruLuvEnt. I already told you about Reynaldo. Franklin is from the Christmas show. He's a young aspiring RnB singer trying to have a great Christmas with his family. But he finds out his sister has a dark secret, his father's been lying to the family, his brother doesn't make it home from the military and he does his best to keep his mom sane. Lastly is Ray from Are You Or Aren't You. That show will be part if a festival called "In The Darkness Of Winter" December 20 and 21 at the Playroom Theater 151 West 46 street. Ray is a man in his mid 30s trying to make it in a Rock band but slowly starting to give up on that dream. And a big reason is because the reality hits that his girlfriend Beverly may be pregnant and he doesn't have time for dreams anymore. The whole play centers around their ups and downs as they await the test results.
What are your strong points as an actor?
I think my strong point is simply being believable. I come off very natural and settled on stage. Even though deep inside I'm more nervous than most people would be. I can play exaggerated characters and over the top comedic roles but I think I shine the most as a realistic person that the audience can connect with and relate to.What sort of acting roles do you hope you are performing in the future?I'm the future I'd just like more interesting roles. I know I have a really young look so I land a lot of teenagers or baby face pretty boy types but I'd love to do like an action movie with guns, swords, whatever. I actually have a background in martial arts and competitive marksman shooting. I'd like to put it to some sort of use. Also I'd like to tell a biographical story. It could be someone real like Will Smith or someone fictional. But I want to take a character throughout their entire life and take an audience on that journey with me.
Who is Nick Thomas?
Can I let one of my favorite quotes answer that for me?
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”
― Emile Zola.
Where are you from? Why did you decide to move to New York?
I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I actually moved to New York five years ago, and not to be an actor, I came here to cook. I used to work as a chef and after many years cooking in Australia, I moved to NYC to work at the legendary “Gramercy Tavern”.
How do you prepare for a role?
Every role is different and my approach always varies a little, but ultimately it comes down to hard work. It starts with discovering what I see in the character that I see in my self. Who am I? And then I start exploring.
What was your first role? Tell me about that experience.
The first role I played a pedophile, which is probably one of the worst kinds of characters we are asked to play as actors. The experience, however, was fantastic and I think playing a character like this was helpful for my first role. To be asked to go to those places the first time out, it was a just a question of committing to the role and going for it.
In which area would you like to improve as an actor?
I think sometimes it would bode me well to “stop and smell the roses”. As actors we are always looking for the next project, so that the time between projects is short. Once in a while I need to slow down a little to enjoy and acknowledge what I am doing.
What is the most extreme change to your personality, hair, body or weight that you have done to land a role?
This might not seem extreme for other people but for me it was a big deal. I had a beard for ten years and a role asked for me to be clean shaven. Now shaving is not considered drastic, but the first time you shave in ten years, well lets just say it was a little nerve racking. It ended up being a great decision and now I find it easy to change between clean shaved or beard.
What kind of roles do you prefer?
When first started performing I was mostly involved in comedy: sketch comedy, stand up and improv. For a long time thats all I did, so now I prefer working on more dramatic roles. I also love the classics Chekhov and Ibsen are two stand out favorites.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
Two people I look up to are Jack Kerouac and Vincent Van Gogh, and its not just because I love their work. Really they both had tragically short lives for different reasons. But their convictions, their ability to be true to their path, till the very end, despite so many things against them. I find that inspiring.
Where can we go to find out more about you and your projects?
Check out: www.facebook.com/Nicholasthomasactor
There you can find all the information about shows I am currently performing in. My sketch comedy troupe also makes regular comedy videos so they can be found there also.
What shows are you currently working on?
My hands are pretty full right now directing four plays for the ActSense: Ladies First project, but I recently directed a new one-act play called Hiss Hiss Kiss Kiss for Lovecreek Productions, for whom I direct one-acts several times a year. I have been fortunate enough to get asked by John Ladd to direct several of his plays. One of his plays A Difference in Taste is being presented as part of ActSense: Ladies First.
Why do you enjoy directing? How did you begin?
I enjoy directing one-acts because I get to work with a lot of new, young actors who are excited to be onstage. I began in the summer of 2011 directing one-acts for Lovecreek Productions as part of my service hours I was required to put in in exchange for the chance to perform onstage. However, I never viewed the directing as a "requirement" that I "had to do". I see it as an opportunity to expand my talents and experiences. I enjoy directing very much, and as it turns out, I have done more directing for Lovecreek than acting.
Have you ever played a role in a play you directed?
Yes, a few times, mostly as a matter of convenience. There have been times when an actor dropped out of a play, and, rather than re-casting and having to coordinate another person's schedule with the rehearsal schedule, I just decided it was best if I took over the role.
What have been some of your greatest challenges as a director?
As I alluded to above, scheduling can be a challenge, especially in New York, where actors lead such busy lives working, auditioning, rehearsing for other projects, etc. I remember one play I directed called Flirt! in which I had to choreograph a fight scene between two actors, who, due to their schedules, were never able to be at rehearsal at the same time. I would always rehearse it with one or the other of them, with myself stepping in as their opposite in the fight. That was kind of exhausting, and it was in the hot summer, too, no less! The two actors finally got together at the tech rehearsal, and did the fight scene together for the first time, and they did it beautifully. Granted, I kept it simple due to the challenge in scheduling, but I had to give us all kudos for pulling it off.
What sort of projects would you like to work on in the future?
I would like to direct a full-length play in which I get to work with some of my favorite actors. One thing I love about directing, is that when I do get to cast the plays, I like to cast people with whom I enjoy spending my time. I would also like to get back onstage myself in a full-length play.
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How did you get started acting? What was your first role?
I was always infatuated with the medium. Being able to express yourself artistically, creating and being involved with projects that mean something and perhaps even elevating a single person, if even for a few moments, is a huge contribution to the world in my humble opinion. The opportunity to use the sensitive sides of yourself in the work. I have a B.A. in psychology and in my past have also worked in the filed and i feel both derive from the same source and essence: In psychology you use yourself to feel the person in front of you. In acting you use yourself to make the person in front of you feel. I also love the lifestyle of constantly moving from project to project and meeting new people all the time. I guess after working several years at a desk job you appreciate such dynamic environment. I was always involved in some way in the acting world but began to pursue it professionally about three years ago upon moving from Israel to NYC. a week after landing and starting my journey at the Strasberg institute for acting I landed my first lead in a New York play. The play was Dario Fu’s We Won’t Pay. I was terrified in the beginning, having to learn so much text and in English (which is my 2nd language). However that tutored in to a fun and growing and extremely learn-full experience. We (cast members, director and tech team) got a long so well and had fun spending all these hours together, I took it for granted thinking that would be the experience in every production. beginners luck they call it…
2. Who do you look up to as an actor? Who inspires you?
Mmmm tough question. Every great piece of work I've seen is scratched on my soul and keeps inspiring me, and hopefully it is reflected in my own work. To name a few: John Hawkes, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Margo Martindale, Michelle Williams, Gabby Hoffman,, Denis O’Hare, and the list goes on and on. All great craftsmen which you can learn a lot from. I must say that I’ve been sometimes been compared to Paul Rudd which I perceive as a great complaint. would love to have an opportunity to portray the kind of characters he has.
3. Tell me about a time where you had difficulty with a character. What was the character and why was it challenging?
Two come to mind. the first was Giovanni, the character I played in We Won’t Pay the challenge was adapting to the style of the play which was a farce. Every thing needs to be “bigger”, which is a great treat for an actor but also a challenge in terms of keep the truth of the story and circumstances. The second would by Solyony in Three Sisters. dealing with the classical material as well as portraying a villain in a vulnerable and sensitive manner took time to develop and reach to a point I was “ok” with.
4. What was your most memorable role? Why?
I love them all. I would so The Shape of Things. I love Neil LaBute plays. I loved the end scene and I felt my scene partner and I just had the chemistry the roles demanded. Something about our work just feels “undone” and I would like to revisit it. I’m hunted by it. But also playing Victor in Noel Cowards Private Lives is something I also look back a lot. Being in a comedy of manners, rich people who have no real problems, that lavish life. It was fun “being in it”.
5. What have you learned from the directors and acting coaches that you have worked with throughout your career?
SO much. you just learn from everyone you work with. I think one of the best things I learned from a really great and successful director I have worked with is on stage don’t be in your head always keep your focus on your partner. That was extremely helpful. Coming from the Strasberg Institute which is of course synonyms with “The Method” it helped me not to stay within my head and constantly try to build up the emotional life of the character.
6. If you could change just one thing about the industry with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be?
Compensation. When I see people write under compensation: Meal, IMDB credit. It really makes me angry. you are playing for your cleaning services, you are paying for your transportation, you are paying for your laundry why can’t you pay your actors? I’d love to live in a world where actors could get by on Meals and IMDB credit. Unfortunately my landlord doesn’t accept IMDB credit… I feel meals and IMDB credit just goes without saying.. you don’t need to mention it that same way as an actor I don’t say I will act in your film and memorize lines…
7. What are you working on now?
I finished a busy a year of working almost constantly, whether it be commercials or stage productions. at the moment i’m taking it more easy. there are a few things in the horizon and when the time comes I will be happy to share. I have started writing a weekly column for a newspaper and I’m trying to master the art of easy writing at the moment. I find it very refreshing.
8. Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
I honestly have no idea. whatever it may be I hope it will be here in NYC. the best city…v