Matt Reece – Closing in on 20 at The Warehouse:
Matt Reece has walked the Main Stage at The Warehouse Theatre many times. Among his many memorable roles are the father in Eurydice, Ira Stone in Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and most recently Louis Ironson in Angels in America: Parts I & II. We were fortunate enough to get the rare interview with Matt and let him open up about his acting experience as Rivers in Richard III. Here’s what Matt had to share:
WHT: So I always have to start with the training question. Give us the detail.
Matt: I attended the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama. I have a BFA in Theatre.
WHT: And were you originally from that area of the country?
Matt: Yes. I grew up in a small city in Alabama. I have called Greenville my permanent home since 2007.
WHT: And you’ve spent a ton of that time walking the boards at The Warehouse, correct?
Matt: My first production at The Warehouse was back in 2003. I’ve been in and out of town since then, but I would say I have acted in probably around 20 or so shows here at The Warehouse and directed once here as well. The last show was last season’s Angels in America Parts 1 & 2. Fun fact— One of the shows I did my very first season was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever starring none other than Amanda Sox (our Lady Anne) who was a Fine Arts Center Student at the time. And now I feel old.
WHT: Do you have a favorite production that you’ve been physically involved with?
Matt: My favorite production is hard to narrow down. I have so many favorites for different reasons, but they always involve a great combination of story, cast, and process. The best moments are usually during the rehearsal process (or during a show) when you make those “ah-ha” discoveries of truth.
WHT: What’s your favorite part of being an actor?
Matt: Telling amazing stories. There are so many stories out there that need to be told. I love being a part of telling them.
WHT: Is there someone else’s work you greatly enjoy? Or admire?
Matt: I am always drawn towards great character actors. The ones who take on a chameleon like quality and you find yourself asking, “What else have I seen them in?”
WHT: Is there someone who greatly influenced your work as an actor?
Matt: My fellow actors always influence my process. I love learning from them and watching them work. I love that when you take the stage with someone you have to rely on the other people you are telling the story with and they have to rely on you. Just knowing that is probably the greatest influence on my process.
WHT: How many Shakespeares do you have under your belt now?
Matt: This will make my 12th Shakespeare.
WHT: What is your favorite thing about working on Shakespeare’s plays?
Matt: I’m a sucker for the language and the heightened elements of the plays. Things are rarely subtle in Shakespeare.
WHT: Is there something that you’ve rediscovered in this work or something newly learned in this rehearsal process?
Matt: Every time I do a show, I always rediscover how insanely talented some of my friends and colleagues are.
WHT: How many windsprints did you have to do to get in shape to make it from one end of this stage to the other? (The scenic design spans the entire width of the theatre. As Southerners say, “It’s a biggun’!”)
Matt: I’ve been focused on push-ups instead. I have to carry a dead body around the stage. If you read this and don’t see me doing it, you will know that I did not do enough push-ups.
WHT: This show focuses more on the action and less on the historical elements of Richard III. What was that like to experience a rather well known text in a bit of a different light?
Matt: I always enjoy seeing what a director is going to do with a Shakespeare piece. I think Alex has really narrowed down where he wants the focus to be and it helps streamline the story. Also – the music choices between the sound designer and director are insanely good.
WHT: Any words of advice for audience members coming to Richard III?
Matt: Hang on tight. Don’t be afraid to find humor in the play. Yes, it is violent, bloody, and dramatic, but it is also pretty darkly funny at times.
WHT: Once Richard has been interred, what’s your next gig?
Matt: Immediately after this one closes, I’ll be in rehearsals for Two Rooms playing an American teacher held hostage in the Middle East. I’m performing with fellow Richard cast mate, Kerrie Seymour! It is part of Centre Stage’s Fringe Series. I’m looking forward to tackling it. I am not looking forward to the beard I will have to grow.
See Greenville favorite, Matt Reece, as Rivers in Richard III playing through May 2nd!