I have had the pleasure of seeing Neill on stage with Theatre , Pandora Productions, and Kentucky Shakespeare. He is currently in rehearsals for Actors Theatre of Louisville’s fall tradition, Dracula where he is playing to role of Robert Renfield. It is a thumping good show. If you’ve not seen it I highly suggest it. (I hear the sound design is really good as well! #CheapSelfPlug).
I am thrilled to feature Neill on this actor profile!
What got you into acting?
I was very fortunate to have had parents who recognized my dramatic nature before I knew what acting or theatre even was. As a kid, my sister and I were encouraged to try all sorts of activities, and sure enough, my mom suggested I try doing theater. I went to this after school theater program at Sacred Heart when I was in the second grade, and I was hooked.
How long have you been acting?
I’ve been acting in plays since I was about 8 years old, but I’ve been focused on professional work here in Louisville since 2015.
What is the hardest part of being an actor?
Balancing your schedule with the demands of the rehearsal/performance process. Being an actor can eat up most of your free time. Also, being humble. We are in a field where we utilize our feelings, our bodies, our voices, and it can be difficult to not get hyper sensitive about all sorts of things- your costume, what other actors think of your work, what the audience thinks of your performance. Take it easy.
What brings you the most joy as an actor?
Being challenged on stage, either with a really exciting role or working with new actors/directors. It can be easy to stick with what you know, so push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
What tips would you give other actors on auditioning?
Your confidence and probability of success in an audition is directly proportional to how much time you spent preparing for it. Work on your sides/songs/monologues enough so that you can show off your best self. You may still be nervous in the audition, but you can at least be a nervous wreck who is thoroughly prepared. Also, the audition begins the second you walk through the door. Make an easy, friendly impression!
What tips would you give a new actor starting out?
Do your homework- know your lines before the off-book date, come into rehearsal/auditions prepared. Also, BE HUMBLE. You won’t always get cast at all, or you won’t always get the part you want/think you deserve, and that does not mean the casting director/director is a jerk, or that you aren’t worth anything. Sometimes you’re just not right for the part. Don’t give up because of your ego. Take classes, be open to criticism, and do what you can to better yourself.
What has been your favorite role and why?
I had been waiting to play Hedwig (of the Angry Inch) for about 16 years, and I was not let down when I was cast in it this year. It combined every facet of my artistry- makeup design, movement, music, comedy, and total vulnerability. I just really got to lay out every card I had, and play them all.
When not on set, what else is “part of the job”.
Taking care of your body and mind. You can’t be the best actor you can be if you are unhealthy and unhappy. You don’t need to look a certain way, like super thin or super muscular, but you need to have the stamina and endurance to work long hours with energy. Also, enjoy your life! If you are centered and satisfied in your life, it will show in your work. If your life is a mess, your work will reflect that.
Any other thoughts on acting/the work of being an actor?
Don’t overthink your work. Be prepared, be thoughtful, do all the things you are supposed to do, and when the time comes, just be playful. Let go, tell the truth, and breathe.
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