Dan Robert, Emerson College BA Theatre Studies: Acting ’13 and Creative Producer in Training for ArtsEmerson: The World On Stage, sat down for a chat with Mac Young, a spunky-sweet Whistler in the Dark ensemble member and local fringe actor, director, scenic designer and technician. Check out a slice of their nearly two hour-long conversation on local theatre, post-college work and the desire to collaborate in this interview profile.
Mac Young: I went into [Bennington] college not considering myself a “person of the theatre.” I was interested in academics, the social sciences, mostly, and was briefly interested in studying visual art. I actually think it was because I did improv extra-curricularly that in the second half of my freshman year I started taking theatre classes. And then it was this snowballing sort of thing where really briefly in my sophomore year I’m like, “So maybe my major should be social sciences AND theatre!” And then: “Okay so, maybe I don’t have enough time for the social sciences because of all this stupid theatre. Goddammit!’” Y’know?
Dan Robert: By accident.
MY: Yeah that’s how it happened, and at some point in there I started feeling like it was something I could claim. College was awesome. There was so much access to great resources and such a ferment of excitement all the time– everyone there was so involved in their work. And the coolest people were the people who were doing the coolest stuff. We all loved and cherished and prized that.
DR: That’s exactly what I wonder now, as someone in college, how does that transfer when you’re then just in a city trying to find that same community that celebrates one another’s cool work?
MY: I left college feeling really empowered to do work on my own. I spent my four years just on a whim putting shows together– stuff I would just be terrified to do now, because what changes is that all of that support, at least initially, is gone and the resources are gone. But you haven’t changed: the enthusiasm, the desire is still there. And I was very frustrated for a long time. At first it kind of ‘undid’ a lot of the things that college did for me.
DR: Like what?
MY: That free access to initiative where I would be talking about some dumb idea and then say, “Ya know, we could kinda just do it! What if we talk to so-and-so ‘cause he plays the tuba, right? He would probably be totally into this and would love an excuse to play, right? So what do you think about, like, the week after next.” And then you get out of college and it’s just not so easy to do that. I think a lot of my initial readiness to dive became cautiousness instead. I think that’s a positive thing for me, because all of the stuff that I took for granted in college I now have to provide. The freedom to just do some wild thing, now, where I am, it comes with the foreknowledge of pain. (laughing) To phrase it very strongly, right? But you gotta figure out how to be good with the pain, and you gotta figure out how to still want do the work knowing that it’s gonna hurt at some point.