Sunday, October 6, 2013

Christian Camargo and Eric Balfour - Haven - Season 4 - "Bad Blood"

Can't make it to New York to catch Christian as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, don't worry; he can been seen on the SyFy channel in Haven.

‘Romeo and Juliet’ Star Christian Camargo’s 7 Acting Secrets

Photo Source: Carol Rosegg

If Christian Camargo talks about acting as craft, it might be because he comes from a long line of craftsmen. His mother is actor Victoria Wyndham, and his grandfather is the late actor Ralph Camargo. The tribe extends to his wife, Juliet Rylance, and his father-in-law, Tony-winner Mark Rylance—both of whom Camargo met while in the inaugural company of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in England.

Having a network of actors surrounding him has been Camargo’s true education—though his years at the Juilliard School of Drama certainly didn’t hurt. “Juilliard was fantastic, don’t get me wrong,” he says. “But the real knowledge was sort of growing up with a family of crafts. Going to the theater to see my mom do a play, or talking about character with Mark [Rylance] and seeing what his approach is? It’s been a blessing.”

If you’d like to see Christian Camargo’s craft, look no further than Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre, where the 42-year-old actor is currently starring as Mercutio alongside Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad headlined production of “Romeo and Juliet.” Camargo brings a brazen sexual energy to the scene-stealing role, which speaks highly to Camargo’s ability take a fresh look on archetypal characters.

We spoke with Camargo, known to many for his roles on “Dexter” and in the “Twilight’ films, about tackling Shakespeare, perfecting his craft, and staying in the moment.

Do the work first, and then throw it out

While the language of Shakespeare might be intimidating for an actor at first, Camargo says there’s plenty of information within the text to shape your performance. “Shakespeare gives you these clues—these little pieces of gold dust, I call them,” he says. “They tell you so much about the story, the character, the drive, the intentions. It’s like a gift.” The work also shows actors how to break out of the rhythm of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter. “It has its own energy to it; its own life to the lines. Budding consonants, line endings, shared lines between two characters—they’re all hints about the drive of the piece and where to emphasize the beats.” Still, no matter how much work you do pre-performance, Camargo says you must walk away from it. “Put your own self in there and marry the technique with what you’re feeling,” he says.

Surround yourself with people who support and challenge you

Camargo’s family of craftsmen allows him to pick and choose what makes sense for him in a safe, supportive environment. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no conflict. “Actors are the most generous people when it comes to sharing their technique. But if you grew up in a household of carpenters and you’re making a table, everyone would have a different way of doing it,” he says. “There’s healthy competition within the craft. And sometimes, in the family of actors that I live amongst, we have completely different opinions about things and ways of going about things. But to be around many people doing the same thing, where you don’t feel alone and you can ask honest questions and get honest answers and take what works for you and leave behind what doesn’t? It’s helped me grow so much.”

Don’t try to be anyone other than yourself

We all know hindsight is 20/20, but when Camargo looks back, the one thing he wishes he knew then we to be more confident in himself. “Sometimes, there’s a preconceived notion of how a scene or how a work should be delivered. And I see young performers sometimes try and deliver that, and it’s not really true to their voice or who they are,” he explains. “Audiences pick up on that very quickly.” In those cases, Camargo stresses actors bring themselves to the part. “When you are cast for a role, it’s because of everything that makes you who you are in that moment in time. No one else has that. That’s a unique, powerful thing to hold,” he says. “People are interested in you. So be confident and allow your voice to be heard and don’t try to imitate what you should think or feel at a certain moment.”

Stay in the moment.

“Orlando Bloom will be unemployed after ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ” Camargo says, bluntly. It’s a harsh statement when seen through the eyes of any fulltime employee, but for an actor, that’s part of the business. “No matter how many years of experience you have,” Camargo explains, “We all share the same thing: Where’s our next job coming from? And that brings its own sort of nerves and hinders to the enjoyment of what we’re doing right now.” To shift from those nerves, Camargo stresses that we stop worrying about where you should be and start focusing on where you are. “Acting is about being present in the moment—even when you’re not at an audition, even when you’re not on stage. It’s where you are right now that you can learn the most.”

Try anything

Camargo recently took to the other side of the camera, directing a modern film adaptation of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” called “Days and Nights.” (Camargo also wrote the adaptation, which is due out next year.) Challenged with leading his superstar cast (Allison Janney, Cherry Jones, Mark Rylance, Katie Holmes, among others) through the project, Camargo learned just how much mutual trust goes into the process, making him feel even free to play as an actor. “If I’m feeling an instinct for something that’s outside the text, I’m going to go for it and just explore it,” he explains. “And I’m going to do it trusting that the director wants me to explore, just like I wanted [my actors] to explore. Don’t feel nervous about it. Because nerves are what close you down and make you less accessible and enjoyable to watch.”

Be positive

In an industry that often favors an actor’s fall than rise, Camargo knows that remaining positive is an absolute must. “It’s not easy being an artist in any medium,” Camargo says. “So we have to enjoy ourselves. And if we find ourselves being creative out of conflict or out of darkness, we’re actually being delusional to our creative selves. That doesn't work at all. That’s going to bring tension. That’s going to bring something that you won’t be able to make into anything that anyone wants to watch.”

Don’t confuse the craft of acting with celebrity.

If you’re getting into this business to be on the cover of a magazine or walk a red carpet, you may want to seek out other ways to find your notoriety. “A lot of actors, and understandably, get wrapped up in the concept of fame,” says Camargo. “They use this to measure their self-worth. They think ‘I’m not getting famous so I must not be very good.’ And there’s this sort of skewed perception of the craft versus the celebrity.” In Camargo’s eyes, actors must focus on the one thing they truly have control over: their craft. “Celebrity is so much up to other people. We can’t just exist to be hopefully picked as a celebrity. That’s out of our control,” he says. “We have to make that clear distinction that we are craftsmen – just like carpenters—and we need to hone that skill.” Lucky for Camargo, the celebrities he’s worked with on Broadway understand that distinction. “Katie Holmes and Orlando [Bloom]—they've both really dove into their craft onstage and done the work,” he says. “It’s been wonderful to see that.”


Condola Rashad on 'Romeo and Juliet' Orlando Bloom: 'We had a connection from the minute we met'

Photo credit: Getty Images | Co-stars Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom at the "Romeo And Juliet" Broadway photo call at Richard Rodgers Theatre in Manhattan. (Aug. 7, 2013)

It's no surprise Condola Rashad is one of Broadway's hottest rising stars. Entertainment's in her blood (mom is award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, dad is NFL legend and sports commentator Ahmad Rashad). One could say Condola's been in show business her whole life. Even before then. She made her first TV appearance during season three of "The Cosby Show," when her mom (who was then playing TV's reigning wife and mother, Clair Huxtable) worked during her pregnancy. Fans may recall Phylicia's baby bump was hidden by clever staging -- Phylicia held bags of groceries or read in bed on her stomach, with a hole cut out of the mattress. In the years that followed, Condola, now 26, grew up in Mount Vernon and hung out with mom on the "Cosby" set. She studied theater at the California Institute for the Arts, then hit New York, making her 2009 Off-Broadway debut in "Ruined." She then earned Tony nominations for strong performances in "Stick Fly" (in 2012) and "The Trip to Bountiful" (last spring).
Now, she stars as a certain star-crossed lover opposite heartthrob Orlando Bloom in "Romeo and Juliet" at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. She chatted with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio.
Must be tough saying Juliet's familiar lines like, "O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
It's just a matter of-uh ... trusting Shakespeare, in a way. Knowing that even though the line's been said a million times, there's a new way to say it -- it's a different time, I'm a different actor. If I say it right now, it'll be new.
Bummer for you -- having to establish chemistry with the likes of Orlando Bloom.
Yeah. What's funny is that we didn't have to force it. We had a connection from the minute we met ... a sense of comfort with each other. Which was cool. We both loved the work. And he's such a great guy.
It's his Broadway debut -- did you show him the ropes?
He occasionally asks things, like, "Is this normal for a tech rehearsal?" Because they can be brutal. But he's finding his way beautifully.
This production features an interracial love story, but it's not really a "West Side Story" thing, is it?
Race may add to the tension, but it's not the reason for this family feud. It's really great to know we have interracial characters but the story isn't about that. Our director, David Leveaux, was asked why he cast a black Juliet. And he said, "Our Juliet is black because ... she's black." [She chuckles.] He didn't cast me because I was black. He wanted to see me play the role. And I'm black, so he was like, OK, we'll just run with that.
I'm curious about your childhood. Do you recall when you realized your parents weren't ... typical?
I always knew they were known, from when I was little. But I also knew they were the same as everybody else's parents. I remember people knowing them, stopping them. That's normal to me. But I also remember my parents coming home at the end of the workday. My mother cooking dinner for the family, like a lot of other mothers do. She was no different.
Did you catch the acting bug from Mom?
I did. My mother took me everywhere when I was little -- and directors let me stay at rehearsals. I was well behaved and would sit and watch. And ... I fell in love with acting. I fell in love with what goes on behind the scenes -- the craft. There are certain actors who fall in love with the fame side. I'm not saying that's bad. It's just not my thing. I watched my mother take a character from a page and create something. I think the best actors are the ones who -- beyond anything you think of them -- just want to tell you a story.
What about Dad's genes? Are you athletic?
Actually -- I am. I ran track, played soccer. I was athletic in high school. I didn't really start acting then. I'm actually a musician first and foremost. I was trained classically in piano for 10 years. And now I have a band.
What's your band called?
Condola and the Stoop Kids. It's fun. Our goal is a fall concert.
And you're releasing an album.
Yes. It's alternative
rock-soul, basically. We think we have something special. It's very lyrically driven. I wrote all the lyrics, and some music I wrote by myself, some I conceived with producers. We recorded the album through the summer.
Any other projects in the works?
All I can see is as far as "Romeo and Juliet." That's my whole world right now.
Not a bad world to be in.
So who's releasing the album?
Um ... it's indie. Yeah ... we are a very indie band.