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THEATER TALK: Exclusive Interview With Seth Numrich

Katie Buenneke |
April 25, 2013 | 12:07 a.m. PDT

Theater Editor

Numrich played Eli, a troubled teen, in "Slipping." Photo by Ryan Miller
Numrich played Eli, a troubled teen, in "Slipping." Photo by Ryan Miller
If you don't know Seth Numrich's name yet, it's just a matter of time until you do. Numrich, who was the youngest person to be admitted to Juilliard, has certainly had a successful 2013 so far. In January, he finished the limited run of "Golden Boy" on Broadway, where he gave a critically-acclaimed performance as the protagonist, boxer Joe Bonaparte. Since then, he's been splitting his time between Richmond, Virginia, where he's filming a pilot for AMC, and Los Angeles, where he appeared in "Slipping" in Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's Los Angeles debut. He left the show April 20 to start rehearsals for a West End production of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" with Kim Cattrall.

So how does he juggle it all? It's certainly a challenge, but he says in our exclusive interview, "I feel lucky just to be working, and you know, I get to be working with people […] who are willing to work with me, and work around my schedule […] It's a good problem to have, and I'm just trying to be wherever I am as fully as I can be." This kind of thoughtful, grounded analysis of his circumstances is typical from Numrich, who chalks his successful career up to a combination of luck and hard work.

And indeed, Numrich does put a lot of work into his acting, though you wouldn't be able to tell from how effortlessly he seems to slip in and out of the different characters he portrays. To prepare for a role, he explains, "I'm really into doing research for pieces that I get involved with," be it by reading books about the character he is playing, visiting the location where the story is set, or immersing himself in the emotional world of the character.

He also has his little rituals to help him decompress after the show. For a heavy show like "Slipping," Numrich enjoyed cleaning up after his character post-curtain call, saying, "It's a sort of tedious task to have to do, but in a way, I'm really grateful for it […] It's a nice way to close it all up."

In the rehearsal room, Numrich loves working collaboratively with the director and other actors to create a world for story, an experience he particularly relished when preparing for this production of "Slipping" (he also played the role in New York in 2009). He notes, "It feels very organic to me, and it feels like we have a lot of input, and we're all a part of the creative process, so for this, it was a great opportunity to be out here in L.A., in a new place, a new context, and try to bring that mentality, of the work that we had done in New York, and bring it out here, and get to work with new people […] I think it worked really well."

Numrich stresses that the most important thing to do for young people who want to create art is just that—to create art. As he puts it, "I think, especially in a place like L.A. or New York, or there are tons of places where there's a wealth of artists who are hungry and here and want to create and want to work and want to collaborate, so find those people, find your tribe, find the people who inspire you and that you connect with on an artistic level, and just do it. Just make it happen, and the only way to get better is by doing and failing, so don't be afraid to fall on your face. If we were all afraid, we would never get anything done, and we would never push any boundaries, or progress the art form to the next place, so just do it."

Read the full interview here.

Reach Theater Editor Katie here; follow her on Twitter here.



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